When Can Restaurants Reopen?

While takeout and delivery are available pretty much everywhere, the rules for indoor and outdoor dining are different everywhere. More frustratingly, they are subject to frequent change as the pandemic situation evolves. With vaccinations off to a slow start, a definitive reopening and complete return to normal is still off in the distant horizon.

In the meantime, we’ve compiled some a snapshot to help you understand the situation in every state plus DC and Puerto Rico. How to use the guide:

  • “L” means that the situation varies widely by local rules at the city or county level.
  • Even states where indoor / outdoor dining is open (“Y”) may have rules regarding social distancing, for example 6 foot distance between tables and maximum number of guests per table. States marked as open (“Y”) may also have varying local restrictions.
  • There may be further restrictions on hours of operation. See our guide to curfews for more details.
  • Information may be out of date (though if you find an error, please email us). Refer to official announcements for most exact and up-to-date guidelines.
StateIndoor DiningOutdoor DiningMask MandateState GuidanceLast Updated
ArizonaY, 50% capacityYNLink2/12/2021
ArkansasY, 66% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
ColoradoY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
ConnecticutY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
DelawareY, 30% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
DCY, 25% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
HawaiiY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
IllinoisY, 25% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
KentuckyY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
LouisianaY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
MarylandY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
MassachusettsY, 40% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
MichiganY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
MinnesotaY, 50% capacityY, 50% capacityYLink2/12/2021
MississippiY, 75% capacityYNLink2/12/2021
NevadaY, 25% capacity35% starting Feb 15YYLink2/12/2021
New HampshireYYYLink2/12/2021
New JerseyY, 35% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
New MexicoLLYLink2/12/2021
New YorkY, 50% capacity
25% in NYC
North CarolinaY, 50% capacityY, 50% capacityYLink2/12/2021
North DakotaY, 80% capacityYNLink2/12/2021
PennsylvaniaY, 25%-50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
Puerto RicoY, 30% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
Rhode IslandY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
South CarolinaYYNLink2/12/2021
South DakotaYYNLink2/12/2021
TexasY, 50%-75% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
VermontY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021
25% starting Feb 15
West VirginiaY, 50% capacityYYLink2/12/2021

When can restaurants reopen in California?

Indoor DiningNot allowedSee zone map for exceptions
Outdoor DiningAllowedSubject to local regulations and capacity restrictions

Covid-19 struck California especially hard towards the end of 2020, which led the governor to issue a regional stay-at-home orders. While takeout and delivery was never banned, all in-person dining was paused in affected regions.

The order was recently lifted, which means that many localities are reopening outdoor dining, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. Cities are expected to have additional capacity restrictions (many at 50%) and other requirements to ensure the safety of diners.

In addition, California has lifted the 10pm – 5am curfew that was in effect during the stay-at-home emergency, though San Francisco will continue to enforce it.

California’s Covid-19 situation (post stay-at-home order) is summarized using a color-coded system, where the most severe tier (purple) means only outdoor dining is allowed. Currently almost the entire state is in the purple zone.

When can restaurants reopen in Texas?

Texas has kept in-person dining available throughout the end of 2020 and into 2021. There is a statewide 75% capacity limitation on indoor capacity dining, with an automatic trigger that lowers capacity to 50% if hospitalization rates exceed 15%. This was recently triggered in the Austin area and is also in effect in other cities including Dallas and Houston.

Adding to the confusion has been conflicting directives between local and state authorities. Austin has a 5-stage classification for pandemic severity, and at stage 5 it has recommended bars and restaurants to shut down indoor dining and limit outdoor dining to 50%, and ending service at 10pm. However these are contradicted by orders from the state, which has led to lawsuits being filed, further muddying the picture.

What about New York?

New York was an early epicenter of the Covid pandemic in Spring 2020. While it brought the virus mostly under control through the summer, by the fall it had surged again and the state took action to slow the spread.

Indoor dining in NYC restaurants has recently reopened at 25% capacity.

Across the rest of the state, the rules around indoor dining are tied to the state’s color-coded microcluster strategy. Originally the policy only allowed indoor dining in yellow zone areas, but following recent lawsuits the state is planning to expand indoor dining to orange zones as well. All in-door dining is limited to 50% capacity.

And Florida

Florida has one of the most permissive regimes for restaurant operation during the pandemic. Since September, the state has allowed operation at pre-pandemic levels without capacity restrictions. Localities are allowed to impose additional restrictions with formal public health justifications, though the state requires that indoor dining capacity cannot be dropped below 50%. Miami is one of the cities that have imposed an additional 50% capacity restriction.

By June Terrance
Originally Published on:

The Cheesecake Factory Announces $200 Million Strategic Investment From Roark Capital

April 20, 2020 08:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time- Originally published on

“We are pleased to have found a high-quality partner in Roark, who we are confident will add significant value to The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated,” said David Overton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction not only meaningfully enhances our liquidity position to navigate the near-term COVID-19 landscape and get our affected staff members back to work as soon as practicable, but also importantly, solidifies our ability to manage the business for the long-term for all of our stakeholders once we emerge on the other side of this crisis. Moreover, Roark’s investment underscores the strength of our brands, market positioning and long-term growth prospects.”

Neal Aronson, Founder and Managing Partner of Roark said, “We have long admired The Cheesecake Factory and the culture that David and his team have built.” In connection with this investment, the Board of Directors will be expanded from eight to nine members and Paul Ginsberg, President of Roark, will join the Company’s Board of Directors as an independent member. Ginsberg said, “We believe The Cheesecake Factory, North Italia and the FRC brands are uniquely positioned to maintain their leadership in experiential dining and look forward to a partnership with the board and management team to drive long-term value for all shareholders.”

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisors and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal advisor to The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated in this transaction. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor to Roark.

About The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated is a leader in experiential dining. We are culinary forward and relentlessly focused on hospitality. Delicious, memorable experiences created by passionate people – this defines who we are and where we are going. We currently own and operate 294 restaurants throughout the United States and Canada under brands including The Cheesecake Factory®, North Italia® and a collection within the Fox Restaurant Concepts subsidiary. Internationally, 26 The Cheesecake Factory® restaurants operate under licensing agreements. Our bakery division operates two facilities that produce quality cheesecakes and other baked products for our restaurants, international licensees and third-party bakery customers. In 2020, we were named to the FORTUNE Magazine “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list for the seventh consecutive year. To learn more, visit and

From FORTUNE. ©2020 Fortune Media IP Limited. FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For is a trademark of Fortune Media IP Limited and is used under license. FORTUNE and Fortune Media IP Limited are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Licensee.

About Roark

Roark focuses on investing in the consumer and business services sectors, with a specialization in franchised and multi-unit businesses. Since inception, affiliates of Roark have invested in 76 franchise/multi-unit brands, which collectively generate $41 billion in annual system revenues from 39,000 locations in 50 states and 81 countries. Please visit to learn more.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as codified in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements include, without limitation, statements regarding the Company’s future performance and partnership with Roark Capital. Such forward-looking statements include all other statements that are not historical facts, as well as statements that are preceded by, followed by or that include words or phrases such as “believe,” “plan,” “will likely result,” “expect,” “intend,” “will continue,” “is anticipated,” “estimate,” “project,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “should” and similar expressions. These statements are based on current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in such statements. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. These forward-looking statements may be affected by various factors including: the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak and related containment measures, including the potential for a complete shutdown of the Company’s restaurants, international licensee restaurants and the Company’s bakery operations; economic, public health and political conditions that impact consumer confidence and spending, including the impact of COVID-19 and other health epidemics or pandemics on the global economy; acceptance and success of The Cheesecake Factory in international markets; acceptance and success of North Italia and the Fox Restaurant Concepts restaurants; the risks of doing business abroad through Company-owned restaurants and/or licensees; foreign exchange rates, tariffs and cross border taxation; changes in unemployment rates; changes in laws impacting the Company’s business, including increases in minimum wages and benefit costs; the economic health of the Company’s landlords and other tenants in retail centers in which its restaurants are located; the economic health of suppliers, licensees, vendors and other third parties providing goods or services to the Company; adverse weather conditions in regions in which the Company’s restaurants are located; factors that are under the control of government agencies, landlords and other third parties; the risk, costs and uncertainties associated with opening new restaurants; and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Forward-looking statements speak only as of the dates on which they are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements or to make any other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required to do so by law. Investors are referred to the full discussion of risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements and the discussion of risk factors contained in the Company’s latest Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K as filed with the SEC, which are available at

7 F&B Finds for a Fab Fall Season

By Merilee Kern

Fall is here and you know what that means…time to change it yp! Yep, from kitchenware to snack staples, and much in between, the fall season always ushers in more than its fair share of get-worthy brands. Luckily for you I’ve vetted many, with these 7 among my top-rated gifts and gets for the season.

Nirvana Bars (

Here’s a great way to eat healthfully during a season notorious for heavy for fattening foods. To maintain your nutrition regime, bite into Nirvana Bars. Developed by Nedda–a doctor who specializes in pain management—and her sister Nina, these 100 percent natural protein bars made in-California promote relief from inflammation associated with exercise. They’re a great on-the-go snack with 12 grams of protein, while also containing 20-plus functional ingredients like tart cherries, turmeric, ginger and beetroot. On top of being gluten-free, these tasty bars are nutritionally balanced.  “As a physician, I spent most of my life studying the body and ways to treat pain,” Nina says on the company’s web site. “I’ve always aligned myself with the adage of making food your medicine so medicine doesn’t become your food–so I couldn’t wait to bring these bars to market. As sisters, Nirvana Bars is our passion and providing clean functional food is our mission.”

SuperFat (

Also promoting wellness through nutrition is Superfat nut butters, a company that believes in dispelling myths and optimizing nutrition based on science and results. Whether your diet is Keto, Paleo, Kosher, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian or a combination of any or all of these, there’s no denying that everyone needs fat in their diet. As an all-natural product, SuperFat is free of sugar or artificial sweeteners and refined of processed carbohydrates. Unlike other nut butters out there that are often loaded with filler, palm oil, sugar or low-quality cheap nuts, SuperFat offers quality fats, convenient packaging and delicious flavors combined with functional ingredients. The various options feature a unique blend of nuts like macadamia, almonds and coconut combined with functional ingredients like probiotics, cacao and coffee. There are five great flavors: Cacao Coconut, MCT plus Probiotic, Nitro plus MCT, Protein, and Original. SuperFat is great for athletes, pregnant or breast feeding moms, or dieters wanting lose a few pounds and feel better. The key to SuperFat’s superior taste is in the quality, non-GMO ingredients and lack of fillers. They’ve created a better nut butter with real ingredients that taste great and offer an outstanding fuel source for whatever your day brings.

Top View Photo Of Blueberries

Veggies Made Great Options (

Earlier this month Veggies Made Great showcased five new and exciting products at Natural Products Expo East held in Baltimore, Maryland. The recipient of numerous awards, such as Cooking Light’s “The Healthiest Frozen Foods in the Supermarket” and Parents magazine’s “25 Best Frozen Food for Families,” Veggies Made Great continues to pave the way forward as a leader in unique, tasty and convenient veggie-rich foods. At the expo, the company spotlighted all five of the below newly-added options that, as with all Veggies Made Great products, vegetables are the first and primary ingredient: Butternut Squash Veggie Cake, Broccoli Cheddar Veggie Cake, Mushroom & 3 Cheese Egg White Frittata, Spinach Egg White Frittata, and its Veggie Bacon & Potato Frittata. We live in very interesting times when it comes to processed foods. What is deemed healthy has been a moving target for many decades—a phenomenon that has caused confusion among consumers by the ever-evolving messages about healthy eating. However, throughout all this evolution, one health message has never changed: “EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!” It’s apparent that Veggies Made Great is perfectly positioned to deliver on this message through their well-conceived line of products—both old and new. Luckily you need not have been an attendee at Natural Products Expo East to experience Veggies Made Great in all of its delicious iterations. Rather, simply head to the frozen section at your local retailer. Eating–and snacking–healthfully has never been so easy.

Limoneira’s ‘Take a Heathy Stand’ Initiative (

Attention all lemon-lovers. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean it’s time to go sour on this highly versatile and healthy citrus. In fact, consuming lemons proffers a wide array of wellness benefits, which is why has launched its new “Take a Heathy Stand” awareness campaign.According to a spokesperson from Limoneira—an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting benefit, tradition, heritage and legacy of lemon agriculture, their “Take a Heathy Stand” initiative is intended to showcase the many ways that lemons can play a key role in helping the body fight serious health issues. This can even include heart disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases and even cancer. On the lighter side, lemons can also help provide relief and promote healing for an array of other annoying afflictions like bug bites, cold sores/fever blisters, gingivitis, itchy skin, sore throat and more. Of course, one need not be a Michelin-starred chef to know that lemons are also one of the most versatile items in the grocery’s produce aisle.  Whether opting for Limoneira’s Pink lemons, Meyer lemons or Classic lemons—or all of the above—there’s a treasure trove of tasty ways for utilizing this edible yellow gold. In fact, one glance at Limoneira’s online recipe section and you’ll find abundant inspiration for savory and sweet dishes. Want to make the perfect Garlic Lemon Shrimp, Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta or Sour Cream Lemon Pie? They have you covered…and will help you expand your recipe repertoire lickety split.

Lorina Lemonade (

Photo of Lemon Juice in Glass Bottle

Even though summer is over, the refreshing taste of lemons can still grace your palate thanks to Lorina—an all-natural French, USDA organic sparkling lemonade made with premium best ingredients. Founded in France way back in 1895, Lorina is rooted in French history and is artisan-crafted using a time-honored secret family recipe. It is made with 100 percent natural ingredients like real organic cane sugar, and is entirely free of artificial flavors, preservatives and caffeine. There’s also a new formula made with 20 percent less sugar than the original. The crisp sip of Lorina is available in five refreshing flavors: Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Blood Orange, Lavender and Grapefruit. So if you’re winding down with refreshment or entertaining a group of family and friends, this beverage is certain to satisfy.  You can find it at various retailers nationwide.

JURA D6 Automatic Coffee Machine (

Offering a new twist on cappuccino, Jura’s D6 automatic coffee machine easily prepares coffee classics. With the plain text display and ergonomically optimized switch, operation is easy and intuitive. Programming and maintenance are also self-explanatory.  A series of advanced innovations results in six specialty coffees prepared to professional barista standard, with the system topping off beverages like cappuccino with temptingly fine, light-as-air milk foam. Its AromaG2 grinder features a perfected cutting angle and preserves the full aroma of the beans when freshly grinding them to the ideal fineness. A Pulse Extraction Process optimizes the extraction time to bring out the full bouquet of the coffee aromas. It also uses CLEARYL water filters to supply perfect water quality for the best possible flavor. They also protect the coffee machine against limescale and remove substances that could impair flavor and aroma (such as heavy metals or chlorine) from the water. To make maximum use of the filter and its capacity, JURA developed the Intelligent Water System. The filter cartridge and coffee machine are wirelessly linked by RFID technology. The filter is detected automatically, so using the filter has never been easier or more reliable. To enhance the JURA experience, this marvelous machine can be used with JURA’s Smart Connect device (sold separately) with Bluetooth communication, making it compatible with JURA’s app: J.O.E. 2.0 (JURA Operating Experience). J.O.E. allows the user to easily operate the machine from a smartphone or tablet.

Linkind Aroma Coffee Maker ( If a pour-over coffee maker is more your thing, check out the Aroma Coffee Maker by Linkind—one of the most convenient, portable, durable and precise pour-overs of its kind that helps simplify your routine. Its precise timing water-to-coffee ratio delivers impressive consistency and handcrafted flavor all with the simple touch of a button. It’s compact and has an aesthetically pleasing design, and the reusable extra fine mesh filter and food-grade certified materials help deliver top-quality for every pour. With the Aroma Coffee Maker by Linkind, you can be your own barista and enjoy a cup of fresh and delicious coffee without having to wait in the long lines and deal with the hassle of going out for something as easy as a cup of Joe.

Zuul Kitchens to take the New York City phantom factory


Next week the fresh Zuul-kitchens will be launched as a fantastic kitchen for the increasing amount of dining establishments seeking room for company supply only in New York City.

Zuul, listed in Ghostbusters for the fridge fantasies, has been joined to an extremely busy arena by phantom or simulated suppliers in the toilets–but some tend to call them ‘ black rooms’ or even’ enlightened rooms.’ It is a kind of space for restaurants to expand their scope of delivery or perhaps test new brands only for delivery. In addition to the Asian Junzi Concept, the Sarge Concept, the quick-casual Lebanese idea Naya and the Stone Bridge Pizza & Salad idea, and the box idea, the Zuul Positive food, will provide shipping points for the Sweet Green Cable Chain.

For instance. Corey Manicone, Zuul co-founder and CEO said: “The restaurant infrastructure was never built with the intention of offering off – the-shelf food. We have very carefully constructed a plant for optimized supply. “Zuul combines a number of already developed ideas for phantom kitchens, including, for instance, Pasadena-based Kitchen United, that has two operating locations (Pasadena and Chicago) as well as 13 other sites. In Scottsdale, Arizona, and Austin, Texas, the next Kitchen United will likely be opened and a total of eight of them are expected to be open by the end of the year.

There is at least one site in Cloud Kitchens which was supposedly established by former CEO Travis Kalanick in Los Angeles, but there are no internet places and no media request officers have replied.

The increasing family style from Los Angeles was established with restaurateur Steve Goldberg by the music director Lawrence Vavra. Start-up in March 2017, Drew Padnick, the Chief Business Officer for Family Style has 20 offices in three countries (California, Nevada, and Illinois) with three more in production. Family Style deals specifically in pizza-only delivery products, but will quickly migrate into other sections. A south fried chicken product is new to the community, and for instance, the Santa Fe Hot Chicken idea will be launched next month.

“Pizza has become omnipresent and has been honestly optimized for the globe of supply. This was a very logical starting point, “Padnick said. Family Style does not, however, differ in that it creates its own delivery-only products or does alliances with hotels and does not lease room to external brick and mortar providers. “I do not note that it’s lovely and has many types to innovate from,” he says. Lorenzo’s, New York’s, Froman’s Deep Dish Pizza, and Pizzaoki’s are now being supplied from these locations— the latter a notion developed by DJ Steve Aoki, who is also the daughter of Benihana’s ceo Rocky Aoki.

In the meantime, Zuul is the first ghost cuisine in New York City in this fresh school. The firm took over the temporary construction of the now defunct Maple explorer.

In an appointment with Restaurant Hospitality Manicone said that the first place will be 80 percent of the refrigerator and 20 percent of the shipping couriers will be accepted at the dispatch centre. For instance, toilets, coffee, tea, food and telephone loading will be available.

The installation will be aimed at bike couriers, the vast majority of which are in the city of New York. Zuul will take advantage of leading third-party competitors in meal transport, including Grubhub / Seamless, Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Nine cooks are optimized for fast transportation within Lower Manhattan in this 5,000-square-foot plant. Manicone refused to provide specifics on costs to establishments except to mention that it would be considerably lower price than entering a brick-and-mortar place. Manicone has also rejected the expense of hotels to provide the necessary information on their price.

To multiply, Zuul has been intended. Manicone said the firm is referring to other New York sites that continue to be the focal point — for now — for domestic shipment as No. 1. Other characteristics in future places may include a consumer pickup choice.

Manicone said he doesn’t care about rivalry given the increasing requirement for equipment capable of helping hotels expand their off-site company. “This is an unbelievably big industry we are following. Many losers have space, businesses don’t succeed in rivalry at the beginning of the day. Because they have not executed, they die.”

To expand the metro NYC portfolio, Sysco acquires J. Kings

Sysco’s Greg Bertrand saw something he must have simply discovered tempting nine miles down the highway. The purchase of J was announced last month by the biggest world food services distributor. The New York broadline distributor Kings Food Service Professionals has estimated revenues of approx. $150 million.

J. Kings Food Service is located nine milles from Sysco-Long Island home, in central Islip, NY, in Holtsville, New York. John King was established more than 45 years ago as a renowned distributor.

Today, the firm has also become one of New York’s major autonomous broadband retailers and serves clients in Connecticut and New Jersey. The bulk of clients of the business are freelance dining providers, but it also provides corporate, commercial and multi-unit clients.

J. Kings is a renowned New York distributor of broadband and we are delighted to introduce them into the Sysco business community”said Greg.

One of the issues for industrial experts is how Sysco is competing / coexisting with J for its New Jersey service serving an amount of Manhattan and City reports. Kings. Kings. Kings. He launched a New York City department in 2011, and created a flourishing company library.

Since 1974, J. Parker SmogHog 2019 728 to 90 By responding to their requirements and developing distinctive alternatives to assist construct their companies, Kings has constantly expanded to satisfy their clients ‘ requirements.

“Indeed, we are separated from our competing players by our business building capacities,” John King clarified. “Nobody can supply food. But not everyone could provide your company with thoughts that assist you to develop beyond your wildest dream.” There is a continued expansion into the societies it provides on Kings’ achievement formula.

In 2017 John King donated the Island Harvest Food Bank with a storage space of 20,000 square foot in Calverton. The 20-year, costless rental of storage facilities has facilitated food collection and distribution for those in need on the eastern end of Long Island (in particular, fresh fruit and vegetables donated by the local farm community). In Eastern Suffolk County, the warehouse was also used as a disaster relief distribution point since Island Harvest Food Bank is a leading agency for emergency preparedness to distribute food and product. In 2012, Sysco Long Island launched a fresh state-of – the-art delivery facility with a capacity of 420,000 square metres. It lasted 14 months to finish a 92 million dollar plant in Central Islip, replacing a much lower delivery centre. Sysco has offices in Jersey City, New York Up, and Rocky Hill, CT, which have been involved in the distribution of the center before it opened. The plant distributed in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and King’s counties at restaurants, clinics, colleges, hotels and other food agencies.

Sysco is a world leader in supplying food products to restaurants, education and social services, houses and other clients that buy meals out from their homes. Her product group also involves food and hospitality facilities and supplies. The Company works globally, with more than 69,000 staff and more than 650,000 customers in around 332 production centers. The business produced revenues of over $60 billion for fiscal 2019 which finished on 29 June 2019.

How to Hire, Manage, & Lead a Perfect Team


The Importance of Restaurant Staff

What Restaurant Owners Need to Realize

From letting into one’s house supply shipping, to stocking your cooking place, to ordering list of things, to handing your guests food, to having effect your guests “Have a pleasing, good, delicate day, see you next time!” as they walk out the door, your working group is truly the heart-rhythm of your store for taking food operations. The working group in your store for taking food are so important. Each person in each position needs to be the very most good, the thick part of milk of the years produce, the diamonds in the rough. A through much attention to detail selected and carefully managed group is one of the key factors in your store for taking food’s power to get on well.

Why place so much importance on your restaurant staff?

Unless you’re running a one-person show, you’re probably not the only one making food, giving it to customers, and cashing them out, while also covering managerial duties like inventory planning, reporting, and strategic management.

The fact is that every staff member, no matter what their position, contributes in some way to the overall guest experience.

Consider these statistics about how one bad guest experience can impact your restaurant’s reputation:

  • For each complaint brought to your attention, there are 26 other unsatisfied customers who do not bring the issue up.
  • Unhappy or angry customers will tell anywhere between 9 and 20 people about their negative experience.
  • Conversely, customers who leave with a positive experience will only tell between 4 and 6 people about their experience.

Clearly, the importance of your staff cannot be overstated. Let’s break down the impact your staff has on the guest experience:

Your Staff is an Embodiment of Your Restaurant

One great experience is enough to create a loyal customer, but one negative experience is more than enough to turn them away forever. In fact, it takes 12 positive experiences to amend one bad customer experience. A bad experience could come from a poorly-made dish by an unmotivated chef, a short-tempered remark by an impolite server, or even from an insincere greeting by your host or hostess the second your guests walk through the door. These experiences reflect poorly on your restaurant and can be avoided with smarter hiring and staff management.

Your Staff is an Extension of Yourself

Every staff member brought onto your team reflects the core values that you have established for your restaurant. As a restaurant owner, you should be play a role in the training of every single person hired, since they will serve always as an extension of your values.

Your Staff is Your Biggest Investment

Have you ever hired employees, spent weeks (or even months) training them, and then saw them leave without learning a thing? You probably know that this wasted investment goes beyond wages.

At that point, you probably wished you could have saved all of the time and the money it took to train them. Finding, hiring, and training an employee can cost up to 20% of their annual salary and take hours of your time. Putting in the resources to hire the best and properly train and motivate your staff will save you more than just money in the long run.

Finding, hiring, and training an employee can cost up to 20% of their annual salary and take hours of your time

Your Staff Plays a Role in the Big Picture

If one staff member messes up or starts slacking, the balance of your operations could be thrown off for the entire shift.

Your staff is like an intricate puzzle, and one missing piece could lead to a holdup in the kitchen, long waits for customers, and a frustrated team. This means you’re left with dissatisfied guests, unhappy staff, and ultimately high turnover. Oftentimes, this can all be traced to one bad apple in the bunch.


SENTIO based in Charleston SC and provide pre-hire assessments to small businesses and franchises. The purpose of SENTIO business is to help people hire better matches for their company and ultimately reduce employee turnover and improve employee engagement.

The name SENTIO was chosen because it means to understand or feel and that’s just what we do. They understand people, cultures, and people-business fit is what we do. Through the use of AI and psycho-linguistics, they break down the human language to understand the mental makeup of a person. Then, they understand how they compare to others at a company. Then, they are able to understand through a Match Score if they will be a good fit.

They are able to help people make better hires with our Applicant Matching System, which includes a simple, 3 question, pre-hire assessment. It is backed by Artificial Intelligence to create a Success Profile based on their best employees and matches all applicants against them to see who is a great fit for your business.

The factor that makes them unique is their combined use of AI and Psycholinguistics. Plus, they offer pricing catered to the restaurant space. At only $99/month for unlimited usage, their assessments are affordable for all.

What’s interesting about the restaurant space is that it’s adapting to technology so quickly. From integrations with delivery services to mobile POS systems, the industry recognizes how technology can help. The adaptations already have paved the way for the use of technology in the hiring process, like with our assessments that are powered by AI.

One example of a customer testimonial of their’s is Hall’s Management group, which is a famous restaurant here in Charleston. In fact, the Director of Human Resources at a local Hospitality Group said the following, The reports have been impressive and useful. It has saved them from extra interviews and bad hires. One example they always use is the time they had a great phone interview with a Manager candidate. SENTIO scored this person as red, meaning they were a poor fit, but they went ahead and invited them to their offices in Charleston for an in-person interview anyway because they had all the qualifications. It took about 5 minutes for them to figure out that the person was a bad fit for the job. With SENTIO, they now only interview and hire people that have the core values, strengths, and needs of our top performers.

With the restaurant industry facing an average of 70% employee turnover, utilizing SENTIO to make the right hires the first time around is essential for every restaurant. Built exclusively for restaurants, SENTIO’s hiring tool provides hiring managers and owners with a Match Score on every job applicant based on how they compare to your current best restaurant staff members – all before you even review a resume. This means less time spent on screening and interviews, more reliable and engaged employees, and reduced turnover. 

Request to Download our E-book to learn more details;

Research : Restaurants experience the legislation of the working place.

Hairstyles in the workplace are getting renewed attention, and restaurant grooming policies are going to come under increased scrutiny as new natural-hair discrimination laws go into effect, an employment lawyer warns.

“Hair can be a proxy for discrimination, especially if it’s natural hair like dreadlocks, Afros, cornrows,” said Alicia Sienne Voltmer, an employment lawyer with Greenberg Traurig LLP firm, during a presentation at the Self Opportunity-sponsored Meeting of the Minds gathering of restaurant human relations and recruiting professionals in Dallas.

While Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines have barred discrimination based on faith-based hairstyles, several jurisdictions are tightening laws around “natural hair discrimination.”

New York State’s new law, which is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 8, also outlines rules on natural hair, beards and religious garb. A new California natural hair discrimination law becomes effective Jan. 1, 2020. New Jersey has a hair law pending, and a bill was introduced in the Wisconsin legislature in August. New York City has a hair discrimination law on the books already.

“You cannot discriminate against anybody because of their natural hairstyle or texture,” Voltmer advised during Wednesday’s presentation, adding that some of the new laws address protections for facial hair and religious garb.

“For example, in New York after Oct. 8, you cannot require an employee to put any kind of employer logo on their religious garb if they wear it to work,” Voltmer said. “That’s a pretty big deal. If you have a button or a something that you require as part of your uniform that has your logo on it. If they say they are wearing a dashiki or a burka or something religious, you cannot make them wear that logo. That’s pretty expansive.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in signing the new natural hair discrimination law in July, said,

“For much of our nation’s history, people of color — particularly women — have been marginalized and discriminated against simply because of their hairstyle or texture. By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of color are protected from all forms of discrimination.”

The New York law, S.6209A/A.7797A, amended the state’s Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act to make clear that discrimination based on race included hairstyles or traits associated with race.

Voltmer said that while EEOC guidance has addressed hair for many years, “Anecdotally, I have heard people say they have been discriminated against because of their hairstyle. I’m sure it does happen.”

Restaurant human resources and recruiting professions need to be aware of the new rules for daily operations as well as for training materials.

“Another thing that you need to worry about and think about,” Voltmer said, “is what your policies say. … What if you have a policy that says your hair must be a certain length? That could be a violation of these laws.”

When tension develops between health department food safety rules and discrimination laws, the health rules general will trump any others, Voltmer noted.

“If a health code requires a hairnet or beard net, you can enforce that. … You are required to enforce those health and safety standards,” she said.

Many of the new state laws followed the viral exposure in December 2018 of a New Jersey referee who forced a high-school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks right before a match.

The New York City Human Rights policy outlines examples of grooming policy violations.

Examples cited in the New York City guidance include:

– A grooming policy that prohibits twists, dreadlocks, braids, cornrows, Afros, Bantu knots or fades that “are commonly associated with black people.”

– A grooming policy requiring employees to alter the state of their hair to conform to the company’s appearance standards, including having to straighten or relax the hair with chemicals or heat.

– A grooming policy banning hair that extends a certain number of inches from the scalp, thereby limiting Afros.

– Discrimination can also come in the form of facially neutral grooming policies related to characteristics that may not necessarily be associated with a protected class but that are discriminatorily applied.

“Where an employer does have a legitimate health or safety concern, it must consider alternative ways to meet that concern prior to imposing a ban or restriction on employees’ hairstyles,” the New York City legal guidance advises. “There exist a number of options that may address such concerns related to hair, including the use of hair ties, hairnets, head coverings, as well as alternative safety equipment that can accommodate various hair textures and hairstyles.”

Gem Reopens Flynn McGarry’s Emphasizing on simplicity

Americans talk about work-life balance in Europe the way some people talk about what it would be like to win the lottery. It would be nice to have 35-hour workweeks like the French, August vacation like the British and the Italians, and real quality of life as in most parts of Scandinavia, but that could never happen. Not here.

When chef Flynn McGarry temporarily closed his restaurantGem, in June he felt similarly. “I hadn’t left New York for more than two days in almost three years,” says the 20-year-old chef. “And I had reached this point where I was having the equivalent of writer’s block.” McGarry and the restaurant’s staff had fallen into something of a routine, which is good for business, but, McGarry thinks, bad for creative growth.

“The best way to push the restaurant forward and adapt was to actually take some time off and be able to get some perspective and think about what I want out of the restaurant,” McGarry explains. “It’s very hard to implement change when you have service five nights a week.”

So on June 26, McGarry closed the tasting-menu restaurant and set off on a journey that reads like a Travel & Leisure feature. New York to Los Angeles to Barcelona to Belgium to Copenhagen to Paris to London to Copenhagen to Martha’s Vineyard and back to New York, with stints cooking at Carousel and Geranium along the way.

McGarry outside Gem (right) and a new Spanish prawn-and-ham dish inspired by simple meals the chef enjoyed in Barcelona. Christian Rodriguez.

It was a vacation, yes, but it also fundamentally changed parts of how McGarry plans to run Gem from now on. For one, the restaurant will only be open four days a week (Wednesday through Saturday), a move inspired by Denmark’s Geranium. (Accordingly, the price of dinner is now $200, up from $155.) The chef is also leaning more heavily on what’s simple and comforting as opposed to the “technique heavy” fare that led so many publications to call Gem “ambitious,” “nuanced,” and “lyrical.” A dish featuring Spanish prawns and ham and another with pickled mackerel, fresh cheese, and pickled young ginger were inspired by the unfussy meals he had in Barcelona between siestas.

McGarry will also lean more heavily on seafood, which he believes is one of the Northeast’s greatest assets. “We’re getting fish coming in that still haven’t gone into rigor mortis,” he says, referencing a new grilled albacore dish featuring a tomatillo-spiced bagna càuda and clam tartare with three types of clams and five different toppings presented in shell halves. Overall, McGarry says he will stick to putting out 12 to 13 dishes per tasting versus the backbreaking 16 dishes he was serving before.

But more than anything, McGarry believes this version of Gem will represent how restaurants should be run. “I think when you come and eat now versus before, the experience will be more genuine,” he says, adding that for the first time he’ll actually be able to tell guests where the inspiration for each dish came from. “There won’t be any clouds of what I think people want from me or what I think New York wants. It’s now just what we want to do, what I want to do.”

Are You Asking For Location Permissions? Your Users Expect Something In Return

In today’s profoundly connected world, mobile app users have become increasingly sophisticated. Digital integration has resulted in higher levels of consumer expectation, and customers expect more from brands than ever before. 

One of the major challenges brands face is increasing customer aversion to one-size-fits-all digital marketing outreach. There’s building resistance towards generic marketing campaigns: 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, especially when it comes to digital advertising. If consumers allow brands access to their personal data, they demand a personalized app experience in return.

Here’s a basic scenario we see all too often: a media app notifies all users at 7PM local time that their new favorite series is available to stream. For some users, that’s a good time to receive the alert. They have a predictable routine, and the reminder is timely and useful. But for others, their schedule, like their consumer viewing habits, is not as predictable. Some users may still be at work or at an after-work commitment. For these users, receiving the alert at the same time each and every day feels spammy at best; irritating at worse. Once users reach the stage of annoyance, they’re likely to disable push notifications altogether, eliminating the brand’s ability to engage with them. 

According to a joint study by Goldsmiths University and Adobe, 75% of marketing leaders admit to not understanding changing consumer behavior – inevitably impacting their business performance. Location context analytics may be the piece these marketing leaders are missing. 


Beyond right time, right place messaging

If you’re that media streaming company, conventional wisdom suggests your audience is most likely to watch your content when they get home. Tailoring the timing of your messaging using location data is an added bonus. But what else can location-based marketing do?

In this day and age, brands must begin to understand how users are seeking to experience their product or service in order to effectively communicate with them and drive sales. Where are customers when they open your app? Where is a customer when they place an order? Which brick-and-mortar locations do your customers frequent? How do a customer’s habits change in ways that impact push notifications and other communications? 

When a consumer has opted to provide their data and real-time location information, brands need to think about all the ways they can use this data to make the customer experience more personalized and relevant. 

Delivering contextually-relevant communication

Let’s say you’re an online retailer, and you’d like to learn where users are when they place an order. Are they home, are they at work, or are they at a brick-and-mortar store? Using location context, you’re able to recognize that a significant portion of customers place orders for your product when they’re inside big-box stores. That means a customer is likely to be using your app to price compare and complete the purchase on your app when they see your price is lower than the big-box store. That’s an incredibly valuable insight.  

Armed with that data, you have a competitive edge and can send push notifications when users are actually inside big-box stores. This allows you to get in front of a customer’s decision-making process, reminding them to check their app and price-compare.  

But even that ability is just scratching the surface. What if you took it a step further and offered an in-store barcode scanner to help users price compare even more readily? Combining geo-information with analytics and other customer data has opened the door to completely personalize a user’s in-app experience in a way that wasn’t possible before. All of these contextually-relevant micro-moments fundamentally transform the customer experience.  Today, this might surprise and delight customers, but tomorrow, it will be the expected norm.  

Location data as currency

Everything a brand does has the potential to impact its reputation and customer loyalty. A great customer experience is key to every company’s success. Brands that don’t adapt to providing tailored, relevant experiences will see a drop in customer engagement and satisfaction. 

Location data is a currency, and to get users to trust your app and share their location, you have to earn it. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering value. What purpose does your location-specific feature serve? What does the customer gain by sharing their location with your company? Nobody declines a ride-sharing app permission to access their location, because only with location are they able to deliver an optimized user experience. Now more than ever before, it’s critical for modern brands to start thinking this way.

This article is contributed by Radar.

Del Taco promotes Chad Gretzema to become head of operations

Del Taco COO Chad Gretzema 2019Sept.jpg

Del Taco Restaurants Inc. has promoted Chad Gretzema, right, to the new role of chief operating officer, the company said Monday.

The Lake Forest, Calif-based quick-service Mexican brand said Gretzema has been with Del Taco for seven years, most recently serving as senior vice president for strategic planning and innovation.

“Chad has been a key architect of many of our strategic combined solutions operational improvement efforts and is a trusted partner within the organization who knows how to help teams deliver superior results,” said John Cappasola, Jr., Del Taco’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“He has also been a passionate voice, ensuring strong cross-functional franchise support and enabling our franchise partners to successfully grow their businesses,” Cappasola said. The new COO role “will further our focus on great four-wall operations,” he said.

In the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 census, Del Taco ranked No. 67 among brands in U.S. systemwide sales, with $817.8 million for the fiscal year ended in December.

Gretzema joined Del Taco in 2012. Previously, he worked in various positions in operations, training and marketing at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Phoenix Children’s Academy, Noodles & Company and Oscar Mayer Foods.

Del Taco, founded in 1964, has more than 580 restaurants in 14 states.

Hospitality C-Suite Strategist Reveals ‘Internet of Things’ Insights for the Food Service Space

By Merilee Kern, MBA

When British technologist Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things” in 1999, referring to a network connecting not just people but the everyday objects around them, it was a concept both fantastical and futuristic. Now nearly two decades later, the IoT is poised for global dominance. A mere four years ago, the global IoT market reached an already staggering $485.6 billion. This year that number is projected to pass the one trillion dollar mark and, by 2019, is expected to grow to over $1.7 trillion to encompass a network of over 42 billion connected devices worldwide.

While the consumer electronics industry naturally boasts the largest share of the IoT market, food service and agriculture aren’t that far behind. With a new emphasis on food safety engendered by the sweeping reforms of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), it certainly behooves the food service industry to utilize the IoT to help ensure compliance. However, food safety is just the beginning.     

With more than 25 years of senior leadership experience, including an executive role at GE and as current CEO of Restaurant Technologies, Inc., Jeff Kiesel knows a thing or two about the IoT within the food service and hospitality space. Indeed, his own innovation-driven company’s IoT-related tech solutions are making the restaurant and hospitality trade safer and smarter and, in doing so, more efficient and profitable. So keen is Kiesel’s knowledge of how to leverage the IoT for maximum operational benefit, his company has curated a roster of multi-billion dollar customers that includes some of the nation’s leading brands, including McDonald’s, KFC and Marriott Hotels.

I connected with Kiesel to for his take on the IoT’s place in food service, with his commentary and anecdotes making clear the importance of IoT-driven inter-connectivity for multiple facets of the restaurant trade. With the aim of helping other success-minded industry professionals best capitalize on this pervasive inter-connectivity paradigm, here’s what Kiesel had to say regarding the IoT:

1. What are some key ways restaurants can apply the internet of things?

For one, restaurants can use the IoT to monitor the equipment that cooks, cleans or stores food. Currently, there is smart kitchen equipment that measures cooking equipment such as fryers, grills, ovens, etc., whereby circuit boards provide prompts to take action (e.g., filter cooking oil) or to closely monitor temperature. IoT becomes important if restaurant owners or managers wish to see “above the store” or, in other words, export data outside the restaurant to monitor remotely or to compare one restaurant to another.

Operationally, by utilizing technologies like routing software and IoT sensors, food service businesses can enable dynamic scheduling of deliveries that boost the bottom line. For example, receiving deliveries only when needed, which eliminates administrative costs and management concerns while helping drive efficiencies for all involved.  Simplicity for food delivery drivers in their route can be in effect from the moment they arrive to work through even something as easily deployable as a smart phone app. This can allow your operations management team to check on each driver’s progress and proactively contact that person when needed.

