MarketScale Food & Beverage 12/25/18: Getting to the Customers’ Needs

 

Today’s pair of podcasts are all about using technology to empower restaurants to waste less and serve more. In our first feature, we talk to Nancy Luna, Senior Editor for Nation’s Restaurant News about a new app designed to really get people through the door—and keep them as loyal restaurant patrons. We also spoke with Michael Crocker, CEO of VeriSolutions, who takes us to the restaurant back freezer to discuss the Temp Tracker app and how this IoT tech will help restaurants automatically curb food waste.

Today’s pair of podcasts are all about using technology to empower restaurants to waste less and serve more. In our first feature, we talk to Nancy Luna, Senior Editor for Nation’s Restaurant News about a new app designed to really get people through the door—and keep them as loyal restaurant patrons. We also spoke with Michael Crocker, CEO of VeriSolutions, who takes us to the restaurant back freezer to discuss the Temp Tracker app and how this IoT tech will help restaurants automatically curb food waste.

ON THE BEAT: RIDESHARING REWARDS MAY GET PEOPLE OFF THE COUCH

One of our least favorite questions is: what’s for (or where should we go) for dinner? A new technological approach has been developed to solve that dilemma. On today’s On the Beat segment, MarketScale Host Sean Heath had a discussion with the Senior Editor for Nation’s Restaurant News, Nancy Luna, dissecting her article: Tech Tracker: TGI Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings test ridesharing rewards. They discussed the new approach to creating “foot traffic” to a restaurant’s doors, the mutual benefits created by this app (Freebird Rides) , and how this can change the social nature of the way customers eat. “Really, it’s about being where the consumer is, and the consumer is on their phone. It’s really not about bringing that one random person in to drive traffic. You could really do that with a mailer,” Luna said. “But what they really want to do is drive loyalty. What they want to do is drive experience. If you create this really great experience, especially for the ‘letter generation’, you’ve nailed it. You got it. It’s a win and they come back.”

The Freebird Rides app actually creates a symbiotic relationship: the restaurant gets customers, Uber gets a ride, and the customer gets incentives to go to the restaurant. In L.A., where it’s being tested, it has resulted in customers spending more at restaurants and buying more drinks because they’re Ubering home instead of risking a tipsy drive. Luna also spoke about how fast food restaurants are using facial recognition to pre-order for you when you walk through the door. “When it works, it’s really kind of freaky,” Luna admits.

HOW ARE IOT SOLUTIONS EMPOWERING RESTAURANTS?

IoT is saving businesses money on energy costs, making industrial processes more efficient, and transforming the way executives use data to make actionable decisions. This is no different in the Food & Beverage industry. We spoke with Michael Crocker, CEO of VeriSolutions, who explained the industry need for his product, Temp Tracker. The product aimed to provide a tech solution to replace the need for restaurant workers to track temperatures of freezers multiple times a day. This was only the beginning, though. “We determined that temperature was just the beginning, but really there is broader problem in the back of restaurants around digital data and trying to automate different processes that are right now being done manually,” Crocker said.

Crocker found that with shortages of labor and the rising cost of labor, it’s important to use technology to reduce the time your staff is doing repetitive, automatable tasks like counting tomatoes and checking temperatures. At the same time, Crocker said restaurants are typically resistant to technology. His solution was to ensure that there is both ease of use and ease of deployment: a restaurant owner anywhere in the world can simply get a box in the mail with sensors and monitors and be able to deploy them in a matter of minutes, getting essential data. Crocker said the industry is finally in the “growth phase of the food tech space” where restaurants implement technology to make things more efficient.

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