How’s Technology Changing the Restaurant Industry? Experts Discuss

We teamed up with TouchBistro to welcome restaurant owners and hospitality professionals to discuss how technology’s affecting their businesses.

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Yelp’s director of business outreach Darnell Holloway (left) noted that restaurants that provide high-quality service are considerably more likely to receive a five star rating, regardless of any other factor.

Editor’s note: We kicked off our first annual Food Loves Tech event last summer in Chelsea—here’s a recap. We’re bringing a taste of the food and farming future back this year, but just across the East River at Industry City. Leading up to the event, this story is part of an ongoing series about technology’s effects on our food supply.

0127-PartnerTip-350x70px-Style guide greens2Last month we teamed up with TouchBistro to welcome restaurant owners and hospitality professionals to City Winery on June 19 for “Technology’s Impact on NYC Restaurants.” Catered by BeeHive Oven, the event featured a panel discussion on how the industry can use tech to solve the myriad business concerns that come with managing a restaurant. 

The panel was moderated by Vanessa Vite (TouchBistro’s lead generation manager) and included Darnell Holloway (Yelp‘s director of business outreach), Stacy Lubensky (marketing director at SendaGuy Now) and Ron McCulloch (chairman and co-founder of Jitjatjo). Bianca McLaren, senior manager of brand marketing at SEVENROOMS, demoed their CRM platform after the discussion.

Holloway, who has been with Yelp since 2012, spoke about how restaurants can achieve what he called a “Five Star State of Mind” in order to maximize business success and name recognition through customer satisfaction. He noted that restaurants that provide high-quality service are considerably more likely to receive a five star rating, regardless of any other factor. He also discussed some of the work Yelp has been doing with the restaurant data they’ve gathered over the years and how they’ve used it to map food trends over time and geography.

Lubensky described SendaGuy Now as the Uber of restaurant repair. Having launched fall of 2016, SendaGuy Now has over 850 NYC restaurant owners on their platform. If your walk-in fridge breaks down, a licensed and insured contractor can be brought in same day with SendaGuy’s platform, leaving time to recover before the dinner rush.

Likewise, Jitjatjo serves a similar function with staffing, allowing restaurants to fill staffing shortfalls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to McCulloch, Jitjatjo clients have access a fully vetted stable of hospitality professionals, who are available on-demand for restaurants, catering companies and events.

The event is part of our ongoing industry tech series with TouchBistro. The next event will be at the Institute of Culinary Education on August 28, and details will be announced closer to the date. Email [email protected] for more info.

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Ben Jay

Ben Jay is a freelance journalist and photographer. In addition to Edible, he’s also contributed to WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, Gothamist, Deadspin, the Village Voice, and more. His hobbies include dark beer and brisket.