National Restaurant Association Show ’18 Recap

National Restaurant Association Show ’18 Recap

May 29, 2018 Off By Cole Goebel

This years’ NRA convention was bigger than life.  Which is to say, the same as usual.  They have everything you need for your restaurant and more!  Everything is bigger and better than the year before.  And you could really tell who had some money to spend this year.

As usual, I walked around, saw the sights, and ate some great food.  Also, who knew nitro brew coffee was a thing?  And why can’t i find it around here?

But that said, you’re reading a blog called POSRumor,  so I can assume you come here for some POS industry news.  So here’s what’s new in the restaurant POS business, from what I can see:

Digital Signage

This was big at CinemaCon too.  But it seems like they’re taking it to the next level.  The days of having static signs, and printed menus on the walls are over.  Time to start seeing those old signs replaced by LED monitors.  This will really simplify your menu in a quick serve restaurant.  You can even set the menus to change from breakfast to lunch, or change specials on each day of the week.

Some of the companies doing this are:

SmarterSign

BrightSign

Kiosk Ordering

Kiosk ordering looks like it’s going to play a big role in the coming years.  We saw a ton of companies looking to sell this tech to the QSR restaurant.

Some of the companies doing this are:

NextepSystems

Zivelo

Online / Digital Employee Scheduling

Another trend we’re seeing, is a bunch of companies popping up for scheduling.  These companies allow you to track your employees time sheet yes, but so much more.  You can schedule tasks for people right in the software.  You can use the analtyics to decide how much staff you need.

Some of the companies doing this are:

Deputy

Harri

Loyalty Programs

Frequent readers of this blog know I’m big into loyalty programs.  But this year it seems that loyalty is exploding.  Getting new customers is not only expensive, it’s time consuming.  Keeping the ones you have, can be easy.  And the easiest way is with a loyalty program.

Utilizing customer data to retain customers is not only a great idea, but easy.  And these software solutions make it so easy, it’s ridiculous.  You can also use this data to see which products are good sellers.  And which days of the week are prime days for sales.

Some of the companies doing this are:

Como Sense

AppSuite

LoyaltyPlant

Data Analytics

There’s a lot that goes into running a restaurant.  And there are a lot of numbers that come out of it.  But what numbers are you watching?  And how are you collecting them?

The simple answer is, you probably don’t have the whole picture.  Using an analytics plugin is going to save you time, and money.  It’s going to show you the information you need to see, and it’ll be easy.   It’s fair to say, if you aren’t looking at analytics through a similar plugin, you’re losing money.

Some of the companies doing this are:

Fishbowl

Upserve

Peachworks

Online / Social Media Review

Another type of company that’s sprouted up this year… or at least I started noticing this year… Is companies that help you manage your online reviews.  This has always been a business, but there seemed to be a dozen or more companies doing this at the show this year.

These companies specialize in helping you understand your reviews. And keep your online reviews trending positive. Sounds easy, but it isn’t.  There are so many places people can review your company.  It’s almost impossible to stay current with all of them.  These companies will help you out.

Some companies doing this are:

Single Platform

Original Review

Back End Automation

This is the part of the business nobody sees.  It’s you, up late or early.  Counting to see what your kitchen needs before you open again.  And why the heck are you going through so much romaine?  And how long have these steaks been in here?

Well, there are simple answers to all those questions.  You need an app to handle your inventory and ordering.  These apps can work with your point of sale.  They identify how much of an ingredient should be in a dish.  So it helps with portioning, as well as inventory.  Connects to your suppliers, and all but orders for you.  Imagine how much time you can save?!

Some companies doing this are:

MarketMan

Fourth Hospitality

Online Ordering

I’ve talked about this before.  There are a lot of companies that have some sort of online ordering platform.  Millennials order online a lot, so if you’re not taking online orders, you may be missing out.

Many POS providers like Toast and Revel Systems have proprietary plug ins for ordering online.  But for those who don’t have that, there’s a few companies that will help you out.

Some companies doing this are:

Chowly

Menufy

Open Dining Network

Other POS/Payment stuff

The payment companies were out in rare form this year.  An especially impressive showing from the folks at Shift4 Payments.  But NCR, First Data, Cayan, and Heartland Payment Systems put on a show too.

I’m writing a seperate blog on this.  I think the face of the POS industry is about to change.  And soon.  But stay tuned for that!

I also encountered a new POS company I really like.  I’ll be writing a review on their software in the coming weeks, as soon as I’ve been able to get inside and look around.  So watch for that as well!