Valentine’s Day Dining Matchmaker Tool and Rock the Turtle
15 Min Read By MRM Staff
This edition of MRM’s News Bites features Bloomin' Brands, Troon and Real Food, Nima, Eulerity, Tripleseat, Revel Systems, Hakkasan Group, Smith & Wollensky, Shake Shack, Burger King and WebMoney Transfer, Traliant, PJW Restaurant Group, OpenTable and The Greene Turtle.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carcara Named Bonefish Grill Prez
Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. appointed Jeff Carcara as President of Bonefish Grill. In this role, Carcara will be responsible for leading the operations and development for Bonefish Grill restaurants across the United States. He most recently served as the CEO of Del Frisco’s Emerging Brands.
“Jeff will bring creativity, energy and thoughtful leadership to continue driving excellence at Bonefish Grill,” said Liz Smith, CEO of Bloomin' Brands, Inc. “The depth of his experience, coupled with his proven success in the polished-casual dining segment, will help ensure that Bonefish Grill remains the destination for customers seeking fresh fish and a big city bar in their neighborhood.”
Carcara’s 26-year hospitality career includes extensive experience in restaurant operations, building and leading successful teams, implementing innovative changes, brand growth and development, increased productivity and asset management.
Prior to serving as the CEO of Del Frisco’s Emerging Brands, Carcara was the CEO of Barteca Restaurant Group and Chief Operating Officer for Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. He also held several leadership positions at Season’s 52
Troon Acquires RealFood
Troon® acquired RealFood, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based food service consulting firm.
“Troon currently delivers a wide gamut of food and beverages services at our managed facilities,” said Tim Schantz, president, Troon. “Our alliance with RealFood will significantly increase our food and beverage expertise and capabilities for current and prospective clients.”
RealFood will continue to operate under the RealFood brand and the company’s charismatic leader, Ed Doyle, will continue as president. RealFood has been serving the needs of the food and beverage industry since 1996 and has an extensive portfolio of more than 500 international and domestic clients. RealFood has opened over 400 restaurants and has 150+ years of combined operating experience. RealFood joins Troon’s portfolio of companies that includes Troon Golf®, Honours Golf®, Troon Privé®, CaddieMaster®, Troon International®, True Club Solutions®, and Cliff Drysdale Management®.
"We are incredibly excited to be bringing RealFood's expertise and capacity to the Troon organization,” said Ed Doyle, president, RealFood. “This acquisition only further reinforces Troon's commitment to delivering outstanding food and beverage experiences at all its managed properties and RealFood is uniquely qualified to take an already stellar execution to the next level."
With the acquisition of RealFood, Troon’s food and beverage department will triple in size and scope. The department currently oversees banquet and restaurant operations at more than 150 venues located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. By acquiring RealFood, Troon will soon open a new corporate office in Boston, allowing the company to be closer to Northeast clients and accommodate regional growth opportunities.
Nima Debuts Allergan Tool
Nima introduced a new online tool that provides users with information on gluten-free and peanut-free dishes found at nearby chain restaurants. The findings are the results of a large testing initiative that aimed to give individuals with food allergies the ability to dine out with Nima-tested data from their favorite chains.
“One of our key values at Nima is data for decisions,” said Shireen Yates, CEO and co-founder of Nima. “Our ultimate goal is the democratization and transparency of data as it relates to food allergens and this new platform brings us one step closer to our mission.”
Nima staff tested menu items for the presence of gluten or peanut from over 100 popular chain restaurants using the Nima Gluten and Nima Peanut sensors. The dishes that were found to be free of these allergens were mapped to include all additional locations of the restaurant worldwide. This set of data resulted in over 250,000 restaurant locations being mapped and more than 3 million dishes being labeled as “Nima-tested” geographically across the globe.
Over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies, making it potentially dangerous to eat foods they haven’t prepared themselves. Nima’s revolutionary Gluten Sensor and Peanut Sensor are the first, and only, pocket-sized devices that allow those with dietary restrictions to quickly test their food for allergens for added peace of mind at meal time. Now, Nima’s new free web application will allow users to find dishes in their area that are safe to eat simply by searching on a map of their area right from Nima’s website using their mobile device or computer.
It is important to note that these results do not account for any potential cross-contamination that may occur in Nima-tested restaurants. Users are encouraged to always practice due diligence, talk to servers and keep an EpiPen on-hand for emergencies.