The same principle can be applied to service technicians, human resources or whatever department is applicable for your restaurant business. 

2. What type of data is collected/exported and why?

In addition to sales revenue and equipment performance data, above-the-store data collection allows the combination of several pieces of information to reveal trends—both positive and negative. For example, our company collects data about cooking oil usage to drive our dynamic distribution of oil, as we deliver cooking oil only when our customers need it. This data collection also provides information to our customers which helps them analyze usage and even alerts them via text if they use too much cooking oil.

Some customers supply us with data on how much food goes into the fryer, enabling us to calculate a food-to-oil ratio, which is a good efficiency and food quality metric. We also have an IoT service which monitors fryer filtration events, giving our customers real-time information so they can know if their restaurant staff is adhering to their fryer management standard operating procedures (SOP). This comprehensive data collection helps restaurants be more efficient, have less food waste, produce more consistent food, enforce standard operating procedures and simplifying the jobs of management personnel.

Of course, the type of data collected will vary depending on the specifics of a restaurant’s individual needs. For instance, a vegan restaurant might not utilize a deep fryer but they can certainly collect and utilize data from refrigerators and ovens to ensure adherence to food safety standards.

3. Are restaurant-specific IoT devices readily available?

Absolutely. Our own company utilizes the same cellular device transmission units that are standard in other industries but applies them in a way that’s optimized for the food service industry. The real value comes not from the devices themselves, but rather in the transformation of data into useful information. In the food service industry, back-of-the-house (BOH) technology is focused on reducing costs, improving operational efficiency, improving food quality and helping managers to govern more efficiently. IoT is evolving at a rapid pace but it must meet several standards in order to be relevant, including having an articulated return on investment thesis, as well as being easy to use, durable, reliable and scalable.  

4. Is an IoT system financially within reach for most restaurant owners?

There really is no financial benchmark here, as the types of F&B IoT solutions and applicable price points can vary widely. That said, it certainly need not be expensive to set up an IoT system, and any amount strategically spent is a worthwhile expenditure as compared to the value derived. Cost savings, improved management practices, consistent food, better equipment utilization, reduced energy costs, and increased employee engagement and morale are some of the benefits an IoT user can enjoy—sometimes by deploying even just a relatively budget-friendly smartphone app. More sophisticated and, thus, costly, IoT measurement tools that provide drill down analytics to food service tradesmen can be worthwhile, proffering  a very fast return on investment.

5. What is on the horizon for IoT in food service?

The future of IoT in the very competitive food service space relies on the innovations of applications coming to market, with those demonstrating clear ROI or with a strong business case perhaps making the difference between realizing profit or loss in a given year. Food service is a “pennies business” and each IoT application will need to stand on its own merits. But, there will be no shortage of options from which to choose given how ripe this industry is for interconnectivity-driven innovation.

When it comes to assessing long-term gains and challenges that such technological advancements can address, scalable solutions need to perform past tasks more simply and efficiently, provide greater insight or provide a combination of all. Tasks performed must take less time, labor and resources to achieve the same or better quality while also requiring less supervision. Insights provided should include data on job performance in a binary manner, such as either done or not done; if the job was completed within an applicable time or resource constraint; and if safety protocols were adhered to (according to SOP). Ultimately, data collected should reveal how these and other activities could be improved over time.

With the proliferation of IoT technology in the food service industry and the benefits related solutions afford, the question is rapidly becoming not if a restaurant owner should implement an IoT system but when and to what extent. Looming issues, including environmental and corporate responsibility as well as ever-present goals relating to safety and profits make investing in IoT a no-brainer. Those who don’t make the leap to IoT risk being left behind in a tumultuous industry, suffering higher costs, reduced efficiencies and far greater opportunity loss than their competitors.

Sources: (see Panera’s Table Tracker)

Tomatoes aren’t only anymore for dinner. Eat Dessert Tomatoes!

Move over chocolate, there’s a new sweet contender seducing our taste buds! When we think of preserved tomatoes, images of pasta sauce, soups, chile and salsas come to mind. Now, fancy Tomatoes for Dessert, yes, tomatoes! They make for fantastic sweet delicacies from Tomato Sorbetto and Jams to a fantastic Tomato Cheesecake. Below you’ll find a scrumptious recipe to sink your teeth into provided by ANICAV – the Italian Association of Canned Tomatoes Producers – representing the world’s finest European preserved (canned) tomatoes grown under the Mediterranean sun and produced in Italy by time-honored methods.

The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe are not a specific BRAND but European and Italian canned tomatoes in general. Specifically, EU canned tomatoes 100% Made in Europe – 100% Made in Italy and they’re as versatile as the savory dishes we enjoy them in such as pizza, sloppy joes and enchiladas. Now, you can create sweet new dessert favorites with The Greatest Tomatoes from Europe!

Tomato cheesecake
Time 1h30m Difficulty Medium Serves 6
The biscuit (base):
* 5 oz biscuits
* 1 stick butter
* 2 cups fresh basil
* For the filling:
* 5 oz sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 1 lb buffalo ricotta
* Peel of 1 lemon
* A pinch of salt
Extra virgin olive oil

For the topping:
* 6 oz tomato passata (pureed tomatoes)
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 tablespoon of sugar
* 1 stalk of celery
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Gelatin

For the biscuit base, blend the butter with the basil. Then crumble the biscuits and add them to the butter and spread the mixture into a cake tin and leave to solidify.

For the filling, whip the egg yolks with the sugar and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Whisk the ricotta and add it to the yolks. Place the filling on the base and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes. Once cooked, leave to cool and proceed with the tomato topping. For the topping, finely dice the celery and add the tomato passata, cook for 8 minutes. Strain and add water, sugar, salt, and gelatin. Boil for a few minutes and then sieve the topping onto the cheesecake and let it cool. For the jam: put all the ingredients in a baking dish, cover with greaseproof paper and cook at 210°F for at least 10 hours, thus obtaining tomato jam.

European tomatoes! The Real Art of Europe! Culinary Masterpieces for You to Try.

Innovative Concept, Taffer’s Tavern by Jon Taffer

Taffer’s Tavern, the innovative restaurant concept created by award-winning hospitality expert and world-renowned business consultant Jon Taffer, signed its first multi-unit franchise agreement to bring five locations to Georgia. Featuring a high-volume, hoodless/ventless restaurant format with a small footprint, Taffer’s Tavern disrupts the casual dining segment by leveraging the latest technology to produce high-quality food and beverage offerings without the need for a commercial kitchen. The first franchise location is anticipated to open in Atlanta by next summer.

The concept’s Georgia franchise partner, Five Guys Taverns, LLC, signed a multi-unit deal to bring to life a concept that builds on Taffer’s decades of hands-on consulting experience and offers a best-in-class beverage program coupled with the most interesting, delicious bar fare. With a streamlined kitchen design and advanced food preparation methods, Taffer’s Tavern requires less space and fewer employees than traditional casual dining restaurants.

“We were immediately drawn to the idea of ‘tavern dining’ and creating a gathering place for people that provides unique, superior menu items at an affordable price,” said Hemant Suri, new Taffer’s Tavern franchisee and member of Five Guys Taverns, LLC. “Jon has managed to engineer a restaurant concept that streamlines operations without compromising the food quality, and we are thrilled to be the first franchisees for this break-out brand.”

Leveraging his extensive industry knowledge and business acumen, Taffer has defined a “new casual” dining experience and franchise offering with Taffer’s Tavern. To facilitate growth for the emerging brand, Taffer has partnered with Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as the exclusive franchise development partner for Taffer’s Tavern.

“Taffer’s Tavern is my solution to the inefficiencies and pain points associated with the restaurant industry that I have witnessed over the years,” said Taffer. “By reimagining traditional operations and eliminating the need for costly hood and ventilation systems, Taffer’s Tavern will disrupt the industry, enable franchisees to maximize their investment and deliver a first-rate dining experience. Georgia is a prime market for the first Taffer’s Tavern concept and I look forward to working with Five Guys Taverns, LLC to bring my vision to Atlanta — and beyond.”

Together with Fransmart, Taffer is currently seeking experienced franchisees to continue bringing the Taffer’s Tavern concept to the 50 largest media markets throughout North America. For more information about franchise opportunities, visit

About Jon Taffer:
Jon Taffer is a highly-reputed Entertainer, Entrepreneur, Consultant, and Thought Leader with more than 35 years of success in the entertainment, hospitality, and nightlife industries. Leveraging extensive global experience with powerhouse brands and award-winning ventures, Jon is a valuable asset for companies seeking guidance on transformation, training programs, and “reaction management strategy.” His broad areas of expertise include product and brand recognition, merchandising promotions, customer acquisition, product marketing, go-to-market strategy, television, and public speaking. Starring as the host and Executive Producer of Bar Rescue on Paramount Network, the high rated show is currently in its seventh season. Bar Rescue is a non-scripted reality show that spotlights Jon as he saves failing bars from looming closure, utilizing his four decades of unprecedented industry experience and trademarked Reaction Management strategy to consult on everything from menu design to cost management; the show is on track to exceed 170 episodes in 2018. Concurrently, Jon runs Taffer Virtual Teaching, his digital teaching platform, and Taffer Dynamics, his business consulting firm. Over the years, he has consulted for a range of well-known brands, including the NFL Network, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Holiday Inn Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels, Peninsula Hotels, TGI Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings, Famous Dave’s Barbecue, Wolfgang Puck Express, Anheuser-Bush and the N9NE Steakhouse at Palms Casino Resort. Jon has been featured in numerous international publications such as Forbes Magazine, Entrepreneur, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, among other prominent media outlets. He has appeared as a guest on shows ranging from Rachael Ray to Jimmy Kimmel Live to Good Morning America and continues regular appearances on Varney & Co. on the Fox Business News, and as a guest on many other major news networks. For more information, visit

About Fransmart:
As the leading franchise development firm in the country, Fransmart turns emerging restaurant concepts into successful national and global brands. Founded by Dan Rowe, the man who identified and grew brands such as Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill from single unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today, Fransmart’s formula for success is finding emerging brands ripe for expansion and building successful multi-unit franchise businesses across the U.S. and globally. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 5,000 restaurants worldwide, and facilitated franchise investments that have cumulatively generated 1-billion in revenues to date. For more information, visit

Perkins purchase gets confirmed by Huddle House

Huddle House Inc. agreed to buy 342 Perkins Restaurant & Bakery locations, the company said Thursday.

The Atlanta-based family-dining brand said it expected the deal to close on Oct. 21. Terms were not disclosed.

In early August, Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection and closed 29 Perkins Restaurant & Bakery and Marie Callender’s restaurants.

The company said Huddle House executives will manage the Perkins units out of the company’s Atlanta headquarters. “There are no plans to convert any existing units to Huddle House restaurants or vice versa,” the company said in a statement.

“Strategically, this is a very good fit,” said Michael Abt, Huddle House CEO, in the statement. “Both Huddle House and Perkins are breakfast-first concepts, and we pride ourselves on our ability to bring families together through remarkable food and homestyle meals.”

Abt added that “we believe that we can further utilize Huddle House’s existing platforms and financial backing to strengthen the growth of the Perkins brand.” Sentinel Capital Partners sold Huddle House in February 2018.

Abt added that “this acquisition is by careful design and calculation, as the brands fit well together serving complementary markets but supported by similar resources.”

Combined, Huddle House, which had 344 units at the end of its fiscal year in April, and the Memphis, Tenn.-based Perkins restaurants would total nearly 700 locations. Huddle House said the two brands would generate more than $800 million in sales.

For Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Top 200 census, Huddle House executives projected U.S.-systemwide sales of $245 million from a year-end 344 restaurants, including 42 company-operated units, for the fiscal year ended in April, while Perkins reported U.S.-systemwide sales of $592.6 million from a year-end 356 locations, including 117 company sites, for fiscal 2018 ended in December. Perkins repored U.S. average unit volume was essentially flat for the past four completed fiscal year, fluctuating up and down between $1.67 million and $1.68 million, as its U.S. store base declined by 7.7% across that period.

The Perkins system has 342 restaurants in 32 states and Canada, of which about 100 are company-owned.

Qu Launches New Enterprise POS Platform to Solve Menu Mayhem and Data Fragmentation for Restaurant Operators

Qu, a rapidly growing tech company creating omni-channel POS for enterprise restaurants, just announced the launch of its new data-centric platform. The company is pioneering a concept hailed as unified food experiences to solve the fragmented ordering, production, and brand management chaos experienced by restaurateurs.

This is poised to be a game-changer for enterprise restaurant operators. 

Qu believes restaurant chains should be able to manage changes, when, where, and how they need—instead of based on arbitrary templates created by vendors. Which is why their new POS platform aims to give operators limitless control of configurations through a revolutionary enterprise management hub. Central to this hub are the industry-first features of Dynamic Stores and Dynamic Items. These features deliver increased levels of flexibility and customization operators desperately need to efficiently manage their business and accelerate revenue generation through data-driven intelligence and reporting.

“We’re on a mission to end the menu management madness that’s causing massive amounts of fragmentation and inefficiency and holding back enterprise operators today. Fast-casual and quick service restaurants have been constrained for too long by POS solutions that fail to offer the flexibility, control, and dynamic features they desperately need to create brand and revenue-boosting guest experiences.” Amir Hudda, CEO Qu POS

The platform redefines expectations for “next-gen POS” by providing one consistent and open API structure, supported by a centralized core processing engine irrespective of whether the order originated in the store, through the operator’s website or third-party delivery services. This data-driven foundation enables operating teams to manage all menu and item changes in one place, customizing them based on context and attributes. 

Qu’s enterprise POS now features:

  • Qu-1MENU Management System, a unified menu system that allows users to holistically manage cross-channel menus through one centralized dashboard, supported by one master menu and dynamic items.
  • Direct Third-Party Delivery Integrations processed through the 1-MENU management system alleviate the business and operational challenges introduced by third-party delivery services.
  • Enterprise Management Hub: 
    • Dynamic Stores provide more granular control and data governance. Operators get endless flexibility, with six ways to configure store groups: by menu, store location, employees, tax, discounts, and service charges. Especially useful for large brands with franchisees as the dynamic groups enable inheritance and tagging across categories.
    • Dynamic Items give operators the freedom to customize items, layer multiple dimensions and add attributes based on context—all without ever changing the master item. Operators can configure every item to have unlimited dynamic contexts including dayparts, order channels, pricing, promotions, imagery and much more.
  • Integrated Digital Suite delivers a consistent brand experience across online, kiosk, and mobile channels with rich, branded templates, improving the overall guest experience. 
  • Flexible Hardware Options include everything from terminals, tablets, and kiosks to self-order screens and hand-held devices.

All of these features together deliver a unified food experience. With the industry’s first connected POS platform backed by a single database and a single set of APIs; consistently processing everything from food ordering and production to brand experience. 

In the fast-moving digital economy, it’s undeniable that multi-unit operators will continue to grapple with technology complexity and revenue challenges until they’re able to consolidate menu systems onto a data-centric, open API platform with one unified codebase. Qu’s agile POS platform was designed specifically to solve the omnichannel chaos. With intelligent menu design, guest personalization, and strategic pricing and promotions in real-time enterprise operators can more confidently improve order accuracy and speed, consistent experiences and ultimately stronger profit margins.

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About Qu

Qu is transforming restaurant POS beyond its current fragmented state into a manageable, unified experience for enterprise operators and guests alike. Our platform works at the critical intersections of order experience, production experience, and brand experience to deliver a unified food experience that helps solve the technology crisis operators are in today.

Laser-focused on quick service and fast-casual restaurant success, we constantly apply speed, flexibility, and innovative thinking to deliver solutions that drive healthier bottom lines.

We’re delivering the industry’s first truly connected in-store and digital ordering platforms, powered by one common core, making tangible those lofty ambitions for data-driven guest experiences. Based in Bethesda, MD, Qu is backed by leading restaurant entrepreneurs as well as Silicon Valley investors that have also backed Google, Salesforce, Uber, and Dropbox.

Wendy’s to add 20,000 workers to fire up the breakfast grills again in 2020

Wendy’s said this year it will infuse $20 million and hire 20,000 workers to open its doors for breakfast system-wide next year in a bid to grow sales and unit volume. Currently, the burger chain offers breakfast at 300 of its audience-appropriate locations, like airports, but next year that will extend to all of the brand’s 6,700-plus stores system-wide, a news release said.

Though the chain has previously tried to get the first daypart meal off the ground in previous decades, this time the brand said it will build a menu of items around the biggest hits from other times of the day, including a breakfast “Baconator,” Frosty-fied Frosty-ccino and a honey butter chicken biscuit, since any QSR player today has to have a chicken in the ring. 

“Launching breakfast in our U.S. restaurants nationwide provides incredible growth opportunities,” Wendy’s President and CEO Todd Penegor, said in a release about the daypart addition. “We are well-positioned to pursue it. We believe we have the right team and structure in place, and we put Wendy’s fan favorites on our breakfast menu to set us apart from the competition.”

And the chain will beef up the team that they do have in place, saying that the company and its franchisees expect to hire 20,000 more crew members nationwide to support its launch of “the most important meal of the day.” 

This all takes a lot of cash, of course, and Wendy’s anticipates that the breakfast launch will require it to invest $20 million this year to make the plan come to fruition next year. As a result, Wendy’s updated its 2019 outlook to allow for that, but said all other elements of the company’s 2019 outlook remain unchanged. 

However, the company is updating its 2020 goals and long-term guidance at its Investor Day on Oct. 11, 2019, including additional details regarding the expected financial impact of entering the breakfast daypart. The company said this year it now expects: 

  • Adjusted EBITDA to be flat to down 2%.
  • Adjusted EPS down 3.5% to 6.5%.
  • Cash flows from operations of $290 million-$305 million.
  • Free cash flow down 2.5% to 7% to $215 to $225 million.

The Future of Food: How Location-Aware Dining Apps Are Changing the Industry

From impossible meat to CBD in everything, there are some new and intriguing trends taking the restaurant industry by storm in 2019. Sustainability and conscious eating continue to loom large in the minds of consumers; but as far as the customer experience goes, geo-fencing is dominating the dining world. 

Restaurant delivery is a growing facet of the dining industry driven by the increase in mobile ordering and the needs of the on-the-go customer. According to forecasts by Investment Bank UBS, restaurant delivery sales are expected to rise more than 20% annually and reach $365B in 2035, up from $35 billion in 2018. Critical to this growth is the increased adoption of geofencing marketing within the in-app experience. Here’s how geofencing is revolutionizing the future of the restaurant industry.

Geofencing and the contextual experience

Despite the increasing popularity of restaurant delivery, some food merchants have a hard time mitigating the impact of delivery on their bottom line. Delivering a $10 meal with a $3 delivery fee isn’t sustainable in the long-run. Between high gas prices, wages, other vehicle costs, and the expense of packaging delivery, many restaurants will be hard-pressed to absorb the high operational costs.

Carryout seems like the best possible alternative, where “last-mile delivery” is outsourced to the customer. The primary motivation for diners to prefer delivery and carryout is convenience: delivery is more often the first choice for customers who don’t want to arrive at a restaurant only to find that their order isn’t ready and waiting for them. This is where geofencing can streamline the takeaway experience to be fast and efficient for the customer, and more cost-effective for the restaurant. Geofencing tracking within the restaurant app can help the restaurant understand location data to trigger alerts to the back-of-house, telling the kitchen when to fire up the order or when the customer is stuck in traffic. For the customer, contextually-relevant messages can be sent to remind them to start traveling to the restaurant at the optimum time, depending on how far they are.  

Companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks have begun testing in-app software that lets a customer order ahead and uses geofencing to predict when the customer will arrive. This ensures the customer receives a freshly-made order that’s ready when they arrive. As HBR describes,“on-site carry-out creates value because it outsources last-mile delivery to the consumer, who is often able to perform this task at a lower cost than the delivery company.” 

How are brands using geofencing in their in-app experience? 

The possibilities presented by geofencing are clearly powerful. Here’s how some QSRs have started experimenting with geofencing to improve the customer carryout experience. 

McDonald’s tests order-ahead 

In 2017, McDonald’s began to experiment with geofencing built into its app to allow customers to create an order anywhere and pay for it through the app upon arrival. The goal of the test was to reduce wait lines, cold food, and customer congestion at McDonald’s locations across California and Washington state. With the initial success, McDonald’s has since rolled out order-ahead to locations worldwide. The app doesn’t allow customers to order outside a certain geofence, ensuring the carryout order will be hot and ready by the time the customer arrives. 

Burger King’s real-time geofencing campaign

Not one to sit out on a new technology, Burger King responded to McDonald’s use of geofencing with a campaign of their own. The Whopper Detour campaign of 2018 made use of in-app geofencing to lure customers away from a McDonald’s. When the customer’s mobile app was within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location, geofencing would trigger the delivery of a digital coupon offering the Burger King Whopper for just 1 cent. This campaign had the double benefit of increasing foot traffic to Burger King locations while also increasing app downloads, helping Burger King continuously reach customers after the campaign ended. 

Grubhub and Dunkin’ Donuts improve delivery data

Geofencing isn’t just for optimizing carryout. Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with food delivery service Grubhub to leverage geofencing for better data and customer insight. Grubhub placed geofences around the 400 New York City Dunkin’ locations to measure traffic and delivery times. According to industry analysts, Dunkin’ Donuts plans to use geofencing analytics to “optimize efficiencies, as well as order accuracy and consistency.” Geofencing can provide the detail brands need to constantly tailor and improve the customer experience no matter how the customer chooses to dine in (or out). 

Best practices for geofencing in the dining industry 

QSR brands have only begun to scratch the surface of geofencing. Beyond providing better delivery analytics and clever marketing campaigns, location context can help restaurants understand customer loyalty, impact customer engagement, and help them save on operational and delivery costs.

This article is contributed by Radar.

How kiosks have allowed AI makes offices safer and more efficient.

Office and HR managers are trapped in an unenviable spot nowadays. They want staff to eat healthy food and have recreational areas, but are trying to do it with legacy cafeterias offering unhealthy food and operated with archaic back-office systems. 

What if we can change all this with AI-enabled micro markets and smartphone apps within the office environment for selecting healthy refreshments?

What if analytics are captured, in real-time, showing employee satisfaction scores and insights to HR executives?

Firms like Oh My Green!, a San Francisco-based wellness services provider that uses AI and wireless sensors to help employees make healthy choices; Ideum, which creates digital experiences to engage visitors in public places; and Grubbrr, a platform for kiosks, point-of-sale, mobile and online ordering, are doing just that, integrating technology within new paradigm shifting sets of solutions.

Forward-thinking HR managers are looking at AI-enabled kiosks and robot greeters for more personalized experiences in offices and cafeterias.

Robots in the office

New modalities of services will occur in businesses via AI-powered robots that are mobile and have tablets providing the following services:

  • Concierge greeters.
  • Open AI interfaces to IBM Watson or other AI engines with recommendations based on past selections and what is on sale.
  • Facial recognition to not only identify customers but also identify mood and recommend newer products and services.

Imagine kiosks in office cafeterias adapting to each individual customer: a child sees the kids meals, a teenager sees the burgers and ice cream, while the health conscious adults see the salad options as they walk up to the kiosk leveraging facial recognition.  

Analytics, AI and machine learning

Analytics, rules engines and AI engines can help with actionable advice or actions. Such actions include:

  • Trend analysis on what’s selling and what’s not, with proactive order management to suppliers.
  • AI-based pricing and discounts to sell excess inventory.
  • Machine learning to learn on-the-fly with speech-to-text and text-to-speech with cognitive and contextual learning about different food options.
  • Multi-language support.
  • A seamless user experience between AI, robots and humans.

The last point is critical. As new solutions occur, they will be “omni-convergent.” The customer journey may start on a mobile app, on a phone with an auto-attendant, or online, then continue at a drive-through or lobby with a self-order kiosk or robot, or at the table with a tabletop kiosk providing a seamless user experience — spanning voice, chat, messaging, social, email, video with both a proactive and reactive response.

A new world awaits!

Why should you have your doughnuts with beer?

When you think of a beverage to accompany a doughnut, what comes to mind? Coffee certainly. Perhaps milk. But what about beer? The combination of craft beer and sweet doughnuts is a decadent way to explore how beer and food interact. Be it through acidity, alcohol, effervescence or hoppy bitterness, beer slices through oils and fats to refresh the palate in preparation for the next bite. And with local breweries just blocks away from some of L.A.’s best doughnut shops, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in some experimentation.

The easy entry into the beer-plus-doughnut equation is to go on-the-nose with a coffee beer. Coffee and doughnuts are a comfortable combination, and it’s difficult to go wrong. To venture beyond the beginner’s territory, here are a few suggestions for doughnut and beer pairings.

Three Weavers Brewing and Randy’s Donuts

The starting point for any pairing is to consider the intensity of the food and the beer. Doughnuts are both rich and sweet and not subtle when it comes to flavor. So this isn’t the time for a delicate beer. To stand up to the mouth-coating and sugary confections, you’re going to need a bold beverage. The higher alcohol and more bitter offerings such as the Three Weavers Brewing Knotty double IPA or Midnight Flight imperial stout are better choices than the lighter offerings that could be lost after a bite of doughnut. Three Weavers brewmaster Alexandra Nowell suggests trying Midnight Flight alongside an apple fritter from Randy’s (which happens to be just a couple blocks away from the Inglewood tasting room). It’s a combo that works because the beer’s coffee and chocolate flavors from dark malts build a bridge from beer to doughnut. And the bitterness of the beer sharply contrasts each sugary bite. At nearly 10% alcohol, and considerably bitter, not even a heavy duty apple fritter will overwhelm Midnight Flight. Randy’s Donuts , 805 West Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, (310) 645-4707,; Three Weavers Brewery – 1031 W. Manchester Blvd., Suite A, Inglewood, (310) 400-5830,

Highland Park Brewery and Donut Friend

When you’re ready to move on from classic doughnuts, there’s Donut Friend, a punk-rock-themed doughnut shop in Northeast Los Angeles that’s just a few doors down from the Hermosillo Bar — home of the lauded Highland Park Brewery. At Donut Friend, you can choose a prebuilt doughnut with a punny name or build your own combination of pastries, fillings and topping to craft the perfect accompaniment to your favorite HPB brew. Brewer Grant Scholler’s favorite combo is the Angry Samoa doughnut (a cake doughnut with chocolate and caramel topped with toasted coconut) with the brewery’s Big No No baltic porter. Similar to Midnight Flight, Big No No relies on roasted malts to complement the chocolate flavors of the doughnut, and it has the elevated alcohol level (about 8.5% alcohol) to stand up to the Angry Samoa. If you get the chance to try Really Big No No — a rare variant of the porter infused with coffee and tobacco — there’s not a more on-the-nose pairing for a doughnut.

Highland Park Brewery is best known for its IPAs, and whether you’re trying the traditional bright and bitter West Coast style IPAs or the newer, hazy “New England IPA” style, you can find a doughnut to match at Donut Friend. Try the Hüsker Blü cake doughnut topped with blueberry glaze with a West Coast IPA like Hello L.A. or Bonkers. The tropical and often berry-like hop aromas will connect to the blueberries in the doughnut, and the beer’s bitterness will balance out the doughnut’s sugar. The softer, more fruity hazy IPAs might look like orange juice, but they’re a much better match for a doughnut than O.J. Try pairing one with the Hot Rosewater Music doughnut (made with rosewater and lemon glaze with pistachios) or the Yo La Mango doughnut (made with mango glazed with chili and lime zest). Donut Friend, 5107 York Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 995-6191,; Highland Park Brewery, 5127 York Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 739-6459,

Alosta Brewing Co. and the Donut Man

Speaking of fruit on a doughnut, it’s strawberry season. And that means the famous strawberry doughnuts from Glendora’s the Donut Man are available (and the fresh peach doughnuts are just around the corner). The sweet-tart and extra sticky doughnuts are a local favorite, and there are now a couple of breweries close-by the doughnut shop. Both Alosta Brewing and the Arrow Lodge brew pub are about three miles away in Covina. Try the dry and spicy 1887 Belgian-style tripel from Alosta Brewing with a fresh strawberry doughnut. The Donut Man, 915 E. Rte. 66, Glendora, (626) 335-9111,; Alosta Brewing Co., 692 Arrow Grand Circle, Covina, (626) 470-7897,

New Miami Restaurants Try This Hottest New Art Basel 2019

Boia De
In Miami, a neon-lit exclamation point (!) marks the location of Boia De, a funky new restaurant tucked in the corner of a busy shopping center in upper Buena Vista. Opened since June, the hidden gem is sparking excitement amongst foodies with its Brooklyn-cool vibe and modern American fare with a touch of Italian influence. If you find yourself in Miami for Art Basel, Boia De is a must. The retro-modern eatery breathes new life to the neighborhood with its casual fine-dining pedigree, eclectic décor and premium selection of low-intervention wines. With just 24 seats, it’s a small operation run by culinary duo (and couple) Luci Giangrandi and Alex Meyer; chefs with equally impressive resumes working in some of New York’s most acclaimed kitchens who until recently operated La Pollita, the beloved Mexican taco truck in Design District. Boia De located at 5205 Northeast Second Avenue is open for dinner six nights a week (closed Tuesdays) from 5:30PM to 10:30PM; and Friday to Saturday until 11:30PM. Contact: 305-967-8866 /

Le Jardinier
Le Jardinier, a modern vegetable-driven restaurant rooted in classic French technique and created by a longtime protégé of Chef Joël Robuchon, opened on August 16, 2019. The casually sophisticated concept was created by Culinary Director Alain Verzeroli, who worked with Robuchon for 21 years and currently serves as Executive Chef of the restaurant’s flagship location in New York City. Plants play a prominent role on the menu at Le Jardinier, where local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and greens are complemented by wild and sustainable fish, meat and poultry. Regional Chef Leo Pablo serves as the day-to-day chef at Le Jardinier Miami, bringing over 15 years of experience in some of the region’s top kitchens including Life-House, Stubborn Seed, and J&G Grill by Jean Georges. Located on the first floor of the bi-level plaza (with L’Atelier located upstairs), the restaurant features a lush outdoor dining area. Le Jardinier will serve dinner upon opening, with lunch service to follow. Le Jardinier will be closed on Mondays, open from 6PM to 10PM on Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday; and 6PM to 11PM Friday and Saturday. Contact: 305-402-9060 /

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
With locations around the world in cities including Paris, Tokyo, and New York, the South Florida outpost of Chef Joël Robuchon’s groundbreaking concept, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, opened on August 28, 2019. The highly-anticipated restaurant offers diners modern French cuisine served at a signature 34-seat dining counter that faces directly into the open kitchen, allowing for a dynamic interaction between the chefs and guests, and convivial fine dining experience. L’Atelier’s counter seating and menu format meld the interactive sushi counters of Japan and tapas style of service found in Spain, with Robuchon’s modern French cuisine. The menu in Miami features several of L’Atelier’s iconic signature dishes–including the famed pommes purée–alongside new, ever-changing seasonal creations utilizing ingredients sourced from top local and regional purveyors. The format of the menu at L’Atelier allows diners the flexibility to create their own experience by ordering a la carte or one of the various tasting menu options. L’Atelier will serve dinner from 6PM until 10PM Tuesday through Saturday. Contact:

Sushi By Bou
Tucked away on the second floor of The Villa Casa Casuarina, within Gianni Versace’s former suite, resides Sushi By Bou, an exclusive sushi bar bringing experiential omakase to South Beach. The popular New York City concept is the brainchild of Michael Sinensky and Erika London of Simple Venue which focuses on transforming underutilized spaces within existing hotels into experiential culinary concepts. Guests can choose between a 30 or 60-minute omakase dine in the expanded suite which houses two, four-seat sushi bars with a modern neoclassic style that honors the mansion’s existing architecture and original design. Diners are encouraged to arrive early, or stay late, for private access to the G-Lounge which boasts a personal bartender serving up a selection of fine Japanese Whiskeys and craft sake cocktails in the pre-dining space complete with emerald couches and a fireplace. The 60-minute omakase experience includes 17 courses for $125 inclusive of tax and gratuity, while the 30-minute option includes 12 courses for $65 exclusive of tax and gratuity. Additionally, the suite is equipped with an ‘instagrammable’ self-service sake vending machine where guests can select their choice of three sakes for $40 or add a sake pairing to the experience at an additional cost. Sushi By Bou is located at The Villa Casa Casuarina on 1116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Contact: 305-922-9195 /

Esotico Miami
The much-anticipated tiki-inspired concept by Daniele Dalla Pola (DDP) and Graspa Group Owner Graziano Sbroggio — Esotico Miami — opened this summer. The tropically chic restaurant and bar offers a spectacular cocktail menu reflecting global influences and overflowing with fresh, original, potent concoctions. DDP is a cocktail globetrotter and a connoisseur of tiki culture. As one of the world’s best tropical mixologists, he has traveled extensively, gaining expertise in crafting cocktails inspired by exotic and remote locales, including two of his favorite places: Hawaii and the Caribbean. Esotico Miami’s comprehensive cocktail menu contains an assortment of original creations influenced by tiki-cocktail history. The offerings include close to 230 rums, signature drinks, limited edition mugs, large-format social cocktails for sharing, and sections dedicated to Negronis, rum flights, gin and tonics, mocktails, and beer. The varied and eclectic menu, dubbed “tropical chow,” tempts the palate with a variety of seafood, meat-centric, and vegetarian options. The sophisticated 3,400 square-foot space in Downtown Miami accommodates 157 people. The colorful décor includes custom-printed wallpaper depicting lush palm trees, muted lighting, and accents inspired by the tropics. Esotico Miami is located at 1600 NE 1 Ave in Downtown Miami. Open Monday-Saturday from 5PM-2AM (Dinner menu available until midnight; late-night menu available from midnight-2AM); Happy Hour and other programming will launch at a later date; Closed Sundays. Contact: 305-800-TIKI /


Since opening Ariete in Coconut Grove in 2016, Chef Michael Beltran has garnered accolades and a ravenous following for his inventive New Cuban-American cuisine. In fact, just recently the restaurant was namechecked by The New York Times as a definitive Miami dining destination. Now, Chef Beltran, together with Ark Hospitality (the team behind Taurus Beer & Whiskey House and The ScapeGoat), is preparing for the fall 2019 opening of his newest concept: Navé. For the restaurant, which is located in Coconut Grove next door to Ariete, Beltran has partnered with none other than Chef Justin Flit of beloved Proof Miami fame to create an approachable menu of unforgettable dishes in an elegant, but casual setting. The menu, still in development, will sport proper technique and bold flavors without venturing far from the integrity of their ingredients and smart sourcing. Diners can expect to find a variety of fresh pastas made in-house, wood-fired pizzas, refined seafood and a raw bar. The cocktail program, under the direction of Beverage Director Bobby Gilardi, will feature
a number of refreshing handcrafted libations.
Press images: HERE

Frohzen, an ice cream shop conceptualized by Pastry Chef Salvatore Martone, a longtime protégé of famed chef Joel Robuchon, will open in October 2019 in Miami’s Design District. Known for his boundless creativity and use of innovative techniques, Martone brings his signature sense of whimsy to the menu, which will include unique creations such as ice cream cupcakes, macaron ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream “cakesicles.” Frohzen will be located on the ground floor of Paradise Plaza directly across from Le Jardinier, a concept by another Robuchon protégé. More information and images forthcoming.

Expanded Perks Launched by Grubhub for its Mobile Clients

Grubhub has announced the launch of “Perks” for mobile users, featuring exclusive offers only available on Grubhub, as well as new ways to earn and redeem restaurant loyalty rewards.

“Restaurants have always used free food as a perk for their VIP diners, to keep them happy and coming back. We have now extended this practice to Grubhub diners by building loyalty tools so our restaurant partners can promote their restaurants more aggressively on our marketplace and reward their best digital diners as well,” Matt Maloney, Grubhub founder and CEO, said in a press release.

Eligible diners will now be able to choose from a range of offers only available on Grubhub from participating restaurant locations, including a free Cheesy Gordita Crunch from Taco Bell; free Original or Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel from Auntie Anne’s; free 1 Dozen Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster; and free 20 oz smoothie from Smoothie King. There will also be perks offered by such brands as Shake Shack, Just Salad, honeygrow, Pokeworks, Argo Tea and more.

Perks can be accessed with a tab at the bottom of the screen in the Grubhub and Seamless mobile apps.

In July it was revealed that Grubhub’s customer base had surpassed 20 million users. The company also reported Q2 earnings with revenues of $325 million, a 36 percent year-over-year increase that beat analyst expectations. In other Q2 metrics, Grubhub posted a 30 percent year-over-year increase in active diners to 20.3 million, and a 16 percent year-over-year increase in daily average grubs to nearly 489,000. Gross food sales increased 20 percent to some $1.5 billion.

“The team continued executing in the second quarter, adding thousands of new, high-quality independent and enterprise restaurants and growing our active diner base to more than 20 million,” Maloney said at the time. “We are excited about the trajectory of our two-sided marketplace — both in terms of geographic diversity and depth in individual markets. Restaurants are increasingly valuing the incremental sales and products we provide, while diners highly regard our robust restaurant selection and consistently low transaction fees.”

Apptizer has Re-branded to Applova


Apptizer recently announced the launch of their new company logo as part of the ongoing evolution of their company’s brand. The new identity had to satisfy all of the existing expectations of what their original mark stands for, while simultaneously moving the brand forward.

Applova is the new branding and one of many parts of their transformation. It helps to strengthen their purpose of existence: To Empower, Grow and Redefine businesses of all sizes to achieve more.

Their refreshed logo and brand convey the continuous evolution and expansion of the business, and proudly display the characteristics they want to communicate to their stakeholders about the brands. Applova new positioning leverages and incorporates the strengths and values delivered through each of their businesses.

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Who they are

Applova Inc. specializes in creating Online Ordering Platforms, offering Mobile Order Ahead Apps and Self-Service Kiosks, for small and medium-sized businesses. A team of thought leaders with diverse backgrounds and experience—from information technology and building technology platforms to business strategy and development—guide and support the management and growth of Applova, and shape Applova’s Mission to create elegant, intuitive platforms with cutting edge solutions that empower businesses to achieve more.

What they offer

Applova brings the latest technology to businesses enabling them to have an online presence and to help them develop their business to its full potential. They integrate with smart point-of-sales and payment processors to provide an integrated bundled offering. Their self-service kiosks and mobile order ahead apps can be customized and branded, yet cost a fraction of a custom-built application website and require no technological expertise, or ongoing in house IT support. With added capabilities such as personalized loyalty programs, the ability to update and change menu items and pictures in real time, and ownership of their customers’ ordering data, we turn payment processing systems into smart devices for restaurant businesses.

By providing businesses from small to mid-size, the ability to offer their customers convenient and customized ordering (both in the store and online), online loyalty programs and incentives, increasing sales, and provide them with access to valuable analytics. Applova level the playing field, allowing all businesses to compete with the giants of the industry.

Why they offer

Founder and CEO Dinesh Saparamadu created Applova with the vision of giving small and medium-sized brick and mortar businesses an opportunity to transform to be a part of the digital revolution in a cost-efficient manner. By creating an affordable, elegant, intuitive and easy-to-use platform, Applova empowers brick-and-mortar Cafés, Food Trucks, Casual Dining Restaurants and Pizzerias to reach their customers and potential customers through the internet, thereby gaining the same economical advantage that large companies have by being online. In short, with Applova’s cutting edge solutions, they give midsized companies a technological advantage and create a level playing field.

How they work

Their core values shape everything they do, from the products they create to their interaction with businesses, suppliers, re-sellers, and merchant level sales representatives. Applova is committed to making a user-friendly, affordable product that offers solutions for the problems businesses face.

They aren’t just trying to sell a software; they focus on supporting Payment providers, Point of Sales providers, Hardware providers as well as eCommerce providers. Out of the box, solution comes bundled with many payment providers, smart terminal platforms.  With a laser focus on five cultural values, they deliver a quality product that will revolutionize the way mid-sized businesses to do business, along with incomparable customer service.

