By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
2014 will be the breakthrough year for Food Tech companies. This January at CES in Las Vegas, Yahoo announced with great fanfare the launch of two new digital magazines – Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech. Both online publications boast a high caliber editorial team, led by Katie Couric and David Pogue. The magazines were designed on Tumblr technology, a multimedia blogging platform that had been acquired by Yahoo. According to the New York Times, Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer said the digital food and tech magazines had already attracted more than 10 million unique visitors since their introduction in early January. That comes to no surprise considering that food and technology are among the most discussed topics online. Moreover, technology is increasingly transforming the food industry and spurred the creation of food tech companies. Rosenheim Advisor charted the 2014 Food, Tech & Media Ecosystem. It stretches from online and mobile ordering, reservations, ad networks and loyalty programs to payment systems.
On a recent Food+Tech Meetup organized by the founders of Foodtechconnect.com, some of New York’s finest food tech startup showcased how they are transforming the way restaurants market and operate their business.
Here is a snap shot of some of the companies that presented:
· NoWait, is an iOS app that allows consumers to search restaurant wait times, add their names to waiting lists and get texts from restaurants when their tables are ready. CEO, Ware Sykes, shows how the company is serving a sizeable non reservation market space; restaurants and their customers that don’t take reservations and need better solutions than buzzers or manual text messages to manage an average wait line of 45 – 60 minutes. Serving over 1,000 restaurants nationwide, the company’s table management system seats up to 3 million diners per month.
· Cover, founded by Mark Egerman or Andrew Cove, is a payment processing app that lets customers seamlessly pay for their meals and saves restaurants money on credit card fees. Diners can use the downloaded Cover app to easily settle their bill on their mobile when leaving the restaurant and even preset tip percentage and bill splitting with other diners.
· Culinary Agents and Easy Pairings are both solutions to help restaurant owners with recruitment and staffing in the hospitality industry. While Culinary Agents offers match making for the back of the house and front of the house, Easy Pairings currently focuses on front of the house staffing, with plans to expand in the future. CEO and co-founder Darren Wan shared that based on his own experience managing a restaurant in New York, staff turnover is a major pain point for the food industry. Turnover rates are approximately 55%. Data analytics and online profile matchmaking can help restaurant owners to identify proper candidates quickly.
With New York, and especially the borough of Brooklyn, being a major hub for digital media, tech and food businesses, it will be exciting to see how the three industries will feed each other with new ideas and innovative business models.