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From the editor: Can tech bring us all together?

From the editor: Can tech bring us all together?

NRN editors take you beyond the headlines and offer perspectives on the issues and events shaping the industry. Get more inside takes from Behind the Story >>

It’s taken a while, but we’ve come to a new phase in restaurant tech. The integration phase.

Foodservice is so ready for integration — of metrics, of customer communication, of delivery operations and of the goals of employees.

I chatted with quite a few tech companies at the ICR Conference in Orlando last month and there were some great examples of software that integrates, sorts and tells a consistent story — a story that you can build a strategy around.


The PlateIQ vendor management tool allows operators to pay all their invoices in one place and track them, too. There’s an optical character recognition (OCR) feature that with a phone scan translates wet invoices from the kitchen to useful pieces of information. PlateIQ integrates with 15 other tools and has a single sign-on.

There’s also Thanx, a tool that allows restaurants to have targeted interactions with groups of customers. You can tailor messaging to distinct demographics, so you’re not spamming your single customers with family-night announcements, or promoting senior specials to 19-year-olds.

Other tools are bringing together disparate pieces of data to help restaurant executives make informed decisions. The California Energy Wise Calculator crunches the numbers for equipment like fryers and ovens to determine savings and rebates of different energy-efficient products. This shows the real cost over time of buying green equipment

Other tech tools are even bringing people together.

New social media platforms can engage employees. The ShiftOne app, for instance, allows restaurant employees to compete with each other on metrics and sales numbers. People in different stores can compete on the same leaderboard and managers can send notes through the app to celebrate successes.

Apparently, a little friendly competition can have a big impact: ShiftOne’s co-founders, Ashish Gambhir and Kam Desai, say employees who use the app stay twice as long at the job. The app is also rolling out a “Quit Tracker” that can predict whether an employee is likely to quit within two weeks based on common performance traits of folks that are not engaged with their jobs.

As technology is allowing restaurants to look at the big picture more and integrate tools, it’s time we pay it forward. How are you making it easier for customers who are knee-deep in loyalty programs, custom apps and third-party delivery tools? How can you make for a smooth experience going forward?

It’s time to take the friction out of the transaction.

Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca

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