In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” were on the road and live at Food On Demand in Las Vegas.
They chat with Laura Michaels, Editor in Chief at Franchise Times, Alyssa Abraham, Digital Innovation Manager at Cargill, April Rogers, Director of Off-Premise and Guest Relations at Ruby Tuesday, and Maia Tekle, Co-Founder of Dispatch Goods about the conference, strategies for increasing off-premises efficiency and the tremendous growth within the virtual brand space.
Franchise Times Editor in Chief, Laura Michaels stops by to discuss being a moderator on several panels at the conference. She shares that the big topic driving a lot of conversations is how operators are navigating their approach to improving accessibility for customers, whether that means through delivery, adjustments to their physical store footprints with pickup windows, introducing AI technology within drive-thru service, and geofencing so restaurants can better anticipate guest arrivals to create a better customer experience. She says, “There are an entirely different set of considerations for what sort of interactions consumers want to have with their restaurants right now.”
Abraham stops by to talk about the exciting innovations happening at Cargill and attending Food On Demand live for the first time, where she was able to hear directly from operators and see first-hand interactions with the different start-ups. She shares that her two key takeaways from the conference panel discussions are focus and problem-solving. She talks about the importance of operators using technology to solve both problems and enhance user experience. She says, “What I’m hearing more about is focus and problem first. It’s hearing them really refreshing and thinking, ‘Hey, we’re not just gonna push technology to push technology, let’s again figure out what we’re doing to make the guest experience better, make the employee experience better and drive that forward.’ ”
Ruby Tuesday Director of Off-Premise and Guest Relations, April Rogers stops by to chat with the guys about launching new virtual brands, ghost kitchens, and embracing the latest technology and innovation. Schatzberg asks Rogers which innovations she’s most excited about. She says, “For me, it’s the virtual brands, I love the impact they’re having on restaurants, especially restaurants with some additional kitchen capacity. And just the fact that everybody’s kind of going out and doing some different things and really thinking outside the box. It’s very new, very fresh.”
Dispatch Goods Co-Founder, Maia Tekle, and the guys chat about her panel, “Packaging Up A Better Experience”, focusing on transporting food from the in-dining experience to the at-home consumer. She says, “I’ve been amazed to see how much innovation and thought is going into packaging, as well as the thoughtfulness for their own circulatory.” They talk about reusable packaging, and what is new at Dispatch Goods. “Our east-coast partners are bringing this drive for change.” She says, “If there is a better and newer system, we want it, and we want it now.”
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