Conversation Marketing Hacks: 8 Ways to ‘Speak Human’ and Change the Game


By Merilee Kern, MBA

New book reveals how companies can ‘make and maintain more meaningful, impact
and enduring connections within the marketplace, tell an authentic story, foster
maximized customer engagement, and breed brand loyalty’

Nobody starts out automatically caring about your
products or services. They care about how you can
make a difference in their lives. No matter the
context, all relationships begin with a “handshake
moment,” whether literally or figuratively—those first
few introductory moments that reveal a great deal
about the character of the person standing before
you. Why should company interactions with current
and prospective customers or clients be any

Sure, “content marketing” has been a crucial ingredient impelling the evolution of traditional marketing into today’s more personalized approach, bridging the gap between cookie-cutter TV, radio, and print mass marketing to highly customized digital and social media-driven communications. Even so, today’s more personalized digital communications have plenty of challenges, all too often falling on “deaf ears” and “blind eyes” amid a marketplace becoming highly desensitized to the glut of advertising and marketing messages its exposed to any given hour of any given day…year in and year out.

So, how can brands can make and maintain meaningful connections and create a lifetime value with customers in ways that’ll set them apart in a “noisy,” increasingly jaded and discriminating marketplace? How can businesses tell an authentic story so as to foster maximized marketplace engagement and breed brand loyalty?  According to Kevin Lund, author of the new book, Conversation Marketing: How to be Relevant and Engage Your Customer by Speaking Human,” the proverbial key to the Kingdom is for companies, no matter their size and scope, to simply “speak human.”

In this new book  Lund, who’s CEO of T3 Custom—itself a content marketing firm helping brands learn to “speak human” and supercharge ROI reportedly by as much as16-times, provides an in-depth analysis of what’s required to succeed in today’s modern marketing era, which he’s aptly coined the “Conversation Age.” Specifically, he details key principles critical for driving the more evolved conversation marketing approach, which can help companies amplify results on multiple fronts.

According to Lund, “Those who are wildly successful at conversation marketing understand the strategy is not simply about propagating online content and sharing through social media accounts. Rather, it’s a disciplined approach to communicating with a target audience in a way that tells a simple, human story that will educate, inform, entertain and, most importantly, compel customers in a way that fully captures mind–and-market share through messaging that truly resonates. Companies must stop talking ‘at’ their customers and, instead, connect with them by simply speaking human. And, it’s far beyond that initial ‘handshake moment—it’s through a constant stream of congenial engagements with each individual consumer, or the marketplace at large, based on trust and performance.”

Think it’s complicated to be an adept conversation marketer and speak human to your constituents? Think again! Below are eight of Lund’s tactical strategies from the new book that can help companies large and small become more engaging and relevant with customers, and the marketplace at large:

1. Earn Attention

To gain attention in today’s crowded marketplace, it’s prudent to do the opposite of what most everyone else is doing. That means don’t deliver clichéd, boring content that’s written for robots—search engines or otherwise—and for generic consumption. It’s unsustainable for you and your brand as well as frustratingly futile for the audience you’re trying to reach. Instead, speak human by engaging your audience with eye-level language in order to gain their attention and set your brand apart. Learn to use language that educates and entertains the audience.

Earning attention starts with asking yourself what you and your company are passionate about and conveying that genuinely in that all-important “handshake moment” of first contact—online or otherwise. Assume you’re meeting the person on the other side of the screen for the first time. Think of what you can say that’s new, memorable, a standout, and jargon-free. Also, understand and adapt to your audience. You wouldn’t talk the same way to an aging Baby Boomer as you would to a teenager.

2. Tell a Story

How do you hold someone’s attention long enough to break down a topic and engender his or her trust, but also in a way that’s unforgettable and leaves that person feeling more knowledgeable than before? The answer lies in good storytelling.

Good conversations are filled with good stories and anecdotes. But be mindful that the hero of the story isn’t your company or its products, but rather how your product or service will have a positive impact in your customers’ lives. If you can elicit an emotional response, you’re onto something.  Some standout companies have figured this out. Apple’s story, for example, isn’t about devices. It’s about innovation and how our lives are being changed for the better with Apple technology in them. Learn how to make your story short, to the point, and easy to share online.

3. Stay Humble

Being humble begins with letting go of ego—that instinctual part of the psyche that screams for a marketer to make too much noise about products or services and brag about themselves. Sigmund Freud developed a psychoanalytic theory of personality he coined the “id,” and marketers often tap into their own ids by telling the world how great their company and its products are, and how great a potential customer will be for buying them. The id operates based on the pleasure principle, which demands immediate gratification of needs.

In conversation marketing, speaking human dictates that your customer’s needs, not your own, are top priority. Your audience wants to know what you can do for them, and that means stop talking about yourself and drop the megaphone. Instead, embrace a different approach that thoughtfully and humbly explains why you do what you do and why it can make a difference in someone’s life instead of focusing on your bottom line. Stop beating them over the heads with the fabulous features and benefits of your products. Instead, tell stories that inspire and resonate with their own life experiences.

4. Pick Your Party

Equally important to the “how” of your conversation is the “where.” It should all fit seamlessly together and feel natural and organic in that moment.  Part of learning how to talk to your audience and engage them in any form of conversation is deciding where to talk to them in the first place.

This means doing the footwork to learn where your potential customers gather, and meeting them on their own ground. Where do your potential customers hang out on social media? What are they saying, and what challenges are they discussing that you can compellingly weigh-in on? Easily available research tools can help you join the right conversation at the right time and in the right place with consistency.

5. Be Relevant (on a Molecular Level)

True listening is about far more than hearing words. It’s also about fully understanding the message and concepts being imparted—whether they’re needs, wants, desires, or even complaints. Being relevant means making sure you’re talking about topics that are of sure interest to your audience, and that’s often achieved by addressing their pain points. Before a marketer can aptly communicate and speak to such pain points, however, he or she must first hear what the prospect, customer or marketplace has to say. It can be dangerous, expensive and ultimately futile for companies to presume to inherently know what should be said in conversation marketing. 

6. Start the Conversation 

How do you gain audience attention in a way that prevents you from just being part of the noise? It’s no longer a question of whether you should insert yourself into the world of content marketing. It’s a matter of when you’re going to start talking, what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it. One good approach is to base that initial conversation on your unique value proposition for the given audience.

It’s important to always remember that your target audience doesn’t care about you. They care what you can do for them. If you’ve done your research, you’ll be familiar with their pain points and better prepared to offer answers that address their needs. Don’t be a “me-too” marketer who dishes out the same information as everyone else. Instead, develop a unique angle with a thought-provoking headline that sparks attention—even better if it disrupts conventional thinking. In addition, know your topic inside out before communicating, and make sure any other people handling your communications are experts in the field. You don’t want to risk sounding trite or inaccurate.

7.  Stop Talking

Unlike a monologue, a conversation is a two-way endeavor. Knowing when to stop talking is as important as knowing what to say and when to say it. It’s the only way to truly get a sense of what your audience (or your potential customer) is thinking in reaction to what you’ve offered, and whether to stay the course in your strategy or tweak it on-the-fly. Once you hear preliminary reaction, you can respond to questions and concerns before moving ahead or otherwise course-correct as needed. Also bear in mind that what your audience isn’t saying can be just as impactful as what they do convey.

Once your message is out, take a step back and “read the room.” That could mean monitoring online response to your blog post or using various tools to learn which of your resources are drawing attention. Are people engaged? Are they adding to the conversation? What should you do if the feedback is bad? Don’t consider a negative response or lack of response necessarily a failure. Instead, see it as an opportunity to adjust, make changes, and perhaps find ways to better meet your audience’s needs.

8. Ditch the Checklist

Before every takeoff, airline crews verbally work through an extensive checklist. There’s a detailed set of tasks to cover before the plane can even push back from the gate. However, in an ebb and flow conversation marketing context, this adherence to a certain protocol can pose limitations. Indeed, one problem with simply sticking to a checklist is that a content marketing strategy will never evolve with the times or differentiate itself in any way from what everyone else is doing.

Successful marketers endeavor to open new horizons. They take a step back and ask bigger questions about themselves and their companies’ ultimate goals, as well as what sort of new challenges their audience or customers might face over time–how to aptly adjust when needed.

Lund also suggests finding sources of inspiration. “Explore some of the successful content marketing plans that showed passion, ditched the tired old language, zeroed in on what customers needed, and started a real conversation with the market,” he urges. “Then scrutinize your own strategy and see where it might be lacking, so that you can continually refine your own checklist.”

Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:

Employers could see a post-Labor Day flurry of federal rule-making

The days or weeks after Labor Day are expected to bring a torrent of long-awaited rules from the Labor Department.

In the coming weeks, a finalized update is expected on the salary threshold for determining who is eligible for overtime pay. So are changes to tip-pooling restrictions as well as proposed regulations clarifying when employers can use the tip credit for non-tipped work — known as the 80/20 rule.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the White House is pushing the Labor Department to finish regulatory overhauls following the departure of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.

The White House has nominated attorney Eugene Scalia to replace Acosta. Acting secretary Patrick Pizzella on Thursday pledged to move quickly to accomplish “all that we can as we prepare for a new secretary.”

Roy Salins, labor attorney and partner in law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in New York City, said it’s not unusual to see a flurry of activity during times of transition, whether it’s a shift at the head of the department or a changing of the guard in the White House.

But as new federal rules are finalized, the key for employers is staying aware of local laws, he said.

“The real issue for many operators is that it’s really going to depend on what state they’re in,” he said. In New York, for example, state and local laws will supersede federal rules on things like overtime and tip pooling. “It’s always so important for any operator to make sure they’re checking local laws.”

Here’s a look at three big rule changes coming down the pike that will impact restaurant employers:

The long-awaited overtime rule is expected to be finalized as early as next month following a review by the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB.

As proposed on March 7, the new rule would raise the salary threshold for determining eligibility for overtime to about $35,308, or $679 per week, up from the current $23,660, or $455 per week. Workers making less than that amount could be eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week, though eligibility also depends on job duties.

If adopted as proposed, the new overtime threshold would make 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay, the department has estimated.

The new rule is also expected to build in periodic reviews to update the threshold, but those reviews would be subject to notice-and-comment periods.

Tip pooling

In July, the Labor Department submitted a proposed rule to the OMB that would ease restrictions on tip pooling for employers that pay the full minimum wage and decline the tip credit. The goal is to allow back-of-the-house workers to participate in tip pools. Typically, sending a proposed rule to the OMB is the last step before it is finalized.

When the tip pooling revision was proposed, some argued it opened the door for employers and managers to pocket tips, prompting lawmakers to step in. Legislation adopted by Congress last year specifically prohibited employers from skimming gratuities. The Tip Income Protection Act, or TIP, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to ensure tips stay in the hands of eligible employees.

The finalized rule is still expected to allow back-of-the-house workers like cooks and dishwashers to participate in tip pools, which currently are only available to front-of-the-house employees.

80/20 rule

Also expected as a result of the FLSA changes is a proposed regulation on the “dual jobs” interpretation on side work, known in the industry as the 80/20 rule.

In February, the Labor Department issued an updated bulletin that rescinded prior guidance that, since 2009, had prohibited employers from using the subminimum wage for side work, like rolling silverware or prepping salads, if that worker spent more than 20% of their time on non-tipped work. That update was based on an opinion letter issued in 2018.

A frequent source of litigation, the 80/20 rule is seen as a nightmare for employers, who are forced to keep track of hours spent on non-tipped tasks.

But the Labor Department has indicated the updated bulletin may not be enough. In an OMB agenda earlier this year, the Labor Department said it would propose a revision to the “dual jobs” regulation to provide greater clarity, according to Bloomberg Law.

Recent court actions offer evidence that more clarity is needed.

Earlier this month, for example, a U.S. District Court judge in Eastern Pennsylvania declined to defer to the Labor Department’s 80/20 interpretation in a lawsuit involving P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.

Is restaurants are responsible for the safety of the guests?

Going through a restaurant implies introducing customers to one of the most fundamental tasks of human life in your living space: eating. You come with a sensible assurance of security in a local restaurant. However, watch from the point of perspective of the restaurant owner. Are hotels responsible for the health and safety of their guests?

Yeah, in one phrase. Laws in Europe, North America and most other areas of the developed world involve all kinds of company managers to bring all appropriate steps to keep their customers ‘ environment secure and sound. There is no excuse for restaurants from these legislation.

Here in the UK, safety requirements for restaurants are covered under regulations created and enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Restaurant owners can always check the HSE website for details regarding how health and safety regulations apply to their premises.

In the US, the FDA and OSHA are the two agencies most likely to have information about restaurant health and safety. Restaurant owners can also get in touch with their states and local municipalities to learn about rules and regulations at those levels.

Food Handling Rules

In terms of hygiene and security, meat processing is the first thing most individuals believe about. This is for excellent purpose. In fact, foodborne diseases arising from bad treatment are quite prevalent. This is why restaurant checks are carried out as frequently by local municipalities.

As an proprietor of your restaurant, you must ensure that every employee in your company continually observes appropriate food processing processes. You need to guarantee that the floors are kept smooth. You have to implement strategies on hand washing. You must ensure that cooling devices keep meals as hot as it should be.

First-Aid Supplies and Equipment

Some law enforcement officials force establishments to maintain a minimum amount of first aid. This includes items such as bandaged fittings and an instant AED. But it is not sensible not to have first-aid facilities, even when no such laws are in position. You never understand when there will be an accident.

The thing about first aid supplies is that they are cheap to buy and easy to maintain. You can buy a defibrillator for next to nothing these days. You can stock a first aid cabinet with bandages, burn cream, and just about everything else you need without breaking the bank.

Of course, it also helps to have certain staff members trained in basic first aid. Having someone in-house who knows how to use first aid supplies just makes addressing injuries a bit easier in the heat of the moment.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slip, ride and drop accidents are another major region of interest in the restaurant sector. Given this, the eating spaces in the restaurant are truly more hazardous than many individuals understand. Lighting and room between plates are the major issues.

Official restaurants are often barely decorated with closely connected tables. This introduces a certain number of risks to older individuals, individuals suffering from movement and visual impairments. What’s the answer? Turn the lamps up and give individuals more room for walking.

In a fast food restaurant, slip, walk and drop issues are more often associated with filthy surfaces. Fast food restaurants are more probable to be splashed into sticky surfaces. And there is not enough moment to mop the premises during the business day in a crowded atmosphere with a bunch of congestion.

Sound Issues

Health and safety are even widespread in the restaurant setting. The health and safety of visitors in restaurants, restaurants and pubs which choose to perform songs at the level of earpiercing. Unfortunately, in latest years this has become a phenomenon.

Health and security even apply to noise in the dining setting. The health and safety of visitors in restaurants, restaurants and pubs which choose to perform songs at the level of ear piercing .. Unfortunately, in latest years, this has become a phenomenon.

Risk Assessments for Restaurants

Restaurants in the UK must perform regular risk assessments to guarantee both customers and their staff are healthy and safe. This might not otherwise be the situation. However, it is always a good idea to conduct threat evaluations. They urge you to look at how secure and what you can do to enhance safety in your restaurant.

When guests go out for food, they have a sensible anticipation of safety. As the proprietor of a restaurant, you must follow sensible steps to ensure its security. Check with suitable government authorities if you have any concerns about a secure setting. You should be prepared to offer your necessary advice.

Potatoes receive fresh medicines from poutine to pizza

Chefs use their favorite item as a staple for the trendy tastes.

The OGs on the side-dish list are potatoes and dominated. The chefs use the favorite item. The Idaho Potato Commission claims that Americans eat a heavy 111 pounds a year per annum, rendering it our favorite crop on a large scale. All of this is particularly notable for the present phase of development. Instead of creating cooks and restaurants’ self-sufficiency, familiarity is creative.

The second wind is French fries. They focus on shared hand food interests, they can work as aperitifs, sweets or tiny meals. Operators use rolls as portion of a pouting craze to produce the cultural flavors, which customers want.

Kimchi Fries, a unique winter in the casual-dining service P.F. A nice instance. Chang’s is a steak fry found in Kimchi, Cheddar, Mozzarella and Gochujang cheeses, and a dollop of mayonnaise produced in the Arizean capital of Scottsdale.

In a comparable vein, Daphne, based in Los Angeles, meals such as gyro-meat, sweet fetal sauce, onion pickled and harisa, are made from Greek ingredients. The Crack Shake provides Mexican Putin with slimming fries, pollo asado, and jalapeño, whiz cheese. San Diego-based fried chicken expert.

Down House, a Houston restaurant, produces Texas Putin which begins out by adding two cooked fried pork, feta, squash jalapeños and jalapeño aïoli.

Those who take inspiration from a different part of the world are Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails in the suburban Atlantic, Salt & Vinegar Fries sport togarashi, the Japanese Chilean spice mixture. It’s not poutine, but without the sauce it still has racial tastes.

Fast-service brands also significantly increased their fry matches. Wendy’s Bacon Jalapeño Fries with apple wood stained baked bacon and Taco Bell’s Steak Rattlesnake Fries with nacho cheese and delicious jalapeño sauces have been recently promoted.

For some moment now fries with an overflow of toppings have trendy, and Arby has been loaded with Loaded Curly Fries with garlic, Parmesan spice grill, and Cheddar sauces for cheese.

Chefs offer a touch of cooking. Fool’s Errand is an adolescent snack bar in Boston that offers the standard French pastry side, Crispy Potato Mille Feuille, accompanied by raclette and truffles, cold cream, caviar and crab gravy. Hasselback Patatas Bravas also operates in Boston, Pagu, a Japanese-Spanish tapas store. Hasselback is a method that almost, but not entirely, slices the potatoes. As potatoes are crispy on the exterior borders but smooth on the inside, they allow for an intimidating display and attractive texture. The house-made warm soup, aïol and togarashi variant of Pagu is available.

Vada Pav Curry up now–mashed

Chicken fritters are fixtures in the chicken emporiums, in which many cooks modernize and update the fundamental recipe for meat. The eponymous Fleming’s Potatoes are offered gratin with boiled cheddar and jalapenos, leeks & leeks; and the advanced Fingering Lyonnaise Potatoes are eaten with new thyme and cheese of caramelized Onion.

On vegetable menus, potatoes are natural. Smart providers use their dietary advantages as well as their blank slate versatility as a basis for creation. The Vedge of James-Beard in Philadelphia offers a evolving seasonal package, including green-curry fried potato soup and a pleasant Potato Lo Mein, which was filled with the standard noodles with shaken potatoes and completed with the glaze of a sweet sweet.

Fast casual restaurants with plant orientation give tribute to Franco’s fame, with smart turns of their own. By Chloe, for instance, is based in New York City, with vegan treatment such as Oh So Fancy Fries, baked with a sweet seitan chorizo, onions, chipotle aïoli, and cashew mozzarel. Click for more information. In a advertising Kung Fu Frieze, the Kung Fu crumbles from meatless garden, Kung Pao sauce and chopped Fresno chilies gave Veggie Grill its standard crispy rolls last year, a blast of heat that was equipped with avocado sauces.

Ready access and recognition by consumers will proceed to encourage operators to experiment with potatoes in the future. They are found in appliances new to American diner, such as the potato salad sandwich in Peach Mart in New York City, which put a smooth, white-japanese dairy cheese in a fluffy potato salad with house-pickled jalapeños. Curry Up Now’s emerging fast-casually-developed Vada Pav menu included a buttered bun with blackberries, garlic chutney and Bombay dust.

Potatoes are amazingly little toys like pie topping in the U.S. But it’s front and center at Sauce in Phoenix, which includes spinach, feta sauce, lemon tapenade and truffle sauce for Rosemary Potato cake. Spuds also make excellent taco stuffers, such as Potato & Poblano. Taco in the Antique Taco of Chicago, which is crowned by three cheeses, squid cream and scallions. Potato slivers create an enjoyable crush.

Unveiling 8 can’t-miss moments at MUFSO 2019

Inspiration, connection and good eats await in Denver this October

The countdown is on: MUFSO heads to Denver in just over a month. Now in its 60th year, the MUFSO conference is the place for restaurant executives to connect, advance partnerships and get cutting-edge business ideas.

Image result for mufso 2019

This year’s show will be held Oct. 14-16 in the heart of downtown Denver, where attendees will have the chance to explore the city’s vibrant restaurant scene, network with fellow attendees and hear expert speakers on such issues as minimum wage, the gig economy, CBD regulations and customer loyalty. They’ll also get a chance to sample dishes from emerging brands and award-winning local chefs, and hear from CEOs of some of the country’s biggest brands. Get more info and register to attend at Here are eight things you won’t want to miss.

MUFSO sponsors:
Kitchen Hero Cookoff Sponsor: Texas Pete 
Presenting Sponsors: Shift4 Payables, Shift Pixy, QU and Valyant AI
Norman Award: Pepsi
Sponsor Partners: 505 Southwestern, Appetize Technologies Inc., CardFree, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Compaction Technologies, Daiya, Exponential Interactive, Greenberg Traurig, J.R. Simplot Company, MomentFeed, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, OpenTable, PACO Collective, Tundra Restaurant Supply, Upshow, Royal Cup Coffee, V&V Supremo and Ventura Foods

Presented by Nation’s Restaurant News, the 60th Annual MUFSO Conference brings together the restaurant industry’s top leaders to share business insights that are laser focused on moving the restaurant industry forward.  MUFSO is scheduled for October 14-16, 2019 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown. For more info visit For sponsorship/exhibit information contact

Rob Lynch is named President and CEO of Papa John’s

Rob Lynch Head Shot.png

The election of a fresh President and CEO was announced Tuesday by Papa John’s International Inc. Rob Lynch(left), who has been President since 2017, of Arby’s pizza brand. Lynch takes over from Steve Ritchie who had been working since July 2015.

“At this crucial time in the development of the company, I am pleased to invite Rob to Papa John’s,” said Jeff Smith, president of the Board of managers of the Papa John’s.

Related: Papa John’s shows Shaquille’s approval agreement. “The firm is perfectly adapted to Papa John’s by drawing up its next section, as its proved history of transforming organisations and acknowledging its development capacity for distinct products. I also want to thank Steve Ritchie for his constant CEO management of the previous year and a quarter. The company’s job stabilizes Steve and Papa John’s is greater today. Our business is ongoing. For over 20 years, we all appreciate his devotion to the business and hope that he will succeed. “Lynch broke off his job for him in his fresh position.

John Schnatter, long the face of Louisville, Kyrgyzstan’s Papa John, with accusations of races and other inflammatory observations, a very general public departure last year. Since then, he has retired as CEO and committee of directors, but the fight has persisted.

Papa John’s recorded 5.7 times decreasing revenues in the same-store business for North America and a 3.8 percent decline in the whole of the same-store business for the second semester finished June 30.

The attempts to revise the brand included the funding of $80 million for disturbed national franchising companies and their nominations. A cooperation with Shaquille O’Neal, a former basketball star, including marketing deals and placing O’Neal in nine establishments in the Papa John region of Atlanta in a joint venture.

“I am humbled and happy to operate with this excellent squad to create Papa John the world’s greatest pizza business,” Lynch said in a declaration. When he was director of marketing before becoming President, he performed a major position in converting Arby’s. Jim Taylor was appointed to President of Arby’s substitute Lynch as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Papa John’s has the industry’s most appreciated pizza, extremely committed crew employees and franchisees that have proved to be resilient and committed, as well as the company’s lengthy record of development at the forefront of the food services world. I look forward, collaborating with Papa John’s group leaders, franchises and company associates, to constructing on these weaknesses. Papa John’s has over 5000 places around the world. Papa John’s greatest days are due.”

6 Business Lessons Learned from Working with World-Leading Restaurant & Hospitality Brands

By Merilee Kern, MBA

Expert insight on tactical, actionable ways food service, hotels and other hospitality businesses can create smarter, safer, socially responsible kitchens that increase efficiency, productivity and profits

Accidents in commercial kitchens are an all-too-common occurrence, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting nearly 200,000 food service industry injuries in a single year—accidents that often result in lost days of work, job transfer or other employee restrictions that all have a tremendously negative impact on a restaurant or hospitality business’ bottom line.  

Human resources aside, kitchen fires are another shared bane of the restaurant and hospitality trade, with the U.S. Fire Administration reporting “cooking” as the cause for the majority of fires during the 3-year reporting period. During that period, an estimated 5,600 fires each year resulted in a staggering $116 million in property damage—entirely preventable, unplanned and oft-debilitating company expenditures. Then there are costs relating to other typical safety issues like the notorious slips and falls, burns and other such calamities associated with hot oil—a key culprit that, itself, racks up an oppressive glut of Workers’ Compensation claims.

While such statistics-driven safety concerns in the food service and hospitality realms are nothing new, technological innovations and other modern and strategic means of contending with such issues is a landscape that changes monthly and weekly, if not daily. Solutions are needed, both physical and ideological, that can readily result in far smarter, safer and more efficient kitchens to enhance morale, reduce staff churn, bolster profitability and elevate industries at large.

With this in mind, I sought insight from hospitality and food service c-suite strategist Jeff Kiesel—a former GE executive and current corporate CEO of Restaurant Technologies, Inc. who’s earned a reputation as an industry innovation and safety voice of authority. Given that his firm boasts a roster of multi-billion dollar customers that includes titans of industry like McDonald’s, KFC and Marriott Hotels, I asked if he could share some of the key business lessons he’s learned from working with world-leading brands. This is what he had to say:

  • Customer Insights:  World-class food and hospitality companies make many of their business decisions based on laser sharp, analytics-driven insights that veritably impact the activities of all departments in the organization to one extent or another—at the corporate office as well as each site within their portfolio.  They’re keenly aware that offering, and ultimately selling, a product or service is the net result of having first built a strategically-crafted, risk-mitigated relationship—one that continues to be honed based on key data points well after a deal is closed.  Their own internal sales activities aside, the best companies in the world also demand tangible evidence demonstrating how their offerings are impacting their customers.  Successful companies know, in specific terms and even from various viewpoints, facts that are germane to the kind of solution they offer. Things like if their offering is saving customers money; how its impacting employee, customer and vendor retention and referrals; if it’s increasing operational efficiencies, productivity or creating a safer work space.  Such profiling of both prospects and existing customers—or perhaps even lost accounts to the extent possible—can be a determining factor that sets your operation apart from its closest competitors. In today’s market where competition is typically neck and neck, activities are best driven by data-induced insights that are optimally developed with a robust CRM software solution. The best run companies in the world vigilantly maintain a true and holistic understanding of the value they proffer within the marketplace.
  • Metrics-Minded Technology Innovation: Much of the equipment and technology found in the food service industry centers around reducing costs, improving efficiency, ensuring food quality and helping managers better handle their teams. However, this technology is viewed with eye toward what will provide the best return on investment and improve an operation’s bottom line. To achieve this, the highest caliber operations focus on technology that’s easy to implement, scalable and also provides metrics that are of primary interest to restaurant executives–things like customer visits and staff costs as well as employee retention through job satisfaction. As with the customer insights discussed above, analytics relating to equipment, hardware, software, applications or any other tech-forward procurement must be easily discernable, providing evidence-based numbers and trend patterns on things like what it costs to continue operating the old way versus what it would cost to implement the new technology. Top-tier food service operations don’t make assumptions, but rather data-driven decisions based on key learning on multiple fronts. In doing so, the most successful companies are able to demonstrate the value of a tech-driven solution within 30 days of deployment.
  • Safety: Sixty percent of Workers’ Compensation incidents in restaurants are related to the handling of cooking oil—including burns, slips and falls or back strains. Those companies utilizing a closed-loop oil management system allows food service employees to safely and easily dispose of used oil and fill a fryer with new oil with the flip of a switch. While the bottom line is always top-of-mind, world leading brands ensure employee safety is of the utmost importance and paramount among all. By eliminating one of the most dangerous restaurant kitchen tasks, these corporations take proactive, preventive and multi-faceted measures to best assure staffers are not at risk for oil-related injuries like slips, falls and burns.
  • Operational Excellence: Companies successful at a global level also ensure that their management teams at every level, from the c-suite to the front-line, understand their role in ensuring their kitchen teams are trained, enthused and working cross-functionally while adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs) around cleanliness, food safety and food preparation. They have a lot on their plate, needless to say. According to the National Restaurant Association, the hospitality turnover rate was more than 72 percent in 2015, an increase from 66.7 percent in 2014. It’s an uphill battle. However, high caliber companies utilize proven technologies and protocols, and implement methodologies allowing managers to establish an ever-safer, simpler operating environment where they can focus more on cultivating people, both employees and customers, and less time on administrative tasks.
  • Strengthening the Workforce: World-leading restaurant and hospitality brands understand that thoroughly onboarding team members into a company’s culture, with an understanding of its history, purpose, vision and strategy as well as job-specific training, is mission critical. A one-to-one relationship based on trust and candor establishes a path to on-the-job achievement and even growth as staffers evolve in the organization, taking on bigger and more complex roles. For the employee’s part, ongoing training and education as well as an investment in active listening, understanding and ideation is key for proffering loyalty and attaining career advancement. Large successful corporations purposefully and deliberately focus on strengthening employees relative to both relationships and skill level. Cultivating an employee base that’s enthusiastic, well-trained and well-equipped to do their jobs, also understanding why they are doing any given task, creates an environment of respect that will foster higher accountability and ownership by employees.

  • Corporate Citizenship: Successful food service corporations worldwide understand the extent to which their company impacts its community–whether that community is the municipality where it resides, or the industry it serves. The news cycles are faster than ever before, with social media driving demand for information at a rapid pace. This creates a heightened need for a focused work culture that, while talent-driven, carries with it a ton of heart. These companies take their hospitality mandate and corporate social responsibility program quite seriously. As an effective way to fulfill this need, they consistently participate in philanthropic projects. Whether that be establishing and continually contributing to an educational foundation offering merit-based college scholarships to employee family members as my own company does, donating goods or providing services pro-bono, or literally picking up litter in the neighborhood park, successful global companies wholeheartedly embrace corporate citizenship and make it a foundational pillar of their organizations.

Kiesel’s takeaways from working with top global restaurant and hospitality brands makes clear that a holistic approach to business—one that keeps talent cultivation, character and efficiency top-of-mind—creates team loyalty and support, and fosters increased market share. As well, Kiesel is eager to underscore that a company’s culture is nothing short of imperative for building a successful, growth-oriented operation, noting, “The investment is in the long-term success of our clients, for sure, but in gaining the loyalty of our people within the company, as well.” Indeed.

Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered brand and consumer product trends voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:


New experience of the retail outlet

Supermarkets use robotic alternatives to satisfy customer requirements for fast purchasing and distribution in-store. The Giant Eagle grocery chain has lately announced intentions to introduce a computer vision and a machine-learning scheme to shop free. Other food businesses in the meantime, using compliance stations fitted with artificial intelligence instruments and robotics for quick order preparing, tried to satisfy requests for rapid shipment.

The August Automated Retail Tracker examines all the recent techniques used for the supply of more solid, fast service in supermarkets and distributors.

Around the Automated Retail World

Fast-food chains also seek to speed up order preparations around the automated retail world. Recently McDonald’s started researching robotics that could operate their fryers. The company’s growth remains the automation pattern, which included a experiment of an automated system that can accept speech instructions.

Kodak Moments is also working to promote retail with a photo printing kiosk that was newly launched. The systems are intended to provide distributors with a cost-effective and easy for them to scal in-store picture facilities.

The test of The Fitting Room, a retail omnichannel shop which was a self-service kiosk for putting instructions in combination with physical clothing for trials, seemed to have a beneficial effect for the company. Fashion distributors who tried omnichannel products last year revealed that this stream has led to lower returns and enhanced revenues.

For all the latest headlines, download the Tracker.

How remotely adjustable interactive power selling kiosks

Interactive power sales kiosks give distributors precious possibilities to service clients without the need for assigned employees or large ground area. However, such alternatives miss much of their effect if the retailer offers value or the wants of its clients alter. According to Bhushan Mehendale, Vice President Engineering at the kiosks device growth and leadership platform supplier Esper, the pertinent kiosks require charging technology that can manually modify machine tasks depending on weather, moment of day and more.

Mehendale describes the need to manage distant kiosks and the manner in which they can increasingly help companies in this month’s feature story.

Deep Dive: The Compete Against Living Giants Generation Z consumer pickups in store

Helps Retailers are looking for their products to be quicker than most facilities. In their quest for customers to satisfy themselves by furnishing items within hours of internet buy-in, internet pick up (BOPIS) sales models, distributors are progressively precious tools. BOPIS also helps distributors to catch businesses and active practitioners from agricultural clients. Deep Dive this month examines how automatic BOPIS alternatives like demand collecting stations enable shops to perform stronger against e-commerce retailers and markets.

About the Tracker

On Tracker, the World-net Payments electronic retail tracker acts as a bi-monthly room structure covering latest stories and developments, as well as a folder that shows important participants in the sections comprising the expansive automated retail industry.

Brex Technology Partnership Teams With Magento

In a press release on Thursday 22 August, the credit card company Bresx announced that it is cooperating with Adobe’s Magento Technology Partner programme.

A free credit line, 60 days paid conditions of use and interest free finance are included in the benefits of a Brex eCommerce credit card. This collaboration forms portion of a increasing range of Magento commercial technology suppliers.

“We are convinced that eCommerce credit cards from Brex can provide true value as Magento Technology Partner,” says Brex co-funderand co-CEO, Henrique Dubugras. “Magento is powerful and diverse on the eCommerce market.

Brex can now seamlessly be applied to people who are searching for transfers and short-term funding alternatives for Magento. Magento clients can also benefit from all of Brex’s advantages, including greater loan limitations, immediate internet underwriting and tailored rewards for online retail companies.

Ryan Murden, director for business development at Magento, added, “We are happy to accept Brex as a fresh Technology Partner for Magento. Since its introduction in February 2019 Brex has expanded quickly and has introduced several delivery alliances, among others MDS, Payoneer and Plastiq, as well as a series of incentives that is particular to the retail internet sector through technology, transport and marketing.’ Their alternative provides our retailers creative finance and payment capacities.’

Brex announces in June that it has received $100 million in risk financing, which gives the enterprise an estimated $2.6 billion. The fund round has been guided by the Kleiner Perkins Digital Growth Fund and all current significant investment funds, including the Y Combinator Continuity, Ribbit Capital, DST Global, Greenoaks Capital and IVP, have participated.

Brex said the financing was used to improve its item by extending its commercial expenditure and award offering and to join fresh verticals. Some months after Brex collected 125 million dollars, offering it a prior estimate of 1,1 billion. Brex said it would use the financing to increase its brand.

On 30 August the Great Britain Bake-off Returns to Netflix

Next Friday will probably be the most important point for a certain subset of meat enthusiasts who also enjoy tact, courtesy and very British people. Because next Friday, August 30th, The Great British Baking Show returns to Netflix for series 10 (or collection 7 here in the U.S.).

But let’s hope you’re sitting down, because there’s been a major development: for the first time ever, episodes will run week-to-week, with new episodes coming to Netflix three days after airing in the United Kingdom. In other words, we’re going to be able to watch the Great British Baking Show in real time instead of binging over the weekend.

GBBS spoilers here in the US have been easily avoided–don’t do the display for Google until the semester ends. But now we are all in danger of a casual colleague spoiling the recent occurrence of an alarming rain bottle. We recommend that you attempt as careful and intelligent as Howard when Deborah inadvertently steeled his custard and prevent spoilers when debating fresh stories this autumn.

Skills, not Occupation Titles, are the new measurement for the Employment

The ascent of tech is presently changing the work showcase, prompting the computerization of certain occupations and errands from one viewpoint and the rise of new sorts on the other. Proactively getting ready for this new reality requires an inside and out, granular comprehension of these progressions and their effect on occupations and business. LinkedIn information can give extra knowledge on this by adopting an aptitudes based strategy to work showcase examination.

Abilities are the new money on the work showcase. Abilities show request and supply at a more nuanced level than occupations, whose required aptitude and abilities are changing progressively rapidly, and degrees, which are frequently officially obsolete when they are acquired. The present pace of alter requires following the course of an abilities based, as opposed to degree-based work showcase, which is a considerably more unique variable. Utilizing abilities as a variable of investigation gives an amazing asset in helping policymakers get ready for the future while building versatility in the present day.

In light of these movements, LinkedIn has built up the Skills Genome – another measurement, which enables us to bridle that scientific capacity to increase a progressively granular comprehension of work market patterns and improvements. Utilizing aptitudes data given by LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, a computerized portrayal of the worldwide economy dependent on information created from 630 million individuals with in excess of 35,000 abilities internationally, the measurement enables us to characterize and examine the exceptional aptitudes profile of different sections of the work showcase. We can utilize it to recognize those aptitudes that are progressively common in one fragment contrasted with others. These portions can incorporate a topography (for example a city), an industry, an occupation type (for example information researchers), or a populace (for example ladies).

In China, for instance, we analyzed the elements of advanced aptitudes crosswise over two of the most financially dynamic and open locales: Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and Yangtze River Delta. In a report on computerized economy and ability advancement in the previous, we found that China’s Greater Bay Area has a general net inflow of ability outfitted with computerized aptitudes, and Shenzhen is a computerized ability center in the Greater Bay Area. We additionally found that ability in the area essentially studied fund and specialized fields of study, and has universally useful aptitudes, for example, venture the executives and initiative, with a generally low degree of joining of advanced aptitudes. Delicate aptitudes like administration, initiative and exchange rank higher in this area, paying little mind to abnormal state abilities or computerized gifts.

In a comparable report for the Yangtze River Delta Region, we found that Shanghai assumes a significant job in preparing and creating junior-level ability with differentiated aptitudes to help different locales. We likewise found that the main 10 quickest developing positions in the previous four years are altogether viewed as middle of the road and senior administration positions covering client administration, showcasing, money, items, activities and different capacities. Abilities that have seen the most keen increment can be isolated into four classes: (1) utilitarian aptitudes, for example, advertising and client administration; (2) delicate power aptitudes, for example, initiative; (3) computerized aptitudes, for example, web-based social networking; and (4) esteem included abilities, for example, English. The classes of aptitudes show that the Yangtze River Delta district is progressively open to the more extensive world and has turned out to be progressively connected to computerized openings.

Have you perused?

These are the most significant aptitudes you should be fruitful in the cutting edge working environment

This is the essential aptitude businesses state is getting increasingly hard to discover

Which nations are best at pulling in high-gifted specialists?

Discoveries like these are progressively profitable as our general public gets ready for the eventual fate of work. Policymakers might need to utilize these abilities profiles to decide future vocation ways for individuals in occupations declining in fame. Instruction and preparing suppliers will most likely adjust educational programs to the rising abilities patterns. What’s more, as decent variety turns into a progressively basic goal, aptitudes profiles of individuals from various foundations can illuminate endeavors to close holes and diminish obstructions.

Shopify Becomes Canada’s Top 10 Biggest Public Firms

Shopify has become the 10th largest publicly-traded company in Canada.

The company is up another 1.34 percent in premarket U.S. trading to reach $380. It now has a higher market cap than eBay.

Last month a KeyBanc analyst said that Shopify could eventually rival Amazon in gross merchandise volume.

Josh Beck wrote in a note to investors that the online marketplace has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from developers, partners and merchants at three recent conferences. He also raised his 2020 revenue price target from $300 to $350.

He said Shopify revealed an “impressive array of product launches” for its eCommerce platform, including “complex” shipping innovations like automation capabilities, as well as features for multi-currency use and better developer tools. The company’s market share, he said, could grow three times in five years to 9 percent.

And just this week Guggenheim Securities analyst Ken Wong said that Shopify ’s new fulfillment-network initiative is being well received by its partners.

“Most vendors reacted favorably to Shopify’s fulfillment ambitions, emphasizing merchant scale, customer trust and the potential to coordinate and simplify complexity,” he wrote, according to Barron’s. “Beyond the direct top line benefits of fulfillment, our conversations suggest that merchants typically see a noticeable uptick in [Gross Merchandise Volume, a measure of sales].”

He added that the company’s ability to expand  “could be significant.”

“Fulfillment operators indicated that Shopify’s standing as a trusted partner in the [small- and medium-size business] community should not be underestimated, unlike Amazon, which we believe most merchants tolerate as a partner,” he wrote.

Shopify also recently announced that merchants can chat with customers through Apple Business Chat inside of Shopify Ping.

“And it’s as simple as using the Messages app on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. With just a few clicks, the Messages button will be featured on every page of your online store, and any visitor can quickly ask for product information, and easily and securely pay for products with Apple Pay right within the conversation,” Shopify said in the announcement. “This new feature brings Apple Business Chat to Shopify’s 800,000+ merchants around the world.”