“Nima is not designed to replace any of the precautions people with food allergies or sensitivities are already taking at mealtime,” Yates said. “Our program is designed to provide one additional data point that when someone does a search, they will get Nima-tested results, regardless of where they are located.”
Marketing Management for Franchisees
Eulerity launched its digital marketing platform using machine learning and automation. It was designed to simplify the complex world of developing and executing digital marketing programs — all through a cloud based app.
Eulerity was founded by a seasoned team of technology experts who have developed data-driven software and marketing strategies while working for some of the world’s largest brands like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!.
“Managing digital marketing campaigns for hundreds of locations across thousands of websites has traditionally been a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive endeavor,” said Tanuj Joshi, CEO of Eulerity. “With Eulerity, franchisees can launch a local business marketing campaign in just a few taps and then get back to running their business. Brand consistency and delivering ROI have never been easier – all for a flat and transparent fee – a fraction of the cost of hiring traditional vendors.
To date, Eulerity’s more than 100 clients include franchise companies such as Sylvan Learning, The Woodhouse Day Spa, Rockin’ Jump, Zerorez Carpet Cleaning, The Salad House, Leap Legal Software, and more.
Eulerity’s software features customizable “Magic Ads” — automatically formatted for every channel including Search (Google), Social (Facebook, Instagram), Display (top 1000 sites/apps), & Video advertising (YouTube). Ads are analyzed daily using Eulerity’s proprietary algorithms to ensure marketing budgets are spent most efficiently ensuring maximum cross channel ROI.
EventCamp on April 30
EventCamp, sponsored by Tripleseat, will host its third-annual conference at City Winery Nashville on April 30. EventCamp is the only conference of its kind to gather together sales and event professionals to discuss the booming areas of private dining and events for restaurants and hotels. The conference features educational sessions from various industry and marketing experts, offering attendees the exclusive opportunity to learn how to grow their business and make their venue stand out.
Passes for EventCamp 2019 are now available. Stay tuned for more schedule updates and keynotes speakers to be announced. For more information or to register, click here.
Sales and event managers in the hospitality industry can expect to be provided with new techniques for event management, as well as information on the latest technologies and trends to better their business and create memorable events. EventCamp covers practical subjects to equip professionals from restaurants, hotels, and other venues with insights on how to bring their business to the next level.
“After the success of sponsoring the EventCamp hospitality conference over the past two years, we are thrilled to be heading to Music City for our third gathering of industry experts to provide tips and share their expertise among our attendees,” stated Jonathan Morse, co-founder and CEO of Tripleseat. “Creating an educational, yet fun, off-site experience provides sales and event specialists in the field with the tools to grow in both their careers and in business, as well as discover new techniques to improve customer engagement and book more events moving forward.”
Revel Launches Two Products
Revel Systems® launched two distinct product offerings:
- Revel Enterprise: a business platform that empowers organizations to streamline the performance of multi-location or chain businesses and provides tools to scale and grow.
- Revel Essentials: a POS and business solution designed specifically to meet the needs of restaurants or retailers with 20 or fewer locations.
“Revel has matured to provide much more than point of sale solutions,” said Greg Dukat, Chief Executive Officer of Revel Systems. “We now deliver a complete platform that enables the rapidly evolving digital commerce initiatives of our customers. This includes having an open ecosystem, key partners, and a broad set of solutions such as Revel Enterprise and Revel Essentials.”
Curated for the needs of larger chains with more complex needs, Revel Enterprise provides an intuitive, secure and flexible iPad-based POS that enables franchisors to comprehensively manage all their locations from one platform. Users can perform key tasks such as setting up groups of restaurants, centrally control menus, generate brand-level reports in real-time, analyze and manage ingredient inventory as well as other critical operations.
Anchored by the industry’s market leading tablet, Revel Enterprise has been developed and informed by key insights and customer intelligence from Revel’s experience with numerous large restaurants and retail customers including Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, GOLFTEC, Kung Fu Tea, Cheba Hut, Frutta Bowls, and Bahama Bucks.
“Revel has secured a leadership position with more than 75 fully installed enterprise customers. We recognize that large chains have a more advanced and fast evolving set of needs so we are substantially increasing our investment in this area,” said Chris Lybeer, Chief Strategy Officer at Revel Systems. “Most importantly, since we have a keen focus on partnering with customers to help them achieve their ambitions and own their future – we deliver more than just technology.”
Having pioneered an easy-to-use POS system as an indispensable business tool for the SMB segment, Revel Essentials has been honed to uniquely and specifically support the business operations, customer channels, and payments requirements of this sector.
