Jeremy Julian

Podcast

237. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 237 – Unlocking the Power of Data-Driven Decisions in Restaurant Technology

June 17, 2024

The latest episode of the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast dives deep into the world of data-driven decisions in the restaurant industry. Jeremy is joined by Mike Lukianoff, a seasoned veteran in restaurant operations and technology, currently spearheading SignalFlare.ai. This insightful conversation covers Mike’s career journey, the evolution of data analytics in the restaurant industry, and the groundbreaking methodologies SignalFlare.ai is bringing to the table.

A Journey Through Restaurant Technology

The Genesis of Mike Lukianoff’s Career

Mike Lukianoff’s career spans 25 years in restaurant technology, with roots in restaurant operations. Mike initially aimed to re-enter restaurant operations after completing his graduate studies, only to be drawn into the quantitative side of things. His career trajectory took a significant turn when he began focusing on pricing, analytics, and data during a time when these concepts were foreign to the industry.

“Nobody was really pulling data out of point of sale,” Mike recalls. He started working with a pioneering company in analyzing restaurant data and building price elasticity models to understand consumer behavior in response to price changes. This venture led to a successful partnership with McDonald’s, rapidly transforming his small outfit into a multinational entity.

Building on Data and Analytics

The financial collapse of 2008 provided an unexpected opportunity for Mike, leading him to bootstrap his own company focused on promotional analytics and social media analytics. As an early adopter of AWS Cloud, he could run elaborate algorithms cost-effectively. His innovative approach during challenging times allowed him to navigate the complexities of data and pricing efficiently.

Enter COVID-19: Rethinking Methodologies

Mike’s latest venture was born out of necessity and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional methods of relying on stable periods of demand were no longer viable. Mike had to rethink everything about data analysis, integrating new datasets like mobile data, credit card data, and local economic indicators to understand consumer behavior better.

“We had to start with completely different datasets,” Mike explains. The new models could predict demand patterns accurately even before receiving point-of-sale data, showcasing the robustness of these advanced methodologies.

The Emergence of SignalFlare.ai

Redefining Data Utilization

SignalFlare.ai emerged as a solution to make sophisticated data analytics accessible to even smaller chains. By leveraging extensive datasets and advanced algorithms, SignalFlare.ai can assist in understanding local demand, customer behavior, and economic factors affecting restaurant performance.

“Now you can get all of this kind of information,” Mike emphasizes, highlighting the importance of integrating diverse data sources to build predictive models.

Practical Applications for Restaurants

Jeremy and Mike delve into the practical implications of these analytics for restaurant operators. SignalFlare.ai offers insights into optimal pricing, demand patterns, and promotional effectiveness that can drive significant business improvements. By providing tailored recommendations and probabilistic simulators, SignalFlare.ai empowers operators to make informed decisions.

From Data Science to Real-World Impact

The conversation underscores that while SignalFlare.ai’s foundation is built on complex data science, its ultimate goal is to deliver simple, actionable insights to operators. “They need to know what to do and how it’s going to affect their business,” Mike asserts.

The Future of Restaurant Pricing: Beyond Dynamic Pricing

Rethinking Dynamic Pricing

The term “dynamic pricing” often stirs controversy and skepticism in the restaurant industry. Mike clarifies the misconceptions, suggesting that the focus should be on overall menu management and value-driven decisions rather than constantly fluctuating item prices.

“Dynamic pricing has a specific meaning… constantly changing,” Mike explains. Instead, strategies should emphasize creating value and improving operational metrics without alienating customers.

Conclusion: Embracing Data-Driven Decisions

The podcast concludes with a compelling message: the importance of starting down the path of data-driven decision-making. Mike warns that delaying this adoption could leave operators behind competitors who are already leveraging these tools to gain a competitive edge.

“If you’re not doing it, likely your competitor is,” Jeremy echoes.

For those interested in exploring SignalFlare.ai and the transformative power of data analytics, visit their website at SignalFlare.ai, or reach out directly to Mike Lukianoff at mike@signalflare.ai.

Jeremy’s concluding thoughts resonate with restaurant operators and tech enthusiasts alike: “We know you have lots of choices. Thank you for spending time with us, and make it a great day.”