Manhattan’s Heated Slice Fights Got A New Competitor

When Roman Grandinetti & Co. opened Regina’s Grocery in 2017, it immediately made some noise in the crowded conversation about Italian combos and chicken parms. It’s the sort of place that feels like it’s been around for a long time, maybe just recently refreshed, if you didn’t know any better. (It might even trick a family member who texts you about this old-school place, leaving you to break the news.) Really, it’s a love letter to Italian delis, one that exudes a nuevo-old-school charm dressed up for a new generation and with hefty sandwiches that deliver. While Regina’s was co-owner Grandinetti’s first formal foray into the food world, he’d actually first been plotting a move into that other crowded, equally sacred corner of the Italian-American food world: the slice shop.

On Saturday, Grandinetti, along with Karoosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos (who run Raise Hospitality, the company behind JaJaJa), opened Manero’s Pizza, a small Mulberry Street slice shop with a tin ceiling, a Tiffany lamp, and a disco ball. That disco ball is a nod to Saturday Night Fever, whose main character, played by John Travolta, is named Tony Manero and goes to the Bensonhurst pizzeria Lenny’s. That’s the pizzeria the restaurateur grew up frequenting and calls his “after-school” slice shop, though he’s since expanded his horizons.

A slice.  Photo: Grub Street

“I’m a huge fan of Mama’s Too. I don’t think anyone can really touch that kid,” he says. Asked about other pizzerias, he cites L&B — “obviously my second neighborhood place … Spumoni Gardens is where I grew up” — along with new-school places like Williamsburg’s L’Industrie and the Lower East Side’s trendy Scarr’s.

Those are places where Grandinetti likes to eat his pizza, but as for the slices he’ll serve? He describes them as a hybrid of the Neapolitan and New York styles; more specifically, he wants the crust to have the “gumminess” of a Naples pie with the size of a New York slice. The sauce is made with DiNapoli canned tomatoes (“We’re more into the purée,” he says), which are not cooked prior to being ladled onto the crust. The mozzarella comes from some friends in Brooklyn, Grandinetti adds, but he’s not trying to create a mystique around his pizza like others who whisper about secret this, secret that. “There’s no mysteries,” Grandinetti says. “I’m not very big into secrets. I think we use a very limited amount of ingredients. We keep it super-simple and that’s it.”

On the regular menu, they’re keeping it pretty straightforward. There’s a plain slice, along with a margherita and marina, and then a hot sopressata, white, and square. Is it an L&B-style square or perhaps a Mama’s Too style, you might ask? “It’s more of a Manero’s-style square. It’s a bit different. But it’s definitely inspired by L&B,” Grandinetti says. It’s thick, bready, and upside down (with the sauce on top). There’s an optional add-on of burrata, which is added cold before you’re served, and Grandinetti says they’ll do “collaborative” pizza specials and “some nouveau-slice-joint stuff.”

Beyond slices, the menu consists of a few drinks (Coke products and espresso), garlic knots, and pinwheels. The pinwheels will be a special a day, maybe with broccoli rabe cooked by Grandinetti’s mother, a dessert version, or a vegan option. The slice shop itself is small, the same size as Regina’s but with an electric oven taking up half the space, and there’s no seating. But it’s only half of the plan Grandinetti, Bakhtiar, and Garos have for Mulberry Street: Right next door, they’re opening a full-service restaurant that they hope to be bubbling marinara sauce in by December.

Add some burrata. Photo: Grub Street
With soppressata. Photo: Grub Street
Whole pies are available, too. . Photo: Grub Street
Garlic knots! Photo: Grub Street

Step up. Photo: Grub Street

The Undeniable Power of Websites and Social Media Within The Hospitality Industry

Numbers don’t lie: There are 4.1 billion Internet users in the world. Over 4 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. Over 500 million tweets are sent every day. Over 5 billion Google searches are made every day. There are approximately 1.94 billion websites in the world. And not surprising, Google is the world’s most visited website, followed by Youtube and Facebook. And statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide. All of these numbers continue to grow.

OK, so now that we have that out of the way, what does this information mean to you? Hopefully not much because your business is already engaged in social media and has a strong online presence that stems from an awesome and responsive website, strong search engine optimization, and active content.

But, since I am all for information reinforcement, and even more interested in keeping up with the most current site and social practices, let’s establish some baseline strategies and become better acquainted with some solid information from some of our top marketing professionals; NY based firm Enormous Creative is a powerhouse when it comes to generating brand awareness across numerous platforms. CT tech company GoNation has taken digital marketing for small businesses a step further by creating their own high-tech platform which puts the business in the driver’s seat while engaging the consumer. And Box 8 Creative in New Haven is the creative team behind developing well over 100 food and beverage brands throughout New England. You heard it here first!


There are no excuses for not having a thoughtfully designed and fully optimized website these days. The competitiveness of the web design industry has made it much easier to engage with talented and accessible web companies who truly stand out as being client and result-focused. Same goes for social media managers. We are functioning in their generation’s wheelhouse after all. Be sure to work with a company that not only evolves with their industry but who has experience with your industry. In the case of my firm, we’ve kissed quite a few frogs along the way, but ultimately have found our princes who are innovative, fearless, communicative, and meticulous about what they do, and they specialize in the hospitality industry.

We see websites becoming far more streamlined knowing that retention is low – is less best?

Enormous: If done correctly, less can be more. A website has all the information a visitor will need, but if it is not obvious for them to navigate, then we lose them. This is why many websites have become very streamlined or simplified. Balancing functionality and aesthetics is the key, and we only have a few seconds to make an impression before the visitor moves on.

Our goal is to get them interested and to dive deeper into the website. The experience must also be effective on all devices. On average globally, nearly half of a website’s traffic takes place on mobile devices. Having a streamlined experience on mobile is beneficial due to the data and screen limitations that those site visitors may have.

What’s your tactical approach when creating a website for a restaurant?

GoNation: Because of social media, smartphones, and the speed of the web, customers are being trained to expect easy access to every type of information. Restaurant menu items, events, accurate hours, and photos on are no exception. So why is it so difficult to find this information and so challenging for the business owner to update it? Traditional technology and current methods of building a website do not focus on the critical data that the consumer desires. Therefore the simple needs of a restaurant website are not met. We have designed a platform which organizes restaurants’ most important information so it can be accessed and shared easily. We focus on three simple principles when we create a restaurant website. First, the site has to be mobile excellent. Second, it must showcase and promote brand experience. Third, it has to have real-time content that can be easily updated.  And of course, having the best SEO is required, as no site should function without that. Our technology is built to incorporate that on autopilot.

How best to maintain brand integrity across both site and social platforms?

Box 8: Today’s customer is more visual than ever. You need to sell your company at every visual touch point. Your website should be able to convey your concept, style, and energy directly from your homepage.  Your site, physical space, and social media platforms all need to have the same feel. Matching and supporting icons and graphics, style of photos, and messaging are important. Consistency is the key to brand recognition and ultimately brand loyalty.

Where do you feel most websites and the process in creating them tend to go wrong?

GoNation: Websites can go wrong in many ways. From lousy design and not meeting the necessary standards in SEO, to poor user experiences such as sites with PDF menus, unprofessional photos, and stale information because it is too much work to update the website or the “web guy disappeared.” Owners have been wronged too many times by big companies and local developers. Here are a few lessons learned every owner should adhere to:

1. Always put the domain name and all social media accounts in your name under an email you plan to always have access to. NEVER let anyone own your domain and always have the login info safely stored.

2. If you are paying more than $1,500 upfront on a single restaurant website, you are burning money.

3. PDF menus and jpeg images of a menu are outdated. Customers do not want to spend their time stretching documents to read what you are selling. Nobody wants to download a pdf to their android phone. PDFs should only be there for supporting real data as an option and for desktop viewing or printing.

4. Build the best mobile experience first, and then worry about a desktop. If you are not mobile, you are losing money.   

5. Take the time and accept the costs of creating great content. High-quality images, quality designed logos, videos, and so on. This should be incorporated into your business plan and budget. A million-dollar restaurant to build is no good if you can’t promote it!

6. Use a professional cloud email service and email marketing program. Avoid housing your business email on a company’s personal server or allowing your customers’ email addresses to reside in someone else’s database.

How important is running monthly analytics for both site and social?

Enormous: Performance analytics is a powerful resource. Being able to look over data and see what pages or posts are receiving the most engagement, or the times of day that visitors interact with a website or a social post, allows us to improve upon our performance and be ahead of the game as site and social creators and managers.

Social Media

This is where being old school will indeed get in the way of your competitive edge and will have you struggling to stay relevant in an evolving industry. No longer a point, shoot, and post platform, social media has proven itself to be a driving force for influencing consumer decisions.

There’s some buzz about social media platforms taking the place of traditional websites?

Enormous: Websites will always have a place. Social media is a great form of engaging with your audience or promoting your content, but a website is the foundation of your business that keeps it all together. Using both platforms in tandem with each other creates the ultimate weapon to make your business truly shine for SEO and Google rankings.

What are some common brand missteps within social media platforms that can dilute your brand?

Box 8: I’ve seen so many great brands diluted by showing the wrong versions of their brand marks as their social icons. The customer needs that visual recognition (consistency!) to be carried throughout all forms of communication. The biggest missteps are cropping a logo, which often happens within an Instagram icon.  Another big one is forcing a picture of a dish or restaurant space to fit within an Instagram or Facebook circle which is just far too small to give the proper visual link to your brand identity. We always take a recognizable element to tie them all together whenever possible, such as an icon or brand mark.

What are some dos and don’ts when posting to social media?

Enormous: DO know your platform. Between Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, the way to engage or post content is different. Twitter is about real-time engagement and updates; Instagram is all about the imagery, Insta-Stories, and how to effectively use hashtags (while this is obvious, many people still don’t use the right hashtags or use too many broad hashtags); and Facebook is a bit of a combo between the two (No hashtags though. That’s not as effective on Facebook). Having an image with less text means that you will be able to reach more people to look at your posts/boosted posts. Speaking of which…

DO utilize promotional tools. Boosting content is the cheapest form of advertising in the market. Being able to customize how you are going to promote a post on Facebook or Instagram makes all the difference.

DON’T focus so much on the number of followers or likes you have – DO focus on building a quality audience. You want to attract and appeal to people who are genuinely interested in your business and its offering and who have the geographical capability to become an actual customer.

DON’T sweat the haters. Most people just want attention. Ignoring them speaks louder than engaging them.

Back Yard Burgers Selects Qu for Its Innovative and Modern Enterprise POS Software

BETHESDA, Md. — Back Yard Burgers, an iconic burger brand headquartered in Nashville, TN, has selected Qu™, an enterprise POS software company, to replace a legacy system across its 28 locations and 4 states in 2019. Qu’s open, API-first POS system provides integrated order management across channels, while unifying operations and brand experiences—moving operators closer to much-needed guest insights for sustainable growth.

Driven by the upcoming launch of its new prototype and recent capital investment, Back Yard Burger needed a modern POS to enable faster ordering speeds and guest service required by the quick service brand. The first priority will be to fluidly align their omni-channel ordering channels—particularly web, mobile, and kiosk. Back Yard Burger also selected Synergy Suite for back office functions like inventory control and payroll, which Qu will integrate with directly.

“We evaluated multiple enterprise POS platforms during the selection process conducted by ConStrata Technology Solutions, but Qu stood out for its open integrations, conversational ordering interface, and optional hardware choices as well as the team’s strong vision for the future of restaurant technology,” said Scott Shotter, CEO of Back Yard Burgers. “We’re looking forward to a great working relationship with the team at Qu.”

Qu’s open and flexible enterprise POS software is purpose-built for quick service and fast casual restaurants, enabling an easier transition off legacy POS, while integrating disparate systems and delivering more dynamic experiences to satisfy the modern guest. With its need for speed and uninterrupted service, Back Yard Burger was particularly attracted to Qu’s offline capabilities that ensure continuous in-store operations and reliability even when the cloud goes down. The direct integration with KDS will allow orders to flow and burgers to fly, while backing up in-store terminals during offline periods.

“Our partnerships with forward-thinking brands like Back Yard Burgers underscore the dire need for unifying order channels to deliver exceptional guest and food experiences,” said Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu. “Our mission is to provide faster, smoother pathways for brands to scale quickly, while driving healthier bottom lines.”

“Ultimately a brand like Back Yard Burger needs a backbone for open integration built on a one source of truth as well as a built-in ‘data scientist’ to give us predictive data points. That’s the north star we are aiming for with Qu by our side,” said Shotter. “Less time fussing over our technology problems means more time engaging and satisfying our guests. That’s the ultimate goal.”

After successfully rolling out the corporate stores in 2019, Qu will be offered to Back Yard Burger’s franchisees company-wide in 2020.

About Back Yard Burger

Started in a grocery store in Cleveland, Mississippi in 1987, today Back Yard Burger has 50 locations across 11 states. The mission has remained the same: to serve a burger that’s just as good as the one you’d grill in your backyard — maybe even better. Back Yard Burgers is the place to go for big and bold backyard taste with 100% Black Angus burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, milkshakes and more. Learn more at

About Qu

Qu is on a mission to transform restaurant POS from its current fragmented state into a unified experience for enterprise operators and guests. Our data-centric foundation works at the critical intersections of ordering, production, and brand to help solve the technology crisis operators are in today. Laser-focused on quick service and fast casual restaurant success, our mission is to constantly apply speed, flexibility, and innovative thinking to deliver unified food experiences that drive healthier bottom lines.

Providing the industry’s first connected platform powered by one common core, Qu makes tangible those lofty ambitions for data-driven guest experiences. Based in Bethesda, MD, Qu is backed by leading Silicon Valley investors that have also backed Google, Uber, and Dropbox.

Learn more at

About ConStrata

ConStrata provides technology services for the global foodservice, hospitality, and retail industries from both the operator and supplier side, helping them select, optimize, and differentiate their mission-critical technologies to improve efficiency and maximize return on investment. ConStrata is a leader in predicting key industry technology trends and coupling them with operational knowledge. Learn more at

Do You Want To Find A Super Cooking Vacation? This Article Will Tell You How

Do you want to improve your cooking ability? While in holidays, you can arrange your class. There are cooking classes offered for vacationers. You can learn different menus from this training. Cooking holidays give you the opportunity to meet new chefs. Cooking class accelerate your cooking abilities. Check this article to learn about how to enroll for cooking holidays.

A Cooking Vacation is among the top choice of destination for kitchen enthusiasts. No matter if your plan is to have a short break from your neighborhood, or to travel for few days, culinary tours allow you to explore, experience, and learn the unique cuisine of your chosen destination.

Among the outstanding destinations for cooking holidays are Spain, Greece, Italy, Paris, and Portugal. There are many benefits you can gain from cookery holidays.

Many people who love cooking can learn a lot from cooking classes held particularly for vacationers. Each cooking class is handled by seasoned local chefs in order that you understand and differentiate the taste of native cuisine.

You can also be assured of thorough guidance from the chefs because the cooking vacation is set up for limited seats. During the cooking class, you are given activities to test your lessons from the local chefs.

This can be a great way to win a friend. As you mingle with your chef instructors and classmates, you can build rapport with them, making your culinary tours memorable as you exchange ideas relevant to your cooking lessons, travels and many more.

Moreover, it allows you to showcase your skill in cookery. You can use your existing skills in cooking the best-tasting dish. If you are a newbie, this can be an excellent way to learn from the expert. Nobody is born great, even in cooking. It can be learned, and nothing beats the idea of learning from the great local chefs.

To make your cooking vacation something worth reminiscing, you need to consider few things. After you have determined the destination for your culinary tours, you need to know the best cooking schools of your destination. You can do a search on the web to find out the curriculum.

Know the type of cuisines being taught in every school so you will have an idea on what to expect from your cooking classes. Find out the schedule of the classes so you can organize your vacation itinerary.

At most, the cooking schools are accredited throughout the world and the chefs are equipped with necessary qualifications, experience, resources and skills to make you the best chef of your own kitchen or restaurant.

Although surfing their websites can be a good source of information, it will even be rewarding if you contact them to pose your queries. This is a good way to know about their customer service.

Ask them everything you need to know about their culinary, especially the enrollment process, requirements and the opening of cooking classes. Try to request special discounts.

Equally important in planning your cooking vacation is to qualify your cooking skills. You need a class and a chef that meets your level. If you are new in cooking, you need to select the classes for the amateur. To this class belongs hobbyists and novice.

However, if you are a professional, you need to have distinct cooking classes designed for professionals. There are also cooking schools that work closely with travel agency to make your cooking vacation worthwhile.

There are cooking vacation school group tours that provide package arrangements for their clients. You can book through a firm specializing in cooking holiday arrangement for a hassle-free process. In addition, it guarantees the clients that the cookery schools are already pre-screened.

Celebrity Chefs, Panel Discussions and Competitions to be Featured on Center

Some of the biggest names in the Florida region culinary arts scene will present various cooking demonstrations, provide samples to taste, participate in panel discussions and competitions on Center Stage during the 2019 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show being held Sunday, September 15 and Monday, September 16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The Center Stage Emcee is Chef Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie, a TV chef, holistic nutrition coach, author and award-winning entrepreneur and inventor.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming a terrific line-up of Florida-inspired celebrity chefs who are involved with some of the leading restaurants in the region to Center Stage as well as present the Beacon and Torch Awards, and watch two exciting competitions,” said Tom Loughran, Vice President for the Clarion UX Food & Beverage Group. “Our attendees have become accustomed to seeing the most influential names in the restaurant industry on Center Stage and our 2019 event will not disappoint the restaurant, foodservice and retail professionals attending the upcoming Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and Healthy Food Expo.” To access the full schedule, click here.

Sunday, September 15: Exhibit Hall open 10 am – 6 pm
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Mareya Ibrahim: Mareya who is seen on Recipe Rehab and the Food Network will demonstrate The Best Blender Gazpacho with Baked Avocado Crisps (10:30am – 11:30am)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli – Chopped Champions winner and Miami based Chef will delight with his unique European-inspired creations and flavorful dishes. (11:30am – 12:30pm)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Guillermo Pernot – Keeping in tune with traditional techniques from Old Havana and bold flavors from Santiago de Cuba, Chef Pernot will demonstrate how to modernize Cuban cuisine with dishes like Roasted Garlic Boniato-Potato Mash and Coconut Crab Fritters. (12:30pm – 1:30pm)
* Hip Sip: Battle of the Modern Bartender Rum Edition – Cheer on the finalists that were chosen to compete and battle their creative drink recipes, involving rum for the opportunity to be crowned the overall winner and take home $1,000. (1:30pm – 3:30pm)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Roberto Treviño- See “Puerto Rico’s Rock Star Chef” (and recent Orlando Transplant) from Food Network’s Iron Chef America (3:30pm – 4:30pm)
* Torch Award Presentation to James and Julie Petrakis, co-owners of The Ravenous Pig and Culinary Demonstration. The Torch Award recognizes this couples outstanding leadership, philanthropic efforts, extraordinary talent and innovation. Following the award presentation, Chef de Cuisine, Nick Sierputowski will join Julie for a culinary demonstration (4:30pm – 6:00pm)
Monday, September 16: Exhibit Hall open 10 am – 5 pm
* The Coaches “Hot Seat”- David Scott Peters, Emma Vaughn, and Darren Denington will offer a lightning-fast session of rapid-fire coaching as these industry top coaches explore the what, why, where, when and how of an operation (10:30am – 11:30am)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef John Rivers – Founder and CEO of 4 Rivers Smokehouse will dazzle the audience with his love of barbeque (11:30 am – 12:15 pm)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Kristy Carlucci – Pastry Chef, The Osprey Tavern (12:15pm – 1:00pm)
* Culinary Demonstration with Chef Shaun O’Neale, a world-recognized chefcurrently residing in Las Vegas, NV. A former DJ, Shaun was crowned Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX in 2016 and completed his first cookbook in 2017 titled “My Modern American Table”. His demonstration will feature Roasted Garlic and Wild Mushroom Risotto (1:00pm – 2:00pm)
* Beacon Award Presentation to Heather McPherson – Florida Restaurant and Food Publicist, Award-Winning Cookbook Author and Food Writer, and Florida Farms Advocate will be honored for her leadership, contribution and inspiration. The award will be presented at the Foodservice Council for Women panel discussion where Heather will join Chef Nora Galdiano, CEC, AAV; Chef Mareya Ibrahim; Executive Chef Paul DaSilva; Chef Jeannie Pierola, Chef Trina Gregory-Propst; and Isabel Laessig, Family Foodie Founder (2:00pm – 3:30pm)
* Rapid Fire Challenge: Meatless Monday Edition – Three chefs will put their creativity and skills to the test in this competition, and the winner will be crowned the Rapid Fire Champion, receive $1,000 and bragging rights.Shaun O’Neale,America’s best home cook and Season 7 Champion of MasterChef on FOX will be the Emcee for the event (3:30pm – 5:00pm)
The 2019 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and Healthy Food Expo will provide thousands of industry professionals with access to hottest menu trends, state of the art design and decor, a renowned education program, special events including Hip Sip, Rapid Fire Challenge, several culinary demonstrations, and 450+ of the leading vendors and purveyors dedicated to serving the restaurant, foodservice and retail community. For more information, visit

The tradeshow and conference, is managed by Clarion UX, ( and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association ( The 2019 event will be co-located Healthy Food Expo Florida, and attendees will have access to both events with just one badge. Clarion UX produces 37 events across 13 sectors of both trade and consumer events. Clarion UX, which is the U.S. division of Clarion Events, UK, and backed by The Blackstone Group has become one of the fastest growing event companies in the U.S. with aggressive growth through both acquisition and launch. Clarion acquired PennWell in early 2019, bringing 4 Tradeshow 200 events into the U.S. portfolio and super-charging the already rapid growth. Clarion UX has offices in Trumbull, CT; Kennesaw, GA; Boca Raton, FL; Tulsa, OK; Tacoma, WA, and Fairlawn, NJ.

Mining For Diamonds Is Comparable To Finding Good Managers

Did you know the only public diamond mine in the world is in Murfreeboro, Arkansas? The Crater of Diamonds State Park offers a one-of-a-kind adventure — the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds and to keep any you find. The park gives you a brief training, provides you with equipment and lets you loose to hunt for diamonds.

What the experience teaches you is finding diamonds requires effort, training and a little luck. This is exactly what it is like to mine for managers in your restaurant.

Making a point

Finding your next manager-in-training (MIT) or assistant manager (AM) is like searching for diamonds.

1) It requires a diamond mine.

In this analogy, your restaurant is your diamond mine. If you have done a great job in selecting line employees and an even better job training them, you’ll have a few diamonds ready to shine.

2) It requires cultivating the soil.

One of the ways the Crater of Diamonds State Park helps its visitors find diamonds on their visit is to bulldoze the earth routinely to bring the stones to the top of the soil. In your restaurant, bringing the diamonds to the surface where they can be easily recognized requires that the current management team creates a positive work environment for employees to flourish and grow. It requires that management is constantly training employees to do more.

3) It requires you to always be looking.

Some of the diamonds found at the park are found right on the pathway to where people hunt for diamonds. That means that hundreds, if not thousands, of people walk over a diamond every day because they don’t think to start looking until they get to the mine itself.

What does this mean for you? With a little luck and your eyes open every step, you can find the proverbial diamond in the rough. You need to always be looking for your next MIT or AM, even if your management team is complete. You never know when one of them will move on or when you can open a new location and need to double your management team overnight.

manager meetings

Mining the wrong way

A mistake I routinely see when owners and general managers hire from within is to not offer any management training. This happened a lot. I know from my own experience as the manager for a brew pub, as soon as our insider accepted the new position, we handed them the keys, asked them to follow another manager for a few shifts and then let them go to survive or die on their own. There was no formal training whatsoever, and since there wasn’t any formal training when they first joined the restaurant, there was no hope.

We would do this again and again, and we would continue to lose great MITs and AMs. Albert Einstein once said (and I’m paraphrasing here), that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting a different result. By this definition, we were nuts.

It’s no wonder we lost these great managers. We weren’t offering any guidance, direction or goals. We weren’t offering any training. And a major reason people leave their jobs is because they don’t know what’s expected of them. Without a structured training system, these expectations are overlooked and valuable diamonds are lost.

We spend a lot of time and money training our line employees to give our guests the best experience possible, yet we throw new managers into the fire with almost no support and training and expect them to succeed.

To change that cycle (and to allow your diamonds to shine), create a training program specific to management. It should include all your operational systems in an operations manual and then a training program that walks each manager through a step-by-step process to learn the skills necessary to be successful. You have to test them on what they learn so that you know they are proficient at each skill set and system necessary to do their job correctly. Your restaurant’s success is dependent upon it.

Adding this step to your process, especially when developing someone from within, will virtually guarantee you a strong management team from top to bottom. Build a successful management team from within with great training from start to management.

Where to Find NYC’s Neighborhood Gems, According to 37 Chefs

Everyone has their place: that bar or restaurant they return to again and again. Usually it’s someplace that’s comfortable, close by, and definitely not hot or new. Instead, they offer familiarity and some under-the-radar charm. They’re called neighborhood gems for a reason, so we asked 37 chefs to tell us which spots they think of as their own third place, whether it’s a red-sauce Italian joint or the family-owned Greek diner down the block.

Los Portales Taqueria is open late and has tacos for just $1.65 each. I’ll usually crush three lengua tacos, and order some guacamole and chips (along with their three different hot sauces). Their avocado salad is great, too, if you want a starter or something light. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the tacos there.” —Arjuna Bullchef-partner, Luthun

Bay Ridge
Karam is a Middle Eastern takeout spot on 86th Street and Fourth Avenue that’s always busy. There are a few tables you can hang at, but all the food travels well so just take it to go. Their combo plates, like chicken shawarma or lamb shish kebab with white rice and a house salad, are the move with all of the shawarmas shaved right off the spit.” —Calvin Engchef de cuisine,Win Son

Saraghina is always busy and, as a result, has such a great energy. The atmosphere and service style are relaxed yet attentive, and the food and wine are consistently good. My favorite seats are always at the bar. The bartender works in a very small space with just eight or so seats in front, and it’s easy to appreciate their craft and enjoy a conversation revolving around simple Italian food and standout wines. I am obsessed with Sicilian wines, and every time I’m there it seems they have a new one to try. ” —Jared Braithwaite,chef, Colonie

Brooklyn Heights
Noodle Pudding has an Italian-American vibe, but the food is very different than you would expect. It leans more regional Italian than typical ‘red sauce.’ They always have really interesting seasonal seafood dishes that use local fish. Some of my favorites have been the razor clams casino, bass cheek salad, and the fried whiting.” —Scott Tacinellichef-partner, Don Angie and Quality Italian

“My favorite li’l spot is Mally’s on Knickerbocker and Jefferson, a bodega/taqueria that dropped the bodega part of its business after a few years and just focuses on the food now. They make really great Mexican classics like chilaquiles, huaraches, and tortas, usually cooked by two little ladies in the back with a griddle and not much else. It’s always super fresh (probably because it’s so small that there’s no place to store anything) and seasoned beautifully. The chorizo there is especially good, be it on a tostada or with some scrambled eggs. They’re always so friendly and fast, and it’s the kind of place that just brings you joy when you walk in.” —Jordan Terryexecutive chef, Dirty French

Carroll Gardens
Avlee Greek Kitchen is around the corner from my apartment and I go there at least once a week. It’s comfort food to me: Greek salad, dolmas, pita, and gyro. It’s one of those places where everyone knows each other and remembers your name and go-to orders. The owner is always there, and you can tell that his food is made with love and passion because it’s the food of his homeland. I have been going there for at least seven years.” —Tomer Blechman,chef, Miss Ada

“I love an excuse to shout from the rooftops about my love for Lollino, a Milanese coffee and gelato shop in Chelsea. It’s the type of place that convinces you that you live in a quaint “neighborhood” in the middle of Manhattan. Lorenzo, the owner, takes so much pride and care in everything he produces and it shows; everything feels, looks, and tastes distinctly, authentically Italian. I love the hazelnut sorbet — made from imported Italian hazelnut paste — and the espresso is second to none. The staff will always remember you, and Lorenzo will give you a taste of some new confection he’s working on. It doesn’t hurt that my dog’s name is also Lorenzo, so the two have become best friends.” —Suzanne Dumainechef-owner, Three Owls Market

“There’s a food cart run by two ladies on the southwest corner of Canal and Centre Streets that makes an amazing chicken-and-tofu-skin congee that’s very delicate. They have a very loyal following and there’s always a line in the morning. Our usual order is a large congee with a side of fish balls with all the sauces, scallions, and sesame seeds. The only time they don’t show up is when the weather is really bad.” —Hannah and Marian Chengco-owners,Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings

Crown Heights 
“My favorite spot in Crown Heights is the Islands. The jerk chicken and oxtail are the best I’ve had in the city and it’s the perfect food to grab to go if you’re headed to the park. I’ve been going there for the last seven years and the restaurant is such an institution in the neighborhood — we are lucky to be neighbors with them.” —Nico Russellhead chef, Oxalis

Thai Sidewalk is a humble, little street cart on the corner of Jay and Front Streets, but people shouldn’t let its unassuming appearance fool them! They serve really solid Thai dishes like pad see ew and green curry with rice, and they make a great homemade Thai iced tea, too.” —Angie Ritochef-partner,Don Angie and Quality Italian

East Harlem
“I love going to Earl’s Beer and Cheese for their craft-beer selection. They also have the best bar snack: fresh garlic rubbed on hot sourdough toast and topped with crazy-good beer cheese. It’s open late, so it’s chef-friendly and also open Sundays, which makes a brunch date with my three kids possible.” —Ricardo Camachoexecutive chef, Añejo

The spread at Russo’s in the East Village. Photo: Melissa Hom

East Village
Russo’s Mozzarella & Pasta is an Italian deli that’s been in the East Village for over 100 years. It gets passed up on all the reverence held for old New York establishments with flashier fronts, but the best by-the-pound picks are marinated mushrooms, chickpea salad, and spicy peppers stuffed with prosciutto and provolone. I never leave without a house-spun spool of mozzarella marinated in olive oil and herbs, and that’s a rule. Thankfully there is a perpetual tray of prosciutto balls in pyramid formation on the counter, so I know I’m not the only one indulging in this oversize cured-meat-and-cheese bomb.” —Zoë Kanan,pastry chef, Simon & the Whale

“My go-to neighborhood restaurant is Taiwanese Gourmet. It’s been open for a very long time in Elmhurst and they offer classic Taiwanese dishes like stinky tofu, braised pork over rice and fermented cabbage, and oysters pancakes. They also close late at night, which makes it easy for restaurant people to go to after work.” —Tom Naumsuwan,chef, Wayla

Taiwanese Gourmet’s braised pork is a favorite of Wayla chef Tom Naumsuwan. Photo: Melissa Hom

Alley 41 feels like an old-style home in China. I like to order the intestines with pepper — the outside of the intestine is crispy and the inside is juicy with hints of spice. It’s so good. I also enjoy the sliced pork belly with garlic sauce and cold noodles, and the cauliflower pot. Very flavorful!” —Jimmy Lauchef-partner, Shuko

“My go-to restaurant not only in Gramercy but in NYC in general is Casa Mono. I’ve been going there for more than ten years and it never disappoints. My staple dish is the ensalada Mono — it’s sweet, salty, cheesy perfection! Everything else on the menu is delicious; you really can’t go wrong.” —Ashley Rathhead chef, LaLou

Archestratus Books, a cozy, food-centric bookstore just down the block from my apartment, is a truly unique community space utterly devoted to its Greenpoint neighborhood. Not only do they sell every cookbook you could ever imagine, but at the back of the shop hides a mellow café that serves lovely Sicilian-inspired pastries and delicious snacks like arancini stuffed with basil pesto. They also program really cool neighborhood events centered around the love of cooking and feeding others.” —Natasha Pickowicz,pastry chef, Café Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar

“I love Babbalucci. It’s an Italian restaurant with amazing wood-fired pizza and great drinks. The staff always makes you feel welcome and wanting to come back. I like their outdoor seating for a late-night glass of red wine and one of their salads. My favorite one right now is the chicory with burrata. There are so many places to try, but I keep on coming back here.” —Emma Bengtsson,executive chef, Aquavit

Hell’s Kitchen
“My absolute favorite neighborhood spot to frequent on my days off is La Salle Dumpling Room. After making pasta all day long, dumplings always hit the spot. My go-to order is the pork with kimchee xiao long bao. It’s one of the best-tasting soup dumplings I’ve had, and the kimchee gives it that ‘wow’ factor.” —Andrew Whitneyexecutive chef-partner, Dell’anima

Long Island City
The Court Square Diner is my go-to for a large OJ with ice and a BLT. Since it’s right around the corner from PS1, where my new project will be, it’s become my second office. The speed at which you get seated and served is diner magic at its best.” —Mina Stonechef-owner, Mina’s at MoMA PS 1

Lower East Side
Bacaro is an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that has great, delicious food without being too froufrou. The specials are always good, too. I had a low-key birthday dinner in their downstairs area that has great ambience with exposed brick and arches that makes it feel like an underground wine cave. They have a really nice wine list with reasonable prices for amazing wines. It’s marvelous!” —Eder Montero,chef, La Vara

O’Neill’s is a mix between a sports pub and a family restaurant. It is a place we like to go as a group from Ole & Steen because they have a great selection of beers and a nice and simple menu. The waitstaff is very accommodating and they also have great live music on some Fridays and weekends.” —Søren Nissenbaker, Ole & Steen

The spread at Turkish spot Taci’s Beyti in Midwood, Brooklyn. Photo: Melissa Hom

Taci’s Beyti is a bustling Turkish restaurant on Coney Island Avenue. On any given day, you’ll see a full dining room hosting families and large groups. They have all the classics that one would expect: stuffed grape leaves, roasted eggplant, cacik (which is a yogurt sauce made with dill and walnuts), lentil soup, pide and kebabs. But I highly recommend getting one of their pides. It’s a torpedo-shaped stuffed bread with cheese and herbs; they offer them with a variety of interesting toppings like filet mignon and peppers or pastrami.” —Thomas Romero,executive chef, ACME

“Most Korean food in the U.S. is more spice-driven and stimulating. At O:N, the Korean cuisine it serves is not stimulating in the commercial sense, but more like a home-cooked meal. Two of my favorite dishes on the menu are the sam-gye bab and sam-gye tang, a traditional, restorative chicken soup, especially in the summer season. It swear it helps restore the body.” —Junghyun Parkchef-owner, Atoboy and Atomix

Park Slope
Faros is a Greek restaurant that takes up the interior of an entire brownstone, giving it the feeling of having dinner at your parents’ house, or maybe that’s because of the little old lady who walks back and forth through all the tables, not even pretending to hide her stares while she watches you, making sure you eat every last bite. Whatever the reason, for me it comes down to the food. I don’t expect an elaborate display of tweezered, never-been-heard-of-before ingredients, nor do I want one. When I come here, I get intensely flavorful, traditional Greek dishes: a side of peeled and boiled potatoes that are glazed so many times in lemon and butter they form glasslike crusts, or a slow-braised octopus with citrus and capers. The piles of cheese they light on fire tableside and endless shots of ouzo keep me coming back.” —Kimberly Plafke,chef, Grand Army

Prospect Heights
Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe has the best bagel sandwiches. My favorite is the Flatbush with breaded chicken, Pepper Jack cheese, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a toasted everything bagel. They also sell classic NYC bodega treats, so you can get everything you need in one stop — plus the cashier always calls me “love,” which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.” —Amanda Wilsonculinary lead, Daily Provisions

Red Hook
Pizza Moto is tasty, casual, and really welcoming. During construction they apparently found an old bread oven behind the walls, so they now use it to make delicious Neapolitan-style pizzas. They change the menu all the time, and my current favorite pie is the Vermonter: white pizza with chili, ham, and maple syrup.” —Joe Ogrodnek,chef, Floret

Saigon Vietnamese Sandwich Deli is my favorite real-deal Vietnamese deli. The classic bánh mì paté (paté, thịt nguội, chả lụa) is incredible, and everything a bánh mì should be — super fresh, crunchy-soft, and salty. Every time I order it there, I feel like being transported back to Hanoi, eating a bánh mì while riding sidesaddle on a scooter, racing through the streets. They also do an incredible one with sardines as well as one with pork meatballs and water chestnuts. What’s not to love?” —Robert Marchettico-owner-chef, Gran Tivoli and Peppi’s Cellar

South Slope
“When we were opening Lot 2, I was taken to Luigi’sand I knew right away I wanted Gio, the preeminent pizza man and second-generation proprietor, to like me. I wanted to be accepted into his community where it didn’t matter if you were born and raised in the neighborhood, an immigrant, or a hipster transplant, you could get the best slice in NYC and listen to him hold court — as long as you act right. Ten years and a couple thousand slices later, Gio says he considers my 4-year-old son to be family. I couldn’t live up the street from a better restaurant anywhere in the world.” —Daniel Rojochef-owner, Lot 2

Go for the cold ramen at Nana while it’s still warm out. Photo: Melissa Hom

Stuyvesant Heights
Nana Ramen is this cute little ramen spot that you wouldn’t notice as a passerby. But once you discover it and decide to go inside, you’ll find delicious ramen. They also do a really nice cold ramen that is super refreshing in the summer. I love it! So good for a little spot in the middle of Brooklyn.” —Ashley Eddie,executive chef, Santina

Sunset Park
Tacos El Bronco is one of my favorite places because it has a homey, unfussy vibe, and I also love that they offer less traditional (at least in NYC) taco options like veal head, beef tongue, and tripe. Personally, I love to get the beef-tongue tacos and veal-head tacos with guacamole. They are small enough to make a great snack, but are packed with flavor. Head tacos may sound a bit extreme, but this place makes some of the best in the city.” —Will Onochef, East One Coffee Roasters

Upper East Side
Marinara Pizzeria has become my before/during/after pizza snack/slice for any hunger pangs that may hit me. It’s not the best pizza in the world, but it’s damn good. Always consistent and quick and easy; I love having a reliable slice right next to my apartment.” —Jordan Andinochef, Flip Sigi @ VERSA

Upper West Side
Coppola’s West is a rustic, Italian red-sauce joint down the street from where I grew up. The entrance is small and down a few steps, but it’s crowded with over-the-top decorations that feel super homey. The food is memorable, but it’s the atmosphere that keeps me coming back. Bring a date, grab a booth along the wall, and share some of the homemade pastas, especially the tortellini. It worked for me in high school and it still does the trick for me today.” —Will Edwardschef, Gertie

Washington Heights
“I discovered Manolo Tapas because of the live music they have on weekend nights. Even though I’m from France, a large portion of my family is Spanish and all the dishes and music at Manolo Tapas remind me of my childhood vacations in Spain. Some of my favorite things to eat there are the boquerones a la vinagreta and the fresh manchego cheese.” —Lucile Plazaexecutive chef, Le Coq Rico

West Village
“A neighborhood classic that I love returning to again and again is Rockmeisha, a small Japanese izakaya on Barrow Street. It was a regular hangout post-shift when I worked nearby, and I still love stopping in today, whether it’s for a bowl of ramen or their excellent pork-katsu sandwich. It’s cozy with a vintage jukebox and rock band décor. They have a small TV, which often is playing old movies or wrestling. I always feel welcomed there, and it’s a great spot to catch up with friends while drinking a Sapporo and sake.” —Mary Frances Attea,chef, High Street on Hudson

Suzume has long been a go-to restaurant of mine. It’s an easy place to be, and I find it good for a solo meal or a date night in the neighborhood because it’s warm and inviting and pulls off a small menu with a lot of different options. They have a solid cocktail menu as well, and I like that I can go time after time and mix in some favorites like the spam musubi, salmon ramen, and poke sushi while trying new dishes and drinks to keep it interesting.” —T.J. Steele,chef-owner, Claro

Windsor Terrace
“My wife and I like Krupa Grocery because it’s super quaint and kid-friendly. They have a large pickup window with an open kitchen that my daughter never gets tired of looking at and mentioning how hot it is near it. There is also a patio outside that is really private and a great place to escape the afternoon sun and grab a drink and snack. The food is simple, delicious, and changes enough to feel seasonal.” —Brian Lockwoodchef de cuisine,Eleven Madison Park

DoorDash wins Applebee’s delivery nationwide

Applebee’s took a slow and strategic approach to national delivery. While the largely franchised brand has allowed its restaurants to work with various delivery services independently, parent company Dine Brands Global Inc. waited to get into a national agreement citing concerns over the long-term sustainability of delivery. But today, the company announced it has found the right partner — DoorDash. 

