How Your Restaurant Can Step Up the Restaurant Experience with Data

April 15, 2021
Barbara Castiglia

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.


Data and technology are used in restaurants but not used to build relationships. It’s mainly used to track customer purchases, track inventory, scheduling and reservations. Joel Montaniel, the CEO of SevenRooms, wanted to change that. He talked with Barbara Castiglia on The Main Course about data and how operators can build better relationships with customers.

Montaniel always wanted to build businesses and be an entrepreneur. He started in finance, and he got paid well, but it was an unfulfilling job.

“But, I wasn’t getting that itch scratched,” he said.

“In the early days, typical to a lot of startups, we wanted to become a company that was all about technology helping businesses build relationships with people” – Joel Montaniel

His passion for restaurants started when he found himself going to them during his free time. He didn’t have much free time, so he wasn’t able to attend them enough to become a regular. This piqued his curiosity and passion for restaurants. It started on the customer side but eventually led to the business side.

The idea for SevenRooms came when he noticed that if you didn’t attend a restaurant enough, they wouldn’t know anything about the customer. “They were numbers, not faces.”

“No matter what we could do for the consumer, the operator needed to pay for a role,” Montaniel said.

That was their lightbulb moment: Instead of focusing on the consumer, what if we focused on the operator.

SevenRooms helps restaurant operators leverage customer data to improve the experience. As part of their service, they offer Pickup and Delivery solutions; Reservation, Waiting, and Seating Management; Data and Guest Profiles; Guest Engagement, and Marketing.

“In the early days, typical to a lot of startups, we wanted to become a company that was all about technology helping businesses build relationships with people,” Montaniel said. In restaurants, relationships and people are the most important thing. It’s all about who you know. Technology is mostly transactional and focuses on purchases, etc. They wanted to change this perspective.

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