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Autism and Automation: How Technology is Transforming Lives

Hi, I’m Steve Bigari, and today I wanted to make this session just a little more personal. I want to tell you about my amazing, 19-year-old daughter named Anna. Anna’s special in so many ways. She’s overcome more than most will ever have to deal with. You see, Anna is on the autism spectrum.

And, for those of you who don’t know, more than three and a half million Americans are on the spectrum. If you know someone with autism, you know that autism looks different on everyone.

In general, some of the common challenges among people on the spectrum is that they experience problems with school and employment. Eighty-eight percent of people with autism are under- or unemployed.

They often face challenges with social communication, which can lead to isolation and stress-filled relationships. Those communication challenges may explain why most of these folks will never marry and why they will struggle to live independently. In fact, approximately 80 percent of people on the spectrum will have to be supported by family members for the rest of their lives.

For these folks, work is an incredible challenge. Most jobs just don’t match their unique gifts. What is common between people on the spectrum and typical people is the desire for relationship and the need to be treated with dignity and respect.

You know, at SYNQ3, we’re about transforming restaurants, and now, inspired by Anna, we’re also about transforming the lives of people on the spectrum as well. You see what happened is in our automation work where we have five national brands that are at some stage of deploying full automation, and a dozen brands that employ our Rapid Reorder automation product, we’ve learned a lot.

And we’ve found that effective automation requires people and technology to interact. This is where something amazing happens. Because of my daughter Anna, I’ve learned that some neuro-diverse people are uniquely qualified to interpret the intent of word utterances from automation. This makes them highly skilled and adept at transforming the restaurant ecosystem.

And, you see, this is important because Technomic tells us that our industry is short-staffed by 912,000 people. So, rather than taking away jobs through automation, we’re creating new and better jobs for an incredibly gifted population of people. At SYNQ3, we’re proud to be transforming the restaurant industry, but now, even more proud, to be transforming the lives of all of our employees, including those who are living on the spectrum.

On October 15, 2019, SYNQ3 was recognized by the state of Colorado with a “Shining Star of Vocational Rehabilitation” award for their work with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.


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Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Steve, and if you’re in the restaurant business, you need to be marketing to Hispanics. This powerhouse demographic of 57 million Americans is mostly young; 60 percent of them millennials or younger.
Second, they make buying decisions based upon the technology that you offer them. Third, they love to eat out with their families. They hunt in big groups, and they spend a lot of money. And finally, they go to brands that cater to bilinguals.

If you want to be successful with Hispanic guests, take a lesson from great brands like Papa John’s, who, when they marketed to this demographic, saw a 40 percent lift in sales; they saw an 18 percent lift in traffic; and, a $1.50 lift in check. This is amazing as it also comes with increased frequency and increased items per guest. This is all based upon research done by PEW.

So, four key takeaways to market to your Hispanic guests: First is offer Spanish-language services to them; next, specific loyalty programs that cater directly to them. Third, this is a tech-savvy demographic, remember to offer omnichannel. And, if you don’t remember anything else I say today, remember this: Takeout! Takeout! Takeout!

I’m Steve Bigari. This is On the Whiteboard.


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Hispanic Population Grows and Takeout Takes Over

According to The Nielsen Company, the Hispanic population is “the most dynamic and fastest growing segment of the U.S. consumer economy.” With a projected spending power of $1.8 trillion, Hispanics represent a major consumer segment that restaurants should be reaching. Start getting to know this population so you can best meet their needs and provide the restaurant experience that they want.

There are a few initial characteristics to know about the Hispanic population. For one thing, the majority of U.S. Hispanics are young: 60 percent are millennial age or younger, according to the Pew Research Center. You’re dealing with a demographic of young people who are active technology and social-media users. They care about things like Wi-Fi accessibility, mobile ordering, digital coupons. Looks like it might be time to up your tech game to meet this young group of very connected spenders.

Plus, they like to go out with their families. Research from the NDP Group shows that Hispanics more commonly dine out with their children than non-Hispanics do. This is great for restaurants; more guests is always a good thing! Another aspect of their family-oriented culture that restaurants should note deals with Spanish-speakers and non-Spanish-speakers within the Hispanic population.

Hispanic Americans value restaurants that show they care about reaching all Hispanics, English-speaking and Spanish-speaking. A Technomic report found that: “Two-fifths (41%) of Latinos and 54% of Spanish-dominant Latinos say that they are now more likely to visit restaurants that publicly support Latinos compared to in 2015.” Restaurants that want to connect with this consumer group need to start adapting services and marketing strategies to reach all the consumers within this group.