The goal of the partnership is “getting to a model where our franchisees don’t have to choose between a dine-in guest, a to-go guest and a delivery guest because of those costs associated with those guests,” said Scott Gladstone, vice president of strategy, off-premise and development at Applebee’s. 

Dine Brands CEO Steve Joyce echoed this sentiment when speaking to NRN late last month. “If the profitability for in-restaurant and for takeout and delivery aren’t relatively similar, we’re going to begin to prejudice one channel against another, which we don’t want to do because we want the customer to be in charge of making that decision.” 

To help achieve delivery profitability for franchisees, guests are charged a service fee essentially transferring some of the cost to guests. Joyce isn’t worried about scaring off delivery customers with these fees. “The guest is willing to pay a lot for that level of convenience, and the relative percentage of the [delivery] cost versus the meal doesn’t seem to matter as much as you’d normally think.” 

Another source of tension in many delivery partnerships is losing customer data and preserving a direct relationship with guests. The partnership with DoorDash allows Applebee’s to maintain customer data and enables guests to order off of Applebee’s website or app. DoorDash works with Chipotle Mexican Grill on a similar partnership.

DoorDash is fulfilling the order by picking up and delivering meals to guests. This partnership is active at 1,300 of Applebee’s approximately 1,700 restaurants nationwide. Delivery with DoorDash is free for guests until Sunday, Sept. 1. And with a new partnership with NBC Sports’ Football Night in America, Applebee’s free delivery will continue every Sunday throughout the football season.

This is not an exclusive relationship, though, and Applebee’s menus across the county will continue to be found on different delivery apps depending on franchisee relationships. Customers can also order Applebee’s directly from DoorDash.

Applebee’s went with DoorDash for this national partnership after exploring options with many other delivery services, said Gladstone.

“Doordash has the highest capacity with this type of program,” he said. Specifically, a white label delivery service, which in this case allows customers to order directly from Applebee’s site. And, perhaps most importantly, DoorDash was willing to make it “profitable for franchisees.”

2 million likes deserve 2 million free Spicy Nuggs.

Today through Aug. 19, Wendy’s is promoting both its social media prominence and delivery relationship with DoorDash by using the 2 million likes the brand said it culled on Twitter to bring its spicy chicken nuggets LTO back to launch a giveaway of 2 million of the chicken pieces, a news release said. 

Customers who use the “SPICYNUGGS” code when they checkout a Wendy’s order on DoorDash will get a free 6-piece Spicy Chicken Nugget order. The brand also said it brought the nuggets back a week earlier than it had planned originally planned, due to consumer demand. 

“Thanks to our incredible Wendy’s fanbase, Spicy Nuggets are back,”Wendy’s U.S. CMO Carl Loredo said in the release. “We knew we needed to reward fans who helped make this possible in a big way.”

DoorDash, however, is not available in all Wendy’s U.S. market and there is a cap on orders of 50,000 per day or a total of 350,000 orders. Likewise, the free nuggets offer doesn’t apply to pickup, drive-thru or dine-in and is valid for one use only. 

Mobile order-ahead tech provides extra sales opportunities, slashes customer waits and drives brand loyalty

When customers pick up meals, food quality increases, delivery fees disappear, and satisfaction grows.

Restaurant delivery is an amazing customer convenience when the food arrives on time, at the correct temperature and as ordered. But with increased use of third-party delivery services, these service basics are increasingly sub-par, leaving customers disappointed and doubly irritated by delivery fees.

One solution employed by a growing number of restaurants is encouraging customers to buy their food online — typically using a mobile app — and then pick it up in person. The process is known as “buy online, pickup in-store,” or BOPIS, for short. The benefits of BOPIS are many for customers and operators, especially if that app uses predictive arrival technology. They include:

  • When the order is placed, customers know exactly when their food will be ready.
  • Knowing precisely when a customer will arrive, the operator can fire an order to ensure it’s completed on time.
  • Orders are paid for using the app, eliminating the hassle of onsite payment while still logging loyalty rewards.
  • Since the restaurant itself captures valuable customer data, upsell and promotional offers can be tailored to customers picking up their orders.

“It’s the same thing that happens at a retail store, where you see magazines and candy in the checkout line,” says Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO at Rakuten Ready, known for their predictive arrival platform, ARRIVE, which allows brands to build innovative pickup customer experiences into their apps. “When customers come inside, you’ve got a new opportunity to sell a packaged dessert or salad, or bottled sodas. Often, just seeing those items merchandised attractively is all the incentive the customer needs to buy.

“It also reinforces your brand’s identity and that interactive experience when they come to your place.”ADVERTISING

Time’s a-wasting!

BOPIS also meets the needs of customers who don’t have time to enter the restaurant or leave their cars. Predictive arrival technology lets the kitchen know when customers are near the restaurant, and where they’ve parked when they arrive.

“Customers are time starved,” says Waldman, “so the notion of standing in a line inside the restaurant isn’t appealing. Technology,” he adds, “ends that wasted time by meeting customers at their cars as they arrive on premises.”

“If they have to wait in line, some feel like they’re not saving time,” Waldman says.

Restaurants not using predictive arrival technology tend to make mistakes “in the last mile,” Waldman says, referring to that moment when customers arrive and orders are completed. He recalls how one client had waiting customers walking inside its restaurants in search of their orders while employees combed the parking lot with those very orders trying to find those customers.

“That’s the beauty of predictive arrival technology,” Waldman says. “It closes those gaps in the customer experience and saves people a lot of time.”

Order accuracy, food quality can suffer when delivered

Over the past several decades, pizza chains have mastered delivery. But restaurants unaccustomed to delivery are struggling not only to figure it out, but also how to absorb high transaction fees — as much as 30 percent of the cost of an order — charged by third-party delivery firms.

According to research from Pentallect, restaurant gross margins on dine-in transactions average 69 percent. Yet that margin crashes to 39 percent when the same meal is delivered via a third-party because of fees.

Third parties also become a key part of the branded customer experience and keep valuable transaction data each operator could use directly to market customers.

Customers also dislike delivery fees. According to research conducted by Tillster, a digital ordering firm, 85 percent of delivery customers do not want to pay more than $5 per delivery — especially when meals take 45 minutes to an hour or more to arrive, and when food quality falls short of expectations.

To avoid those problems, customers are shifting to “buy online, pickup in-store”, according to Greenberg Strategy, an Emeryville, Calif. research firm. Eighty percent surveyed say they trust that order pickup ensures their orders are correct, while an additional 78 percent believe pickup results in higher food quality and correct food temperatures.

“In other words, if you get it yourself, it’s not riding around in a delivery vehicle getting cold while other orders are delivered,” Waldman says. In addition to avoiding delivery charges, operators enjoy additional benefits. “It allows restaurants rather than a third-party to own their consumer interactions and capture that customer information.”

Greenberg also found that both in restaurants and retail venues, providing a BOPIS experience creates a halo effect for those brands because users perceive the offer as innovative and helpful. Equally important, customers surveyed say it gives them greater control of their time and a heightened sense of productivity when they’re not waiting.

“A feature of Rakuten Ready is that the app tells the customer how long the order will take to prepare,” Waldman says. “If it says 30 minutes, 45 minutes, whatever, and you don’t want to wait that long, then you cancel the order.”

While no operator wants a customer to cancel an order, sharing an honest wait time helps them better manage customer expectations and the flow of business during peak times.

“This helps each party on both ends of the transaction,” Waldman says. “Predictive arrival technology provides a vastly improved customer experience.”

Let Rakuten Ready enhance each customer experience

In an on-demand world, every minute counts, and the Rakuten Ready ARRIVE platform is built to deliver great experiences that reward customers with time savings and an innovative brand experience. The company’s predictive arrival technology makes ordering ahead and pickup work seamlessly every time, dramatically improving the convenience and experience of food pickup.

Find out how Rakuten Ready can help you connect with your mobile-first customers at the exact moment that they need you the most. Their integrated suite of solutions enable “order ahead and pickup” programs to run efficiently at scale, by helping merchants to better meet the needs of today’s mobile-first consumer, while driving more traffic to their brick and mortar locations.

Learn more at

Viewpoints: How restaurants can cope when tragedy comes to their doorstep

Unfortunately, divisive national politics have come to the front door of the restaurant and retail industries again this week with the tragedies in Dayton, El Paso and Mississippi. How companies respond will be under tremendous scrutiny and can draw severe criticism. Align takes a look at the choices companies face when events like these unfold at their businesses.

Employee retention is a major focus now and companies are increasingly competing for the best employees. Some new perks being offered are increased benefit packages, tuition assistance and an employer-funded four-year education. The Align crew takes a look at what that’s doing to the employee marketplace and what political implications it could have.

Also, the industry finds itself in another minimum wage conversation in New York, this time over conflicting data on the impacts of the city’s high minimum wage. The team tries to sort it out.

The episode concludes with this week’s legislative scorecard.

Align Public Strategies is a full-service public affairs and creative firm that helps corporate brands, governments and non-profit organizations navigate the outside world and inform their internal decision-making. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of

Uber Taps Local Level To Deliver Milk, Bread, Popcorn

Uber is testing a plan to move beyond take-out delivery and bring people goods from local retailers like groceries, convenience store items and movie popcorn, The Financial Times reported on Friday (Aug. 9).

“There is a bit of an eCommerce ‘moment’ that is happening at a local level. That’s a lot of what we are investing behind here,” Jason Droege, head of Uber Eats, told the FT.

As it strives to take on competitors like Amazon, DoorDash and Deliveroo, Uber is tapping its 4 million drivers to fill the delivery void. 

“I can shop almost everywhere outside of a city through my phone or my computer, but it’s actually pretty hard to shop the merchants in my city,” Droege said in the FT interview. “Eats, in one way, is a restaurant delivery service. In another way, we are solving customers’ dining needs. If you abstractly think about it that way, grocery stores and restaurants are serving a lot of the same needs.” 

Uber Eats saw revenues spike in contrast to the company’s recent losses and is a critical part of future earnings. Eats is up 72 percent in revenue over last year and active monthly customers jumped 140 percent.

The company rolled out a test in Australia to offer milk, bread and fruit from a Sydney store and is in talks with supermarkets in Europe and North America, the news outlet said. Movie theaters in Australia and Canada are even delivering fresh popcorn to people who would rather stay home for entertainment.

“Businesses that operate locally are realizing that eCommerce is or can be an effective channel. I think that actually the conversations we’ve had with some of these potential partners have been really encouraging in terms of how to work together to bring them online.” 

Uber is also expanding its services and moving into FinTech to provide financial products and has been busy hiring product managers and engineers. Its new FinTech team could ultimately have more than 100 workers.

Global Franchise promotes Jenn Johnston, hires Jim Parrish

Franchiser group makes executive changes, reorganizes departments

Global Franchise Group LLC, franchiser of the Great America Cookies brand and others, has made several executive changes and reorganized several departments, the company said Thursday.

Global Franchise Group Jenn Johnston Resized 200.jpgThe Atlanta-based company, which also manages and franchises Hot Dog on a Stick, Pretzelmaker, Marble Slab Creamery/MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream & Treatery and Round Table Pizza, said Jenn Johnston (left) had been promoted to chief brand officer and president of franchise operations and industry veteran Jim Parrish had been hired as chief operating officer.

Related: Great American Cookies owner buys Round Table Pizza

Prior to this promotion, Johnston had served as Global Franchise’s chief marketing officer and COO. Parrish most recently served as COO of Hooters of America and previously held leadership positions at Friendly’s Ice Cream, Church’s Chicken and Yum Brands Inc.

A Global Franchise Group spokesperson said Johnston will focus on franchise store operations and Parrish will focus on corporate-owned store operations.

Related: Global Franchise Group eyes expansion under new owners

In addition to those leadership changes, Global Franchise has created two new departments: the GFG Innovation Center and a Brand Integration & Corporate Services division to support expansion and future acquisitions.

The company promoted longtime company veterans Allison Lauenstein, the former executive vice president of Marble Slab Creamery and Pretzelmaker, to lead the Innovation Center as chief innovation officer. And the company promoted David Kaiser, former executive vice president of Great American Cookies, to head the Brand Integration & Corporate Services team as executive vice president.

“this is certainly a thrilling and defining time for Global Franchise Group and these changes position GFG to better service, support and grow our franchise and corporate operations,” said Chris Dull, president and CEO of Global Franchise Group, in a statement. “With strong strategic leadership, internal resources and shared services, we are ready to champion the next phase of success for our growing company as we look to acquire additional brands under our portfolio.”

GFG Holding Inc. was purchased in November by two private-equity partners, London-based Lion Capital LLP and Toronto-based Serruya Private Equity Inc.

Global Franchise Group supports more than 1,500 franchised and corporate locations in 16 countries. It reported systemwide sales near $1 billion.

How To Make Your Product Stand Out With Consumers Demanding High-end Cuts

Steakhouse-quality beef is trending at lower-end concepts, too…

Consumers are demanding more from their beef: They want it to be better, they want to know where it comes from and they’re willing to reward restaurants that comply with their requests.

Since McDonald’s made the switch from frozen to fresh ground beef in its Quarter Pounders in 2018, sales of the signature sandwich have increased 30%, the chain said in June.

Related: Burger King Unveils Secrets of Sales

Taco Bell recently made moves to address another aspect of beef production by committing to a 25% reduction in the antibiotics used in its beef supply by 2025, joining a growing number of companies that are fighting the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  

From quick-service chains like Taco Bell and McDonald’s that are evolving to keep up with their younger category competitors, to high-end steakhouses where menu appearances of super-premium beef have become more common, to independent restaurants that are seeking unique products that will set them apart, operators are upping their beef game.   


Shake Shack uses whole muscle, never-frozen beef for its burgers.

The beef industry has noticed, and responded with better product. From 2008 to 2018, the percentage of USDA Choice-grade beef production — the second highest grade, after Prime — grew from 56% to 71%, while production of Prime more than tripled, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Marketing Service.

“One of the overarching trends we’re seeing is passion for quality,” Alison Krebs, director for market intelligence at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said. “[We’re seeing] increasing volumes of top-end steak cuts like filet, tenderloin, and rib eye. Those cuts are seeing a stronger menu presence — and across the board, from casual to fine-dining, you’re seeing higher volumes of these types of cuts being sold.”

From beef grade and cattle quality to animal welfare and antibiotics usage, restaurants consider many factors when selecting and preparing the beef that they serve, and those decisions are largely based on the restaurant’s positioning and customer demand.

For example, New York City-based quick-service burger chain Shake Shack has taken a quality-first approach to its beef from day one, which has shaped its image and customer expectations.

Shake Shack uses whole muscle, never-frozen beef from Midwestern Angus cattle that have never been administered antibiotics or growth hormones. Those standards have been in place since its second year of operation in 2005, when the chain officially banned the usage of beef treated with antibiotics or hormones.

“Our approach to beef quality fits in with our position to stand for something good,” Jeff Amoscato, Shake Shack’s vice president of supply chain and menu innovation, said. “We are always looking at how we can best procure, source and cook our beef. We work with different suppliers and communicate along all steps of our supply chain. We don’t just leave it to the grinder to figure it out for us: We’ll meet with the suppliers and visit the ranchers and feed yards to see what type of ranches the cattle are coming from.”


One of the key decisions Shake Shack had to make in its early years was whether to use grass- or grain-finished beef. They ultimately went with grain-finished, because although grass-fed beef is associated with happier cows and more healthful beef, the grain finish gives the Shack Burger beef its juicy texture.

“Flavor and tenderness are important to consider,” Amoscato said. “[Maintaining] our signature flavor profile is crucial.”Evan Sung


Shake Shack looks “at how we can best procure, source and cook our beef.”

But just because the bar has been set high from the beginning, does not mean Shake Shack rests on its laurels. The brand is currently grappling with how best to communicate their strict beef standards to customers.

“There’s a lot of information we can give and how we best can communicate our stance is constantly evolving as digital and social expectations change,” Amoscato said. “How we communicate quality to our guests has changed over the years even as our standards remained the same. It’s easy to go with information-overload, especially with digital.”

Although Shake Shack’s vision has largely remained the same, many beef-centric restaurant brands are still evolving their standards for beef selection. The Los Angeles-based, 27-unit casual-dining chain Umami Burger, for example, is in the middle of revamping its supply chain and will be continuously rolling out improvements, including a new version of its original Umami Burger.

First, Umami Burger reevaluated their beef suppliers and started working with a new major Midwest purveyor that has chosen to remain anonymous. The company’s burgers are made from a proprietary blend of grain-finished beef — which, as with Shake Shack, was chosen as a more flavorful, higher quality alternative to grass-finished — that has been aged for tenderness.Umami Burger


Umami Burger will only consider farms that have strict standards as to how cattle are raised, fed, and slaughtered.

“We’re reformulating our story,” said Nate Appleman, the former culinary director of Chipotle Mexican Grill who joined Umami Restaurant Group as chief operating officer in June. “Going forward we want to be clear that we are antibiotic and hormone-free. … This is not a marketing spin; it comes from a real place of understanding customer needs. I truly believe they are willing to pay for quality. Everyone wants to know where their food comes from.”

In addition to changing purveyors, Umami Burger is doubling down on animal welfare. Moving forward, it will only consider farms that have strict standards as to how cattle are raised, fed, and slaughtered. In the future, all of the beef used will be tested for pathogens to reduce risk of a health scare.

But when it comes to communicating their beef quality, Appleman said that while they will use social media and other forms of digital marketing to tell their story, they don’t want to give in to pushing “the same dogma” that other category competitors are doing just because it’s “cool.”

“Beef quality has to be a top focus,” Appleman said. “We also want to be unique: There are thousands of burger places out there doing the same thing but that uniqueness comes from being the most delicious.”

Of course, navigating the wide variety of beef standards is not just for burger joints. Steakhouses and American grill-style restaurants make similar decisions for their restaurants. Chef Chris Cosentino, “Top Chef Masters” winner and co-founder of Delicious MFG and C.O. hospitality group, is very particular about the beef he sources for his restaurants and only uses sustainable “antique beef” at his San Francisco restaurant Cockscomb.

“Antique beef is from retired dairy cows that are slaughtered when they are seven years old,” Cosentino said. While regular beef cattle is slaughtered at around two years of age, “these retired cows are treated like queens: They go to pasture their whole life so the meat has a different flavor profile. It’s a richer beef since the animal has used its muscles more. The fat is yellower and more cheese-like in quality. It has great marbling.”

Cosentino began using antique beef for dinner specials around three years ago. His customers reacted so positively to it that he made the beef a supply chain requirement at two of his restaurants. As for how he communicates that decision to customers?

“If I keep putting farm names on the menu, it will start looking more like a NASCAR car with all of the sponsorships,” Cosentino said. “But my staff is very knowledgeable and will always answer any questions a guest has.”

As a restaurant focused on sustainability, Cockscomb does not just take into account the sourcing and quality of the beef that it serves, but also how to make the best environmentally responsible decisions. That’s why even though it’s one of the most popular growing trends in beef, you’ll never see wagyu on chef Cosentino’s menus.

“You’re seeing domestic wagyu come to market en masse and there are only so many cuts that can make it to the table, like a ribeye, but what happens to the rest of the animal?” Cosentino said. “That’s why you’re seeing so many wagyu burgers on menu. But there are only so many t-bones and skirt steaks in that animal. … It really takes someone to stop and think about how to utilize each individual cut while still respecting the animal.”


For a variety of reasons, people care about the environment. Research indicates that younger generations are willing to spend more on things that are sustainable and healthy for the environment, a trend that continues to increase. With environmentalism a growing concern, interest in sustainable restaurants has in turn increased. But how can you draw that crowd and what can you do to go green without breaking the bank?

Why Go Green? 

Crafting a sustainable restaurant is not only good for the environment, but can have a tangible and positive impact on your business. Aside from any ethical considerations, climate change is already having a palpable impact on the economy of restaurants. Environmental concerns are already driving up food prices, with some restaurateurs building those costs into their pricing. Evidence indicates that millennial (and many consumers) are invested in putting their buying power towards environmentally friendly products, so building that into your marketing can pay off.

As the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent, once-viable menu options may become difficult to obtain, driving up demand and thus price. The relationship between technology and the food supply will continue to develop. You can already see some of those symbiotic relationships in your available menu items, most notably in farm-to-table style restaurants, which lessen their carbon footprint by focusing on locally available food sources. 

Water Conservation in Your Restaurant

Water conservation is an increasingly important issue that comes in all shapes and sizes. An easy way to use less water is to join the Glass Half Full Movement and only fill customer’s water glasses half full. You can further minimize that consumption by smaller glassware, although that’s a bit pricier to accomplish. If you have the space or there is a community need, you can use leftover water from dishes, cleaning, or customers to water a garden.

On the more expensive side of things, you can look into water-efficient cleaning solutions that are designed with conservation in mind. You may also consider installing low-flow aerators, fix leaky faucets, or low-flow toilets as well. While the upfront costs may be higher, you will see a decrease in your utility bills, so there is a long-term pay-off beyond environmentalism. 

Go Paperless in Your Restaurant

Paper makes up 27% of the total waste in the United States. That includes wrappers, cardboard, receipts, napkins, and in some cases seating charts at the host stand and handwritten tickets for your wait and back of house staff. You can mitigate this in a variety of ways, like offering fewer disposable items overall or incentivizing customers to bring in their own carry-out containers

Like any business, you likely have a lot of paper waste to deal with, from receipts to general maintenance. You can eliminate paper tickets with the use of KDS and POS systems, which not only help create a more restaurant environment, but a more efficient one. Your host doesn’t have to scribble out notes that can get lost by using waitlisting/guest management systems that provide a streamlined, paperless solution to your patron needs.

Solar Powered Restaurant

While there are a variety of sources of alternate power, including wind and geothermal, solar energy is common and increasingly feasible for use in your restaurant. The solar industry is an increasingly growing industry. Part of that growth is in the continued development of better and more efficient technology, the sort that becomes easier and more attractive to employ in your business.

So while it may not be affordable for you at the moment, it could in the very near future become cheaper, and has already become more attractive. In the meantime, solar energy might be a little steep to start, but can send an effective marketing message to your patrons that fostering a sustainable restaurant space matters. 

Upcycling and You

At some point, you’ve likely encountered the expression “reduce, reuse, recycle,” which is upcycling in a nutshell. The general idea is to find creative ways to reuse your waste items, which is sometimes easier said than done. You may consider starting a compost pile for leftover foods, or as feasible with local codes, to donate food to homeless shelters.

For something a bit more direct, you can find upcycled art for the interior design, from planters to wall art. And when you graduate to a new piece of art, furniture, or utility device in your restaurant, consider advertising or even commissioning art projects for the community. Collaborating with your neighbors on a project will foster an environment of creativity and illustrate your commitment to a sustainable restaurant. 

Green Interiors Make for a Sustainable Restaurant

The interior design of your restaurant presents opportunities to go green, while showing those efforts off. You can shop for environmentally friendly products. You can use the natural space for ambience and utility, by using sunlight and a good breezeway to your advantage. When possible, some restaurants incorporate elements of their environment into their design, utilizing greenery and other things local to the area to enhance the space.  

Natural Lighting in Your Restaurant

Whenever possible, you can use the natural light in your space to offset electricity costs, and, during temperature appropriate times of the year, can even help with your climate control. By using window treatments, you can mitigate temperature changes throughout the year, while in turn setting the right atmosphere in your space.

Keep Cool and Go Green

As with lighting, you can keep your space cool or warm without breaking the bank. For example, lightbulbs can contribute to the heat in a space, so consider more energy efficient alternatives like incandescents. Use a fan to stimulate a gentle breeze and make sure you can open your windows when feasible to allow the wind to help guide you. If you can, consider an affordable and energy-efficient HVAC unity, some of which can reduce your bill by decreasing your energy consumption

Sustainable Menu Items

Making sure that the food you serve is environmentally-friendly is another big step in your process, and an excellent selling point to incentivize your menu options. Take an audit of your menu and consider taking steps to identify different ways that you can engineer a better set of outcomes, replacing ingredients and items out with greener options. Your staff can stay abreast of these changes with a recipe viewer, if one is available or through a short tutorial as needed. If possible, employing a little design sheen on the menu construction itself can help you draw attention to these items and optimize your sells. 

Meatless Options

Going meatless may not seem like an environmental issue to most, but it takes a lot of energy to house, feed, and maintain livestock. On top of feeding and tending to each animal, transportation and food safety concerns raise the cost of meat, which have had a tremendous impact on greenhouse gases. For example, cattle farming in the United States alone is estimated to generate approximately 20% of the methane emissions in the U.S. As such, offering vegan and vegetarian options caters to a burgeoning market while helping you craft a more sustainable restaurant environment. 


The success of the farm-to-table movement, which promises locally sourced ingredients, means that it’s here to stay. The immediate benefit for the trend is that it dramatically lowers your carbon footprint, while raising awareness to locally grown/crafted goods. While it may not be feasible to engineer your entire menu to that style, it’s reasonable to believe that you can employ local products whenever possible. Offering local ingredients give you opportunities to cross-promote with your brands, and introduce interesting pairing options, which can boost sales. 

Eco-Friendly Packaging To-Go

Take home packaging is usually styrofoam, which is destructive to the environment. Consider seeking alternative, eco-friendly packaging options for your to-go boxing needs. You may also consider a bring-your-own-container policy, preferably something that incentivizes consumers to pack their own doggy bags. Some operators are conflicted over this trend though over food safety concerns, as restaurants can control their own sanitation standards, but not that of their guests. 

Don’t Go Plastic

It takes plastic around 100 years to decompose, and right now, we use a lot of it. Instead of plastic implements or utensils, use reusable or biodegradable options like paper straws, potato starch utensils, or wooden coffee stirrers. For off-premise orders, ask customers if they want or need take home utensils like plastic forks or knives, rather than just throwing them in the bag; they may never be used, which is a lot of unnecessary waste. 

Going Green is the Future

Restaurateurs big and small are investing in sustainable restaurant spaces, and that will only continue as time goes on. While you may not be able to jump into the deep end immediately, you can ease into a greener restaurant space by implementing even one of the ideas above. Even though each carries an upfront cost, they all pay off in the long run, while drawing in more business through your marketing efforts in fostering a like-minded community.

Burger King Unveils Secrets to Mastering RBI Q2 Sales

Three-brand powerhouse, Restaurant Brands International beat analysts predictions on its Q2 performance thanks largely to sales at its Burger King brand, which made news earlier this week with its announcement it would take its plant-based Impossible Whopper nationwide for a limited time. System-wide sales for Burger King soared 9.8% over the same period last year, with comp sales up 3.6% for the brand, according to a news release.

Other key highlights include for the quarter ending June 30 include: 

  • 0.5% growth in Popeyes comp sales. 
  • 3% increase in Tim Hortons comp sales. 
  • 7.6% increase in Q2 adjusted earnings to 71 cents per share.
  • 4.24% increase in group revenues to $1.4 billion.

“During the second quarter, we grew global system-wide sales nearly 8% and crossed two restaurant milestones with more than 26,000 restaurants globally, including more than 18,000 Burger King restaurants,” RBI CEO Jose Cil said in a statement about the earnings report.

“We are excited by the tremendous opportunity for restaurant growth in front of us, most recently highlighted by new partnerships we announced for Popeyes in China and Spain, and Tim Hortons in Thailand. We are working closely with our restaurant owners to deliver an enhanced guest experience including technology like delivery, kiosks and outdoor digital menu boards.”

The company said system-wide sales growth fueled year-over-year total revenue growth, supply chain sales growth and a new lease accounting standard that impacted franchise and property revenues.

Dog Haus Introduces Chris Oh’s Korean Fried Chicken Wings

Dog Haus, the craft casual concept known for its gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers and one-of-a-kind creations, is firing up the second limited-time offer of its 2019 No Kid Hungry Chef Collaboration Series that’ll make being in the Dog Haus even more fun.

Dog Haus and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hawaii and Las Vegas Chef and TV personality Chris Oh have collaborated once again to bring all-new flavors to the craft causal concept’s acclaimed menu. Created exclusively for Dog Haus, Chris Oh’s Korean Fried Chicken Wings features KPOP honey-glazed chicken wings drizzled with sriracha mayo and topped with wasabi furikake and green onions; served with a side of miso ranch. These spicy, sweet and savory, Korean-inspired wings will amp up the spice at Dog Haus locations nationwide throughout August.

$1 of the purchase price from every order of wings sold from coast to coast will be donated to Dog Haus’ national charity partner No Kid Hungry, a campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.

“Chef Oh is a culinary bad ass with numerous accolades under his belt, not to mention the fact that he is one of today’s emerging TV personalities,” said Dog Haus Co-Founder Hagop Giragossian. “He crafted the KPOP Burger during our Chef Collaboration Series last year and it was a huge hit. With his wings, he came through with a seriously delicious dish that will undoubtedly experience the same success with guests nationwide. We are excited for Chris Oh’s wings to make their debut and we’re also proud to continue our support of No Kid Hungry and their incredible mission to end childhood hunger.”

Chris Oh’s Korean Fried Chicken Wings is the second of six special items that will be featured in the Chef Collaboration Series. Each talented chef featured in the series works closely with Dog Haus’ culinary team and Würstmacher Adam Gertler to craft an item showcasing their unique culinary style. It’s an opportunity for diners who may not otherwise be able to enjoy the chef’s work to do so at their favorite Dog Haus location.

“I always enjoy collaborating with Dog Haus because our visions align, both with food and execution,” Chef Oh said. “You won’t experience huge success unless you break the rules and surpass the ordinary. People love Korean food and people love wings, so why not put them together? Maybe you’ve had Korean wings before, maybe you haven’t, but either way you should break out of culinary sameness and give these a try.”

For up-to-date location and brand information, visit or follow Dog Haus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @DogHausDogs.

5 Problems Many OVER ACHIEVERS Have – How To Solve Them

In today’s fast-paced food and beverage industry where nothing is certain but rapid-fire change, masses in business and work life have surrendered themselves to “over achievement” in pursuit of career success. Not just ordinary success, but rather the kind that exceeds expectations courtesy of excessive “above and beyond” effort put forth. Some relent to a life of over achievement willingly and enthusiastically as they yearn to earn, while others grievously succumb to a multitude of pressures (both external and self-inflicted) and work themselves to extremes in order to achieve and maintain an enviable stature and lifestyle overall.

Indeed, overachievement is a concept that’s seemingly become a gold standard on how to become a “superstar” in business, career goals and life overall. Just Google search “how to overachieve” and the web will dutifully deliver over 355,000 resources to help propel your prosperity.

While overachievement certainly has it’s tremendous share of virtues, having induced profound innovation, breakthroughs, productivity and abundance for individuals, organizations, industries and economies at large, there’s oft a dark side to this extreme approach to advancement. For some, yes, dreams come true, but throngs of others miss the mark despite best efforts. “This often happens because they’re aiming for achievements instead of at a deeper understanding of themselves and of what they want,” asserts Keren Eldad, a certified business coach and keynote speaker—trusted advisor to industry-leading executives, acclaimed entrepreneurs and premier organizations like Beyond Capital, Luxxotica, Van Cleef & Arpels, YPO, LVMH and IWC.

“It’s a silent story shared by many who present a happy, accomplished and enviable image: one of putting on pretenses and internally writhing with angst and anxiety, of never having enough, of insecurity, doubt and dissatisfaction—a state I have coined  the ‘Superstar Paradox,’” Eldad says. “The paradox is when pursuing the illusory things we think we want actually produces undesirable results like strain to keep up low self-worth and general unhappiness—and those consequences actually impede our ability to attain what we want. It can become an exhausting and hugely debilitating vicious circle.”

According to Eldad, the Superstar Paradox is a tough condition to solve because there’s one major, difficult hurdle to get past: admitting there’s a problem. “This requires relinquishing our main armor: that we know everything; that we have things ‘figured out,’” she says. “The key lies in accepting that ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ and developing the courage and means to swap illusory happiness for a bona fide pursuit of wisdom that can bring true fulfillment, power and possibility.”

That’s easier said than done, of course, and as daunting and even enigmatic as it might seem, taking that proactive first step is critical. So, in the spirit of “starting somewhere,” Eldad offers the five foundational insights below to help ensure some of your overachievement behaviors or mindsets won’t actually be undermining your success—or your level of life satisfaction even after you’ve actually realized superstar status.

  • Re-frame your success story. Overachievers often believe that success only comes from power, money or status. Yes, those things are important benchmarks for career measurement, but being successful in life overall should be the true Holy Grail. So, if you are a C-suite executive, or aspire to be, but are riddled with anxiety, stress, pain and dissatisfaction–with relationships suffering in that wake–it’s evident that money and status isn’t proving as worthwhile as it can and should be. To initiate needed change, be brave enough to re-frame your personal story, from cover to cover. Life isn’t meant to be one-dimensional or even work-centered, so actually sit down and map out what you would hope for each facet of your life to look like if it were a true success. Sure, start with career goals to get the juices flowing, as that might come most easily, but then do separate exercises for as many other areas of your life that you can break down. This can include marriage, children, extended family, friendships, professional networks, social media/networking, investments, travel, physical fitness, self-care/beauty, fashion and style, transportation, entertainment, hobbies and passions and so on. Life is abundant. You’ll soon see that life fulfillment means—and needs—so much more than what happens on the work front. It can be a means to an end, but there’s much in between. Once you start mapping it all out, you might come to the realization that you’ve been missing out on quite a lot in your quest for career glory. Reframe your success story with a more holistic approach—know what success “looks” like for each facet of your one and only life and commit (for real) to get there on all fronts.
  • Get out of your own way. Even superstars create self-imposed limitations based on what they originally perceived their goal or benchmark of success to be. Once achieved, it’s instinctive to want to bask in that “place,” both emotional and physical. After all, you worked to extremes to get there. But, overachievers inevitably will want more, and then other kinds of self-imposed limitations kick in that are often founded on what we perceive our own capabilities and opportunities—or lack thereof—to be. Even the most confident overachievers suffer the “can’t rant” internal dialogue. Take heed that “can’t” usually is not a real thing. From “I can’t afford to do what I really want” to “I can’t start over now,” this word usually really means “I won’t”…I won’t try, I won’t make it, I won’t have good ideas and on the self-deprecating dialogue goes. Yes, you worked damn hard to earn your current accolades and are pleased with yourself and where you are, but sometimes a hard pivot is needed to get you where you really want to go. The truth is never that you cannot, you just have to get yourself past the “will not.” Resources like talent, money, conditions, time, etc. are often not a genuine end game, but rather merely obstacles and challenges that CAN be overcome with the right amount of ingenuity and chutzpah.
  • Classify and conquer your “fatal flaw.” One definition of a “fatal flaw” is that which causes an otherwise noble or exceptional individual to bring about their own downfall, which can be their own death—whether figuratively or literally. The idea that any particular fatal flaw is holding us back is a primary reason why so many overachievers become hooked on their actualized achievements and come to rely on fake confidence and aggrandizement versus operating from a place of vulnerability and authenticity. This in an effort to hide or cover up that flaw, whether consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes the phrase “character flaw” is synonymous, with this notion revealing a bit more that the flaw is about the person, themselves, and not really his or her circumstance. One report cites that, “Heroes have a fatal flaw which they wrestle with on a consistent basis. This may open them up for specific conflicts later,” again underscoring that this most sinister kind of flaw can not only hurt you now, but also well into the future. So, to achieve true superstar status fostering genuine, lasting happiness, it’s imperative to discern if you have a fatal flaw and, once identified, work wholeheartedly to resolve it—or learn how to effectively function at a high-level amid it (if that’s even possible). One piece of published research identified “Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders” that included things like “don’t collaborate,” “resist new ideas,” and “accept their own mediocre performance” with one particularly eye-opening point of note: that the flaws identified “sound like obvious flaws that any leader would try to fix. But the ineffective leaders we studied were often unaware that they exhibited these behaviors. In fact, those who were rated most negatively rated themselves substantially more positively. Leaders should take a very hard look at themselves and ask for candid feedback on performance in these specific areas. Their jobs may depend on it.”
  • Course-correct crippling self-constructs. A common obstacle to a “superstar” realizing genuine happiness is their own reliance on self-esteem, which is different from self-acceptance. Self-esteem is defined as “a positive or negative orientation toward oneself; an overall evaluation of one’s worth or value” and, for overachievers, depends on external conditions being met (i.e., what they are achieving) and how they then “rank” against the others in their society. Self-acceptance, which is a critical factor in genuine happiness and authenticity, is founded on other key self-constructs like self-compassion—a person’s ability to forgive them self for essentially being human and, thus, imperfect. Overachievers and aptly accomplished superstars are susceptible to being heavily dependent upon the opinions of others, their corresponding status and their perceived stature versus understanding, and primarily relying on, self-acceptance. In many cases, this feeling of unworthiness is what coaches like me consider to be fatal flaws for the overachiever. It’s that “something” about themselves they feel makes them “less than.” That which they feel if others knew in full, it would cause those others to disrespect or outright reject them. For overachievers, what become fatal flaws are often regular imperfections like weight, assets, health, children, relationships and even their home. Anything can be regarded as a flaw to be perfected, really, in what becomes a never-ending and sometimes futile battle. This persistent effort fosters stress, and the fallout can be similar to those with a penchant for perfectionism, though not quite as extreme. Ultimately, this tendency can cause “superstars” to make tradeoffs, preferring “safe” and “lucrative” jobs and titles over pursuing their true passions, resigning themselves to a life in “golden handcuffs” or one that’s “good enough.” It also causes them to settle for mere connection over true bonding, real friendship and even true love (like marrying the “right” person on paper versus the person you actually are in deep love with).Resolution here can be found when an overachiever consciously fights back against the urge and instinct to beat themselves up for not being exactly “done” or for other self-assessed shortcomings, and replace those notions with ideation promoting high self-esteem characteristics. According to reports, this can include “being open to criticism, acknowledging mistakes and being comfortable with giving and receiving compliments,” while also knowing what your values are and living life accordingly. Some or all of which may sound easy, but given these insecurities have forged a well-honed path in an overachiever’s mind over time, it’ll take deliberate and sustained effort to course-correct. But, once the mind starts to habitually recognize internal dialogue promoting low self-worth, combating it will become perfunctory. Truly happy superstars are steadfast with the practice of being kind to themselves; unequivocal in their belief that self-criticism is self-defeating.
  • Pray for a sh*tstorm! If you didn’t buy all the above points yet and think (as many superstars do) “nah, I got this,” then brace yourself because a curve ball is bound to present and throw you off your game. But, this unimagined disruption can be a GOOD thing! So many overachievers spend most of their lives working to avoid the pain of uncertainty or problems, assuring themselves with zealous over-confidence that “it’s all going to work out” based on the current approach or way of thinking—and never mind that nagging dissatisfaction and angst. However, I’ve found that when superstars are at their most comfortable or when stress finally boils over, they not only find themselves immersed in a major “issue,” but often a major storm. When this happens, embrace it and open yourself to the series of new possibilities it presents. Yes, it will be uncomfortable and tremendously unsettling, but it can also present an exciting opportunity: the wake-up call to finally recognize where you are and what got you there, what weaknesses and threats have gotten the best of you, and work on thoughtfully-strategized resolutions that’ll make you emotionally stronger and your circumstances better than before.

Given these advice-points are based on Eldad’s years of work and research on C-suite executives and entrepreneurs at the very top of their fields, this front-line perspective can be a prudent pivot point amid your own potentially falsely-fixated career trajectory. “There’s been a common starting point with every single C-level superstar, multi-millionaire and just general overachiever I’ve worked with,” Eldad notes. “They all think they know ‘what to do’ and ‘where they want to be’ in the world but get tripped up since these doings and places aren’t necessarily what will bring them genuine fulfillment.”

Statistics seem to confirm Eldad’s contention across departments, including entrepreneur mental health issues; divorce, suicide and anxiety rates; escalating workplace stress and dissatisfaction, anti-depressant use, narcissism disorder data in relation to anxiety and panic disorders … the ominous list goes on.

