What are your predictions on 3 top challenges that will have the biggest impact on the merchant payment ecosystem in 2019?
Our CEO, Alex Barrotti weighs in with his predictions for 2019 ahead of the 2019 Merchant Payment Ecosystems Awards taking place in Berlin from February 20-22nd. Excerpt from page 18 of Issue 72. What are your predictions on 3 top challenges that will have the biggest impact on the Merchant Payment Ecosystem in 2019? Payment processors and merchant acquirers will need to develop a strategy for the integration of the payment device with software vendors. Payment processors and acquirers will start to view POS and software solution providers as a channel that can bring them customers and augment their sales. The PayFac business model will start to appear in other markets besides just the United States. What trends do you think will drive B2C online payments in 2019? Online ordering with food delivery services will continue to gain popularity. What will be the key drivers of B2C mobile payments in 2019? More and more stores will adopt the Apple Store model of eliminating checkout counters, allowing sales associates to take payments anywhere in the store on their mobile devices. How do see Open APIs are changing Merchant Payments and Services in Europe? No single app is an island anymore. Interoperability between disparate systems is more and more expected, and published open APIs is the only way to achieve that, whether in Europe or anyplace else in the world. Could you outline key trends that will define security and authentication in 2019? Biometric authentication will be used by more systems to augment their security procedures. What’s next for Card Acquiring in 2019? The ISO model is dying and being replaced by ISV. Value added software solutions integrated with payment are what will drive growth in the channel for the next year and beyond.Read More >
It hasn’t been an easy time for operators — escalating operational costs, labour shortages, more stringent health-and-safety requirements and an increasingly competitive landscape are playing a part in driving their equipment decisions. Connecting the Dots While it might be less obvious, integration between the front- and back-of-house operations can deliver huge cost and labour savings, from remote equipment monitoring to self-server ordering kiosks to tablet-based ordering. Alex Barrotti, founder and CEO of TouchBistro in Toronto says there are constant requests for back-of-house integration with tablet-based ordering systems. “Instead of them having to go back and forth to access the POS, you can place the order at the table or kiosk. If every waiter has an iPad, you can do a lot more with less staff. Operators are able to add more food-and-drink runners so a server, instead of a four-table section, can take eight.” That’s not the only POS integration available to restaurateurs, he adds. “Operations can also integrate ordering systems, menu boards, alcohol metering and inventory control with today’s new POS systems.”Read More >
Restaurants are a coveted merchant segment for many acquirers and independent sales organizations. So, knowing how payments are changing and the impact that might have on this merchant segment is critical. First off, in 2019, the prospect for more consumers carrying, and wanting to use, contactless credit and debit cards is high. The other big trend is that these merchants, now that many of them are using cloud-based point-of-sale systems, want to make the best use of the transaction data they’re paying for. “Contactless payments are a way of life outside the USA in the rest of the world,” Alex Barrotti, chief executive and founder of New York City- and Toronto-based TouchBistro Inc., a POS system provider. “I expect this technology will be embraced in the USA over the coming years as well.”Read More >
Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine asked restaurant and hospitality industry insiders what trends they feel will impact restaurants in 2019. Read on for their insights.
Choosing a point-of-sale (POS) system for your foodservice business can be daunting. With so many options on the market, it’s tough to know which one is right for you. But, with a couple of considerations from those in the know, narrowing it down can be done. ACCOUNT FOR COST Alex Wallen, owner of Sugo, a busy full-service restaurant in Toronto, chose iPad-based system TouchBistro because of its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. “Other terminals are astronomically more expensive and with long installation times. This was easy, cheap and, for what we need, it’s perfect.” He continues, “When you’re opening a restaurant, you have to watch every single cost. When you’re spending $150,000 to $200,000 and it’s everything you’ve got, the difference between being able to get something for a few grand and wait a week and having to wait a month and spending $15,000 to $20,000 — it’s a no-brainer.” FIGURE OUT YOUR NEEDS There is no one-size-fits-all for foodservice POS, so defining your expectations is the first step. Sean McCaughan, Business Development manager at Calgary-based IQ Interactive, says when potential customers come to him looking for a solution, he suggests first working out what problems need to be addressed. “It’s not about what’s the best thing, it’s about finding the best thing for you.” For example, he says, a food truck with six menu items might look for portability first, putting reliability farther down the list, as falling back to pen and paper wouldn’t be too disruptive. However, a 200-seat fine-dining restaurant would have reliability and customer service at the top of the list, eliminating the risk of a system freezing mid-service. CONSIDER THE RELATIONSHIP McCaughan also urges restaurant owners to consider the service relationship when choosing a POS. “Buying a POS isn’t like buying a microwave; it’s a relationship you’re building with a company and you want to make sure whatever company you go with, you want to be in a relationship with them.” If you expect on-demand customer service, make sure to find out if that’s in the cards, but if you’re comfortable troubleshooting on your own, then a more cost-effective solution might be for you.Read More >