This episode provides a rich, informative look into how data analytics and intelligent decision-making can revolutionize the restaurant industry, making it a must-listen for anyone passionate about restaurant technology and operations.

236. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 236 – Embracing Technology in the Fast-Casual Space: A Deep Dive with Bobby’s Burgers

June 10, 2024

In the rapidly evolving world of fast-casual dining, embracing technology is no longer a choice—it’s a necessity. This sentiment rings especially true in our latest conversation on the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast, where we were thrilled to host Patric Knapp, Vice President of Operations at Bobby’s Burgers by Bobby Flay.

The Vision Behind Bobby’s Burgers

Bobby’s Burgers is not just another name in the crowded burger marketplace. It is a concept that marries traditional fast-casual dining with the culinary expertise of renowned chef Bobby Flay. According to Knapp, at the heart of Bobby’s Burgers lies a deep commitment to quality and innovation—values that are evident in everything from their cooking techniques to their use of technology.

Leaning into Technology for Execution

In a fascinating discussion on the role of technology in the kitchen, Knapp sheds light on how Bobby’s Burgers uses cutting-edge equipment to ensure consistency and quality across their outlets. One of the standout pieces of technology they employ is clamshell grills, which allow for perfect medium-cooked burgers every time, at the press of a button.

Further integrating technology into their operations, Bobby’s Burgers leverages a system called Kitchen Connect—a real-time dashboard that monitors and analyses kitchen activities. This system not only facilitates seamless kitchen operations but also ensures a high level of consistency in food quality by providing insights into recipe execution, equipment maintenance, and menu management.

Innovation in Customer Service and Engagement

The podcast also delves into how Bobby’s Burgers uses technology to enhance customer service and engagement. With an emphasis on making every aspect of the dining experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible, Knapp discussed the implementation of kitchen video systems for better order accuracy and speed, ensuring hot food arrives hot, and cold items remain cold until they reach the customer.

Off-Premise Dining: A Tech-Driven Approach

One of the most captivating parts of the conversation was how Bobby’s Burgers approaches off-premise dining. Recognizing the shift towards online ordering and delivery, the brand has embraced technologies like order ready screens and has even explored the use of delivery robots for faster service. Their focus is on packaging innovation and meticulous order fulfillment to guarantee the same high-quality dining experience, whether the food is enjoyed in-store or at home.

Looking Towards the Future with AI and Expansion

Looking to the future, Knapp expressed enthusiasm about the potential of AI in improving various facets of the restaurant’s operations—from voice AI for order taking to analytics for personalized customer experiences.

As Bobby’s Burgers continues to grow, with plans to expand their footprint and welcome new franchise partners, it’s clear that technology will remain at the forefront of their strategy. The brand’s focus is on being the best in the burger business, not necessarily the biggest, with an unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and hospitality.

In conclusion, our conversation with Patric Knapp offered a compelling glimpse into how Bobby’s Burgers leverages technology not just for the sake of innovation but as a tool to enhance every aspect of the dining experience. It’s a testament to the power of technology in reshaping the fast-casual dining landscape, ensuring that customers enjoy not only great food but also an exceptional service that keeps them coming back.

235. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 235 – Unveiling the Secret to Customer Satisfaction and Business Growth with Freatz

June 3, 2024

In the rapidly evolving restaurant industry, staying ahead of the curve means not just keeping pace with technological advancements but leveraging them to deeply understand and satisfy your customers. During a recent episode of the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast, Jeremy was joined by Lucas Judice, the mind behind Freatz—a groundbreaking platform reshaping how restaurants engage with consumer feedback to enhance their operations and grow their business.

The Genesis of Freatz: A Journey from Law to Tech Entrepreneurship

Lucas’s story is a testament to the unpredictable path of entrepreneurship. Originally from Brazil and having a successful career as a lawyer, Lucas took a leap of faith, trading legal briefs for the tech world with the aim of starting his own technology company. His journey is not just about changing professions but about following a childhood passion for creating and selling—evident from his early endeavors of selling decorated jars on the beach. This inherent entrepreneurial spirit propelled Lucas towards founding Freatz, a platform at the intersection of customer experience, technology, and actionable business insights.

