Jeremy Julian


221. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 221 – Revolutionizing Restaurant Loyalty Programs with Hang: A Deep-Dive into Customized Customer Engagement

February 26, 2024


Navigating the world of restaurant loyalty programs can often feel repetitive and uniform, leaving both customers and brands wanting more. Many programs operate based on a similar, one-size-fits-all model, leaving personalization and engagement, key facets to customer retention, unexplored. However, Hang, a next-generation loyalty software, is revolutionizing this model. Operating on a user-friendly and hyper-personalized basis, Hang aims to enhance customer experience and create long-lasting relationships between brands and their customers.

Understanding the ‘Hang’

With Matt Smolin, co-founder and CEO, at the helm, Hang offers personalized rewards instead of generic points, making each engagement with a brand a unique experience for the customer. It goes beyond the traditional cookie-cutter approach seen across the loyalty market and focuses on customizing consumer interactions and experiences.

Hang isn’t just for restaurants, but it particularly shines in this space. The software effortlessly connects with POS systems and attributes awards across multiple consumer touchpoints, including social media, in-person visits, online purchases, and third-party deliveries.

Individualized Rewards: Building Solid Relationships

One of Hang’s intrinsic identity elements is its personalization tactics, notably suiting the fast-paced, technologically advancing world where customers want to be seen and heard. Smolin believes in rewarding customers in a way that resonates with them personally and helps businesses increase customer lifetime value.

For example, Hang could offer a regular diner preferred seating as a reward, making them feel appreciated rather than just offering a standardized 10% discount. This approach not only helps retain customers but also enhances their brand experiences.

Transactional Spending: Creating Incremental Returns

Hang works by adding value to each customer’s visit or purchase. The typical points-based system is replaced with rewarding boxes or “mystery gifts”, providing an immediate reward with each transaction. This “mystery gift” could range from discounts to a call with a CEO, making the earning process a delightful surprise.

Hang isn’t just about creating an engaging loyalty experience but also ensuring proving its value for the brand. By driving incremental returns, loyalty changes from a cost center to a profit center. For the consumers, these incremental benefits encourage repeat visits and make the experience more personal, resulting in a whopping average increase in user spend on a per-user basis by 70 percent!

Success Stories: Building a Loyal Customer Base

A compelling example of Hang’s success in revolutionizing loyalty programs can be seen with Boba Guys, a fast-growing burger brand. By integrating Hang into their services, they could offer a range of rewards, from discount codes to newly launched product samples. This unique approach resulted in a fascinating case study, where a consumer tried a new product through a reward system and continued to order that new item over consecutive visits.

Besides, Hang’s API compatibility enables easy integration with brand’s existing tech stack and Point of Sales (POS) system. This integration offers native notifications, capturing user attention and ensuring customer retention and engagement, apart from the regular reward-based approach.


While many restaurant loyalty programs remain transactional and one-dimensional, Hang is redefining how brands interact with their customers. By creating a highly personalized, exciting, and interactive platform, Hang is cultivating rewarding and enduring relationships between customers and their beloved brands.

220. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 220 – Leverage First-Party Data with Vericast’s NXTDRIVE: A Game Changer for Restauranteurs

February 19, 2024

Every restaurateur seeks to drive customer growth through tailored and effective marketing strategies, unsuccessfully at times. However, Vericast exclusively presents a solution, enabling restaurants to harness on-ground customer data effectively. Their groundbreaking product – NXTDRIVE, designed specifically for data targeting and marketing, could revolutionize how restaurants fundamentally approach their marketing strategies.

Understanding Each Customer, One Household at a Time

Being one of the leaders in the print media space, Vericast provides critical insights on household level preferences, helping marketers craft more effective messaging. This knowledge extends to understanding households’ digital engagement patterns too. Fusing both these data segments presents a well-rounded picture of prospective customers.

One of Vericast’s main focus areas is everything digital. From display advertising, video integration on YouTube channels to distribution through connected TVs, Vericast does it all. Their most ambitious project yet, NXTDRIVE, seeks to integrate customer data from restaurants with their proprietary data from various digital touchpoints.

Pointing towards First-Party Data

First-party data implies any information collected directly by a brand about its customers. This data type could include express information like an email address or other behavioral data drawn through website visits or item purchases. What NXTDRIVE does extra is infuse this data with insights gleaned from Vericast’s digital interactions with the same customer. Hence, filling up the gaps and completing a full picture of each customer.