It might be time to brush up on your Spanish; Papa John’s did it! Papa John’s started reaching out to the Hispanic population through marketing campaigns, including Spanish television ads, and experienced amazing results. According to NDP, “Hispanic sales at Papa John’s grew 43 percent, traffic rose 18 percent, average eater checks went up $1.50, and items per eater moved from 2.07 to 2.25 ….” That’s a lot of significant profit increases, and if your restaurant wants to experience similar results, you need to start reaching out and connecting with the Hispanic population.

Want to start connecting? At SYNQ3, we provide Spanish-language ordering services to allow for our restaurant brands to connect with all consumers. Find out more about our solutions and services here.

And, if you’d like to know more about Hispanic consumers and strategies for connecting with them, download our free guide today.

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Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Steve Bigari, and today we’re going to talk about the future of the restaurant business. That future is bright: no line, VIP service for anybody who wants it, on any visit, any day.

Now, it’s no surprise that off-premise is growing dramatically, but you have to understand the key drivers of off-premise. That is first and foremost convenience. You see people don’t have enough time. Order-ahead allows us to do a lot of things we weren’t able to do before. Third, delivery is exploding.
If you want to take advantage of this, you have to understand three concepts. The first is parallel ordering. If we know what a guest wants, infinite numbers of guests at any given time), then we can expedite the ordering process. Gone are the linear days where people stood in a cue line. Now, we can take orders from anywhere to a restaurant at any time.

Second, we have to capture those orders early, and that’s so that we know what the guest wants and where they are ahead of time. We do this in a technologically enabled environment where this omnichannel solution allows for voice, text, social, mobile, chat, email; all surrounded by a geo-fenced solution, which allows for a VIP guest experience.

This will streamline restaurant operations and create efficiencies not just for the guest, but for employees as well. You see this AI can handle compliance, training, production. It makes it easier and generates loyalty for both the guest and the employee, and allow[s] us just-in-time arrival and production so that guests become VIPs.

So, here at SYNQ3, the future is now. You see, we’ve created an AI, primarily for order-taking, so that you can have a sociable conversation and build your guest relations. But folks, the homerun, the goldmine in all this, is that all of this data is coming down through this omnichannel solution, and now this data will be more powerful, more valuable than anything we’ve ever seen. That’s the future of the restaurant business powered by SYNQ3.


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The Restaurant’s 2018 Tech Future Looks Bright

With the start of 2018 in full swing, new technology presents ample opportunities for restaurants to make their futures brighter starting today. As takeout takes over, restaurants have to adapt to the new and growing off-premise, consumer trends. Using technology, restaurants can set themselves up for success in 2018 and beyond by providing the best, VIP experiences for guests. To do that, it helps to understand the primary drivers and characteristics of today’s restaurant ordering and takeout experience. Three key factors include: parallel ordering, the omnichannel relationship, and early, data-capturing technology.

In today’s restaurant industry, rather than serving one guest at a time in the linear fashion of a cue line, restaurants can now serve a growing number of guests all at the same time through several different channels. Parallel ordering allows for guests to connect with the restaurant at just about any time and in just about any way they want: text, social, voice, email, chat, mobile, etc. This gives your guests the power to connect with your restaurant in the way that suits them best. And, consequently, you provide a better experience for your guests that leads to greater loyalty.

As seen with parallel ordering, building an omnichannel relationship with your guests can secure off-premise sales and revenue as in-restaurant traffic continues to decline. The omnichannel relationship requires a seamless integration of ordering channels that make the experience easy for guests. Plus, the means for providing the delivery or pickup of those takeout orders must be as seamless as the ordering channels themselves. This is an area where the industry has struggled with so many delivery concepts forcing restaurants to manage and transmit orders from tablets to the POS systems, and with issues of data aggregation being stored with the delivery provider, rather than the restaurant. Thankfully, a more seamless solution is available; more on that to come.

Along with these methods for better guest interaction and greater sales, restaurants are also finding ways to capture orders early, track them, and store data to provide a more efficient, guest-friendly experience. Plus, in each of these interactions, the restaurant acquires insights for improving operations and the guest experience. One early-capture technology, geofencing, allows for restaurants to track the arrival of their guests in order to provide just-in-time production. This allows for greater efficiency for restaurant employees and for the guests.

Here at SYNQ3, we’ve developed an AI, omnichannel solution that provides sociable interactions with guests, captures orders early, and acquires actionable data for each experience and for future operations. Our solution, VIA, is an advanced AI, ASR (automated-speech-recognition) technology that engages with guests through voice-enabled channels from smartphones to smart cars, as well as through other channels such as social, text, chat, etc. Connect with us today and make your restaurant’s future brighter.