Freatz: Revolutionizing Restaurant Customer Feedback

The core idea behind Freatz is deceptively simple yet powerful—transform customer feedback into a tool for tangible business improvement. Lucas shared how most restaurants typically only hear from the extremes: those who had exceptional experiences and the unsatisfied ones. Freatz aims to capture the silent majority’s feedback, providing restaurants with a broader and more accurate picture of their customer experience.

How Freatz Works: A Win-Win for Businesses and Customers

Freatz cleverly incentivizes customer feedback through a model that benefits both the restaurant and its patrons. Customers are reimbursed for their meals in exchange for detailed feedback on their dining experience. This strategy not only encourages more customers to participate but also ensures that the feedback is comprehensive and genuine. Lucas highlighted the importance of understanding not just what customers like but diving deep into the why—enabling restaurants to make informed decisions that enhance the dining experience, improve customer retention, and drive sales.

AI at the Heart of Freatz

A significant part of Freatz’s efficacy lies in its AI-driven analysis, offering restaurants actionable insights across a myriad of operational areas. From menu selection and service delivery to ambiance and beyond, Freatz uses advanced algorithms to sift through customer feedback, identifying patterns and suggestions for improvement. This AI-backed approach ensures that recommendations are not just based on aggregated data but are deeply personalized and relevant to each restaurant’s unique context.

Real-World Impact: Transforming Insights into Action

Lucas shared compelling success stories where Freatz has helped restaurants achieve remarkable results. For instance, a multi-location brand saw a 17% increase in sales by focusing on identified key areas of improvement such as friendliness, speed, and food quality. Another establishment leveraged Freatz to uncover a hidden opportunity in wine sales, leading to a significant boost in average check sizes. These examples underscore the platform’s potential to not only enhance customer satisfaction but also to drive significant business growth.

Freatz’s Offer to Restaurants: A Cost-Effective Solution

One of the most appealing aspects of Freatz is its cost model. The platform operates on a net-zero cost basis for restaurants—meaning the revenue generated from increased orders and additional patrons essentially covers the cost of the feedback program. This ingenious approach allows for scalable, risk-free deployment of the feedback system across any number of outlets, making it accessible to a wide array of establishments looking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

Embracing the Future with Freatz

In the conversation, Lucas extended an open invitation to restaurateurs eager to dive deep into understanding their customers’ desires and preferences. With a model that promises not just insights but actionable strategies for growth, Freatz stands out as a beacon for the industry, illuminating the path to enhanced customer satisfaction and business success.

The episode with Lucas Judice was not just inspirational but also enlightening, shedding light on how embracing technology and customer feedback can propel the restaurant industry forward. For those looking to explore Freatz and harness the power of customer insights, the journey begins with a simple step—reaching out and being open to the transformative potential of understanding the heartbeat of your business: the customer.

For more insights and stories from the frontier of restaurant technology, continue following the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast, your go-to source for the latest trends and tools shaping the future of dining.

234. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 234 – Navigating the Future with Cloud Kitchens: A Deep Dive into Delivery-Only Restaurants

May 27, 2024

In an era where the convenience of delivery reigns supreme, cloud kitchens are rapidly emerging as a game-changing player in the restaurant industry. This innovative model, which allows for delivery-only services devoid of traditional dine-in spaces, is carving a niche that aligns perfectly with the rapidly evolving consumer preferences for speed, convenience, and quality. Our latest episode of the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast delves into the heart of this revolution, featuring insights from Wesley Li, a trailblazing restaurant operator thriving within the cloud kitchen space.

The Cloud Kitchen Concept Defined

Cloud kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, offer a compelling model for restaurant operators. They act as a manufacturing space dedicated to food preparation and delivery, devoid of traditional dining amenities. This model distinguishes itself by focusing solely on the efficiency of delivery services, leveraging technology to streamline operations and optimize customer experiences. Through our discussion, Wesley Li emphasizes the distinction between cloud kitchens and virtual brands, debunking common misconceptions while highlighting the operational and cost advantages of this model.

