Representing Happy Cog’s long-time client &pizza, our President of Technology & Development Matt Weinberg spoke at this week’s NYC Restaurant Technology Summit on a panel entitled “The State of the Off-Premise Sales Channel.” As Matt is highly involved with &pizza’s technical decisions, he spoke as their “CTO” for the day. Matt was joined by fellow panelists Phil Crawford, Chief Technology Officer of Godiva Chocolatier, Jeff Grass, CEO of HUNGRY, Sean Fitzgibbons, Co-Founder of Zuul Kitchen, and moderator Stephanie O’Rourk, Partner at CohnReznick.
Hundreds of the restaurant industry’s strategic thinkers gathered at Tribeca 360 for a day full of panels, discussions, and networking opportunities. After the summit kicked off with insights into the state of New York City’s restaurant industry, The State of the Off-Premise Sales Channel panelists launched into conversation around the challenges, solutions, and future state of off-premise channels.
Addressing the challenge of marketing, Matt discussed the importance of restaurants owning their own data. Citing &pizza’s native mobile app, he explained how having a native app enables restaurants to interact with their customers in a unique way, whether it be through loyalty programs or in &pizza’s case, setting up mobile kitchens (pizza trucks!) in areas with high demand.
When it came to tech-specific solutions, both Matt and Godiva’s Phil Crawford agreed on the power of the cloud. In a cloud environment, it’s possible to automatically scale your infrastructure intraday, seasonally, or whenever else the need arises. It’s also a surprisingly cost-effective solution if you’re looking into building your own stack. Matt and Phil also agreed that technology vendors need to have comprehensive, well-documented APIs if they want restaurants to work with them. Restaurants are constantly thinking about integration and data ownership issues, so that’s important.
Rounding out the session on a forward-thinking note, Matt stated that he sees restaurant groups developing their own technology in the future. When a question was posed regarding getting customers back into brick and mortar food establishments, all agreed that a well-executed experience is key. With a nod to &pizza’s mobile pizza trucks, Matt concluded with “we want to be where the people are.”