Herein, the real challenge lies in identifying multiple interactions as being from a single user. Vericast embarks on an intricate process called ‘identity resolution’ to consolidate different instances into one unified customer profile.

Personalization: The Cornerstone of Effective Marketing

In the known fact that consumers prefer personalized interactions with brands, especially Millennials. Accessing such level of customer data makes personalization completely achievable. Vericast’s NXTDRIVE not only captures customer data but also segments it into usable bits. With this understanding, brands can customize messages for each of their customers, improving the odds of driving favourable responses significantly.

For instance, recognizing a change in purchase behavior through detailed analysis of their buying records will enable specific ad targeting. The system facilitates a continuous learning process, where new data collected feeds back into the process, modifying recommendations and ad targeting continually. However, the critical component here remains a data analytics partner who can utilize these data trends and craft truly effective marketing plans.

Relevance and Timing: Key to Advertising

Direct and relevant advertising stands paramount to drawing meaningful customer interactions. Understanding customer behavior, geographic location, and optimizing timing can make ads more influential. Comprehending these aspects becomes more manageable with data-based insights that NXTDRIVE offers.

Moreover, NXTDRIVE presents an excellent space to uplift small-scale restaurants. The platform can tailor ads for them, enabling optimal resource utilization and maximizing audience reach. Data-based audience targets and insights provided by NXTDRIVE could significantly influence customer activity, making significant inroads into an untapped customer base.

Check out Vericast to learn how you can leverage NXTDRIVE for your restaurant chain.

219. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 219 – How to Turn Your Restaurant into a Media Powerhouse: Insights from Shawn Walchef

February 12, 2024


In this world of technology and telecommunication, restaurants have more opportunities to grow their brand than ever before. Yet, some may ask, “how exactly can restaurants leverage their businesses into media powerhouses?” In this article, we discuss how to accomplish this feat, using the insights of Shawn Walchef, the seasoned owner of Cali BBQ Media, as shared on the Restaurant Technology Guys podcast.

Meet the Speakers

Jeremy Julian, the host of the Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast, sat down with Shawn Walchef, the highly successful owner of the Californian-based Cali BBQ Media for an exciting conversation. Walchef, known for turning his BBQ eatery into an efficient, sprawling digital media company, generously shared his nuggets on how restaurants can wield the power of digital media to increase their reach, influence, and profitability.

The Rise of Cali BBQ Media

Walchef revealed his extraordinary journey from owning a single BBQ eatery to operating four thriving locations. Furthermore, he expanded into the realms of storytelling, transforming his business alongside into a media house.

Walchef said, “So 2017 is, you know, really the significant turning point when we turned our BBQ business into a media business. We launched our first show – Behind the Smoke. It was more about marketing, storytelling, business. When I went to business school, I thought I was gonna get some great business lessons. The only time I was moved inside of business class was when an entrepreneur came and told me their story.”

Media as a Tool for Authentic Engagement

Becoming a media business was a pivotal philosophy articulated by Walchef, essentially disrupting the traditional restaurant marketing model. Shifting away from advertising to authentic storytelling, restaurants can create compelling content that resonates with their audience and builds a strong community around their brand.

Walchef expressed, “Why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience who might not know you? Start, start telling me every single day, what are you doing? What are you building? Bring us into your meeting. Like there’s a lot of things perfectly you can do today.”

The Need for Consistency and Authenticity in Content Creation

Success in the world of digital media isn’t achieved overnight. It requires consistency and authenticity, two elements strongly emphasized by Walchef. As businesses start sharing their journey, they may first find few people engaging with their content. But, with persistence, they can slowly gather a dedicated following and maximize their reach.

Walchef highlighted, “People fear putting something out that isn’t quality because of what other people will think. But truth vibrates the fastest. Start listening to shows like this. Start consuming content. If you’re surrounding yourself with more authentic, valuable content, you’ll improve.”

The Future of Digital Storytelling and Hospitality

According to Walchef, every business needs a digital-first approach, particularly brick-and-mortar brands. Businesses must harness the power of storytelling through audio, video, images, and words, putting content out fast and consistently.

The interview concluded with a resounding call to action from Walchef, emphasizing that people can change their lives and businesses by connecting and learning from people within their industry. He called out to both the audience and his fellow restaurant owners to face the challenge. “Please connect with me, connect with Jeremy. There are so many amazing people that are one DM away from changing your life and your business.”


