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Pop Bot: March Restaurant Technology News Recap

Pop Bot

Welcome to "Pop Bot" your monthly roundup of the latest trends and developments in restaurant technology. Each month, we'll bring you the most important news, innovations, and insights that are shaping the future of the industry. Stay informed with our curated selection of the latest tech advancements in dining. So, grab a seat and a handful of popcorn, and let's eat.

NFT Memberships for Loyalty Programs

Brands like Wow Bao and Starbucks are exploring blockchain-backed NFT membership programs as traditional digital rewards become passé. Unlock Protocol and Stakes have partnered to launch personalized NFT membership programs for restaurants, offering perks like secret menu items and special events without the need for crypto wallets or specialized knowledge. This move aims to enhance customer loyalty by providing more value and involvement in the restaurant experience.

DoorDash Unlocks Merchant Data

DoorDash has introduced a Merchant Reporting API tool, granting operators access to previously restricted sales and operations data. This move is a response to criticism over commission fees and lack of customer data access. While DoorDash will not share specific customer data, the tool provides overall trends to assist restaurants in managing delivery and takeout services.

newsletter subscribe pop botToast Acquires Delphi for Drive-Thru Tech

Toast, a popular restaurant software platform, has acquired Delphi Display Systems to enter the drive-thru technology market. This partnership allows Toast customers to access Delphi's digital menu boards and order confirmation systems, enhancing service models for drive-thru centric restaurants.

Wingstop Adds AI to Call Centers

Wingstop is piloting a partnership with ConverseNow to integrate AI-powered virtual assistants into its call centers. This automation aims to streamline phone orders, reducing the need for human labor and reflecting the industry's shift towards labor-saving technologies.

BurgerFi Invests in FlyBuy for Order Pickup Optimization

BurgerFi and Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza & Wings are rolling out FlyBuy Pickup in partnership with Radius Networks. This geofencing technology optimizes curbside, in-store, and delivery pickup by tracking customer arrival times and ensuring orders are prepared accordingly.

SoCi Announces Investment in ChatGPT Marketing Tools

SOCi, a multi-unit foodservice marketing platform, has raised $120 million to expand into new markets and develop ChatGPT-backed AI marketing tools. These tools aim to automate marketing tasks, such as real-time responses to online reviews, at scale.

Danny Meyer Invests in SevenRooms

SevenRooms, a guest experience platform, has received investment from Enlightened Hospitality Investments, led by Danny Meyer. This partnership reflects the growing interest in technology platforms that enhance restaurant guest experiences.

DoorDash Explores Drone Deliveries

DoorDash plans to explore drone deliveries in additional U.S. locations, aiming to provide a quick and sustainable option for small, short-distance orders. The drones, developed by Wing, can travel at about 65 miles per hour and have a six-mile range.

Starbucks Launches NFT Marketplace

Starbucks has launched an NFT marketplace as part of its brand reinvention, despite a decline in daily trading volume for digital tokens. The future of Starbucks Odyssey, the platform for these digital stamps, remains unclear as the company gathers customer feedback.

ChowNow Acquires Cuboh

ChowNow, an online ordering provider for independent restaurants, is acquiring Cuboh to streamline orders from third-party delivery apps. This acquisition aims to make tech stacks more efficient and expand the number of POS systems that can integrate with ChowNow's technology.

Juicer Introduces Competitive Pricing Analysis Tool

Juicer, a restaurant revenue management platform, has announced a new tool called Juicer Compete. This "hyper-local competitive pricing tool" allows large enterprise brands to compare their prices and offers with nearby competitors. Using AI, the tool monitors and tracks pricing information and special offers, providing real-time alerts for operators to quickly adjust their pricing to match or beat competitors. Juicer's technology aims to help restaurants make data-driven decisions and optimize their pricing strategies in real-time.

Chatmeter Launches AI-Backed Risk Monitoring Solution

Chatmeter, a reputation management software company, has introduced a new feature called Risk Monitoring. This AI-backed dashboard analyzes, flags, and classifies potential business-related issues, such as harassment, discrimination, and safety concerns. The tool aims to help operators anticipate and address problems before they arise, shifting from reactive problem-solving to proactive risk management.

Flybuy Connect Tackles Capacity Management Challenges

Radius Networks' Flybuy has launched Flybuy Connect, an AI-driven feature that predicts wait times for customers based on travel time and kitchen capacity. The technology provides real-time updates on order status via mobile alerts and coordinates with kitchen staff to ensure timely food preparation. Flybuy Connect aims to reduce customer frictions by delivering perfectly timed, hot food.

SpotOn Enters the AI Marketing Arena

SpotOn has introduced SpotOn Marketing Assist, a new solution that automates the creation and scheduling of marketing campaigns based on a company's business goals and specific events. The AI marketing program provides data-driven insights to identify which campaigns resonate best with customers. SpotOn's technology is designed to simplify the marketing process and drive targeted promotions, such as "slow day" deals and happy hour specials.

Restaurant365 Launches Tip Automation Software

Restaurant365 has announced new tipping software that automates the distribution of tips in the back of house. The software allows users to create rules for tip distribution and enables employees to view their tips for each shift in the Restaurant365 mobile app. This technology aims to streamline the tipping process and reduce manual labor for restaurant staff.

Presto and Bear Robotics Secure Funding

Presto Automation and Bear Robotics have announced funding rounds, highlighting continued investor interest in restaurant technology. Presto Automation, known for its Presto Voice AI in drive-thru lanes, raised $6 million, while Bear Robotics secured a $60 million series C funding round led by LG Electronics for a strategic alliance in the robotics market. These investments reflect the growing importance of technology in enhancing efficiency and customer experience in the restaurant industry.