Foodable's Annual Restaurant Technology Guide — the Inside Scoop on the Best Foodservice Tech Solutions

If you're hungry for food for thought, you'll get more than a "byte" with our latest interactive guide. Having trouble deciding on the best way to manage your team's schedules? Keeping track of ordering and receiving? Monitoring your inventory?  Or are you looking for the best LCDs for your menu boards, or maybe even a new POS system to cut down time customers crowd at the till?

Look no further than Foodable's annual Restaurant Technology Guide, brought to you by Zenreach.

 There's no doubt that technology is transforming the restaurant industry, from the way brands and operators handle their day-to-day tasks to changing consumer expectations on customer service and the dining experience. How can we keep up with the fast-paced, one-click speed of foodservice? How do we bridge the gap between tech-savvy guests and tech-savvy brands?

Through Foodable's interactive Restaurant Technology Guide, which also comes with a free, downloadable report that shares even more insights and data, we feature the best products and companies that have elevated the industry. More importantly, the ones that can revolutionize you and your restaurant. Based on data analyzed by Foodable Labs, these brands were ranked on a 300-point system, scored on the following metrics: operator sentiment, brand perception, and engagement.

About the Report

The annual Restaurant Technology Guide is powered by the industry's largest foodservice- and chef-focused social data analysis platform, the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), and Foodable Labs. Foodable Labs, through the RSMI, analyzes more than 167K restaurant and hospitality brands, 200K chefs, and over 220MM global restaurant consumers across 500K foodservice locations.

In this free report, along with access to our interactive guide, you will discover:

  • 2017 Restaurant Technology Predictions
  • Top 100 Restaurant Technology Companies Ranking
  • Editors' Choice Awards for the following categories: Social Media, Point of Sale, Online Services, Digital Signage, Marketing Solutions, Guest-Facing Tech, Back-Office Software, and Mobile
  • Top 10 Guest-Facing and Tabletop Tech Ranking
  • Top 10 Digital Marketing Solutions Ranking
  • Top 6 Back-Office Tech Ranking
  • Top 6 Pos Options Ranking
  • Best practices on making Wi-Fi work for your restaurant
  • Millennial trends on digitally-enhanced dining
  • And more!

Restaurant Technology Must-Haves: Free WiFi, Data Management

Foodable’s 2016 Restaurant Technology Guide is expected to release in just a couple short weeks. In the meantime, we’re talking to Jack Abraham, CEO of Zenreach, to discuss some of the most recent technologies in restaurants today. One such technology was created by Abraham.

“I’ve always been focused on how the internet is influencing the offline world and offline sales in particular. The vast majority of people are spending their time online, but 95 percent of the commerce in the United States is being done offline, and there are a lot of bridges that need to be built between those two worlds,” he said.

Abraham’s interest in offline data loops began with his first company, a local shopping engine called Milo, which he sold to eBay in 2010. Now focused on his new venture, Zenreach shows operators how many times individual customers actually return to their restaurant. Using a piece of hardware that allows operators to create a customizable log-in portal to offer free WiFi for their patrons, Jack aimed to grow owner’s knowledge of their customers using their online activity. When visitors log in to a location’s WiFi, they share an email address that can then be monitored during later visits to track restaurant visits.

Foodable Labs Data shows that Consumer-Facing Technology Adoption is up by 87 percent over 2015 while Restaurant Native Mobile Apps are down 31 percent. Abraham notes the reason for this gap is that sometimes consumers don’t want to download an another app to their phone.

“Even if you can convince them — even if you can put all the effort into trying to get them to do that — they’re probably going to delete it,” he said.

That’s part of why Abraham created Zenreach. He wanted to give restaurants the ability to gather data from their consumers while simultaneously avoiding the issues normally faced when providing free WiFi like security and management.

Find out how technology is changing and where it’s headed within the industry on this episode of On Foodable Weekly!

Innovations from NRA Show 2016

At the NRA Show, the industry's biggest and most dynamic trade show and event, it is an endless sea of exhibitions, educational sessions, products, and new ideas across the 2.6-million-square-foot-space of Chicago's McCormick Place convention center. Needless to say, while every inch is filled with discoveries, it can get a little overwhelming.

In this episode of "Rock My Restaurant," show hosts William Bender and Eric Norman do the leg work for you. After walking the floor, they sit down and product review some of the best innovations they spotted at NRA Show 2016. Trying to figure out the latest software and technology to take your restaurant to the next level? Check out these finds and get ready to rock your restaurant.

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The Lineup

Noodoe: Noodoe could potentially be the next breakthrough in efficiency and speed of service. This device consists of a wristband, which servers wear, and a cube with different icons symbolizing different needs, such as a check or beverage refill, that the table of guests hold onto. These pieces of tech connect wirelessly to the cloud and effortlessly speeds up waiter-to-diner communications, and in the future, could lead to better communications to the back of house.

"I thought that [Noodoe] was pretty cool because it's fully customizable, too, so the owner or operator can put anything they want on there. So, depending on what side the little unit is sitting on, that's what translates to your wristband," Eric said.

Zenreach: Email capture and marketing is one of the most challenging aspects when it comes to improving your restaurant's client base. Through Zenreach, brands can build a database through their Wi-Fi. When guests log in by submitting their email addresses, Zenreach collects this information and brands can use these lists to drive sales in marketing, whether through sent reminders, customer loyalty programs, or other incentives.

HotSchedules: HotSchedules it a revolutionary, restaurant management platform. From talent recruiting, to a continuous training e-learning program, to flexible staff scheduling, to instant message communications, this software does a lot of hard work to make processes a lot easier. Not to mention other features such as inventory and asset management — what can't you accomplish with HotSchedules?

STUBBORN Soda: STUBBORN soda is a paragon of what craft beverage should be all about. Through its natural ingredients and unique flavors (Orange Hibiscus, Lemon Berry Açaí, or Pineapple Cream Soda, anyone?), guests will be thirsty for more.

"What this does is really allow an operator to be better, special, or different," Bill said. "They also have a wonderful dispenser for fast casual restaurants called a pumper."

TradingTable: Whether you are an operator, distributor, or supplier, it doesn't matter what side of the table you sit on — this digital, paperless ordering platform connects each party involved in the transaction. It is a seamless solution and is a total automation of a purchasing agent's duties. The system has algorithms set to help operators find the best prices for products, which they can then order through the platform.

Ovention: Ovention may look like a typical conveyor oven, but this high-capacity, high-speed oven has two shuttles, allowing chefs to cook different food items with similar cooking temperatures. Chicken strips cooking on one side (through closed cooking, which means no need for exhausts or hoods) can then switch over to cookies on the other. This maximizes versatility and speed.

Riage X3: Two words: massage chair. 

"You were able to fit that into your schedule?" Bill asked.

"Ahh, 20 minutes of pure heaven, man. I could hardly get out of the chair" Eric said.

Watch the full episode now!