In today’s digital age, restaurants can’t afford to overlook the power of digital storytelling. In addition to serving delicious meals, creating compelling, consistent, and authentic content can help to amplify your brand reach, connect with your audience, and establish your restaurant as an authority in the market. So why wait? Start your digital storytelling journey today, and see the profound impact it can have on your business.

218. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 218 – Unleashing the Power of LinkedIn Marketing: A Conversation with Justin Ulrich

February 5, 2024


In the rapidly evolving world of business and marketing, the importance of having an effective online presence cannot be overstated. For B2B enterprises and a growing number of B2C businesses, LinkedIn has become a territory ripe for exploration and development. In a recent candid conversation with Jeremy Julian, Justin Ulrich, a marketing head at Evocalize, yields meaningful insights into how best to navigate LinkedIn’s treacherous yet reward-filled waters.

Social Media Superhero: An Introduction to Justin Ulrich

Justin Ulrich has led a fascinating career. From working a blue-collar job as an electrician straight out of high school to exploring the realms of tax accounting before finally finding his footing in marketing, his journey has been nothing short of an adventure. Currently heading the marketing team at Evocalize, a company specializing in automating paid digital marketing based on local data, Ulrich has worked in diverse sectors including telecom, payment processing, POS, SaaS, and even the off-road industry.

How LinkedIn Amplifies your Marketing

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for B2B businesses. It’s a platform where businesspeople spend time building their networks, making it a logical place to focus marketing efforts. When Ulrich joined Evocalize, one of the core challenges he faced was building awareness for the brand, which was virtually unknown in the restaurant industry.

Ulrich decided to target LinkedIn, knowing that was where his audience spent their time. He shared the brand’s content, connected with industry leaders, and supported his network for several months. When the time came to launch a podcast, he had a network of people willing to support and help him, not just because they returned the favor, but also because he had become part of their ‘inner circle’.

Lessons from LinkedIn Engagement

The key, Ulrich underscores, is to give back. The more you put into the world, the more it returns back to you. Building an audience on social channels makes sense only when you have meaningful content that audiences find engaging.

Check them out at Local digital marketing tools for franchises | Evocalize

217. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 217 – Introducing PopcornGTM: Revolutionizing Restaurant Tech by Clear Communication

January 29, 2024

In an era inundated with numerous technological solutions, cutting through the noise and reaching your target audience can be a massive challenge. This issue is all-too-real for booming enterprises in the restaurant technology sector. However, a new player on the scene, PopcornGTM, is bringing a fresh approach to help such businesses talk more effectively to their audiences.

PopcornGTM was born out of a need to help restaurant technology companies understand and articulate their unique proposition. The company aims to streamline the communication lines between tech companies and stakeholders, create meaningful narratives out of tech jargon, and transform tech startups’ brands into compelling stories that truly resonate with their prospects.

Understanding the Market Landscape

Tackling the restaurant tech market requires understanding its sheer volume and diversity. Brita from Vita Partners’ detailed restaurant technology ecosystem maps roughly 250 tech companies. However, if you scratch deeper into the vast digital landscape like ZoomInfo, you may come across more than 14,000 companies listed under hospitality technology! The challenge for tech founders is to rise above this colossal noise.

Considering the rich variety in the restaurant tech market, a strong brand message needs to resonate with each distinct segment. From the startups finding their feet to emerging competitors and entrenched incumbents, the conversation and messaging must be differentiated accordingly.

The Power of Branding and Sales Integration

Key to cutting through the noise is understanding that your brand is instrumental in driving sales. If your brand successfully explains why you are in business, what service or product you offer, and how you do it, sales become a natural progression.

On the other hand, sales strategy is critical in following through with the brand messaging. As customers become more informed and discerning, sales representatives must be prepared to engage, understand, and match the customer’s needs. The overall goal is to ensure that each interaction with a prospect is meaningful, impactful, and move them further down the sales funnel.

Crafting the Brand Story with PopcornGTM

PopcornGTM brings together two experienced minds: Paul Molinari, a marketing veteran, and Michael Beck, a seasoned sales professional. Launching with the belief that the synergy between sales and marketing holds enormous power, they aim to help restaurant tech businesses craft a winning strategy.