“It’s time to stop living life for achievements, money, accolades and the validation of other people,” Eldad urges. “It is my hope that those locked in patterns causing anxiety and misery–and a life devoid of meaning, purpose, self-love and happy relationships–seek and find a trusted way to question themselves and find out who they really are and what their authentic path is, leading to genuine answers and clarity. First, you must admit and even embrace the notion that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know,’ which is to say that you have a few things left to learn, and then actively aspire to attain that knowledge and wisdom. In doing so, you may actualize profound happiness—the truest measure of success.”

DoorDash Acquires Square’s Caviar for $410M

Popular delivery service DoorDash announced on Thursday (Aug. 1) that it has brokered an agreement to acquire Caviar, Square’s restaurant delivery platform, according to a press release.

DoorDash will spend $410 million in cash and DoorDash preferred stock. The acquisition will create a company with lots of options and selections when it comes to restaurants and products. 

The deal is meant to bolster both companies’ commitment to specialized merchant selection and will add Caviar’s premium restaurants to the DoorDash platform. DoorDash said it will help to drive growth for these restaurants and cater to all food preferences and occasions. 

“Caviar’s complementary geographic footprint provides DoorDash with a significant number of new and unique customers, who will benefit from an even broader set of merchants,” DoorDash said in the release. 

DoorDash said it will take advantage of Caviar’s technology and team, which it says is “deeply passionate” about the complete restaurant delivery experience, from the merchants to customers and everyone in between. 

Caviar’s Gokul Rajaram will lead the team once the deal is finalized.

“Today’s announcement is another important step forward on our mission to empower local economies,” said Tony Xu, DoorDash CEO. “We have long admired Caviar, which has a coveted brand, an exceptional portfolio of premium restaurants and leading technology. The acquisition further enhances the breadth of our merchant selection, enabling us to offer customers even more choice when they order through DoorDash. We look forward to welcoming the Caviar team to DoorDash and expanding our partnership with Square in the future.”

The acquisition will grow an already existing partnership between the two companies, as DoorDash already uses Square for Restaurants point of sale.

“We are increasing our focus on and investment in our two large, growing ecosystems — one for businesses and one for individuals,” said Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square. “This transaction furthers that effort, and we believe partnering with DoorDash provides valuable and strategic opportunities for Square.”

This news originally appeared on PYMNTS.COM

10 Secret Things You Didn’t Know about opening your Next Restaurant!

Use these fascinating Tactics that can help you to open your Next Restaurant!

Image Courtesy : HubSpot

Ordermark raised $18 million for Restaurant Technology

All of Ordermark’s previous investors participated in the new round, including TenOneTen Ventures, Vertical Venture Partners, Mucker Capital, Act One Ventures, and Nosara Capital. The company will use the funds to continue to scale its growth, develop new products, and integrate with existing restaurant technologies.

“We created Ordermark to help my family’s restaurant adapt and thrive in the mobile delivery era, and then realized that as a company, we could help other restaurants experiencing the same challenges. We’ve been gratified to see positive results come in from our restaurant customers nationwide,” Alex Canter, Ordermark CEO and co-founder, said in a press release. “So we are thrilled to have the backing of Foundry Group to fuel our growth. We have some exciting innovations in the pipeline, and look forward to bringing them to restaurants everywhere.”

Ordermark helps restaurants work with multiple delivery platforms, working with thousands of customers including small, single-location restaurants as well as national chains.

“Foundry Group has a long history of investing in companies that glue together disparate systems over diverse platforms — and that’s exactly what Ordermark is doing in the restaurant industry: connecting third-party ordering solutions, point-of-sale systems, and other cool innovations to help restaurants consolidate, grow, and understand their delivery business,” said Chris Moody, Foundry Group partner. “We were initially introduced to Ordermark via three of our partner funds: Techstars Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, and TenOneTen Ventures. All three were incredibly excited about what the Ordermark team is building and the tremendous progress they’ve made since their Series A investment. The more we got to know Alex and the team, the more we realized what an incredible platform they’re building. Their products work in part because Alex is a fourth-generation restaurant owner and he and his team truly understand the needs of the restaurant industry.”

Ordermark plans to use the funds to integrate its service with existing restaurant technologies, including point-of-sale (POS) systems, kitchen display systems, accounting tools, last mile delivery companies and more.

“Ordermark has dramatically exceeded our expectations, and we are excited to continue supporting the business in this round,” said Ian Loizeaux, founding partner of Nosara Capital. “The team has grown even stronger and the product remains best-in-class with new innovations driving additional revenue opportunities for its loyal restaurant customers.”

How to Handle Just in Time Scheduling Challenge?

One of the most unnoticed labor trends in the past few decades has been the rise of “just-in-time scheduling,” the practice of scheduling workers’ shifts with little advance notice that are subject to cancellation hours before they are due to begin. Such scheduling practices mean that already low-wage workers often have fluctuating pay checks, leading them to rely on shady lenders or credit cards to make ends meet. Such consequences especially affect women and workers of color, who disproportionately fill these jobs.Source: Susan J. Lambert, Peter J. Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, “Schedule Unpredictability among Young Adult Workers in the US Labor Market: A National Snapshot,” July 2014 REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES.Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.

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New research from three University of Chicago professors, Susan J. Lambert, Peter J. Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, examines scheduling practices for young adults (26 to 32 years old). Many outlets have reported their finding that part-time workers face greater scheduling uncertainty than full-time workers: 39 percent of full-time workers report receiving hours one week or less before work, compared to 47 percent of part-time workers. But less attention has been paid to the race gap: 49 percent of blacks and 47 percent of Hispanics receive their hours with a week or less of notice, compared with 39 percent of white workers.

Non-white workers also report far less control over their hours. Lambert and her co-authors find that 47 percent of white workers have their hours set by their employer. By contrast, 55 percent of blacks and 58 percent of Latinos say their employer sets their hours. Only 10 percent of Latinos and 12 percent of blacks report being able to set their hours “freely” or “within limits,” while 18 percent of white workers do.Source: Susan J. Lambert, Peter J. Fugiel, and Julia R. Henly, “Schedule Unpredictability among Young Adult Workers in the US Labor Market: A National Snapshot,” July 2014

Hours vary widely from week to week for many of the young adults Lambert and her colleagues studied. They find that “among the 74 percent of hourly workers who report at least some fluctuation in weekly work hours … their weekly work hours varied from their usual hours by, on average, almost 50 percent during the course of the prior month.” Such large fluctuations in hours also indicate large fluctuations in wages, which make life difficult for an increasingly debt-burdened overall population.

In a previous study Lambert and Julia Henly also found that unpredictable schedules increase stress and often disrupt a worker’s family life. Using data from 21 stores across the U.S. they found that workers with unpredictable schedules reported more stress and conflict between work and family life. “Precarious scheduling practices are not isolated within a few organizations but rather reflect growing national and international trends,” they concluded. As the world becomes increasingly globalized and labor com-modified, employees will be treated more like “factors of production” and less like people. Rather than a few egregious corporations, such practices are increasingly the norm in low-wage and middle-wage industries.

Rising toll

Just-in-time scheduling is an increasingly prevalent practice in two of the fastest-growing and deeply unequal sectors of the economy: retail and service. Both sectors disproportionally employ women and people of color. It’s not a stretch to connect just-in-time scheduling to a broader war on women and workers which has been waged by the modern conservative movement.

Because most worker protections were passed before the influx of women into the workforce and were designed to exclude people of color, these groups are perfect targets for the anti-worker agenda. Because women and people of color are highly concentrated in low-wage service sector jobs (home health care, retailfast food) that only recently started unionizing, they are even more vulnerable. Congressional Republicans have opposed pay parity for women, early childhood education and paid parental leave. Recent decisions by the conservative Supreme Court havedecimated unions in the highly minority- and female-led home health care sector as well as prevented women from getting necessary health care through their employers.

Low wages and erratic work schedules take an obvious toll on working families and workers of color. But they also affect the general economy. Research suggests that lagging demand may be holding back the economy because low-wage workers can barely afford necessities. Few can follow President George W. Bush’s famous advice “go shopping more” or “go to Disney world“ and thereby stimulate the economy.

Scheduling abuse compounds this problem by making work and wages subject to erratic swings. Sociologist Nancy Cauthen writes that, “Many low-wage workers are expected to work the day shift one day and the night shift the next and/or to be available seven days a week.” Although the right likes to portray trickle-down economics as good for long-term growth, the literature suggests the opposite. By depriving workers of stable incomes, conservative policies actually stifle economic growth.

What’s more, if the goal of such employers is to increase profits, there’s good reason to curb these scheduling practices: Studies show that giving workers more control over their hours and their time actually increases productivity, while JIT scheduling increases turnover and decreases work satisfaction and loyalty. Managers, who are forced to juggle more workers, also work more hours.

The union movement — once a bulwark against the encroachment of employers — is still nascent in service and retail whereas it has deep roots in male-dominated sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing. The recent Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn, which struck down the requirement for home healthcare workers to pay “agency fees,” will only hold back unionization even further.

Federal protections for workers haven’t been expanded since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs and therefore haven’t adjusted to the rise of women in the workforce. These protections also effectively excluded people of color; for instance, farm labor (made up of Hispanics) is still exempt from many labor protections. Thus, the U.S. is one of the only countries that fails to mandate paid maternity leave. The result is that all but 5 percent of pregnant women in retail are denied paid maternity leave — which forces on them a devastating choice between their job and their own health and that of their child. Women who do have paid leave get it through employers, so such policies are concentrated at the top of the income distribution.

The result is that many employees must adjust their family time to meet the demands of customers and employees. While many conservatives, such as Ross Douthat and Ramesh Ponnuru, talk about the importance of family and the working class, few support commonsense worker protections and none supports unionization.

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Flexible or stable

The U.S. needs legislation to ensure guaranteed minimum weekly hours that will help regularize workers’ pay. Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) have introduced the Schedules That Work Act which would give workers the right to request a “flexible, predictable or stable” work schedule without retaliation. The bill stipulates that employers must detail upon employment the number of hours an employee can expect to work each week, and be given two-week notice before any scheduling change. The bill also requires that those who arrive at work only to find out there are no shifts available would be paid for four hours of work. Low-wage workers often travel long distances or pay for fuel only to arrive at work and be told they aren’t needed that day. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have sponsored a Senate version.

Although Republican intransigence will make federal action difficult, there are other options. Some states have taken the initiative and passed “reporting time pay laws,” which require payment for workers that report to work, even if they aren’t needed. A stronger union movement, especially in the retail and service sectors, can also provide a counterbalance to the power of corporations and stem rising inequality. Service-sector workers receive a $2.00 an hour wage bump when they unionize, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and are more likely to have health insurance and a pension plan.

Corporations should take note of the lower turnover and higher productivity that structured scheduling provides, just as social conservatives should look to the benefits for working families. Workers are taking to the streets, fed up with low pay and bad hours. The economy is hobbled by lack of demand. The push to laissez-faire, orchestrated by ideologues in D.C. is finally under siege by an inchoate mass of workers. As Karl Polanyi notes, the “laissez-faire economy was the product of deliberate state action,” but “subsequent restrictions on laissez-faire started in a spontaneous way. Laissez-faire was planned; planning was not.” Without these reforms, employers will continue to exploit low-wage workers, to the detriment of all.

This piece originally appeared on Al Jazeera.

Fascinating Restaurant Time Hacks That Can Help Your Business Grow

More than any other resource on the planet, time is our most finite. It’s the one we can never get more of, the measuring stick for our literal mortality. Time-saving measures, cutting through the nonsense and maximize our current existence are commonplace, at home, at work, and when at our leisure. We often call them “time hacks.”

For restaurant operators, this means finding ways to save effort in the front, and back-of-house operations; these hacks shave minutes off of every task. Before we get to the “how” of restaurant time-hacking, we need to talk about the “what.” What makes time, more than any other resource, a restaurant operator’s most valuable commodity.

Time is Money

The phrase “time is money” is a cliche, but it’s rooted in truth. For a restaurant operator, time wasted on preventable mistakes, on re-making botched orders or on inefficient snags, means squandering the opportunity for more orders. That means wasted money. 

In the bigger picture, protracted or wasted time can dampen the guest’s experience. They may see long wait times in the lobby or at the table. The lousy night out sours their perception of your business, and next time they’re making dinner plans, they opt for something else.

As restaurant operators, finding ways to save time in the restaurant workflow can yield big wins: You stand to make more profit, you create a simpler, more efficient workflow and the guests see it reflected in their seamless experience. 

So, knowing how vital time is to your bottom line, here are some simple ways to save it in your restaurant operations.

Use Restaurant Data

Before you can truly make improvements to your workflow, you need a way to measure your efficiency as it stands. Restaurant analytics is the practice of using technology, like a Kitchen Display System (KDS) or restaurant reservation and wait list software, to identify your restaurant’s metrics like average cook times, wait times, or speed of service data, to identify choke points or problems, i.e. places where these times swell. The benefit of using technology and real-time data is just that: it’s real-time, and predicated on your particular restaurant and all of its unique factors.

You can also use this technology to set personalized goals for improvement in your restaurant. Let’s say you manage multiple sites and you’ve got one that’s having a problem with orders “dying” in the expo window. You might decide to set a goal so that no order exceeds 2 minutes in that window. The reporting features in your software can show you how well you’re doing in hitting those goals, and when you aren’t, can help you pinpoint the problem to improve your efficiency

Perhaps on Thursday nights when those wait times swell, you can open up a second grill. Maybe you can do some staffing maneuvers to put more bandwidth in the kitchen. Bottom line: the best way to make time hacks to your restaurant operations, especially time-saving, is to examine the data and tweak from there. 

For even more time-hacking, operations and analytics tools can help you monitor this restaurant data, for one or multiple restaurant sites, on your phone. This saves you from having to be physically present in the restaurant, a time hack in itself. It also gives you a big picture window of how all your restaurants are doing, even when you’re not there. 

Kitchen Software over Paper Tickets

While the image of the smiling fry-cook, happily tacking tickets to counter is a warm and nostalgic one, it’s outdated. For one, paper tickets get greasy in the kitchen. They can fall off the wall, slip, and get lost. They might be challenging to read in the chaos of a busy night. 

A KDS has many benefits over paper, in that it takes all those variables out of the equation. Integrated with your point-of-sale (POS) system, it automatically receives a customer’s order as they come in. Sending it straight to the kitchen with automated precision, nothing gets lost in the handoff. Furthermore, a KDS will log all this data for later should you need access to a previous order. Digging through a stack of slimy tickets might be your only strategy if you’re using paper.

Training and Onboarding

There’s no question that restaurant staff turnover plagues the industry. With such consistency, these disruptions become a logistical mess for operators. They must scramble to train new staff up to the restaurant’s standards and account for holes in the workforce when an employee leaves.

While an operator can’t turn the systemic tide of restaurant turnover, they can minimize the blows as they hit their restaurant. A straightforward way is to enact a consistent and robust employee manual that you maintain regularly. Having an on boarding plan in place will make the process that much quicker, and will help ensure that everyone who comes in, receives the same instruction.

Another way to cut down on the sting of employee staff turnover is by employing software like a recipe viewer into your kitchen. This technology acts as a digital recipe book. It provides image and picture instructions for your menu, which your staff can access in the heat of the moment. This technology helps ensure consistency across sites and a safety net for new and seasoned chefs.

Marketing and Web Presence 

The modern restaurant landscape is crowded. In it, concepts of every shape, size, and demographic vying for the fattest slice of real-estate. Restaurant operators may know the importance of marketing to advertise their restaurant. It’s no secret nowadays. They may also feel overwhelmed at the prospect of what it entails. Their crowded workloads only compound the process.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to hire a marketing team as the principles are relatively simple. By creating a reliable restaurant website, and utilizing the basic tenets of SEO, you can ensure your restaurant comes up in web-searches by the customers most likely to choose your restaurant. A simple listing in Google My Business also helps get your restaurant front and center.

For those with the time, a social media profile, coupled with a content scheduling software (like Hootsuite), can be a channel for you to communicate directly with customers and can work without you even having to be on the website. By front-loading the content and scheduling it to go out at designated times, you can create a steady stream of communication online. These time hacks creates the illusion that you’re doing it daily, without carving time out to create content.

Pay-at-the-table and The Simplified Guest Experience

Finding ways to save time in the front-of-house, on the floor, can be tricky. You certainly don’t want to rush customers through their meal, so that you can seat more. However, emerging technologies, like pay-at-the-table, help shave minutes off the process, shaking up the old model. Traditionally, the server would take the cash or cards back, swipe them, and brings back the receipt. These technologies help alleviate security concerns a customer might have in relinquishing their card to be taken out of sight. Now they can pay immediately without the server’s help, and it generally speeds up the process.

Not only does it help you seat more guests, but it makes things more pleasant for them. They can leave once they receive the bill! You eliminate that awkward second trip for the server.

The Incremental Hinges

Ultimately, finding time hacks in your restaurant comes down to pinpointing critical places in your workflow, and making changes that help you save small bits of time, incrementally. These small time hacks add up throughout the night, and over weeks, months and years, create big yields for improvement on your end as well. 

Fall In Love With UK Restaurant Trends

Since the start of 2019 consumers have seen a number of growing restaurant trends in the UK, with vegan and vegetarian meals being one of the most popular among diners. CBD-infused foods are also seeing an increase in demand in restaurants. The country is ever more aware of the amount of food that is wasted and the effect food and packaging has on the planet, and more people dining at home instead of eating out at restaurants.

Since the start of 2019 consumers have seen a number of growing restaurant trends in the UK, with vegan and vegetarian meals being one of the most popular among diners. CBD-infused foods are also seeing an increase in demand in restaurants. The country is ever more aware of the amount of food that is wasted and the effect food and packaging has on the planet, and more people dining at home instead of eating out at restaurants.

Verdict Foodservice looks at some of the fastest-growing restaurant trends hitting UK restaurants.

Plant-based dining

There has been a growing demand for plant-based foods in restaurants in the UK, with a quarter of UK diners eating no meat or fish in their meals as more people associate a vegetarian diet with health, fitness and well-being.

Many restaurants and fast-food chains are jumping on the plant-based wave and offering customers meat-free alternatives, for example, fast food chain Burger King brought the Impossible Whopper in the UK earlier this year.

American-themed restaurant TGI Fridays added the ‘bleeding’ vegan burger in January of this year, and as By Chloe is using crispy tofu as a fish alternative.

Tackling food waste

More than 500,000 tonnes of food is wasted in restaurants, pubs hotels and quick service restaurants in the UK, the equivalent of almost one billion average plates of food. More restaurants across the UK are taking on initiatives to crack down on food waste to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.

Some of the establishments doing this are Greene King, the first pub company to pledge to send zero waste to landfill by 2020; removing 30 million plastic straws from use each year as well as reducing food waste from carvery meals across the country.

CBD-infused foods

Research by The Grocer reveals that a third of consumers in the UK would buy CBD-infused food and drink, and the Cannabis Trades Association UK found that the number of cannabidiol consumers doubled from 125,000 in 2017 to 250,000 in 2018.

International frozen dessert chain Yogoland serves a hemp matcha frozen yoghurt made from hemp plant containing 40% CBD oil. London-based Plant Hub has many items on its menu that contain CBD-infused food, including granola energy bars, salted peanuts, banana bread and coconut-flavoured biscuits.

Online delivery

According to market research organisation NPD, consumer spend on restaurant food delivery could grow by 10% in 2019 to reach £5bn.

More people are now eating at home and online delivery services such as Deliveroo are extending their delivery services to a wider range of foodservice establishments. The UK-based online food delivery service is giving consumers more of an excuse to stay indoors to enjoy their favourite meals instead of going out to eat.

More restaurants and fast-food chains are becoming aware of the increase for home delivery, with establishments such as Nando’s and Zizzi offering customers food prepared in their restaurants that can be eaten at home.

Blue Planet effect

BBC One’s Blue Planet showed consumers the effect plastic is having on the environment, with Waitrose & Partner’s research suggesting that 88% of people who watched the documentary changed their behaviour towards single-use plastic consumption.

Restaurants across the UK are now becoming more environmentally aware with many of them stopping the use of plastic straws in their restaurants. Fast food chain McDonald’s wants to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the UK, and global coffeehouse chain Starbucks has committed to eliminating single-use plastic straws by introducing straw-less lids globally by 2020.

How To Turn VOICE ORDERING Into Success: Which You’re Not Quite Using Yet!

“Hey Alexa – I want to order a pizza.” 

Restaurant voice ordering is the newest customer engagement channel available to restaurants. If you thought online ordering was big, voice ordering will rock your world. Though still in its infancy, voice ordering via at-home smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home has introduced restaurant patrons with an even more convenient, on-demand ordering experience than we previously thought possible.  

Once the technology has reached its full potential, voice ordering will bring convenience to a whole new level: Diners will have the ability to see (and hear) menu items through Google Home or Alexa. 

While personal assistant voice shopping is starting to take off, restaurant voice ordering is still a relatively untapped technology. Right now, only the country’s biggest chains, such as Domino’s, Denny’s, Dunkin’, and Pizza Hut, are taking advantage of this technology. While 74.2 million Americans use smart speakers every month and 62% of speaker owners have bought items through voice commerce, only 7.9% of people use smart speakers for food and beverage shopping, according to Mastercard’s presentation at the 2019 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. 

Voice Ordering: The Next Frontier in Restaurant Ordering Technology

Voice ordering has great potential within the restaurant industry, even though some of the kinks are still being worked out. 

The Obstacles of Voice Ordering: Discoverability and Retention

Sean Johnson is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and VC at Chicago Consulting Company Digital Intent. He has some thoughts on the drawbacks of voice ordering. According to Johnson, two reasons more diners are not using restaurant voice ordering is the retention and discoverability of the technology itself. 

Johnson says voice ordering has less discoverability than traditional phone apps because a habit loop of advertisements is missing. Since Alexa is unable to constantly ping you with ads, it’s difficult to generate repeat users. 

“If you think about the user experience of voice,” Johnson says, “it doesn’t lend itself to ordering from a typical menu, which has 50-100 items on it. Listing all of those items would be incredibly tedious, and memorizing the menu isn’t an option.” 

It’s still easier for consumers to place an order from a Facebook messenger app while looking at a menu. And until digital consumer behavior changes, the restaurant industry will not change, explains Li-ran Navon, founder and CEO of Say2eat, a restaurant delivery service leading the convenience revolution (and they’re a Toast partner).

The company knows quite a bit about the future of online ordering, as their product allows restaurants to use social media, messaging, and voice to communicate directly with guests, collect data, and make the experience easy and fun for all. The company’s mission is to deliver the ultimate restaurant guest experience for the digital era. 

“Say2eat started from my own problem,” says Navon. “I called a restaurant during rush hour and waited for five minutes on the line. To place my order, I had to give them all my credit card information, my phone number, and my address for just one item. It took so much time to say what I need, so I thought, why not just ‘Say2Eat.’ To be able to say what you want to eat and just get it instantly.”

“For a personal assistant like Amazon’s Alexa, the problem is not the restaurant industry; the problem is the digital consumer behavior. People are using it for very simple things currently. So until the digital consumer behavior changes, the restaurant industry will not change. Reordering will be first as opposed to complete orders,” Navon says. 

Some companies, such as Domino’s, have overcome this obstacle by implementing the reordering option. The pizza chain currently has a feature that can save a default order from your existing account, where users can simply say, “Alexa, order a pizza from Dominos,” and have their favorite dish delivered. 

For restaurant voice ordering to secure its spot in the future, two things need to happen. First, restaurant technology will need to connect with the reordering capabilities that lend themselves to the voice order to implement a change in consumer behavior. Then, once you can examine how many people are using voice for their orders, you will be able to enhance the discoverability of voice products. 

The Benefits of Voice Ordering for Diners: Convenience and Option Value

In the United States, consumers check their phones 200 times a day, on average. Mobile users spend 90% of their time on messaging and social media. Turning these users into voice ordering customers would make it possible to begin the voice reordering process for independent restaurants. 

“If you think about voice, the input and the output is equal. The amount of words you say is the exact same amount of words you can listen to,” Navon says. “If we use voice orders in combination with pictures and text, the experience is going to be convenient, fast, and easy.”

Despite the obstacles, voice shopping via at-home smart speakers is projected to reach $40 million in revenue by 2022. Even five years from now, digital consumer behavior is likely to change along with the restaurant industry. The ability of digital personal assistants to process language and understand a faster dialogue will advance, as well as combining voice ordering with a screen. 

“We believe that once we’re able to convert these users to reordering with voice, it will create an omnichannel experience that will drive more business for the restaurants. The most important people are the end users because they are the ones placing the orders. If the channel makes sense for the end user, the technology will drive more business for individual restaurants,” Navon says.

Voice ordering is also likely to gather more users through drive-through ordering and phone reservations, which already has what Navon described as an already “captive audience.” The idea of searching for and ordering food through Google Home or Alexa is exciting, but to implement these changes, restaurants will first have to develop and build out alternate channels to accommodate the expensive and more advanced technology. 

Voice Ordering for the Independent Restaurant: Possibilities to Consider

As the voice ordering technology advances, independent restaurants have an opportunity to increase their revenue through the addition of text and pictures. Photos of food naturally entice a consumer more than words alone, so the addition of pictures on a Google Home or an Alexa is more likely to hook a first time user. 

Although many of the companies currently using voice ordering have not released their metrics for the emerging technology, Forbes reported in September that mobile ordering now accounts for 13% of Starbucks’ total transactions. With reordering capabilities through major chains beginning to launch, and mobile ordering becoming commonplace, voice ordering in the independent restaurant industry can’t be far behind. 

“I think voice ordering is going to evolve cross-industry, not just for the restaurant industry, but the restaurant industry is likely going to be one of the leaders,” Navon says. 

Although the technology is still evolving, voice ordering through Alexa and Google Home is unlikely to be a passing fad for consumers, and the restaurant industry is beginning to pay attention to the possibilities. 

GEN Z : High-touch Preferences of Digital Natives, Almost Instantly!

Why is it, that members of Gen Z seem to want to party like it’s 1999? After all, they’re the tech-savvy digital natives who’ve never seen a payphone. They’re the generational cohort born between 1997 and 2012 that the Pew Research Center has dubbed “Post MILLENNIAL,” which makes me wonder how to account for the following:

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Gen Z still prefers shopping in stores vs. using their laptops. It states that 55% of Gen Z women and 40% of Gen Z men like shopping the old-fashioned way, and two-thirds of them do so for fun at least once a month.
  • An app called Huji Cam, which makes photographic images look old-school and grainy, as if they’d been shot by a disposable camera, has been downloaded more than 16 million times by teens who want their photos to look less staged and more authentic. New York magazine tut-tutted about its fake vintage imagery and noted that the time stamp in the bottom right can be set to today’s date in 1998. Which, by my reckoning, is before most of its users were born.
  • Last December the Chicago Tribune asked the rhetorical question “Why are Christmas cards still a thing?”— opining that the reason sales of greeting cards have remained fairly stable at around 6.5 billion per year is that they offer users a “tactile connection.” 

And speaking of tactile, there’s Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. Printed on newspaper stock and using goofy-cute retro images to promote specials like the current Coconut Cold Brew Concentrate, it is described by company execs as a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine. I grab my copy in store, but many enthusiasts receive it by mail; and I’m talking about the U.S. Postal Service here, Bret, not a digital mailbox. 

  • Then there’s the study cited recently in Specialty Food News that says traditional television continues to exert the strongest influence on purchasing behavior, with 56% of consumers noting TV as their key source of awareness about goods and services. This data exists cheek by jowl with reams of research testifying to the enduring popularity of paper coupons and catalogs. 

We probably shouldn’t be surprised by this back-to-the-future behavior, since we’ve been talking for some time about the necessity of high-touch initiatives to offset restaurateurs’high-tech experiments. This is what all of the factoids above have in common, I believe: They represent a familiar, hands-on connection between buyer and seller in reaction to encroaching digitization. 

Isn’t this the true driving force behind the continued growth of fast-casual operations? Their make-to-order-in-front-of-the-customer model is precisely in tune with connection-craving customers. It’s the coffee-making baristas, ice-cream-shop scoopers and pizza-dough spinners who create a tangible bond between brand and patron. 

These transactions are happening even as invading hordes of robotic pizzamakers and burger flippers are advancing upon us, and it raises some obvious questions.  When and under what circumstances will patrons find them acceptable, and what will the operator need to do to make them so? And I wonder, Bret, if you’ve seen any outstanding examples of the touchy-feely, throwback marketing ploys that consumers, especially younger ones, seem to desire? 

Not sure that young people go to fast-casual restaurants for a tactile, personal experience. Think the rise of that segment — which is exaggerated, anyway, as it only accounted for around 19% of sales among the 200 largest chains in 2018, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 data (12% if you don’t include Starbucks) — has more to do with the growing desire of consumers to customize everything in their lives. Think they line up, or, increasingly, place online orders, for those malleable meals because of the ever-changing dietary restrictions they place on themselves.

Many fast-casual chains evolved in the current environment of allergy-prone, gluten-avoiding flexitarian diners and are programmed to respond to their requests. Their customers want what they want when they want it, but I don’t think they’re expecting a bonding experience with the salad maker at Sweetgreen, the bean scooper at Qdoba or the pizzaiolo at MOD Pizza.

For that you have restaurants that offer more than food and drinks. That includes “eatertainment” concepts such as Dave & Buster’s and Punch Bowl Social, as well as the growing number of craft brewery tap rooms that lure customers with the romance of eating and drinking where their beer is made. 

Those restaurants provide space for youngsters to spend time with their friends, or for them to identify with a restaurant’s personality, giving them “high-touch” experiences, to borrow from your terminology.

As an aside, despise the term Gen Z. It makes them sound like the last generation we’ll ever have, or possibly zombies.

As you know, they got the name because they’re two generations behind my own demographic, Gen X, a generation that was given such short shrift that we were never even given a proper name. The Baby Boomers just put an X over us, declared us an irrelevant mystery and went on to their own children, the Millennials.

Members of Gen Z — prefer iGen, because they don’t remember a world before the iPod, or Digital Native which is less brand-specific — seem to be markedly different from Millennials. I Have to admit I have a bias in favor of them, because, although I don’t have children of my own, they’re my nieces and nephew and the offspring of my friends. Unlike Baby Boomers and Millennials, we were never the dominant force in contemporary culture and we acquired a certain humility, or at the very least a bit less narcissism, than our elders and youngsters. I think maybe we passed that on to our kids.

“Millennials are about the selfie; Gen Z is about the story.”  

That has to do in part with how social media has evolved in recent years, from quick bursts of microblogging on Twitter and Facebook to the more involved video and graphic montages that migrated from Snapchat to Instagram (and thence I believe to Tik Tok, although I’m too old to know for sure), but it also has to do with a more pronounced communal engagement. 

Maybe because they’ve had all human knowledge at their fingertips since practically the day they were born — one of my Digital Native niece’s first words was “pooter,” for “computer” — they’ve taken the time to dig deeper and understand things better. 

There’s no novelty in electronics for them, but IRL (“in real life”) shopping, hand-written cards and tactile things like knitting, which is increasingly popular, or those fidget spinners from a couple of years ago, seem to really strike a chord, just like they do for you and me (Okay, I never really got fidget spinners).

That means for restaurateurs is that they should avoid thinking of Digital Natives, or Millennials for that matter, as a different and inscrutable life form, and instead follow the Golden Rule and treat them as they’d like to be treated. The digital bells and whistles are now just a part of doing business, but I’m thankful that it looks like the human touch will never go out of style.

Turn your QSR Managers Satisfied with Order Ahead from Zero to Hero

As Small Business (SMB) Week kicks off, small business owners are generally optimistic about the future. A majority (54.0 percent) expect revenue increases, a slightly higher number than felt the same enthusiasm this time last year.

How does this translate to the restaurant industry?

Though big names make the headlines, not all QSRs are McDonald’s or Taco Bell. PYMNTS Restaurant Readiness Index has took a look at innovation adoption among QSRs, by business size, in the, a Bypass and Bank of America Merchant Services collaboration.

From drive-ins to drive-thrus to behind-the-scenes streamlining, QSRs have always embraced innovation. However, in the Restaurant Readiness Index, the average restaurant score was 38.7 on a scale of zero to 100.

Speed is the leading reason that QSRs innovate (77.4 percent), while 62.4 percent cited convenience. Both of these factors play into improving the customer experience, which was the motivation for innovation among three-fourths (74.4 percent) of operators.

QSR managers and customers had different opinions on the importance of select features, though. For future success, customers say features that ensure the accuracy of orders are the most important (88.1 percent), while managers (80.3 percent) mostly agreed. The biggest gap (44.4 percent) concerned the importance of self-serve kiosks. Nearly three-fourths of QSR customers thought they were important compared to only 29.5 percent of managers. Online or app ordering also had more enthusiasm from customers than managers.

Managers and customers also didn’t see eye-to-eye about ordering methods. Managers put more faith in traditional ordering methods, like at the counter in-store and at a drive-thru, while customers are more satisfied ordering through apps, either branded or third-party.

QSRs’ offering of ordering and payment methods depends on the size of the chain. Small QSRs were far less likely to have a mobile app for ordering (30.7 percent) compared to medium or large QSRs. Counterintuitively, small QSRs were more likely to offer ordering via third-party apps (31.7 percent) than medium or large QSRs. The higher tendency to partner with a third party is likely because of the lack of their own apps.

For instance, Auntie Anne’s doesn’t enable mobile ordering on its own app, but does through DoorDash. Shake Shack has its own sales-boosting mobile app, but still partners with DoorDash. Even niche players like food trucks, the ultimate small business, have options like QuickByte to offer mobile ordering to customers.

Large chains are also far more likely to accept mobile wallet payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay as compared to smaller chains. Nearly half (49 percent) of large QSRs allow payment within their app, while 31.2 percent of medium chains and only 21.8 percent of small chains do.

Small chains have the highest number of customers ordering and picking up in the same location (66.3 percent), while drive-thrus are the most commonly used at large QSRs (40.3 percent), which are also more likely to offer them.

Satisfaction was high among managers and customers at small QSRs for in-store ordering and pickup. Small QSR managers were very satisfied with in-store fast pick up where customers might order ahead and skip the line: 91.4 percent cited satisfaction, higher than the satisfaction levels among large QSR managers (85.1 percent), as well as customers of small QSRs (46.2 percent). This is a reflection of long lines being a pain point particular to small QSRs.

Innovations like mobile ordering and payment apps have tangible benefits for customers, but not all innovations are readily apparent. Kitchen automation systems (KAS) facilitate the order fulfillment process so workers can readily see orders on a tablet or mobile device.

Over one-third (36.0 percent) of QSRs in the study had already implemented such a system, with small QSRs having a lower rate of implementation (33.7 percent). Reducing order time was the leading reason that small QSRs (41.7 percent) implemented a KAS. But more than half (51.9 percent) cited satisfaction with their current system as to why they hadn’t implemented a KAS. Larger chains were more likely to cite expense as a barrier.

In the study, even large national QSRs had varying levels of KAS implementation. Burger King had the highest adoption rate (64 percent), while Subway had the lowest (10 percent).

Just 4.2 percent of small QSRs considered lower costs as a benefit for adopting KAS technology. Despite positive outlook among small businesses, generally, small QSRs are still hesitant to invest in technology with an uncertain return on investment.

UBER Is Bound To Make Starbucks delivery an Impact Across US

Up until now, the Starbucks Delivers program had only been in a test phase, available in 11 select markets including Miami, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, Houston and Dallas.

Starbucks has announced plans to make Starbucks Delivers available throughout the U.S. in early 2020.

The coffee giant is continuing its partnership with Uber Eats to expand after launching an 11-market rollout last year.

“We are driven to create new and unique digital experiences that are meaningful, valuable and convenient for our customers,” Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks, said in a press release. “Partnering with Uber Eats helps us take another step towards bringing Starbucks to customers wherever they are.”

Through its agreement with Uber Eats, the companies will work on innovation and technology integration while continuing to focus on delivery packaging, in-store operations, and a quick order-to-door delivery window.

About 95% of the Starbucks menu will be available through the mobile delivery app, excluding items with foam like macchiatos and cappuccinos, which the company said don’t hold up well during the delivery process.

Along with being the preferred delivery partner, Uber Eats will also collaborate with Starbucks on delivery technology and innovation, the company said.

“Our customers are huge Starbucks fans and love being able to get their favorite items delivered with Uber Eats speed,” said Jason Droege, vice president of Uber Everything. “We’re excited to expand our partnership across the United States to make ordering their favorite coffee and breakfast sandwich as easy as requesting a ride.”

Customers can place their Starbucks order via the Uber Eats mobile app on iOS and Android devices, and even follow their order’s progress within the app. Starbucks has also developed packaging to help ensure the quality of hot and cold menu items.

The service was first tested out in Miami, and although not all drinks are available for delivery, Starbucks noticed that customers make larger orders when they get their drinks delivered. “We’re seeing an expanded ticket. And that average ticket is what we need to see happen as we approach delivery,” said CEO Kevin Johnson at the time.

Starbucks already has a successful delivery service in China, delivering in 17 cities in the country in 1,100 stores after launching in September in Shanghai and Beijing. With more than 3,000 stores already in operation in the country, another 2,000 are slated to open by 2021.

What Is Restaurant Table Turn Over and How Does It Work?

formal table setting

In the eatery business, table turnover rate is precarious to ace: you need to situate however many gatherings per feast administration as could be allowed, yet you would prefer not to make your clients feel surged or overlooked. Most easygoing eateries intend to turn each table multiple times all through a supper administration, or once consistently and a half. While this sounds basic enough, it tends to be hard to accomplish when no doubt about it “campers,” or burger joints who keep on remaining situated at their tables long after they’ve paid their checks. This kind of client can contrarily affect a café’s course through rate, which at last brings down benefit. To help expand table turnover in your café without appearing to be unwelcoming, make certain to pursue a portion of our tips beneath.

Fine Dining Vs. Casual Dining

Perhaps the greatest factor to consider before putting any of the tips beneath without hesitation is whether you claim an easygoing or high end foundation. While most easygoing eateries center around higher course through rates, white tablecloth organizations are increasingly worried about client experience. If it’s not too much trouble note that the majority of these tips apply for the most part to easygoing eating foundations, however they can in any case be adjusted and utilized in your high end café to expand table turnover rates.

1. Have an Organized Seating System

One approach to amplify table turnover is to have a sorted out seating and reservation framework. With the end goal for this to occur, there must be extraordinary correspondence among servers and hosts. When a server gathers the check and flag the busser to begin tidying up tables, they should caution the hosts that their table will open up in all respects in no time. This will enable the host to assemble the following party in line and have them prepared to be situated very quickly. The sooner has can get clients to their tables, the less time those tables will sit void. To help improve your seating framework and get clients situated all the more rapidly, pursue a portion of the tips underneath:

  • Pre-dole out tables to visitors holding up in line, so when they open up, visitors can be situated.
  • Have a holding up region close to the host or leader stand, so has can without much of a stretch discover clients when they’re prepared to be situated.
  • There’s nothing more regrettable than considering a gathering’s name on various occasions, just to discover they’re holding up outside.
  • Acknowledge just stroll in clients, so you don’t host to manage no-show gatherings who reserved a spot.

2. Keep Your Serving Staff On Schedule

fine dining server

Another way to keep each party’s dining experience around the one and a half hour mark is to keep your serving staff on schedule. If a server doesn’t show up to a table right away, they’ve already added time to that table’s occupancy. Even worse, nothing’s more aggravating for hungry customers than waiting a long time for their server to come over and introduce themselves, let alone take their orders. We’ve provided some tips below that will help keep your staff on schedule throughout the entire meal:

  • Take drink orders immediately, and bring out water promptly.
  • Ask guests if they’ve dined at the restaurant before. If not, go over some menu highlights. Then, you can simply go over the specials.
  • If a large party is seated, consider having more than one server assigned to the table.
  • Clear off plates as guests finish their meals rather than waiting until they’ve left.
  • Assign more than one busser per table to get the remaining dishes cleared quickly.
  • Keep pre-rolled silverware and clean dishes ready, so tables can be reset quickly.
  • Drop the check off before customers have to ask for it. By placing the check on the table as guests are finishing up their dessert, they won’t have to wait and flag you down when they’re ready.
  • If customers continue to stick around long after their check has been paid, and there’s a long line of waiting customers, it is okay to politely ask them to continue their conversations at the bar, so you can seat another party with reservations.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage

Although paying the check signals the end of a meal, it’s oftentimes a lengthy task. Servers have to collect credit cards, run them back to the register, print out receipts, and deliver them back to the table. This doesn’t even include the time-consuming tasks of splitting the check at the last minute or using gift cards. Even after you’ve delivered the receipts to the tables, customers still tend to take their time writing out their tips and chitchatting. To help expedite this process, consider investing in a mobile POS system, like Ziosk or Square, if it’s within your business’s budget. By using upgraded technology devices, servers can run credit cards and complete checks right at the table in front of their customers or let customers pay when they’re ready to leave.