Revel has tens of thousands of small to midsize business customers that continue to make waves and drive innovation across a multitude of industries. These clients include the Bay Area Indian street-food visionaries at Curry Up Now, Northwestern brewhouse chain The Growler Guys, Orange County culinary institution Wok Hei, San Francisco's first deep dish restaurant, Little Star Pizza, and their expanded brand, The Star, Kosher-Chinese D.C. upstart Holy Chow, and the nationally renowned Lyric Opera House of Chicago, among others. Revel is continuing its focus and investment in this critical market.
Added Dukat, “Revel is the smart choice for organizations at both ends of the market – our laser focus on each solution type combined with our experience and staying power ensures we will be around to grow with our customers as their businesses expand.”
Hakkasan Jakarta Opens
Hakkasan Jakarta, top photo, is now open. Located in Jakarta’s financial hub SCBD, Hakkasan Jakarta is the first Hakkasan restaurant to open since 2014 and also marks the entrance of the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant brand in Southeast Asia.
Overlooking the Indonesia Stock Exchange and Pacific Place, Hakkasan Jakarta will feature unique elements not previously seen at other Hakkasan restaurants, notably massive glass windows and a rooftop terrace that showcase the sweeping views of the bustling city from the 25th and 26th floor of the luxury Alila SCBD Jakarta. The expansive rooftop will offer entertainment from Hakkasan’s top DJs, as well as banquettes and semi-private VIP booths, making it Jakarta’s go-to venue for memorable evenings. Hakkasan Jakarta is the first Hakkasan restaurant to offer this al fresco dining and nightlife experience.
The Cantonese culinary experience at Hakkasan Jakarta will feature Hakkasan signature dishes like its stir-fry black pepper rib-eye beef with merlot, complemented by exclusive-to-Hakkasan Jakarta dishes that utilize local produce, including steamed red grouper with spicy kaffir sambal sauce, Musang king durian puff and braised Mutiara lobster with glass noodles and black peppercorns. Hakkasan’s innovative mixologists have also created special cocktails for Hakkasan Jakarta, including Corn & Pepper made with Bulleit Bourbon, Brem wine, Szechuan peppercorn shrub and aromatic bitters; and the Smoky Fuchow, created with Plantation Dark rum, Nihon-shu, lapsang souchong, cranberry, lemon, lime, and aromatic bitters.
The restaurant is designed by GBRH Interior Design, featuring intricately-carved latticework and subtle ambient lighting to create intimate dining spaces that echo the glamorous interiors of Hakkasan’s original restaurants in London.
Smith & Wollensky's International Expansion
Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group (SWRG) expanded its global presence with the recent opening of their first licensed restaurant outside of the U.S. in collaboration with S&W Restaurants (Taiwan) Ltd., located at Breeze Nanshan Plaza in Taipei. Following the restaurant group’s firstl international launch in London in 2015, there has been a strong global demand for the classic “America’s Steakhouse” experience defined by Smith & Wollensky for over 40 years, company officials said.
"Smith & Wollensky is America’s most iconic steakhouse brand delivering the ultimate American steakhouse experience," said Michael Feighery, CEO & President of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. "We have enjoyed tremendous success creating deep relationships with loyal customers in both the U.S. and our first international location in London. Our decision to venture into Asia was inspired not only by the strong demand for a fine dining experience in Taiwan, but also by the love for high quality beef by consumers of Taiwan, especially USDA Prime dry-aged steaks, for which Smith & Wollensky is known. We are thrilled to make Taipei our first stop in Asia and look forward to becoming an important part of the dining scene, contributing to the hospitality culture that makes this city unique in the Asia Pacific .”
Located on the 47th floor of Breeze Nanshan Plaza, the 7,200 square foot restaurant boasts 160 seats, with bar, dining and private room spaces. A selection of seating options with square and round tables, as well as sofas, can accommodate a wide range of consumer demands and provides an ideal setting for special occasions, gatherings of family and friends, and business meetings. The restaurant features an elegant design scheme with a fusion of wood décor and classic green color, accentuated with orange highlights to create a stylish and distinguished design. The restaurant also offers a spectacular view of the magnificent landmark skyscraper Taipei 101 and the charming cityscape of Taipei through elevated 13-foot tall glass windows. An interactive exhibition kitchen allows diners a glimpse of the culinary action as well.