Their approach includes understanding where a business fits, aligning the company’s internal views with how the segments perceive the company, and then harmonizing both perspectives. The idea is to create compelling narratives out of tech jargon, which genuinely solves the customer’s challenges.

Popcorn’s critical strategy involves walking tech founders through a journey of authenticity. The journey starts by developing a self-awareness of their stage in the market; are they a novel concept, an emerging competitor, or an established incumbent? Once a company knows where it stands, Popcorn offers guidance on communicating their brand position, invigorating their value proposition, and creating a demand for their products or services.

Conclusion: Time to “Pop” your Brand

Navigating today’s complex restaurant tech scene isn’t just about having the best tech. It’s also about gaining clarity on who you are as a company, what problems your solutions solve, and articulating it in a manner that resonates with your audience. That’s precisely where platforms like PopcornGTM are revolutionizing the game, ensuring your brand’s voice doesn’t just add to the noise, but truly stands out.

216. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Ep. 216 – Revolutionizing Temporary Cold Storage: The Polar Leasing Story

January 22, 2024

Welcome back to The Restaurant Technology Guys podcast. We are excited to share the story of Polar Leasing, a company that has been transforming the world of temporary cold storage. In this blog post, we will dive into the details of what Polar Leasing does, the unique applications of their temporary cold storage units, and how they have revolutionized the industry. Join us as we explore the backstory, the process, and the success stories of Polar Leasing.

Section 1: Introducing Duane Waterman and Polar Leasing

  • Duane Waterman, a representative from Polar Leasing, joins us on the podcast to talk about the company.
  • Polar Leasing is a Midwest-based company that specializes in renting temporary cold storage units across the country.
  • Duane explains that they offer walk-in cooler and freezer units in various sizes, which are dual temperature and electric powered.
  • The units can be changed from cooler to freezer temperature as required, making them versatile for different storage needs.

Section 2: The Backstory of Polar Leasing

  • Polar Leasing’s parent company, Polar King, has been in the industry for about 30 years, designing all-fiberglass seamless cooler freezer units.
  • These units are designed to free up storage space inside buildings by placing the units outside the facility.
  • Due to the demand for smaller units, Polar Leasing was established to provide temporary cold storage solutions.
  • The company has experienced significant growth since its inception, expanding its services and customer base.

Section 3: The Applications of Temporary Cold Storage

  • Duane highlights the unique use cases for Polar Leasing’s temporary cold storage units.
  • They cater to food pantries, churches, and organizations that distribute food during the holidays.
  • The units are commonly used to store turkeys, hams, and other perishable items.
  • The flexibility and mobility of these units make them ideal for special events, food festivals, and disaster areas.
  • Polar Leasing serves mobile kitchen companies that require additional cold storage alongside their kitchens.

Section 4: The Process of Renting a Unit

  • Duane explains that the process of renting a unit from Polar Leasing is fast and efficient.
  • The lead time for delivery is usually one to three business days, depending on the location.
  • The units are delivered by depots located across the country, and they take care of both delivery and pickup.
  • Customers can choose rental periods starting from one week, with the option to extend the rental as needed.

Section 5: The Advantages of Polar Leasing’s Units

  • One of the key advantages of Polar Leasing’s units is their seamless construction using fiberglass.
  • The seamless design ensures better insulation, reducing operating costs and improving efficiency.
  • The units hold the cold in longer and release less air, resulting in significant cost savings for customers.
  • Compared to gas-powered units, the electric-powered units offered by Polar Leasing are quieter and safer to enter.

Section 6: Innovations and Future possibilities

  • Duane mentions that Polar Leasing is constantly exploring new innovations and solutions.
  • They are currently working on a monitoring system for their units, which would provide real-time temperature monitoring and alerting.
  • While the monitoring system is not currently offered to customers, it is utilized by the company’s service department for quick response in case of any issues.
  • Duane emphasizes that Polar Leasing aims to provide the best customer experience in terms of service and product quality.

Polar Leasing has revolutionized the landscape of temporary cold storage with its innovative solutions and customer-centric approach. From seamless construction and efficient operation to fast delivery and flexible rental periods, Polar Leasing caters to a wide range of industries and events. Whether it’s a restaurant in need of temporary storage during renovations or a special event requiring additional cold storage, Polar Leasing offers a reliable and cost-effective solution. Visit their website at to learn more and experience the convenience of their temporary cold storage units.

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