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LOCATION

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Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Steve Bigari, and today we’re going to talk about app issues, specifically within the restaurant space. Now those of you who have tried promotions to get people to use your apps, you’ve spent a fortune giving away free food, and, you know, had a little fun getting folks to try it.

The bad news is that as soon as they use it the first time, 88 percent of them go away. Of the 12 percent who stay, 10 percent will open that app 2 more times. Two percent will open it eight to nine times. You’ve invested huge amounts of human and financial capital to pull this off. You have this operational struggle to integrate it into your restaurants, and at the same time, you’re seeing low retention, and generally it influences your strategic timing of your marketing calendar. That’s not a great situation to be in.

Now, if you’re these guys, Starbucks, and you’re fortunate enough to have more than 10 percent of your orders coming through the app channel, then that’s great. You feel really good after four years. There are some things that you can learn from them, and you should build into whatever app you decide to deploy.

The two most important things you should do are: involve frictionless payment and loyalty. That’s been a key to Starbucks’ success. However, you have to understand that Starbucks has a simple menu with an addictive product, and they have millions of transactions, millions of dollars worth of budget behind this, thousands of people backing it up. So, the question is: can you really compete with that?

I believe that guests want to use their lips. The preferred method of input is, and I believe for many years will still be, your voice. We see that only growing through channels like Siri and Alexa. So, to leverage voice, we’ve created VIA, Virtual Intelligent Automation, which allows people to use their lips. This will create a less friction environment that’s easier to accept and gives guests instant gratification.

So, if you’re unhappy with your app-y, call me at SYNQ3, we’ve already got it fixed.


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App-Athy: Mobile Apps Flop While Takeout Takes Over

With carryout on the rise, foot traffic declining, and restaurants reshaping to meet to-go orders, takeout is taking over in the restaurant industry. To meet guests’ needs and desires in this growing sector of restaurant operations, many restaurants are scrambling to identify solutions that will attract guests and build loyalty. The takeout takeover is pushing many restaurants to adopt new solutions; solutions that demand operational and even structural adjustments. Unfortunately, one solution that many restaurants flocked to, the mobile application, did not perform as hoped.

While the mobile app phenomenon is still sweeping through the restaurant industry, the success stories are few and far between. One of the rare, mobile-app success stories, Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay app, now secure 10 percent of the company’s total transactions. Frictionless payment and loyalty have been key to Starbucks’ success. Additionally, Starbucks’ simple menu, addictive product, huge budget, and massive loyalty base positioned them to see greater app success than most restaurants. How does your restaurant stack up? Can you compete?

Unlike Starbucks, most restaurants’ apps have experienced low adoption and retention. There are a lot of potential reasons for the low adoption and retention of mobile apps. Some reasons include: increased competition among all apps, changing technology, poor development, a design that’s not intuitive or easily functioned, and a lack of clear benefits for users. If you create an app, guest perception must be that your app is worth the storage space it will take up on a smartphone. You’re fighting for a 3% share of time that users spend on all retail apps; that’s stiff competition.

Plus, according to a 2017 Applause report on app retention, 10 percent of people will open an app twice, and only 2 percent will go on to open it eight to nine times after installing. Investing in a mobile app comes with some challenging odds. Based on app-usage numbers and the results that most restaurants have experienced, mobile apps are not a very sound investment. Restaurants should consider other channels.

Artificial intelligence is one communication channel that is being rapidly adopted across many industries. Consumers want to communicate by mouth; it’s easier to do on-the-go and there’s greater room for complexity and customization. We see this with the adoption of tools like Siri, Alexa, Okay Google, and other AI-communication in smartphones, cars, homes, and many other places.

At SYNQ3, we’ve developed an AI solution for the takeout takeover: VIA. Virtual Intelligent Automation, VIA, is an AI tool that receives phone-in orders for restaurants utilizing advanced AI and automated-speech-recognition (ASR) technology. This tool is so smart that it can tell if a caller is upset, crying, happy, etc. With VIA, restaurants can attract more to-go guests, build loyalty, increase profits, and see greater success in this changing market. Use VIA and give your guests a VIP experience that will have them ordering takeout from you again and again.

And if you'd like to learn more about the future of restaurant technology, check out our free whitepaper.

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LOCATION

5825 Mark Dabling Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80919


EMAIL

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PHONE

+(1) 719.884.2025

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Video Transcription

Today, we’re going to talk about automation. In fact, in a recent McKinsey study, they talk about global automation increasing productivity eight-tenths to 1.4 percent. The economic impact of that will be huge.

Now, they also talk about the impact on businesses through automation; and, they talk about the industries that are most likely to be automated. And, the No. 1 industry is the restaurant industry, food service, at a whopping 73 percent potential.