4. Update Your Dining Room

restaurant patio seating

If your restaurant is really struggling with turning tables, then consider rearranging your restaurant. Placing tables and chairs in the center of the dining room, away from corners and walls, will encourage customers to eat more quickly. Since the middle of the room is often the busiest and most hectic spot in the restaurant, guests will naturally eat faster. Additionally, patrons tend to linger for a longer period of time if they’re seated on furniture that’s anchored to the ground, like booths. It could be beneficial to seat small parties at smaller tables and chairs rather than in booths. It’s important to note that this is most common in casual restaurants where people are paying for quick service and convenience.

Another update you can make to your dining room is changing its interior color scheme. Bright colors, like red, yellow, orange, and green, raise an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure. This excites them and subconsciously encourages them to eat faster, which results in quicker turnover rates. To adjust your establishment’s color scheme, consider painting the walls a vibrant shade, using bold upholstery, adding pictures and accent pieces, or serving meals on brightly-colored dinnerware.

5. Make Your Menu More Compact

While many restaurant owners believe that offering a larger menu will make customers’ decisions easier, it actually makes them more difficult. When individuals are given an overload of choices, it stresses them out and takes them longer to find something they like. Instead, offer a smaller menu that includes only your most popular options. Feel free to switch up the menu with the seasons or offer three unique specials every week. The point is, the quicker your guests decide what they want, the faster their orders will be put in. This leads to shorter dining times and higher flow-through rates.

By making simple changes to the routines of your servers and hosts, or by updating your dining room layout or menu, you’ll be able to get customers in out and the door in a timely fashion without making them feel rushed or unwanted.

Restaurant News: STARBUCKS FIRST EXPRESS Store in China

Starbucks Corp. continues to push its coffee delivery and retail presence in China with the opening of the company’s first express café — known as Starbucks Now — in Beijing, China that focuses on Starbucks mobile order and pay and delivery customers.

The express café format will also act as a dispatch center for nearby delivery orders, while all Starbucks Now and Starbucks Delivers orders will be placed in secure “pickup portals” along the wall so that customers and couriers can more easily find and pick up their orders.

this new retail format and design approach provides us with a platform to offer customers a fast and convenient retail experience to suit their on-the-go lifestyle.

Image Courtesy : NRN

As Starbucks continues to focus its international efforts on the China markets, the Seattle-based company has been struggling to capture consistent traffic and reported a 1% decline in same-store transactions in China in the second quarter ended March 31.

In order to keep up with quickly growing mobile and delivery-forward competitors in China like Luckin Coffee, which filed in April for a U.S. initial public offering, Starbucks has launched several initiative, including delivery in partnership with Alibaba, which was announced in 2018, and the use of ghost or cloud kitchens — delivery-only kitchens that are not attached to a restaurant — a collaboration with Alibaba and Hema supermarkets.

The minimalist store design of the mobile-forward Starbucks Now locations allows for one or two baristas to monitor both walk-in and order-ahead orders, with only a few stools for seating and little of the hustle and bustle of the typical Starbucks store format. A central kitchen will handle all beverage and food orders during peak hours.

Launch of the first Starbucks Now-store marks the latest milestone in the company’s continued efforts to bring its digital experiences for customers in China through unique and convenient store formats. The company plans to open new Starbucks Now-stores across high-traffic areas including business and transportation hubs as well as to new cities in China.

Toronto owner of Jack’s Family Restaurants sells chain

Toronto-based Onex Corp. said it was selling its stake in Jack’s Family Restaurants Inc. to an undisclosed buyer in a deal that will close at the end of the third quarter. 

Onex bought the Birmingham, Ala.-based quick-service hamburger chain in 2015 for $234 million. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Onex said it is more than tripling its investment in the Southeastern chain founded in 1960.

“Over the course of our investment, Jack’s significantly accelerated its growth and brought its differentiated concept, high-quality food and exceptional customer service to new communities across the southern U.S.,” said Matt Ross, a managing director of Onex, in a statement. 

Ross thanked Jack’s CEO Todd Bartmess and his management team for being great partners to Onex.  “We wish them continued growth and success in the future,” Ross said.

Bartmess said Onex has given the regional chain the support to “invest in our people, technology and the growth of our brand.”

“They were steadfast in their commitment to the Jack’s family and the high standards we set.  We’re grateful for Onex’ partnership over the years,” the CEO said in a statement.

Jack’s ranked No. 111 in the most recent Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 census with an estimated $402.8 million in U.S. systemwide sales for this fiscal year ended December 2018, up 7.7% from $374.1 million in 2017. It ended 2018 with 162 units, up from 147 in 2017.  The company’s restaurants are in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia.  

NRN research suggested that Jack’s restaurants have average annual sales per unit of about $2.6 million.

A Battersby Chef Is Back With Lamb Ribs and Roasted Lobster

Dover and Battersby, opened in 2011 and 2013 respectively, were two spots that you’d point to as models for the style of new Brooklyn neighborhood restaurants that’s since become almost standard. Run by the chefs Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, they were ambitious but (especially Battersby) small places. After Dover closed in 2017, Ogrodnek skipped town (remaining an owner of Battersby until it, too, closed) and, he says, took a bunch of time off and traveled. He stayed off the kitchen grid until September of last year, when it was announced that he’d taken his career in a new but not uncommon direction: as the chef-partner in a new hotel’s all-day café. Called Floret and located in Atelier Ace’s Sister City on the Bowery, it opened in June for breakfast and lunch and tomorrow will expand to dinner, completing the all-day circle.

“I didn’t really see myself working for, doing a restaurant in hotel,” Ogrodnek says. “It was something I never imagined doing. With Battersby and Dover, I kind of fell in love with the small neighborhood restaurant.”

At Floret, he’s serving a different kind of clientele — people who live on and around the Bowery, sure, but also those visiting for business, family, and fun — and working with a new partner. He serves as the culinary partner — “I’m kind of culinary development lead, I suppose you would call it,” he says — working with the executive chef Andrew Whitcomb on developing dishes, putting the menu together, and training staff. Whitcomb is a less familiar name to New Yorkers, but he has worked for some of the country’s best chefs: He was the chef de cuisine of Dominique Crenn’s Petit Crenn, cooked at Ken Oringer’s Earth at Hidden Pond, and was the executive chef at Claus Meyer and Fredrik Berselius’s now-closed Norman.

The date, pistachio, and almond cigars with honey whipped cream. Photo: Grub Street

Their menu takes an agnostic approach to ingredients and cuisines, serving hamachi crudo with cucumber-melon gazpacho alongside Japanese eggplant with crispy shallots and palm sugar for appetizers. You’ll find some starches like heirloom beans with garlic pistou, and the entrées run the gamut from roasted lobster with ginger, chili, and lime to veal breast with morels and vin jaune to lamb ribs with cucumber-yogurt and mint. There are only three desserts, but the approach is still applied: You can order your chocolate budino with coffee ice cream and have your date, pistachio, and almond cigars, too.

“The menu is definitely international. It’s a question I get asked a lot, and I think is a valid question. ‘What kind of cuisine would you say this is?’ I don’t really know how to answer that question,” Ogrodnek says. “I just think it’s modern. Everything is so easily accessible that we just have the options to do so many different types of cuisines.”

The restaurant has a full bar, including a nice selection of beer (Cigar CityRadebergerKCBC) and cocktails like the Roman Highball, made with amaro, ginger, and lime. It’s also significantly larger than any restaurant that Ogrodnek has run before. There are 186 seats total, with most of them in the dining room that, with its mix dark wood tables, tile floor, and scattered plants, blend old and new nicely. An outdoor space looks and like it could lead to a garden just around the corner, and there’s a private dining room for ten, should you have reason to celebrate.

The Japanese eggplant with crispy shallots, peanuts, palm sugar, and mint. Photo: Grub Street

A crispy whole dorade with grilled summer beans, sesame, sambal, and lime that’s meant for two or one very hungry person. Photo: Grub Street

Chilled peekytoe crab with avocado, scallion, green apple, and lemon. Photo: Grub Street

The Rolls Royce cocktail with gin, sweet and dry vermouth, and Benedictine. Photo: Grub Street

Inside! Photo: Grub Street

And out! Photo: Grub Street

Del Taco Makes Summer a Bit Sweeter With Introduction of $1 Mini Floats

Company Celebrates National Drive-Thru Day on July 24 with FREE Mini Floats for Guests Through the Del Taco App

Del Taco Makes Summer a Bit Sweeter With Introduction of $1 Mini Floats

Del Taco Restaurants, Inc. (NASDAQ: TACO), the nation’s second leading Mexican quick service restaurant,* today announced a sweet product introduction to help guests beat the summer heat. Only a buck each, Del Taco’s Mini Floats will launch nationwide on July 24, National Drive-Thru Day. To celebrate the fun holiday, guests can get a FREE Mini Float all day with any purchase when presenting the coupon in their Del Taco app at check-out.**

Crafted with a combination of Del Taco’s premium Vanilla Shake and a choice of Cherry Coke®, Barq’s® Root Beer, Hi-C® Flashin’ Fruit Punch, Coca-Cola® or Fanta® Orange, Mini Floats are an indulgent treat at a price that only Del Taco can offer.

“With Mini Floats, we’re thrilled to give our guests another uniquely Del Taco way to beat the heat this summer,” said Barry Westrum, Del Taco’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Classic floats are synonymous with summertime, and we’re thrilled to now offer 12 different dollar beverages, including these new, fun and timely drinks.”

Along with Mini Floats, Del Taco’s dollar drink menu is full of guest-favorite offerings, including Real Strawberry Lemonade, Prima Java Iced Coffee (Value Size), 30-Ounce Gold Peak® Brewed Iced Tea and Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Shakes.**

Guests who crave even more value can download The Del App, available on the App (iOS) and Google Play (Android) stores, and will receive a coupon for any taco free,*** as well as other special offers delivered to their mobile device every week.

*By number of units

**Price and participation may vary by location. 
***Limit one sign-up offer per device. Registration required to access deals. Price and participation may vary.

About Del Taco Restaurants, Inc.

Del Taco (NASDAQ: TACO) offers a unique variety of both Mexican and American favorites such as burritos and fries, prepared fresh in every restaurant’s working kitchen with the value and convenience of a drive-thru. Del Taco’s menu items taste better because they are made with quality ingredients like fresh grilled chicken and carne asada steak, hand-sliced avocado, hand-grated cheddar cheese, slow-cooked beans made from scratch, and creamy Queso Blanco.

The brand’s campaign, Celebrating the Hardest Working Hands in Fast Food, further communicates Del Taco’s commitment to restaurant-level team members that provide guests with the best quality and value for their money through cooking, chopping, shredding and grilling menu items from scratch. Founded in 1964, today Del Taco serves more than three million guests each week at its more than 580 restaurants across 14 states. For more information, visit

5 Ways You Can Reinvent Business Data into Business Insights

When you’re running a business that’s growing, it can be hard to have a complete view of your financial picture and overall performance. As you grow and add customers, suppliers and product lines, you need access to the information that matters most to your business. Every member of your team needs an accurate, timely look at what’s most important for their unique role.

01. Put Information to Work.

Knowledge is power. Put real-time, role-relevant information into your team’s hands and they’ll make quick, confident, forward looking decisions for your business.

02. Transform big data into your next big idea.

Turn years of facts and figures – from sales performance to individual transactions – into insight you can easily analyze. Then use it to spot trends and make accurate projections about inventory levels, staffing requirements, or future product trends for years to come.

03. Get BI on the fly

In today’s connected world, work doesn’t happen only in the office. Being productive means having the ability to create, share, and collaborate from virtually anywhere. Get mobile, with access to your data and applications regardless of where you need to be.

04. Connect your people, your processes and your systems

When your calendar, email, and business management solution all work together and data is transferred seamlessly across them you have the ability to deliver the customer experiences that set you apart from your competition.

05. Put the power of the cloud to work for your business

Take the burden out of business intelligence. Use the power of the cloud to choose where you want information, and who you want to access it – then enjoy the flexibility and savings that come along with it.

With a business intelligence platform every get the ability to analyze and manage a massive amount of data. This lets your team do real analysis on years of financial history, sales figures, cost structures, customer information, inventory levels and other business data and make sound projections about what you can expect in the weeks, months and years to come.

Your data is no good if it’s lying dormant on a server somewhere. These platforms lets you get at it and get into it, so you can create the big ideas that make Big Data such a big deal.

The cloud’s promises of accessibility for users and reduced IT workload are more than just marketing speak. They’re real benefits, even for small and mid-sized business. But you have to find the model that makes sense for the data security, storage and ROI needs of your business. If you want to move your business intelligence, financial management and productivity tools to the cloud, great; if you prefer to use a hybrid approach and host only a portion of your solution, super; or if you’re all ready to go all-in.

The reality here is that your approach to the cloud needs to match your business and help determine what makes most sense today and what will set you up best for tomorrow.

Your Key To Success: Millennial with Table Ordering Systems.

Millennial— presently the biggest eatery client section in the U.S. — have an inclination for directing retail and eatery exchanges without addressing a live individual — utilizing a tabletop requesting framework, for instance.

It is likely established in them being the original to grow up with the web and become early adopters of cell phones, which have ingrained the desire that they ought to have the option to get what they need alone time, and immediately.

As opposed to considering this to be an obstruction, canny eateries are transforming this inclination into a positive and grasping more youthful eatery visitors by introducing café tablet requesting frameworks and table-top checkout choices.

Tabletop requesting frameworks put the ball in the visitor’s hands

Keep in mind the thing we just said about twenty to thirty year olds hoping to get what they need individually time? That is one of the elements at the core of the push towards tabletop requesting frameworks and checkouts. A few burger joints need to plunk down, promptly peruse the alternatives, and put in a request as fast as could be expected under the circumstances.

A lot of others want to jump into a discussion and take as much time as necessary without stressing that a server will intrude on them like clockwork to inquire as to whether they’re prepared. In any circumstance, utilizing innovation to give these visitors a chance to make their own feasting timetable is an alluring suggestion.

Eateries are finding subordinate advantages of tablet frameworks

As an eatery proprietor, your essential purpose behind introducing a tablet requesting framework or utilizing any innovation ought to consistently be to make an incentive for your visitors. Yet, that doesn’t imply that the framework shouldn’t have other quantifiable advantages for the organization too.

Café organizations are giving close consideration not exclusively to how these tablets influence the visitor experience, yet in addition what effects they may have on their incomes, expenses, and activities.

Applebee’s, which presently utilizes tabletop requesting frameworks in all of its U.S. areas, says over 70% of their visitors use them during their visit. Outback Steakhouse, in the interim, asserts that their sweet deals have ascended by 30% because of their eatery tablet requesting framework, and a few different chains have detailed higher in general tickets when they are being used.

Table-top innovation is never a substitute for administration

Obviously, most burger joints (particularly more youthful ones) are available to using tabletop requesting frameworks and tabletop checkout frameworks in eateries, and organizations can utilize them as a piece of their in general computerized innovation technique to draw in visitors in various ways.

Pioneers must recollect that this sort of eatery innovation is an instrument to upgrade the administration experience, yet it will never be a swap for a set up and powerful administration culture all through the business. A tabletop requesting framework and different developments can be utilized to draw in twenty to thirty year old, however there is no proof so far to propose that burger joints will forfeit the characteristics they ordinarily ask for from an eating knowledge — well disposed administration and reliable sustenance quality — for innovation.

Fascinating RESTAURANT’S MOBILE FRIENDLY Tactics That Can Help Your Business Grow

Smartphones and tablets are changing the way we live our lives. And, this on-hand technology has changed the way people find restaurants. Have you ever wondered how many customers use mobile devices to find restaurants, and more specifically, your restaurant?

According to the latest study from SinglePlatform and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, restaurants are the most searched industry by consumers through both mobile applications and browsers.

The study, compiled through the feedback from 1,497 consumers who own a smartphone, found that 81% of consumers have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app and 92% through a web browser in the last six months, outperforming other highly searched industries, such as entertainment, retail outlets, hotels, and personal services.

Further, 75% say they often choose a restaurant to dine at based on those search results.

This means your customers are mobile and actively looking. It is up to you to meet consumers halfway and optimize your website for mobile users and search engines.

Here are some more takeaways from that study that all restaurateurs need to know, especially in this digital age:

  • iPhone owners are more likely to search for a restaurant than other smart phone owners.
  • 80% of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before they dine at a restaurant
  • 70% of consumers think it is important to be able to read the menu of a restaurant on a mobile device
  • 62% of consumers are less likely to choose a restaurant if they can’t read the menu on a mobile device
  • 84% of consumers are likely to look at more than one restaurant before choosing where to dine.

So what is this telling us?

Users want an easy and seamless experience when they are in the Evaluation stage of the decision making process.

Apptizer Apps
  • Customers want to be able to find the menu and view it without trouble.
  • They want to be able to find the address and phone number without having to search the entire site.
  • If ready, they want to make a reservation or place an order right then and there.

What can your restaurant do to meet these needs?

  1. Set up and ‘own’ your business listing on ALL search engines. This includes the big ones like Google and Bing, but also Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Open Table and many more. This will ensure that your business information is properly indexed and able to be found by people searching for your restaurants information.
  2. Make your website and it’s files mobile-friendly. We cannot stress this enough. We are in 2019 people; customers of ALL ages have cell phones or mobile devices and are actively searching. Put yourself in their shoes: if you find a website on your phone and it’s a crappy experience, you leave and never come back. That business is seen as less in your eyes. The same thing happens when users find your site and it doesn’t render or function properly.
  3. Allow for mobile reservations or orders.

We hope these facts and tips have inspired you to take a look at your own mobile experiences. Our world is increasingly more mobile and more things are being done on phones. Isn’t it time restaurants catch up?

Serious about updating your Order Ahead Application? Check out the best Food Ordering Application Available to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!

RESTAURANT APP CUT FOOD COSTS: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!

What can restaurant industry application do to help you reduce your food cost? It used to be a spreadsheet geek, and think that’s what made creating a specialized restaurant industry application for independent operators so much fun – there’s no need to be a spreadsheet geek! Now you can use software to document and automate your restaurant systems. This puts controls in place that allow you to make adjustments to save money and it saves you time so you can focus on other ways to save in the restaurant.

Why restaurant industry software saves you money

Spreadsheets are a great step into systems. But once you get going with them and your team is running systems in the restaurant, spreadsheets are too cumbersome to keep up with. They become out of date quickly and take too much time to update.

And this is coming from a spreadsheet geek. You loved making spreadsheets and really mastered the formulas. But as soon as prices changed on inventories, everything was wrong. And as much as you were a spreadsheet geek, you didn’t have hours upon hours to manually update spreadsheets.

That is when you decided software was the answer.

What can restaurant industry software do for you in your restaurant to reduce food cost? Here are five ways it helps you cut food cost:

  1. Recipe costing cards and menu engineering – easily document the processes and procedures and amounts an product, but also know the cost of each recipe. This information is used in the menu mix to find out your ideal food cost is or re-engineer your menu to reduce your food cost 3-7 points the first time.
  2. Application helps you with budgeting. Don’t give your checkbook over to your managers to throw money at a problem, instead make them stop and find the problem. An application provides this path.
  3. If you know your order history and you’ve projected your sales, you can use automatic par levels to tell you exactly how many cases of French fries you need to order to make sure you’re on budget and never run out. This means anyone can place an order, and you’re not dependent on the one person who has been doing it the last couple of years.
  4. Shelf-to-sheet inventory – order your shelves with how you want your inventory counted. This way you have inventory every week in under an hour – not three to four hours like on a spreadsheet. And there isn’t an issue with the volume miscounts. Accurate inventories mean immediate cost of goods sold.
  5. Key item reports and waste sheets ensure you reduce and prevent theft. Find a problem today and fix it today.

All of these culminate in what your food cost is, what your budgeted is and what your actual is. This information – easily made available through restaurant industry application – allows you to make proactive changes in your business.

Self-Ordering Kiosks, Elevating Your Customer Experience!

Sponsored by Apptizer

Today Kiosks increase in popularity in a wide range of vertical markets. Retailers of all types, as well as quick service restaurants, airports, hospitality, parking lots, casinos, and other places with high foot traffic are implementing kiosks for their businesses.

Apptizer’s Kiosk gives a stress-free self-ordering experience to customers and staff. The kiosk engage customers with a convenient and efficient ordering, buying or check-in process. Currently, kiosks have been a powerful and a smart up-sell engine that drives incremental sales for every guest.

Kiosks help customers to complete a task at their own convenience and pace, making no errors. What a kiosk brings is the ability for users to take complete control in a fully immersive and interactive experience.

Regardless of the business size, most businesses face a problem of having limited staff members to focus on providing customers with the best experience, while juggling the other activities. With the addition of a self-ordering kiosk, even a short staffed team can easily streamline their tasks that take up most of the time and let customers handle their own orders.

Kiosks are meant to save time, so it’s just perfect for industries that dubs itself as “quick service”. That’s why familiar names like McDonalds’s and Panera Bread are spending millions of dollars to roll out kiosks in their stores.

“Panera claims 60 percent of lunchtime transactions are completed on touch-screen kiosks at one bustling, Boston-area store near Fenway Park. That same 60 percent is what some of the savviest fast-food restaurants do daily out of their drive-thru windows”. (Kiosk Industry,2016)

Kiosks are absolutely perfect for the smartphone-toting millennials, who like nothing better than to take charge of their orders.

Top 7 Must-have Features You will Find on Apptizer’s Kiosk.

1. A sleek and easy to use interface- the least tech savvy customers can also get around with this and would enjoy the digital experience.

2. Seamless configuration to a printer and preferred payment processor on the kiosk.

3. Customized order- Prompts for extra add-ons which can increase the average check size of a customer.

4. A simple language and clear illustrations- helps any user with understand their way through.

5. Supports multi-language – staff do not have to worry about communicating or assisting the customer.

6. Easily integrates to Smart POS systems- Orders can be received and managed through the smart POS.

All these and many more features are available with Apptizer Kiosks! Try out the Free Trial yourself to experience it yourself: They want every retail SMB, Quick Serve Restaurants to elevate the customer experience with attractive, large-scale imagery, tappable buttons, dynamic checkout process and many more.

They’re here to help you and guide you throughout.

Learn more here

Call them on +1.650.242.9992 or email if you are looking for an opportunity.

About Apptizer Inc.

Apptizer Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company specializing in order-ahead storefront app-building technology that empowers mom-and-pop retailers, restaurants and SMBs to leverage mobile and kiosk channels to drive more sales, enhance the customer experience and increase loyalty, attract new patrons, speed up service and cut down on errors through high-quality digital storefronts that customers access from mobile or kiosks devices.

Mobile/kiosk apps can be created on Apptizer’s website. Apptizer is also available on CloverPoynt ,Verifone Carbon and Elo Touch.

For more information about order-ahead app creation made easy, please visit or follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

About GrubHub Investigation You Need To Know

A New York City council member wants an antitrust investigation into GrubHub. The news, reported by the New York Post, comes after another report that the platform created tens of thousands of fake websites for restaurants in order to drive up commissions. In addition, New York’s Liquor Authority is working on new rules that will eat away at the ability of services like GrubHub to charge upwards of ten percent for online ordering and delivery.

Mark Gjonaj, who heads the city council’s Committee on Small Business, wants New York Attorney Letitia James to open the investigation. In a letter dated July 2, he says that it might be time for James to look at the terms of the 2013 settlement agreement that allowed GrubHub to acquire then-competitor Seamless. Gjonaj went on to say that he does “believe that GrubHub’s outsized market share and heavy-handed tactics could lead to artificially reduced competition,” resulting in higher commissions paid by small businesses.

In June, as the Post reports, an antitrust lawyer testified that GrubHub controls as much as 69 percent of the online-ordering market. GrubHub responded to the paper’s questions with a statement, denying any competition-reducing conduct and arguing “we face intense competition in New York City and throughout the country.”

Why Behind The Design of Restaurants Succeeds?

It was nearly two decades ago when Food Trends was founded by a European father-daughter team. Having grown up hosting friends and family around the dinner table, it was inevitable that they dreamed of starting a business doing what they knew best. What began as a vision of a family business has now expanded onto its third generation and is proud to be Certified Woman Owned & Operated.

Whether it is an intimate dinner or conference for over 2,000 participants, Food Trends Executive Management team is now led by son David Moskowicz. Food Trends offers menu design, staffing, rentals, venue, décor, and fresh ingredients from local vendors. The company’s growth led to a need to expand its food prep capacity so Moskowicz set his sights on finding the right facility to support that growth.

Here’s the Total Food Service inside look at the approach of the Economy Restaurant Supply design team as it helps expand one of Manhattan’s best caterers.

David Moskowicz, President, Food Trends, NYC

Michael Konzelman, Partner, Economy Paper and
Restaurant Supply, Clif
ton, NJ

David Moskowicz’s Approach:

Business has been booming for our Manhattan-based catering so much so that we needed an entirely new facility to be able to support our ongoing growth. Over the past two decades the company we have become is a premier catering provider in New York City. We are so proud of what we have built and the relationships that we have created with our customers. It really started with my mother’s vision. But the goal for our company is to get to the next level to be on the same page as high-end catering names like Abigail Kirsch and Neuman’s Kitchen.

When I got my degree in accounting and finance, at Lehigh University, I went to work in banking. After graduation I was never supposed to work in the family business, despite lending a hand and learning the ins and outs at a very young age. After a year, I knew that I could take many of those skills I had untried in college and bring them to our family business. My Mom had a handle on the menus and the quality of our food.

So I saw an opportunity with complimentary skills to create an entirely new automated inventory system that would enable us to grow. It has taken almost three years to find the right software and then to load our extensive inventory of SKU’s into the system.

At the same time, we had to begin to balance the ability to grow and the cost of locating that infrastructure. With a five story building in Manhattan, we maximized every single inch that we had. That included installing shelving that suspended from the ceilings and a table or shelf in every inch of workable space. We wanted to keep the entire production facility in New York, but it just didn’t make sense.

So clearly in order to balance growth and maintain quality, we began looking outside of the City. We found the perfect space in Little Ferry, New Jersey. In addition to the expansion of food production capacity, the addition of the Little Ferry facility has given us the opportunity to step back and enhance our customer’s experience.

The experience I’m trying to create in New Jersey, is one that’s ‘a one-stop shop’. Let’s say you’re a bride, we want to be able to manage the entire event creation process.

We want to first educate them on not only food, but on venues, entertainment and flowers. That would include providing different price ranges and options without overloading them.

So when we began working with Michael Konzelman and Economy, we showed him the 5,000 square feet of raw space and shared our vision. What we like about Mike and Economy is that they sell a solution where he’ll sketch out what he thinks is a great solution for a kitchen, taking into consideration your input. This includes multiple menu price ranges in which we offer several different standardized items that can also be customized with anything including special requests.

We got on the same page very quickly. Mike knew that our goal was consistency. He took the time to look at what we had done in Manhattan and then created a plan to build on that. His approach was to accomplish that with the right mix of technology. So he helped us select ovens, fryers, ranges, and griddles that make prep work easier and consistently.

Mike suggested a game changer for us: the use of Rational Combi ovens to enable us to standardize cooking times and more. We also needed two large ranges so that we maintained our flexibility.

I can’t say enough about how Mike and the Economy team created the right flow within such a large kitchen space. Our goal was to create a facility that eliminated walking. Because when you have such a large kitchen, you don’t want people walking back and forth. So the goal was to create stations for the culinary and prep team that maximized productivity and consistency.

We are thrilled with the new Little Ferry kitchen. With the New Jersey facility now up and running, we are ready to add new business in both New York and New Jersey. Most importantly, we now have a production facility that will lock in the excellent service we are known for. So whether it’s an intimate dinner or conference for more than 2,000 participants, we can accomplish our goal of treating each client as if they are “family.”

Food Trends Catering Economy Paper

Michael Konzelman’s Approach:

Food Trends has a unique challenge that we wish for all of our customers. They have built a wildly successful business in Manhattan. The result of the growth is that they simply needed more space to expand kitchen production capacity to be able to keep up with the demand. They had heard that Economy had built a number of catering kitchens in New Jersey.

They made the decision that in order to be able to grow the business, they would need to leave Manhattan. David and his team chose New Jersey for its access to the City. They had heard that Economy had built a number of catering kitchens in New Jersey. So that’s what brought us together. From the work we have done at venues in New Jersey, we have extensive experience in building and expanding bulk cooking kitchen facilities. Over the last 87 years, Economy has touched most of the best venues operating today.

Our approach to giving them the firepower they needed was to create a kitchen based around the very highest quality equipment. There’s simply too much at stake on a daily basis. So our strategy was based around a flow that includes the use of Rational combi ovens. There’s a reason why Rational just shipped their 10,000th unit, it works great. We’ve been with them from the very beginning. I know when we spec that oven that we can build a menu and the Rational unit will consistently deliver a high-quality product. So, we have utilized six stacks of the Rational combis to handle the demand.

The key to using this technology is understanding that it’s all about moisture. The very same moisture that combi cooking and re-therming delivers both consistent flavor and savings. You simply can’t reheat product, it dries out food. It’s not uncommon with the prep of steamship roast to generate savings of an additional two full roasts from every ten that a caterer is preparing. You do the math over a year of functions and it adds up.

The next step was to build out extensive counter and rack space so that we could quick chill product coming out of the ovens. This enabled the prep team to easily wrap and package product.

As we looked at Food Trends menu, we could see that a key component was high volume frying. David joined Economy at the NRA show in Chicago last year to look at everything available. We both agreed that the Ultrafryer was the perfect solution for the new facility. He loved the Ultrafryer technology that tells the team when it is time to change oil and to clean the unit. It’s clearly head and shoulders above any technology on the market today.

The next step in getting this right was the selection of the right walk-in boxes to support such a large production facility. So again, as we shopped the shows, we found new technology from Master-Bilt. They now build a box that features the ability to minimize the down time on the defrosting of their coils. The master controller creates a reverse cycle that is very energy efficient. We utilized four of those Master Bilt walk-ins with 50’ x 20’ footprints to give us the redundancy we needed.

One of our focuses as we look at moving this amount of food back into Manhattan is food safety. So, we are utilizing Cambro’s line of Camcarts to move everything safely to Food Trend’s customers. They are fully insulated throughout to hold and transport food safely and they don’t require any electricity. Cambro fits our goal of maintaining the integrity of the food we are moving and the units don’t rust or corrode like metal carts.

We are proud of our ability to listen to the needs of our clients. They told us that donuts have become a trendy feature for many of their client’s events. We showed them how the purchase of a Belshaw donut unit could create amazing donuts and pay for itself in a very short window. Look we know in the marketplace today that customers can buy equipment in many places. But the little things like buying a simple donut machine that has the potential to pay for the entire kitchen can make a difference.

David is one of the real visionaries that we have come across. So, the key to building this facility was to give him a design that could serve his needs now and have the capacity to grow with his creative vision.

The team at Economy takes the time to listen to the customer and bring their 87 years of experience together to design and build the facility tailored to that customers’ needs.

Number of Reasons You Should (Do) Employee Influence For Business

Does your business have an employee advocacy program in place to help amplify your digital marketing efforts?

Really, you only need to think about your own social media behaviors in this regard. Are you more likely to stop and read a post from a brand, or someone you know who works for that company?

Underlining this, the team from DSMN8 have put together the below collection of stats and insights which highlight the benefits of employee advocacy for boosting your digital marketing efforts. 

Again, if you’ve not considered the potential of an employee advocacy program, maybe these stats will prompt a re-think.

(Note: LinkedIn’s most recent stats show that it now has more than 600 million members which does not directly equate to active users).

Why Ignoring demand for Online Ordering and POS Will Cost You Time and Sales

In today’s shifting restaurant scene, it takes more than great food, fantastic service and a cool atmosphere to gain an edge — you also need to have the right technology to keep up with changing customer preferences. Restaurants increasingly see the value in boosting the customer experience by using the latest point-of-sale (POS) technology as a hub for online ordering, mobile payments, digital receipts and loyalty programs.

That’s the message food service and restaurant industry professionals delivered recently through a TD Bank survey at the International Restaurant & Food Service Show of New York. Just more than half of respondents (52%) predict online ordering will have the biggest impact on payments in their industry over the next two years, yet 57% say they don’t currently offer it.

Younger, tech-dependent patrons increasingly expect dining establishments to use POS technology to make ordering and food delivery faster and the overall experience more enjoyable. Meanwhile, more restaurant owners and managers believe POS solutions will help them improve customer loyalty, increase sales revenues and stay competitive.

Establishments that forego this technology — or adopt piecemeal solutions that offer sub-standard or disconnected features — run the risk of falling behind competitors and losing customers. Fortunately, resources are available to help them find the best POS technology solutions for their businesses.

Technology-savvy customers have high expectations

Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, fast becoming the driving force behind restaurant revenues according to a recent National Restaurant Association report, are accustomed to accessing things they want and need quickly, and usually on their phones (but not via a phone call). Consequently, they’ll seek out shopping, entertainment and dining options that provide these benefits through seamless online ordering and payment technology, making premium POS solutions a necessity.

For restaurants, that means outfitting themselves with the kind of POS solutions that offer features that are most in demand. Almost three-quarters of survey respondents (74%) identify mobile payment acceptance as the POS feature with which they’re most familiar. In addition, mobile payments rank as the most appealing feature of POS systems, 66% of respondents say, followed by digital receipts (52%) and loyalty programs (36%).

Providing the solutions

Running loyalty and rewards programs are an easy way to create repeat customers. And technology can help make introducing these programs more palatable for restaurant owners.

Most of this year’s survey respondents (71%) say they do not offer any type of rewards or loyalty program, even though this year’s respondents identified it as the third most appealing POS feature. One year earlier more than half of those polled agreed rewards programs would help their businesses. Furthermore, fewer than half of survey respondents (49%) say they currently use a POS system that offers additional services such as data capture and payroll functionality.

Restaurants can turn to a merchant solutions provider to help them reconcile this dichotomy of customer demand and lack of supporting technology. Merchant solutions providers specialize in POS technology and can help businesses evaluate different products and features and decide what works best for them.

Your waiter will be with you shortly

When it comes to POS technology, merchant solutions providers offer a wealth of services and products that go beyond a card swipe and address the latest data and payments trends. Popular choices include app-based systems that work on multiple devices.

A tablet-based device, for instance, can be a good starting point for managing reservations, staff scheduling or rewards programs. Linking to a cloud-based system instead of relying on hardware makes this solution more adaptable to whatever technology comes next.

Getting more specific, POS solutions now come with a host of convenient features that restaurants should consider. Depending on their operation, restaurants should look for systems that let them:

  • Assign waitstaff and transfer orders between servers
  • Build a customized floor plan
  • Manage table turnover by monitoring open tables and seat guests more rapidly
  • Modify orders with detailed descriptors
  • Send orders to the kitchen as soon as they’re placed
  • Split bills to customers’ specifications
  • Offer guests credit, debit, contactless or mobile payment options
  • Launch promotional campaigns
  • Receive feedback directly
  • Offer and accept gift cards
  • Manage a full loyalty program

Today, leveraging emerging technologies to set up loyalty programs, online ordering capabilities and mobile payment solutions is fast becoming a necessity. These tools help restaurants meet customer expectations, particularly among younger patrons. Savvy restaurateurs should look to merchant solutions providers for a one-stop shop to help them stay abreast of these rapidly advancing industry trends.

Bringing restaurant leaders together


October 13-15, 2019 | Austin, TX


Now in its 14th year, the Fast Casual Executive Summit is a unique opportunity for everyone involved. Much more than “just another trade show,” it’s a chance for restaurant executives to get together in a casual work setting and learn from one another. Interactive sessions delve deep into topics that are on the minds of restaurant leaders today, and the Summit’s format allows the collective wisdom “in the room” to be distilled into concrete, actionable ideas that attendees take home with them.

This exclusive event is reserved for top-level restaurant executives — leaders and innovators of the fast casual industry. We bring together an experienced group of restaurant professionals whose common interests and concerns are brought to the table for open discussion in a fun and relaxing environment.


AI’s power to simplify, magnify QSR digital marketing

For more than a decade, Fortune 500 companies have harnessed AI’s phenomenal power to increase the effectiveness and overall ease of implementation of their digital marketing initiatives. But for smaller entities, like many QSRs, this tool and its many manifestations has only been truly accessible in recent years. As a result, many QSR leaders still maintain a “hands-off approach” to the tool, considering AI to simply be one of those buzzwords or abstract concepts that has no real application in their business. 

But, whether AI’s perceived complexity or other unknowns are holding your brand back from taking a closer look at this tool, rest assured that it’s not as tough to grasp as it may seem and that by acquiring even a basic understanding of it, brands can soon find ways to put AI to use to elevate digital marketing efforts in ways that drive more diners in to rack more sales up. 

Toward that end, here are four ways QSRs can use AI for digital marketing:

Automated advertising

The world of digital marketing is complex and for a marketing manager overseeing hundreds of restaurants or a local owner running the day-to-day operations, there’s simply no time to do all the heavy lifting required to run the most effective campaign. Human analysis and optimization of digital marketing campaign, which should ideally occurs several times daily, are time-consuming and costly. 

But marketers are using AI and machine learning tools like those of my company to help automate advertising, so managers can focus on daily business functions instead of social media marketing campaigns and the budget allocations for them. In fact, since machine learning deploys 24/7 algorithmic-based optimization that work toward a QSR’s marketing objectives, a sizable competitive advantage is already established. For instance, one brand that we recently worked with to implement machine learning reported its usual seven-day turnaround for digital marketing creative was cut to just 107 seconds. 

Predictive customer behavior

New technology has hit the market that can predict what consumers will buy with an incredibly high level of accuracy by using data and deep learning, a subset of AI, to predict what consumers will do and how they’ll do it. The easiest way to think of this technology in action is when you log in to Netflix or Amazon and are served with suggested shows to watch or products to buy. 

If you’ve ever felt like these services “know” you, well, that’s AI at work. As technology continues to advance, brands will slowly get rid of the “customer profile” they’ve been using to market and instead hone in on each specific customer and his or her habits to better serve them and drive revenue. 

Ordering via voice search

With the growth of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, several national brands have incorporated voice-activated ordering. Domino’s was an early adopter in 2014 with the launch of its virtual, voice-ordering technology “Dom” and Wingstop partnered with Alexa in 2017 to make ordering easier. While voice-ordering is still in its infancy — bringing in only about $2 billion annually now, OC&C Strategy Consultants is quoted as saying that will jump to $40 billion in 2022.


If you’ve ever visited a website where a small chat function appears on your screen asking something simple like, “How can I help you today?” or if you’ve ever asked Siri where the nearest Dunkin’ is, you’ve interacted with a chatbot. Chatbots use AI systems that act as customer service representatives. Users interact with chatbots via voice or text, much as they would do with a human. 

Chatbot developers create scripts of potential customer scenarios, which are then programmed to create a software application. Chatbots can provide on-demand responses to common questions, which can save brands time and money and even lead to higher customer satisfaction. In fact, business solutions review platform, G2, said that by 2020, 85% of consumer interactions will be handled without a human.

What’s next?

The focus on AI has produced significant growth in the tech segment over the last five years, with computers now powerful enough to handle sophisticated models that can solve new and different approaches to problems. While no one knows what AI’s effect on our society will be in the long term, we can all agree it is and will be disruptive. With this in mind, brands that take advantage of its applications early on are well-positioned to get and stay ahead of the competition and earn market share.

Sonic provides a new way to ‘drink’ at the drive-in

Drinking at the drive-in get a new interpretation at Sonic this summer, where the QSR is introducing a new trio of Mocktail Slushes, including Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Reaper Spicy Margarita. In fact, they’ve even got a happy hour from 2 to 4 p.m. when they’re all available for half price, a news release said. 

Sonic considers the star of this particular alcohol-free show to be the Reaper Spicy Margarita, which it says is infused with “flavor” from one of the world’s hottest chili peppers, the renowned Carolina Reaper, which despite the ice surrounding it the brand promises will still set those who partake on fire. 