Embracing the Delivery-Only Model

The shift towards delivery-only services is more than just a trend; it’s a strategic response to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior and market demand. Wesley and his team at Cloud Kitchens have witnessed firsthand the growing appetite for convenience among younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z. By doubling down on delivery, they have been able to carve out a significant niche, delivering Asian fusion cuisine with exceptional efficiency and quality, debunking the myth that quality is sacrificed in delivery-only setups.

The Role of Technology in Streamlining Operations

At the heart of cloud kitchens’ success is the innovative use of technology to enhance operational efficiency and improve the customer experience. Wesley’s operation utilizes advanced software solutions provided by Cloud Kitchens, consolidating orders from various platforms into a single, manageable workflow. This integration allows for rapid order processing and ensures that food reaches customers promptly and in peak condition, an essential aspect of maintaining high customer satisfaction in the delivery service industry.

Culinary Delights from Cloud Kitchens

Diving into the culinary aspect, Wesley’s operation, featuring brands like “Take a Bow” and “Bowls of Rice,” showcases the diverse and rich flavors of Asian fusion cuisine. Among their most popular offerings are the crispy sesame aioli chicken and the jalapeno herb grass-fed steak bowl, dishes that exemplify the successful adaptation of traditional recipes for the delivery model. By focusing on menu items that can maintain their quality during delivery, Wesley’s team ensures that every order is not just a meal but an experience.

The Future of Restaurant Operations

The conversation with Wesley Li illuminates the potential of cloud kitchens to redefine the restaurant industry. This model presents a viable path for operators looking to launch or expand their culinary ventures with minimized risk and investment. The agility and flexibility offered by cloud kitchens allow for rapid scaling, experimentation with different cuisines, and the ability to adapt to market trends swiftly.

As we delve deeper into the age of digital transformation, cloud kitchens stand out as beacons of innovation and efficiency. They offer a glimpse into the future of dining, where technology, quality, and convenience converge to create unparalleled culinary experiences. For restaurant operators and entrepreneurs, the journey into the world of cloud kitchens is not just an exploration of a new business model but a step towards shaping the future of food.

Conclusion

The Restaurant Technology Guys podcast episode featuring Wesley Li from Cloud Kitchens is more than a conversation; it’s an exploration of how technology and innovation are transforming the restaurant industry. It presents cloud kitchens as not just an alternative but a strategic choice for those aiming to excel in the fast-paced world of food delivery. As we look forward, it’s clear that cloud kitchens are not merely a trend but a significant component of the industry’s future trajectory.

233. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 233 – Revolutionizing the Restaurant Supply Chain: The Choco Experience

May 20, 2024

In an illuminating episode of the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast, Jeremy, the host, sits down with Georgie Thomas, the General Manager for Choco in the US. The conversation dives into the heart of how Choco is transforming the restaurant supply chain, aiming to streamline operations for restaurants and suppliers while combatting food waste. Here’s a recap of this insightful discussion.

Introducing Choco: A Game-Changer for Restaurants and Suppliers

Georgie begins by walking us through his journey from finance to food technology, shedding light on his role at Choco after a significant tenure at DoorDash. Choco, he explains, stands as a crucial player in the supply chain, simplifying the ordering process from restaurants to food suppliers. Considering the traditionally manual processes that dominate the industry — from phone calls and texts to faxes — Choco proposes an integrated, digital solution aimed at enhancing efficiency and reducing errors.

The Pivot to Technology: A Response to Inefficiency

As tempted as we might be to think of the restaurant business as primarily culinary, Jeremy and Georgie delve into the critical issues that upend efficiency: manual ordering systems, inaccurate inventory tracking, and the tedious task of managing substitutions and errors. These operational inefficiencies not only cost time and money but significantly contribute to food waste. Choco seeks to address these problems head-on through its innovative digital platform, thereby also making a profound impact on reducing food waste.

Harnessing AI for Efficiency and Accuracy

Georgie highlights the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in refining the Choco experience, particularly on the supplier side. By converting manual or non-digital orders into a digital format, Choco AI alleviates the labor-intensive processes suppliers typically endure. This transformative approach not only saves time but significantly reduces errors, contributing to a smoother operation that benefits suppliers and restaurants alike.