What’s lacking is any strategy, and hope is not a strategy. You see, at SYNQ3, we have a strategy. Folks tell me: well automation is going to reduce the labor force by 30 percent. That’s nonsense. We delegate to technology that which technology is best at, and we elevate people into roles that are more suitable just for them.

We sell more food. We raise checks. We make more sales and more profits. That’s an effective strategy for automation.


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Restaurant Automation

Automation is where we’re headed globally. You can see automation trends throughout all industries from the development and use of AI devices like Amazon’s Echo to the deployment of ordering kiosks in restaurants. The shift toward automation is changing and will continue to change the way businesses operate and how consumers interact with businesses.

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute study, the move toward automation has the potential to significantly boost productivity and economic well-being across the globe. The study states that automation could boost global productivity by margins of 0.8% to 1.4% annually benefiting national and global economies and most business sectors. The study also details the potential for automation within various sectors broken down by the activities associated with the industries. Some business sectors have a greater potential for automation than others.

At the top of the list, landing at No. 1 for greatest potential for being automated is the Accommodation and Food Services sector. The restaurant and food service industry sits at a whopping 73 percent potential for automation meaning that the majority of current work activities associated with food service could be automated and most likely will be in the near future. In the study, they also specifically outline the automation potential for each activity within the sector. For the Accommodation and Food Services sector, the study reports these potentials:

So, what does this mean for the restaurant industry? With at least 30% of activities in most occupations being automatable, according to the study, there will need to be a shift in roles. It’s not an issue of job loss; it’s the opportunity for job elevation and rearrangement. Growing productivity and a growing economy will require more jobs in other sectors and in other roles. At SYNQ3, the strategy for handling this phenomenon is to delegate to technology that which technology is best at and elevate people into roles that are more suitable just for them.

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LOCATION

5825 Mark Dabling Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80919


EMAIL

solutions@synq3.com


PHONE

+(1) 719.884.2025

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Video Transcription

Today, we’re going to talk about why your restaurant should adopt automated ordering technologies now. You see, there’s a trend developing, and we don’t want you to miss the boat.

Many people have already given up on the millennial generation saying that they’re going to be the generation that destroys the restaurant industry. That doesn’t need to happen.

Your guests expect a much higher level of service than they ever have in the past. We have a simple solution to that. It’s an omni-channel approach to the business. You don’t need to make the movie mistake. That’s a B-Buster if you know what I mean.

You can automate voice, text, chat, social, mobile, email. Meet your guests in whatever channel they want to engage you in, at a time that they want to engage you in, and deliver to them an absolute VIP experience.


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Why Restaurants Should Adopt Automated Ordering Technologies Now

Succeeding in today’s restaurant market requires adapting and evolving early to match the current consumer environment. Putting off change and hoping that guests will continue ordering from and visiting your restaurant in the same manner that they have for the last 20 years, or even six months, will not be successful for long. Don’t be one of the businesses who failed because they resisted change.

Take Blockbuster for example; in 2000, Blockbuster’s CEO laughed Netflix entrepreneur Reed Hastings out of the room when presented with the opportunity to partner with the up-and-coming company (Forbes article). Then, 10 years down the road, the movie-rental company that was set in its ways went bankrupt. The new idea or technology that seems radical to you now may be the very one to put you out of business if you’re not willing to adapt to it. That’s why early adoption of new trends is essential to success!

In the current market, the restaurants that are succeeding most are those that have identified industry trends regarding how consumers want to interact, and yes, many of those trends come from the millennial generation. Too many people fear what millennials will do to the restaurant industry when really they should be seeing millennial’s unique desires and tech-savviness as an opportunity to grow their restaurant’s offerings in new directions with new avenues for profit.

For restaurants, providing an omni-channel, ordering experience is key to attracting and retaining guests. Even if your restaurant can’t afford the latest and greatest technology, you have to start shifting your services to provide the higher level of service and convenience that guests want today. It’s also important to note that the investment for new technology may be more affordable than you think, depending on the technology.

When factoring in the profit increase associated with SYNQ3’s automated ordering technologies, many restaurants have found the services not only affordable, but very lucrative. From off-premise ordering services to the creation of a new AI solution, SYNQ3 has been recognizing consumer trends and providing solutions for restaurants for the last 14 years. And now, several top brands including Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Noodles & Company, and Chipotle, are using SYNQ3’s technology to ensure their restaurants are meeting guests where they’re at in the channel that they want.

Find out more by visiting our page on restaurant automation technology.

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LOCATION

5825 Mark Dabling Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80919


EMAIL

solutions@synq3.com


PHONE

+(1) 719.884.2025

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