For the tamer — and maybe saner — the Strawberry Daiquiri combines strawberries and coconut flavor, while the Piña Colada goes full-on tropical with coconut and pineapple flavor — all, of course, slush-ified. 

“With Mocktail Slushes, we captured that summertime mocktail state of mind, combining tropical flavors with our icy, cold Slush so you can enjoy vacation vibes from the comfort of your car,” Sonic Vice President of Product Innovation and Development Scott Uehlein, said in the release. 

The LTO slushes are available now at the chain’s 3,600 locations, though the brand did not provide an end date for the items.

4 Key Clues To The Future Of Facebook’s Libra

It’s been a little over two weeks since we all got our first look at Libra and Calibra. No doubt there will be countless news stories to come, and opinions on why it will or will not fly. Here are the things I will be watching for over the coming months, things that I think provide a useful framework for understanding how Libra and Calibra’s future takes shape:

How many of the 28 Founding Association Members will pony up $10 million to remain members.

A point of enormous confusion in the press is what the 27 non-Facebook companies have agreed to do at this point. That agreement, as outlined in a Letter of Intent, is to show up at meetings to help shape Libra’s governance, charter and mission. That’s it. No money exchanges hands until those meetings have happened and everyone agrees to what “it” is. Among other things, that will depend on what it means to be an Association Member.

Whether being an Association Member requires an agreement to validate and process transactions on the Libra network.

The Facebook Libra whitepaper states that Association Members must agree to operate as validators on the network. For many regulated, compliant global players like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, that could come as a big ask, particularly since it means saying yes to processing transactions that use the Libra cryptocurrency.

Given the regulators’ antipathy toward cryptocurrency, that could be problematic. Things could change if regulators give Libra the green light, but the light right now seems firmly stuck on red.

What isn’t helping – and I am sure that Facebook has had this same thought – is bitcoin’s surge post-Libra’s launch. If I were Facebook, I’m not sure I’d be thrilled to be positioned as the catalyst for bringing bitcoin and all of its big-time baggage back from the depths of demise. I’m not sure that many of the current players who’ve agreed to take a seat at the table like that much either.  For sure, it just muddies the context with which regulators may look at Libra.

So, the big development to watch here is whether there will be tiers of membership that allow members to listen, observe and vote if they don’t want to participate as part of the network from a processing standpoint. To most of these players, ten million bucks is chump change, and worth the investment in keeping close tabs on what’s going on.

Who the other 72 Association Founding Members will be.

Facebook has stated they will remain actively involved with Libra throughout the remainder of 2019 in order to recruit other Association Founding Members. The goal is to hit 100 – and their $1 billion threshold for funding Libra and creating a reserve for the Libra currency. (Ten million dollars times 100 members equals $1 billion.)

In theory, as I mentioned in my initial piece, creating an Association to govern Libra isn’t a nutty idea – it is the same structure and governance the card networks used to start and ignite their global networks.

But there are two big differences.

Visa and Mastercard didn’t, as part of the ask, require banks to do business using a fake currency. Further, all of the members had similar interests, operating principles, regulatory constructs and shared goals.

The only way Libra has a shot at becoming anything close to a global payments network is to make sure its membership checks that box, too, so the governance reflects the input of like-minded players. That seems like it could represent a massive challenge today, given that the network and the currency are comingled – and one can’t exist without the other.

If regulators can’t see past the red light of crypto, and membership requires transacting on the Facebook network, that is likely to keep global banks out. It will, however, attract the zillions of crypto enthusiasts and crypto payments gateways who now view Libra as a path to their own legitimacy. Having a disproportionate number of those folks at the table increases the risk that the Association and Libra will evolve into a rogue set of alt payments rails run by people who have been waiting a decade for this big break.  That would not be a good development for Libra.

Whether Libra can get past all of this in a relevant time frame.

For Libra to ignite, everything has to change, and for everyone: regulators, networks, banks, merchants, acquirers, consumers, businesses, governments. And in every single country on the planet. And all at once. I can’t think of anything that has ever tried to do this and succeeded, in a time frame that is relevant to anyone. Particularly when the only way to launch a new currency is to have central banks say yes and governments mandate its use.

Today, that is a material concern for Facebook and Libra. Time is an important currency, and given the pace of technology and the global scale that payments already enjoys, it poses more of a threat to Facebook than Libra does to those it hopes to serve, and disrupt.

Consumers and merchants have many other options and will continue to deepen those relationships. Banks and networks have their own traction, operating at scale globally, and with a focus on financial inclusion, in a compliant and regulated way, and without Facebook’s reputational and regulatory baggage. Regulators today have zero incentive to rush their decision about regulating crypto, not just Facebook’s Libra. And given their current attitude toward Facebook, they have no real incentive to cut the social network much of a break.

Time is an important currency for investors who, two years ago, were already impatient for Messenger’s monetization strategy, and were then told to be patient. For Libra and Calibra, their monetization strategy involves a potentially decades-long wait, laced with the uncertainty and expense of getting both off the ground and at scale. It’s hard to understand why, with Facebook’s many other issues, they decided on a payments monetization strategy that comes with so much controversy, so much complexity and has little chance of success when other viable options were available to them.

It’s more likely that Libra and Calibra will become Messenger’s monetization strategy, but for Facebook and about Facebook. The 2020 version of Facebook Credits, but using the magic elixir of blockchain crypto rails instead inside of their own ecosystem.

Even without an ignition strategy, that will likely end the very same way.

How Real-Time Payments Are Changing Businesses Pay Out Tips

From making restaurant reservations to ordering meals, a growing share of U.S. consumers are using smartphones as part of their dining experiences. In turn, restaurants are fast embracing mobile payments as they look to deliver on the speed and convenience their customers have come to expect.

As restaurants and QSR chains upgrade their payment systems to accept mobile and other forms of digital payments, they are also adopting instant payments for wages and tips paid to their workers.

Tips and gratuities are vital to the approximately 2.5 million Americans working as restaurant servers. Most of these workers earn the bulk of their money in cash-based tips, which is becoming a problem as consumers increasingly go digital.

Restaurants are looking to solve this problem by embracing tools that not only allow consumers to use their phones to pay, but also tip their servers.

Instant Tipping in Restaurants and Beyond

Instant tip payouts are beneficial for restaurants, servers and diners alike. Restaurants equipped with the necessary tools can disburse real-time payments to staff, eliminating delays and the need to divvy up cash at the end of a shift. California-based startup Kickfin alerts servers when they receive money with text or email notifications, and wages are instantly pushed to whatever account a server chooses, including debit, credit or prepaid cards, as well as online wallets.

In the U.S., delivery apps like DoorDash and Postmates have looked to meet this need by providing digital tipping options on their apps, which suggest a 15 percent gratuity for orders. Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft have similar offerings. Tipping methods such as these are becoming more important to customers who are often unable to tip at restaurants when paying with cards or mobile.

Some restaurants in the U.K. are looking to provide better tipping experiences with apps like Gratuu. The mobile tipping app, which launched in 2014, enables users to tip individual servers or deposit money into a virtual tip jar by scanning a QR code or typing in a unique digital identification number. Gratuu currently charges a 3.5 percent fixed rate for every transaction. The company has seen use outside of restaurants by businesses such as hair salons, where consumers can often pay for haircuts digitally but must remember to carry cash to tip their stylists.

Many startups have noticed the demand for such services, as restaurants and salons are among many other businesses in which workers rely on tips. One such platform is mobile tipping app BRAVO, which allows users to search for and tip service workers from a variety of industries listed on the app. Transactions can be made without either party having to exchange personal information. One downfall is that the app takes a 2 percent fee for all transactions and tips made on its platform.

These apps, as well as more ubiquitous services like Venmo, are aiming to change how consumers approach paying and tipping. They provide services that cater to today’s digital consumers while also making it easy for service workers to receive payouts for their work.

Tipping and the Future of Payments

Consumers worldwide are using digital payments so frequently that withdrawing cash can almost be considered a chore. Workers who rely on tips are going to start expecting to receive their tips and wages in the same ways that consumers pay. Restaurants and other businesses in the service industry that want to remain competitive will need to follow consumer demand and innovate their payment experiences.

July 4 – O’Charley’s Special

July 4 means fireworks, great food and fun times with friends and family, and O’Charley’s is making the food part even easier with two deals available July 4-7:

  • O’Charley’s Famous Chicken Tenders Family Dinner – 20 tenders, eight sides and three dipping sauces for only $25
  • Baby Back Ribs Picnic Pack – Four portions of tender ribs (BBQ or Nashville Hot), four sides and one whole pie for $40

O’Charley’s—known for its FREE Pie Wednesday—has also brought back its tender, flaky double-crust Peach Pie filled with sun-ripened freestone peaches for a limited time this summer. Guests can take a whole pie home to share (or not, we won’t judge) for $14.99. Apple pies are also available. (After all, what’s more American than apple pie?)

Uber Eats invades restaurants with Dine-In option

Tired of cleaning up after take-out or getting hangry waiting at your table in restaurants? Well Uber Eats is barging into the dine-in business. A new option in some cities lets you order your food ahead of time, go to the restaurant, then sit down inside to eat, a tipster from competing dine-in app Allset tells us. We tested it, and Uber Eats Dine-In even waives the standard Uber delivery and service fees.

Adding Dine-In lets Uber Eats insert itself into more food transactions, expand to restaurants that care about presentation and don’t do delivery and avoid paying drivers while earning low-overhead revenue. Uber’s Dine-In option is now available in some cities, including Austin, Dallas, Phoenix and San Diego, where it could save diners time and fees while helping restaurants fill empty tables and waiters earn tips. But it also could coerce more restaurants to play ball with Uber Eats if their competitors do, eating into their margins.

UberEats Dine In Option
Sample View

Uber confirmed the existence of the Dine-In option, telling me, “We’re always thinking about new ways to enhance the Eats experience.” They also verified there are no delivery or service fees, and restaurants get 100% of tips left in-app by users. However, we found some items were silently marked up from restaurants’ listed prices in both Uber Eats Delivery and Dine-In options, which could help it make some money directly from these purchases. We also discovered this buried Uber Help Center FAQ with more details.

Uber has been rapidly experimenting with Uber Eats, trying discounted specials, Uber Eats Pool, where you pay less for slower delivery, and $9.99 unlimited delivery subscriptions. It’s steadily becoming an omnivore.

How Uber Dine-In Works

Dine-in appears next to the Delivery and Pick-Up options across the top of the Uber Eats app in select cities. You order from the menu and can choose to go eat “ASAP” or in some cases schedule when you want to arrive and sit down. You’ll be shown how long the food will take to prep, distance to the restaurant, your price and the restaurant’s rating. You’ll then be notified as the order is prepared and approaches readiness. Then you just deliver yourself to the restaurant and the food is ready to be served as soon as you sit down. You can add a tip in-app or on the table.

Uber Eats should obviously make it easy for you to hail an Uber with the restaurant as the pre-set destination. An Uber spokesperson called that a good idea but not something it’s doing yet. Back in 2016, Uber tried a merchant-sponsored rides option where you’d get a rebate on your travel if you spent money at a given store. You could imagine restaurants that want to show off their ambiance giving customers some money back if they come across town to eat there.

Uber Dine In

The new feature could spell trouble for other dine-in apps like Allset that’s been in the business for four years. Users might also opt for Uber Eats Dine-In over restaurant reservation apps like OpenTable and Resy. Why waste time waiting to order and for your food to be cooked when you could just show up as it comes out of the oven?

“I think that more delivery players will be tapping into dine-in space. It’s all about convenience and time saving. But it’s going to be very difficult for them, given their focus on delivery,” Allset CEO Stas Matviyenko said of Uber becoming a competitor. He believes dedicated apps for different modes of dining will succeed. But Uber Eats’ ubiquity and its one-stop-shop model for all your dining needs could make it stickier than a dine-in only app you use less frequently.


With Dine-In, Uber could aid restaurants that are empty at the start or end of their open hours. Last year we reported that Uber Eats was giving restaurants prominence in a Featured section of the app to drive up demand if they offered discounts to customers. Similarly, Uber could let restaurants entice more Dine-In customers, especially when foot-traffic was slow, by providing discounts on food or subsidized Uber transportation. Better to knock a dollar or two off an entree if it means filling the restaurant at 5:30 or 9:30 pm.

And now that Uber Eats does delivery, take-out and dine-in, it’d make perfect sense to offer traditional restaurant reservations through the app as well. That would pit it directly against OpenTable,  Resy and Yelp. Instead of trying to own a single use case that might only appeal to certain demographics in certain situations, Uber Eats’ strategy is crystallizing: be the app you open whenever you’re hungry.

Google Integrates Food Ordering Into Search, Maps

Google users can now place restaurant orders right from Google Maps, Google Assistant or Google Search. The function taps into partnerships with delivery companies, and consumers can order without downloading another mobile app, The Verge reported.

The function operates in Google Maps and Google Search through an “Order Online” button that shows up when consumers look for a supported restaurant. They can then choose delivery or pickup, and select the service through which they want to place their orders. For restaurants that support the feature, the orders are completed via Google and Google Pay.

Through Android and iOS phones with the implementation of Google Assistant, consumers can ask Google to order food from a restaurant prior to choosing a delivery service and making their actual selections. They can also ask the voice assistant to repeat a prior order. The service reportedly supports five delivery services at rollout.

This latest feature is one of many that the technology company has brought to its lineup of services and apps. In other recent Google news, the tech company announced in May new technology called Google Duplex, for carrying out tasks over the phone using natural conversations. In a blog post, two company officials said the artificial intelligence technology will enable users to conduct tasks such as booking appointments without needing to adapt to the machine.

Yaniv Leviathan, a principal engineer, and Yossi Matias, vice president of engineering, wrote at the time in the post, “Businesses that rely on appointment bookings supported by Duplex, and are not yet powered by online systems, can benefit from Duplex by allowing customers to book through the Google Assistant without having to change any day-to-day practices or train employees.”

Grubhub Said To Buy Thousands Of Restaurant Domains To Boost Traffic

GrubHub is reportedly buying up restaurant web domain names. According to, “GrubHub has registered more than 23,000 web domains. Its subsidiary, Seamless, has registered thousands.”

The report quoted a restaurant owner who said she “believes GrubHub purchased her restaurant’s web domain to prevent her from building her own online presence. She also believes the company may have had a special interest in owning her name because she processes a high volume of orders.”

GrubHub denied that it engaged in what it called “cybersquatting.” It also said that “as a service to our restaurants, we have created micro-sites for them as another source of orders and to increase their online brand presence. Additionally, we have registered domains on their behalf, consistent with our restaurant contracts. We no longer provide that service and it has always been our practice to transfer the domain to the restaurant as soon as they request it.”

Earlier this year, GrubHub confirmed plans to continue investing money in the company in an effort to stand out from the crowded food delivery market. Upbeat comments came a couple of weeks after shares tanked as much as 8 percent when Key Banc Capital Markets raised concerns about GrubHub’s ability to keep up with the competition from the likes of UberEats and DoorDash. At the time, analysts at the Wall Street firm contended that “diner retention, initial diner spend and peak diner spend all appear to be deteriorating” at GrubHub.

The Colonel gets a little ‘catty’

On the heels of the debut of its Cheetos Sandwich, KFC has nabbed the cat that has become synonymous with the crunchy orange corn puffs, Chester Cheetah, as its latest celebrity colonel. 

Yesterday, the animated orange cheetah hosted a pop-up event in New York City to kick off his colonel-dom, giving guests a crunch of the new sandwich, along with other related items, a news release said. The brand icon — nearly as famous as Col. Harland Sanders himself — is taking over KFC’s social channels, along with the nation’s TV screens, when ad spots begin June 30 and run until the end of July as part of a co-branding partnership between the chicken and Cheetos purveyors. 

“The combination of these two finger lickin’ good favorites — our famous fried chicken and Cheetos — was a no brainer,” KFC U.S. CMO Andrea Zahumensky, said in the release. “After a very popular test market we knew we had to introduce it nationwide, and a sandwich this anticipated needed a colonel like we’ve never seen before. There was no one better ‘suited’ than Chester Cheetah himself.”

The maker of the dusty orange puffs, Frito-Lay, agreed the partnership was a natural for each business. 

“We have a massive fan base that loves experiencing the Cheetos brand in new ways, and we hope we delight our fans with our best collaboration yet,” Frito-Lay North America Senior Director of Marketing Dena von Werssowetz, said in the release. “The merging of our two iconic brands is sure to be a phenomenon.”

As part of the launch, KFC will also introduce the Cheetos Lovers Box meal, which includes the Cheetos sandwich, Popcorn Nuggets drizzled in Cheetos sauce, mac-and-cheese, wedges and a medium drink. No word on how they’ll get the orange imprint out of the Colonel’s famous white suit once the cat has slipped out of it. 

In NYC delivery hearing, Grubhub execs get grilled

The New York City Council hosted an oversight hearing Thursday to understand the impact of food delivery apps on the restaurant industry. It was the first hearing of its kind, according to the participants, but the central question it sought to answer is nothing new to restaurants: Do delivery apps make financial sense for restaurants?

“There’s a concern that it could be a system where restaurant owners are trapped in an unstable, unsuitable business model that not only doesn’t add to their bottom line but could eat away at their profits and their ability to keep their doors open,” said City Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, who chairs the small business committee, at the top of the hearing.

Related: Domino’s announced pinnacle of car technology with the digital food ordering system.

Representatives from Grubhub and Uber Eats spoke at the hearing as well as operators and industry groups that represent small businesses and restaurants.

Number crunching took up a significant portion of the beginning of the meeting. What is the typical profit margin for restaurants? Eventually, the parties agreed on 6% to 10%. And what is the cut that services like Grubhub and sister-brand Seamless take? These fees range from 10% to 30%. 

In light of these numbers, Grubhub representatives stressed the benefits of their robust marketing efforts and ability to draw in new diners who use their apps. “These are just incremental orders,” said Kevin Kearns, a Grubhub senior vice president.

Gjonaj relayed a story of a constituent and restaurant owner who was an early adopter to Grubhub. The service became an integral part of the business, but the fees kept going up.  Today, the operator said, these online platforms represent “‘a slow death. Without them, it’s an instant death,” Gjonaj said. “‘They came into my place of business like a Trojan horse. They’ve taken over my entire business model.'”

One proposal for making the math work in restaurants’ favor is to have New York City restaurants band together to negotiate fees. Large chains have successfully negotiated to pay lower fees.

“If we had a retail association that negotiated for all their clients, would you be willing to sit down with them again and renegotiate the fees?” asked Gjonaj.

“We would listen to what they had to say,” responded Kearns. 

Another proposal was more dramatic.

“Imagine what would happen if every small business restaurant owner in the city shut down for the day at the same time?” said Andreas Koutsoudakis, owner of Tribeca’s Kitchen, a Manhattan restaurant. Such an action would certainly bring to light the industries issues with delivery apps, he noted.

The issues restaurants have with delivery apps aren’t just with the fees they charge.

Earlier this month, Grubhub was the target of a class-action lawsuit filed by a restaurant operator who claimed the delivery service charged restaurants for calls made through the app, even when they didn’t result in orders. Although the hearing wasn’t directly related to this suit, it was certainly on the minds of the participants.

One issue restaurants have with these phone charges is the inability to view charges made 60 days prior to identify if false charges had been made. And the process of review is laborious.

iQ teams up with The New Farm for unique greens

Canada-based fast casual, iQ, is partnering with The New Farm, an Ontario organic farm, to use The New Farm’s regenerative greens at iQ locations. The greens pull carbon from the atmosphere, trapping it in the ground, which helps stem climate instability, according to a press release on the partnership.

iQ will sell two different priced bowls this summer featuring the greens — one at the usual price and another selling for 50 cents more. Customers can choose the price point they prefer. 

“In a bit of alchemy that combines cooperation, commerce, savvy marketing, and sales psychology, we’re excited to help create a market for a new type of product that, if consumed en masse, has the potential to reduce the amount of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere and make our planet livable for a long, long time,” said Alan Bekerman, iQ founder and CEO, in the release.

“The greens we’ve committed to buying and serving this season do cost us more than conventional lettuce, but rather than forcing a price increase onto our guests like a traditional restaurant might, we’re including our guests in the decision-making process,” said iQ Executive Chef and Partner, Christine Flynn, in the release. “The suggested pricing is not just a way for us to help manage our food cost, it’s also a way to introduce the idea of regenerative farming to each and every one of the some 20,000 guests we serve each week.”

Since the new price options launched a week ago, 85% of guests have opted in for the higher-priced offering.

“We’re firm believers that good commerce leads to change,” said Bekerman in the release. “By selling a product like regeneratively grown greens at scale across a network of locations like iQ’s, we want to demonstrate to both farmers and restaurants that there’s a market for them, hopefully over time making it more accessible.

The New Farm co-owner Gillian Flies added, “We’re excited about this partnership because we have a real opportunity to create both commercial and environmental change. Regenerative farming, if widely adopted, will have a massively positive impact on reversing climate instability.”

Visa Launches Installment APIs

The installment lending playing field just got more interesting — and global — today (June 27). Visa announced that it will bring the power and ubiquity of installment lending to digital and physical points of sale (POS) through application program interfaces (APIs) that support the development of customized installment plan options for Visa cardholders.

This offering is the latest set of APIs made available to issuers and FinTech firms via the Visa Next “digital-first” platform offering. The goal is to create a consistent and ubiquitous user experience across the channels they shop by leveraging the credit and debit relationships already in place with their banks.

Globally, installments are a popular credit option, and for good reason — with a $1.2 trillion market in 2017 growing at twice the rate of credit cards. Consumers are given another tool by which to manage their spending, and merchants generally see increased conversion rates and bigger basket sizes when those options are presented to their customers.

Where installment payments are available, they are well liked. In Brazil, an early adopter of installment payments, approximately 50 percent of all credit payment volume is in installments. In Canada, 41 percent of cardholders surveyed said they would consider using installment payments on purchases of $500 or more.

However, in the U.S., the situation is somewhat different. Installment lending at the POS just isn’t available.

It’s not that consumers aren’t interested: Around 74 percent of U.S. cardholders have reported installment payments as helpful for budgeting, 70 percent believe they can alleviate the stress of making large purchases and 60 percent of millennials in the U.S. said they are interested in POS financing for large online purchases. However, the options are limited.

That is starting to change, though, as FinTech firms like Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna have entered the space in recent years. They are popular, but far from ubiquitous, and offer a somewhat fragmented user experience.

Fragmentation, Shrauger noted, is no fun for consumers, and eventually has a chilling effect on their desire to work with yet another installment provider. From the consumers’ standpoint, what they are buying, where they are buying it or what channel they happen to be in at the moment triggers the installment options with which they are presented. Each have their own approval processes, and result in another credit relationship for consumers to manage. That can be difficult to keep track of across all the merchant POS touchpoints a consumer may encounter. Instead of boosting conversions, he said, in some cases, those options will actually push a consumer to abandon the purchase.

Visa’s approach, via its API set, is an effort to change that experience for consumers, merchants and issuers.

“Our goal was to give cardholders access to a great new way to pay, through a feature that is part of something they already have in their wallet: their credit and debit cards,” Shrauger said. “We can solve these types of fragmentation problems with scale, and can do it by [using] the products consumers already use regularly, and understand — instead of asking them to step into an entirely new and unfamiliar credit universe.”

Unlocking The Power Of Digital Payment Credentials

What Visa’s new installment API suite does at base is allow its issuer partners and FinTech firms to create installment offerings for their debit and credit cardholders. The amount underwritten, the impact on a consumer’s credit line, the structure of the billing — all of that will be decided by individual issuers, based on their preferences and needs. Some things — a fixed number of payments, at a set interest rate, over a set time period — are central to what the installment offering is, of course, but the specific details are for the issuers to determine.

Visa’s role, as the network, is to enable the connections in the merchants’ POS, so that — at the moment the customer gets to either a traditional SoftPOS or an online POS checkout, and presents their Visa card — customers are offered a choice of installment options for which they qualify. For online shopping, the offer might even appear earlier on, on the user’s home screen. This will also allow issuers to qualify the offer after a purchase has been made. A consumer, for example, might get a text message asking if they would like to convert their purchase into a three-month installment plan.

It’s something that Visa’s issuer partners are asking for, Shrauger told Webster. Among the more commonly recurring conversations the company has with its issuers is how Visa can leverage digital to provide customers with as many tools as possible. With the Visa installment APIs, Shrauger said Visa is doing what it has always done: giving issuers a new tool to expand the relationships they have with their cardholders, and doing that on a global scale.

“Digital is giving us — and our issuers — new ways to add features to the payment credentials, in ways that we couldn’t before,” Shrauger said. “One credential can serve many purposes in a digital world. And with a consumer who has been with an issuer for many years, possibly with multiple accounts, there is a great position to extend their reach by giving them more access to services.”

Moreover, he noted, the ability to bring more services under that payment credential means the consumer gets a chance to greatly streamline those credit relationships. Instead of managing a host of separateinstallment platforms, the consumer gets a single place and way to manage all of their relationships at once.

Why Issuers Are The Best POS Installment Lenders

The worst time to try to educate a consumer about a product, Shrauger noted, is in the middle of a transaction. Data bears this out, but so does common sense, particularly for a product with which many consumers are unfamiliar. No one is best served by a consumer trying to figure out what they want to buy, and whether or not they understand the concept of paying on installments — particularly with an unfamiliar firm.

Consumers, he noted, check in with their issuers often. The check their balances and statements, and pay their bills. That means the issuer has a unique opportunity to present, and educate consumers on, its installment offerings long before they get to the POS. It also means the issuer has a much clearer picture of the customer’s entire financial life than a one-off installment lender that is relying on a much smaller set of publicly available data.

A lot of times, installments are transactions without context. The great benefit of an issuer relationship to the customer is the totality of information that can be considered in making an offer. It is “so much more holistic that there is no one in a better position than the issuer to offer the product, and make it seamless,” Shrauger said.

Ultimately, he noted, what everyone benefits from are easy-to-use products, transparent to understand and universally available. While there are markets in the world today where that is the case (Brazil, Mexico and Turkey jump to mind), a truly global, ubiquitous product is what the market needs.

In the coming months, Visa’s installment APIs are being piloted in the U.S., India, Romania, Russia and the UAE. Worldwide players include ING, PayU and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, among others.

However, in January 2020, the program will go into a larger launch, starting in the U.S. — and hopefully expand to the rest of the world from there.

Restaurant takeout is taking a bite out of dine-in traffic

Pizza no longer dominates the delivery and takeout business. Consumers are increasingly ordering their favorite foods to be delivered or to-go, rather than dining in-store. And, in fact, restaurant delivery traffic outside of pizza has risen 33 percent since 2012.1 This presents a unique opportunity for food-service and restaurant operators to shift their strategies and operating processes to take advantage of the delivery and takeout trends, rather than have their dine-in numbers and market share cannibalized by competitors who are focused on these services.


Convenience is becoming increasingly important to customers, especially for Millennials, who are becoming a larger portion of the consumer population. This demographic wants to consume their favorite foods whenever and wherever they want, as well as order and pay for it with the click of a button.

According to recent surveys, 51% of Americans use delivery services to purchase meals from casual dining restaurant2 and 26% order takeout or delivery at least once a week.3 These behaviors show little sign of slowing: digital ordering and delivery have been growing 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014.4


Third party delivery services, like DoorDash, Foodler and Grubhub are becoming major marketplace competitors. Although they don’t actually make the food, these middlemen provide speed, ease of use, convenience and customized offerings based on customers’ previous orders.

In particular, widespread popularity of food delivery is evidenced by the success and growth of Grubhub. The firm now boasts 6.7 million active diners, has a network with over 40,000 partners in more than 1,000 cities and achieved a record $643 million in gross food sales during Q4 of 2015 and $2.4 billion for the entire year.5 Furthermore, large players not traditionally associated with the restaurant industry, such as uberEats, Amazon Prime and Google, are working with local restaurants and beginning to pilot their own food delivery programs.

Confidence in the future and growth trajectory of this space is strong. More than half a billion was invested in the food delivery sector in 2014 – almost 13 times the amount in 2013 – with more than a billion dollars invested in 2015.6


Restaurant and foodservice operators can employ multiple approaches to maximize the benefits to their businesses. The most obvious solution is for restaurant owners to create their own proprietary delivery and takeout infrastructures. While this option requires more effort and capital, it enables operators to avoid the commissions charged by third party services.

Additionally, 45% of respondents in a recent survey said that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often, generating higher revenues.A third of the respondents would be willing to pay a higher fee for faster delivery service.8 Restaurant owners and operators can use this to their advantages by instituting a tiered delivery model that charges augmented fees for expedited delivery.

Since in-house delivery service may not be an option or the best solution for every restaurant, establishing formal partnerships with third party delivery services is still a viable alternative: working with a third party delivery service has been found to raise restaurant sales volume by 10% to 20%.9


Starbucks’ easy-to-use mobile ordering and concomitant rewards program have been received well. 20% of all U.S.-based transactions are being made through the app.

Taco Bell’s mobile app and website ordering system enables customers to order, determine a pick-up time and pay in advance. The average order comes in at 20% higher than in-store orders. 10

Ultimately, the value of capitalizing on the increasing popularity of delivery and takeout is not limited to defending market share; it’s also about increasing revenue. Customers who order online takeout and delivery are more likely to reorder within 60 days than walk-in customers.10 Now, the onus is on restaurant owners and operators to decide how to best take this trend and turn it into an advantage.

1 NPD Group, 2016; 2 Mintel, 2016; 3 Statista, 2016; 4 QSR Magazine, 2014 ;5 Grubhub, 2016; 6 TechCrunch, 2015; 7 Mintel, 2016; 8 Mintel, 2016; 9 Crain’s, 2016; 10 Mobile Commerce Daily, 2015; 11 QSR Magazine, 2016

A tall ship is going to be turned into a floating restaurant

Find your sea legs: The city has approved a proposal for a floating restaurant at Charlestown Navy Yard, scheduled to open this summer.

On Friday, the Boston Planning & Development Agency announced in a press release that the agency and Mayor Marty Walsh had approved three Charlestown Navy Yard proposals for summer 2019: a pop-up community gathering space, free outdoor programming from the Navy Yard’s USS Constitution Museum, and a temporary floating restaurant operating out of a tall ship.

The Navy Yard Hospitality Group — a Charlestown-based company that also owns Pier 6 on the Charlestown waterfront, Mija Cantina in Faneuil Hall, and Reelhouse in East Boston (which is soon expanding to Quincy) — will operate the ship’s restaurant, which also will include a lighting installation connected to Shipyard Park.

While the floating restaurant is still in the very early stages of planning, Charlie Larner, president of NYHG, confirmed the launch of the concept.

A key component of Imagine Boston 2030, Walsh’s citywide initiative to improve quality of life and drive growth in Boston, is the activation of waterfront space. The accepted Charlestown proposals are slated to operate on a trial basis from May to October, at which point the success of each activation will be evaluated. In addition, a percentage of sales from each revenue-generating concept will be returned to the community through free public programming and an investment in the public open space.

“By bringing activities for people of all ages to the Navy Yard, we hope to encourage a more inclusive and equitable waterfront for Boston’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” Walsh said in a press release. “The Navy Yard is a place of national historic significance, and we are pleased with the creative proposals we received and the selections that will be moving forward this summer. We look forward to continuing to work with the community to ensure that the Navy Yard is a welcoming public space, while celebrating and respecting its history.”

Best Restaurant Marketing Tips

At Restaurant Tech, we not only find best-in-class technology news for restaurants –but we also help our clients make them effective. Our team of Restaurant Success Managers work with restaurants to design, develop, implement, and test marketing strategies that are all aimed at boosting sales and increasing restaurant traffic.

For the Restaurant Marketing Tips, we got some of their best ideas to share with you:

– Run a social campaign!

Tease customers via Facebook posts and with eblasts about a secret code they’ll only see if they follow you on Instagram. Post the promo code the following week and make it redeemable via your online ordering. Voila!

– Get more customers to put your app on their phone!

Have staff tell customers in line that if they show they’ve downloaded the app when they get to the front, they get a promo code valid for their first order.

– Make your pictures pop!

Use Instagram to boost your presence and build your audience. A special post on Instagram can reveal a secret discount code. Additional Instagram posts feature the Text-to-Download code and exclusive app discounts. Restaurants can use this strategy to gain followers on the most valuable social media platform. Everyone knows we eat with our eyes first! Here are some tips to take even better food photos!

– Reward loyal customers.

Send an email out to customers who have ordered 5+ times with a special “thank you” and a promo code valid towards their next online order.

– Get more people to your website in a month.

Let customers know through social media and email blasts that you are giving away a $100 gift card, and each online order that month is entered to win the contest. The more they order, the higher their odds. Announce the winner on social media at the end of the month.

– Create shareable, seasonal content.

Transform generic posts to become more engaging by including content that has a personal touch.  Have your write up useful and shareable tips/tricks and recipes for Fall meals, feature a “Fall favorite customer of the week”, and share stories of your restaurant’s journey to success with your audience. Share this with your email database, Facebook wall, and on your website. 

– Run a trendy contest.

Each week leading up to trends, invite customers to comment on your Facebook page with the costume they are wearing for Events. Pick your favorite each week to win a $20 credit towards online ordering. Bonus: if the winner posts a photo wearing their costume, you’ll give a friend of their choice $10 too (The friend must have an account online)!

– Create a Flash Sale.

Pick a specific deep pocket promotion (50% of all pizzas). Run it on a slower night to build traffic. Promote via push notifications, eblasts, and/or facebook posts. This type of campaign is great for reengaging customers who maybe haven’t reordered in a while or customers who have downloaded the apps but haven’t pulled the trigger on placing their first order. For the fall, this “flash sale” strategy could definitely be used on Cyber Monday–even more fun when paired with online ordering.

There you have it — everything you need to get started on marketing and implement advanced social strategies. If you want some feedback on your marketing strategy or a personalized marketing plan— we’re happy to help. Contact one of our experts to get started today!

Taco Bell to open reservations for its Palm Springs hotel

Taco Bell’s recently announced foray into resort operation will officially open for reservations at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 27, though the first guests can’t check in to the Taco bell Hotel and Resort in Palm Springs, California until Aug. 8, a news release said. 

Stays are available for four days, from Aug. 8 through Aug. 12, with no minimum night stay for rooms that start at $169 a night. The hotel is located at 333 East Palm Canyon Dr., where the brand will transform the existing hotel into a taco-inspired resort throughout all 70 rooms.  

Taco Bell super-fans get first dibs on the first-come, first-serve rooms and the stays are designed for adults over age 18, according to the release. The Mexican QSR chain said that “every element of the property will bring to life the Taco Bell brand and lifestyle — from guest rooms, the pool and outdoor bar, to a twist on the standard hotel amenities.”

Each day at the resort will feature a little something different, including performances by Feed the Beat artists, dive-in movies and what the brand said is its first “Freeze Lounge,” offering “frosty” drinks and a “chill lounge.” 

Libra: Facebook Launches Cryptocurrency

This was originally published in the Mark Zuckerberg profile

On June 18, Facebook came together with 27 organizations around the world to start the non-profit Libra Association and create a new currency called Libra.

Libra’s mission is to create a simple global financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people around the world. It’s powered by blockchain technology and the plan is to launch it in 2020. You can read more about the association here:

Being able to use mobile money can have an important positive impact on people’s lives because you don’t have to always carry cash, which can be insecure, or pay extra fees for transfers. This is especially important for people who don’t have access to traditional banks or financial services. Right now, there are around a billion people who don’t have a bank account but do have a mobile phone.

Facebook aspire to make it easy for everyone to send and receive money just like we use their apps to instantly share messages and photos. To enable this, Facebook is also launching an independent subsidiary called Calibra that will build services that let you send, spend and save Libra — starting with a digital wallet that will be available in WhatsApp and Messenger and as a standalone app next year.

Calibra will be regulated like other payment service providers. Any information you share with Calibra will be kept separate from information you share on Facebook. From the beginning, Calibra will let you send Libra to almost anyone with a smartphone at low to no cost. Over time, they hope to offer more services for people and businesses — like paying bills with the push of a button, buying coffee with the scan of a code, or riding local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass.

In addition to their efforts, many other companies will build their own services using Libra — from payment companies like Mastercard, PayPal, PayU, Stripe and Visa, to popular services like Booking, eBay, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify and Uber, to non-profits doing important work around financial inclusion like Kiva, Mercy Corps and Women’s World Banking, to companies in the crypto space like Anchorage, Coinbase, Xapo, and Bison Trails. A number of leading Venture firms are also joining to help drive innovation on the Libra network. There’re hoping to have over 100 co-founding members of the Libra Association by the time the network launches next year.

All of this is built on block-chain technology. It’s decentralized — meaning it’s run by many different organizations instead of just one, making the system fairer overall. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection and has low fees and costs. And it’s secured by cryptography which helps keep your money safe.

This is an important part of their vision for a privacy-focused social platform — where you can interact in all the ways you’d want privately, from messaging to secure payments.

Privacy and safety will be built into every step. For example, Calibra will have a dedicated team of experts in risk management focused on preventing people from using Calibra for fraudulent purposes. They’ll provide fraud protection so if you lose your Libra coins, they’ll offer refunds. They also believe it’s important for people to have choices, so they’ll have the option to use many other third-party wallets on the Libra network.

There’s still a lot more to learn and do before Libra will be ready to officially launch. They know it’s a major undertaking and responsibility — and they’re committed to getting this right. They’ve been working with policymakers and experts in areas like financial inclusion, economics, security, privacy and blockchain, and they’ll continue listening to feedback of policymakers as they figure out the best way to move forward. They’re thankful for policymaker’s partnership, and for all the businesses, organizations, and academic institutions that are part of the Libra Association.

This is the beginning of an exciting journey and we’re looking forward to sharing more soon.

State of the Restaurant Industry

What’s the outlook for restaurants in 2019? The National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report provides the details. From sales forecasts to projections for food costs, workforce opportunities, food trends, and technology advances, you’ll get the overview here. Our State of the Industry report is available for purchase or as a complimentary download for members of the Association.

Five key trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2019:

Image Courtesy : NRA
  • A competitive business environment.
    While restaurant operators generally are optimistic about business conditions, they don’t expect a letdown in competitive pressures in 2019. In addition, rising labor costs and a complex legislative and regulatory landscape on federal, state and local levels add pressure on business performance and bottom lines.
  • Staffing is a top challenge.
    The prolonged economic expansion has led to a tighter labor market for business in many industries, but the restaurant industry also continues to be impacted by longer-term structural changes in the labor force. As a result, recruiting and retaining employees will be among the top challenges faced by restaurant operators in 2019.
  • Pent-up demand remains elevated.
    Consumer confidence is strong, their balance sheet is sound, and higher-income households represent a larger share of households than ever before. With consumers’ pent-up demand for restaurant services remaining elevated compared to historical levels, well-positioned operators can still boost traffic in a competitive environment.
  • Technology incorporation continues.
    Technology adoption will keep growing among restaurant operators in 2019, but the trends are not uniform across segments. Consumers would most like to see restaurants incorporate technology that focuses on improving customer service, making ordering and payment easier, and offering more convenient takeout and delivery options.
  • Food preferences continue their rapid evolution.
    Contemporary consumer cravings are dovetailing with emerging societal dining trends. Among the trends for 2019: a more eco-friendly perspective, greater emphasis on global flavors/cuisines, enhanced availability of healthful items and healthful children’s meals, and the exploration of new food sourcing options.

3D Google ads coming as YouTube experience is Crucial To Your Business.

Swirl is Google’s “first immersive display format” for the mobile web. Available to advertisers through Display & Video 360, inline ads are fully interactive — as noted by a “swipe to rotate” prompt — and provide a small initial preview. Tapping will expand the advertisement to your entire screen, with Google touting an example where users can “expand to show additional layered content.”

Following I/O 2019, Google Search gained its first AR objects with 3D animals. Google ads on the web can now feature interactive 3D objects, while YouTube AR lipstick ads are another way the company is making advertising more appealing and useful.

To help brands create high-quality, realistic models for these 3D Google ads, Google’s Poly tool has a new editor. It allows for more “editorial control” over models, including new ways to change animation settings, customize backgrounds, and add realistic reflections. Advertisers with existing 3D assets can create a Swirl ad unit through Google Web Designer.