Many consumers have become accustomed to checking restaurant reviews online, ordering meals in advance via mobile, having multiple payment options, and receiving favourite dishes delivered right to the doorstep. The growth in smartphones, changing consumer preferences, market competition, and needs to differentiate and/or disrupt have led to massive growth for restaurant tech, despite a soft outlook for the overall restaurant industry. This disruption, innovation and growth in the restaurant technology sector have not gone unnoticed by investors and venture capitalists (VCs). Since 2014, there has been over $11.2 billion invested across 944 deals in the space, and a handful of unicorns are now in view. Investment and interest are not just limited to the U.S., as there are several high-quality, private restaurant technology firms based in Canada. This week’s blog looks at what we call the ‘technology food chain’, which touches areas from delivery to the back-end business management for restaurants. We see opportunity across the entire sector, but of particular interest to us are those companies with exposure to more than one piece of the ‘chain’ to streamline and enhance customer experience or improve business operations. This week we feature two private, Toronto-based companies that have direct exposure to two different parts of this restaurant 'technology food chain’. We recently interviewed the founders of “Inside the Restaurant”, high-growth restaurant cloud-POS company TouchBistro and “Outside the Restaurant” order-ahead app Ritual. Both companies have earned considerable attention this year, as Ritual and TouchBistro had the third and fourth largest raises in Q2 of USD$70MM and USD$54MM, respectively. The interest in the space is clear. This has continued as we heard Ritual, UberEats and Chefs Plate present to a packed room at the Elevate Conference in Toronto. These companies are helping to improve the eating experience, executing well and are interesting places to work. We discuss how and why that is happening.Read More >
Entrepreneurs start with an idea and a belief that their vision can have a massive impact. It doesn’t always work out that way. But when it does, the effect can be world-changing: A breakthrough startup can scramble industries, alter how we work and live, and shift talent flows around the world. It’s no wonder that we tend to follow the fortunes of these founders and those who choose to work for them so carefully. With the LinkedIn Top Startups list, we wanted to provide professionals with a look at the young companies reaching that escape velocity. As always, we started with the data — the billions of actions generated by LinkedIn’s 575 million members — and looked at four pillars in particular: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from our flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list. In other words, which startups are commanding the attention and working hours of top talent? To be eligible for Top Startups, companies must be 7 years old or younger, have at least 50 employees, be privately held and headquartered in Canada. (Check out which startups made the list in the U.S. and stay tuned — we’ll be unveiling lists for more countries in the coming weeks. You can learn more about our methodology at the bottom of this article). Will these companies continue with their explosive growth and world-changing work? That’s in the hands of the talent flocking to these startups. Maybe you’ll want to put your own hat into the ring. Check out who made the cut and join the conversation using #LinkedInTopStartups.Read More >
“They were trying to give us more. A lot more.”That from Alex Barrotti, TouchBistro’s CEO, as he explains what his recent fundraising experience was like. “While we were closing our $72M CDN round there were funds trying to get us to take more capital. Sure, it’s ego-boosting to be offered the money, but sometimes more is not really more.” Alex’s recent fundraise draws a stark comparison to other tech startups who raise as much money as possible, regardless of the terms. “Our latest round was squeaky clean. There are no clawbacks or ratchets or liquidation preferences. I feel that we properly aligned TouchBistro’s incentives with those of ours investors while protecting our employees. Sometimes these large rounds can be really dilutive or come with covenants that make it hard for employees to ever be above water. That was not a position we wanted to be in.” In fact it was quite the opposite. As part of this latest round Alex found a way to bring some liquidity to existing employees. “There was a component of secondary capital for our employees. The Valley has a great culture for employee liquidity but Toronto doesn’t have as much of a secondary market. We wanted to give employees with fully vested options a chance to cash some out. Ultimately we feel this helps employee morale: these ephemeral pieces of paper are actually worth money!” Alex took money at a valuation to optimize TouchBistro’s upside, not the valuation. “There’s no point trying to maximize your valuation if coming up short means everyone takes a bath. Now, I can sleep easy at night.” Read More >
TORONTO — TouchBistro and 7shifts announced today that restaurateurs are reporting a reduction in labor costs of up to four percent by utilizing the tools provided in the integration of TouchBistro and 7shifts award-winning restaurant apps. The tools help restaurateurs schedule shift assignments that achieve the optimum labor to cost ratio when plotted against predicted sales, thus improving overall profitability.TouchBistro is an iPad POS solution designed specifically for the unique workflows of a restaurant. It includes a full suite of cloud reporting tools that provide restaurateurs with all the information needed to make decisions to profitably manage the business, from sales analysis and upselling tools, to inventory and payroll. 7shifts is an intuitive employee scheduling app for restaurants that helps managers lower labor costs and overtime expenses, while reducing the time it takes to create staff schedules from hours each week (when done manually) to just a few minutes. “The aggregate reports in TouchBistro enable me to predict sales, anticipate sales of specific items, and determine production schedules. Employees clock in and out in TouchBistro on the schedule that I can rapidly generate in 7shifts and change with just a few keystrokes. From wherever I am, I can instantly notify everyone of any schedule changes,” says Thomas Gilbert, general manager of General Assembly Pizza. “With the TouchBistro and 7shifts integration, I have a single interface where I can see sales and labor all merged together, making it so much easier to manage all the moving parts of the restaurant.” Read More >