The menu showcases USDA Prime steaks and signature filets sustainably produced by Double R Ranch, hand-butchered and further enriched through in-house dry aging for 28 days, such as a 46 oz. porterhouse steak and a specialty 10 oz. coffee and cocoa rubbed filet. The menu also features regional dishes exclusive to this location with carefully selected premium local ingredients, including roasted sturgeon, a 30 oz. Taiwan Tomahawk pork chop, and a 10 oz. uni filet. The savory and succulent roasted sturgeon is preserved through a low-heat sous-vide cooking method, boldly sprinkled with spices, and fried to a perfect golden brown. The fish is served with nest fern and smoked vinaigrette tomatoes to add a unique local touch to the dinner table. To accommodate the upmarket shops, office towers, foreign companies and banks nearby, the restaurant not only serves classic steakhouse dishes and distinctive cuisines of Taiwan in a welcoming setting, it also offers a live music bar, exclusive to this location.
The original Smith & Wollensky location opened in 1977 in New York City.
Shake Shack Names Livingston CMO
Jay Livingston was naned CMO for Shake Shack.
He will be responsible for leading strategic and innovative marketing at Shake Shack. Livingston previously served as Chief Marketing Officer of BARK, makers of BarkBox, from July of 2017. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Bank of America where he held senior marketing roles across the corporation during his twenty year career. Jay is also an active angel investor and advisor in NYC, and is a founding member of Unite America. The search was conducted by True Search.
Burger King Russia Now Accepting WebMoney with QR-Code
The chain of fast-food restaurants Burger King Russia in partnership with WebMoney Transfer are now offering a new payment solution. From now on, payments in all of the chain restaurants can be made from an e-wallet by scanning a QR code. Burger King has become the first chain of fast food restaurants where Russians can pay with a QR code.
The specially designed by WebMoney feature which is integrated into a cash till allows you to make payments and receive payment information in real time. The customer just needs to simply scan a QR code displayed on the cash till screen and to confirm the payment. The transaction is instant. By selecting the new payment option customers can additionally benefit from the `10% Cashback on your WebMoney wallet` special offer.
If it so happens that a customer has insufficient funds on their main wallet, they can complete payment by using funds from their WebMoney wallet in other currencies by applying the `Instant Exchange` function.
Burger King Russia CEO Dmitry Medovy said `Our goal is to ensure that Burger King will become the fastest and most convenient place of service. We appreciate the popularity of the WebMoney system in Russia and, therefore, we feel that it is essential that we provide our visitors with an opportunity to pay for their orders by any convenient method of their choice.`
Andrey Smirnov, WebMoney Transfer Commercial Director said `The new payment method will make Burger King restaurants more attractive to those users of the WebMoney Transfer system, who are familiar with modern technologies and actively utilise our mobile application for everyday payments. The solutions of accepting payments via QR-code are not related to the availability of POS-terminals and do not require advanced technical modifications from a restaurant and, therefore, will be beneficial for businesses in terms of reducing some expenses such as on cash collection and acquisition.`
Sexual Harassment Training for Restaurants
Traliant is offering a new interactive training course for employees and managers in the restaurant industry. Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Restaurants covers sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, bystander intervention, diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias and other timely workplace topics tailored for the restaurant industry.
For more information, click here.
“Restaurant businesses are unique working environments, and especially in the wake of #MeToo, anti-harassment training needs to be relevant and meaningful to foodservice employees and managers,” said Mike Pallatta, Traliant CEO and Co-Founder. “Our new Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Restaurants course builds upon our modern approach to training with realistic video scenarios, insights and practical steps that focus on positive behaviors and creating a safe, respectful culture.”
Accessible on any laptop, tablet or smartphone, Traliant’s anti-harassment training for restaurants is available in separate versions for employees and managers, including New York and California versions that comply with their respective new training requirements. Bite-sized episodes, interactive videos depicting real-world situations, and integrated quizzes engage and challenge employees to stay attentive throughout the course.
Traliant’s Preventing Discrimination Harassment Training Suite contains courses that comply with the training requirements for New York State and New York City, California (AB 1825, AB 2053, SB 396, SB 400, SB 1343) and Connecticut (CHRO Act).
Traliant’s eLearning courses are designed to raise awareness of behaviors that can lead to unlawful conduct, and motivate employees and managers to take the right steps to prevent harassment and discrimination and create a respectful, inclusive culture.
Platzer Wins Humanitarian Award
Virtua Foundation has named Bob Platzer, founder and executive chairman of PJW Restaurant Group, as its 2019 Humanitarian Award recipient for his dedication and unwavering support of the South Jersey community.