The Predictive Power of Data

Looking ahead, Choco is exploring the potential of predictive analytics to further streamline restaurant operations. The vision includes suggestions for restaurants based on historical order data and predictive inventory management for suppliers. Such advancements could lead to a more proactive, less reactive supply chain, anticipating needs before they become urgent.

The Impact Beyond Efficiency: Combatting Food Waste

At the heart of Choco’s mission is a commitment to tackling one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time: food waste. By improving the accuracy and efficiency of the restaurant supply chain, Choco aims to minimize the waste generated from ordering inaccuracies and inefficiencies, making a significant contribution to environmental sustainability.

A Bright Future Ahead

As Choco continues to grow, both restaurants and suppliers stand to benefit significantly from its innovative solutions. Jeremy concludes the podcast by profiling the tangible ways Choco is making strides toward a more efficient, sustainable future for the restaurant industry, inviting listeners to explore what this revolutionary technology has to offer.

For those in the restaurant industry struggling with the complexities of supply chain management, Choco presents a compelling solution that promises not just to streamline operations but also to make a meaningful impact on the global fight against food waste.

Check them out at AI for food distributors, discover Choco AI

232. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 232 – Lessons in Leadership, Humility, and Impact with Tyler Young

May 13, 2024

In the fast-paced world of restaurant technology, it’s rare to come across stories that not only inspire but shed light on the power of humility, leadership, and the profound impact we can have on one another’s lives. Today, we dive into the story of Tyler Young, a figure who has recently captivated the attention of many within the industry and beyond.

A Journey of Growth and Community

Tyler’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. Starting his entrepreneurial path at the tender age of 23, he transformed his ventures from being relatively unknown to significantly impacting the industry within a year. His deliberate shift towards more meaningful engagement in the industry led to the creation of VersiTech, a merger of two powerful entities—Bold Integrated Payments and Tonic point of sale—into a force capable of taking the market by storm.

But beyond the business success, what truly defines Tyler is his dedication to making an impact. Having merged with his partner, Gary Lou, they set out not to chase financial success but to impact the industry and people’s lives positively. Their journey from running small companies to leading a powerful organization of over 100 employees showcases a shared vision of thriving through community building.

The Power of Community and Hope

Tyler’s narrative is deeply entrenched in his personal experiences, which have shaped his outlook on community and support. From spending his early years in the hospital system, supporting his brother through leukemia, to building supportive communities within his business endeavors, Tyler’s life story underscores the significance of hope, optimism, and the strength found in unity.

Similarly, Jeremy, the host, shares touching parallels from his life, revealing moments of vulnerability and the impact of personal trials on one’s outlook and actions. These stories highlight the common thread of resilience and compassion that binds individuals, making them a beacon of hope for others.

A Culture Built on Core Values

Central to Tyler and his business’s identity are core values like humility, grit, and success. These values aren’t just plaques on the wall but living principles that guide decisions and actions at every level of the organization. From encouraging open communication and accountability to fostering an environment where mistakes are viewed as opportunities for growth, the culture at VersiTech is a testament to what businesses can achieve when they put people and values first.

Gratefulness and Impact: Pillars of Success

Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of Tyler’s story is his unwavering focus on impact over financial gain. His daily practice of recognizing gratitude and setting intentions to make each day meaningful stands as a powerful reminder of the importance of perspective. By sharing stories of transformation and support within his company, Tyler exemplifies what it means to lead with purpose, valuing people’s journeys and potentials.

A Call to Action for Thoughtful Leadership

In a world often dominated by the bottom line, stories like Tyler’s offer a refreshing perspective on success. It’s a clear call to action for business leaders and individuals alike to prioritize impact, community, and personal growth. As we reflect on Tyler’s journey, let’s challenge ourselves to consider how we can make a difference in our spheres of influence, championing values that bring out the best in those around us.

Tyler Young’s story isn’t just about the ascent of a business or an individual; it’s a blueprint for meaningful success — one that includes humanity, humility, and a generous spirit at its core. Through his example, we’re reminded of the limitless potential for positive change when we dedicate ourselves to the well-being and growth of our communities and the people within them.

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