Platzer will formally receive the award at the 2019 Virtua Gala on March 2, at the Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. Virtua President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, will present the award along with John J. Parker, chairman of the Virtua Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Virtua Foundation is honored to recognize Bob Platzer, whose leadership and generosity speak to his remarkable character and commitment to the community,” Pullin said. “Bob knows what it means to make a difference in the lives of others and is deeply deserving of this award.”
Since opening their first restaurant more than 35 years ago, Platzer and his wife, Donna, have supported a range of not-for-profit groups, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities, JDRF, Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, and the Catholic Partnership Schools. In addition to providing philanthropic support, Platzer also donates his time to service projects and working with area youth. Recently, he helped to create a new playground for St. Cecilia’s School in Pennsauken, NJ—the same school he and his siblings attended.
“Bob is one of the most sincere, stand-up people I’ve ever known,” said Christopher Webb, director of operations for PJW Restaurant Group. “Success could be defined as profit, but for Bob, being successful is more about achieving the ability to give back to the communities we serve.”
As the lead supporter of the 2019 Virtua Gala, Platzer and the PJW Restaurant Group will help to provide critical funding for the ongoing transformation of Virtua’s Camden campus, creating greater access to health care and health education for families. The Virtua Gala has raised more than $10 million since 2009. All proceeds from the 2019 Gala will support Camden-based services and programs—including the recently opened Virtua Health & Wellness center—through Virtua Foundation’s Power to Heal campaign.
OpenTable's Dining Matchmaker
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, OpenTable is unveiling an online “Matchmaker” tool that will help diners find the perfect restaurant this year based on a series of fun questions, taking all the angst out of planning.
Further, OpenTable commissioned a survey that reveals that the “what to eat” debate is alive and well in America, with one in two saying they rather do the dishes or take out the garbage than argue over what to eat. Additional findings include:
- Four in 10 Americans will just give into their partners wishes in order to settle food disputes
- For singles embarking on a first date, dining out can still be stressful, with nearly one in two agreeing that they will be judged by the restaurant they select
- 50 percent of Americans believe that enjoying nightly dinner and conversations is the secret sauce to going the distance
- Six in 10 agree that dining out on Valentine’s Day leads to a greater chance of getting lucky compared to any other night of the year
“Valentine’s Day is the biggest dining day of the year. Last year, we saw over 2 million seated diners on the holiday,” said Caroline Potter, Chief Dining Officer at OpenTable. “With our Matchmaker, we want to ensure it’s a joyous, carefree occasion, when people can focus efforts on being with significant others, loved ones or friends, rather than stressing over where to go or what to eat.”
Turtles' Polar Plunge
Late last month, team members from The Greene Turtle’s corporate offices in Columbia, Maryland, as well as some of its corporately owned restaurants, literally dove into the company’s commitment to charitable outreach when they took part in a “Polar Plunge” benefitting Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). Fourteen brave souls from The Greene Turtle, including President/CEO Bob Barry, donned bathing suits and jumped into the Chesapeake Bay amid the cheers of many assembled supporters.
This was the fourth year in a row in which The Greene Turtle participated in the Polar Plunge. Through this year’s efforts, the company was able to donate more than $25,000 to Special Olympics Maryland in support of more than 7,500 athletes who train and compete in sports year round, at no cost. To date, the company has raised well over $150K for the cause.
Fans who stopped by to cheer on the company’s plungers were treated to some of The Greene Turtle’s most famous menu items, including Crab Dip, Hog Hammers, Apple Pecan Salad, Turkey Club Sandwiches and Chicken Caesar Wraps. The bar was open as well to those of legal age, and served up Bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, Orange Crushes and Rum & Cola. The Greene Turtle also raised money by hosting a “VIP Hospitality Tent” for which guests donated a $275 access fee.
President/CEO Bob Barry thanked those who came out to cheer on the “plungers” and those who donated in support of his team, noting, “This will not only encourage me to plunge into the 34-degree Chesapeake Bay, but will also allow SOMD to continue to offer sports competition and training to athletes around the state at no cost. SOMD is a great organization and all of us at The Greene Turtle are thrilled to be able to do our part to help create a world where opportunity is not limited by disability.”
The Greene Turtle has a long-standing tradition of supporting the communities its restaurants serve and charitable organizations around the globe through programs including Funds for Friends, Tips for Tots, discounts for members of the military and support for organizations including Special Olympics Maryland, the USO and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.