Lines continue to blur between tech companies and operators: First, DoorDash started opening delivery-focused food halls, and now PopMenu, a customer engagement platform, has opened a restaurant in Atlanta. True to its name, R&D Provisions acts as a tech test kitchen so PopMenu can try out new features and experience the challenges operators face first-hand.
“The more time we spend with operators and the more empathy we build, the more we can design solutions that keep their interests in mind,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO of PopMenu. “Making technology is one thing, making technology that fits someone’s life is another. To do that, you have to get to another level. How can you be more empathetic than if you actually joined the business they work in?”
In February 2022, after returning from the work-from-home gap related to COVID, PopMenu opened its R&D provisions in an empty cafeteria space across from its Atlanta headquarters. The team transformed the space into a restaurant serving South American dishes more than a space cafeteria-type building and put all the capabilities of PopMenu technology into the space, including online ordering, marketing, QR codes, point-of-sale integration, and new artificial intelligence and answering service.
Some of the ideas PopMenu has worked on since the launch of the R&D rulings include video menu boards and include interactive elements on the dynamic menu board such as ratings and reviews.
“I’ve always known that it’s really hard to take advantage of all the available technology [to operators]Sweeney said. “I know people see [on-premises technology] And they go, “That’s great and very informative but I don’t have the time to train or capitalize on the staff. Well, once the restaurant is up and running, you’ll see how a very stressful and empathetic day can be.”
That’s why PopMenu plans to help its customers untangle web technology needs that they can check (or skip) through webinars and online videos. Sweeney said he wants every piece of technology the company offers to reduce operating friction and reduce headaches, rather than adding them.
For example, one of the latest features that PopMenu offers is AI-based phone ordering, which not only helps with work stress by freeing up employees who spend time answering phones during busy work shifts, but can also increase sales and relay information like schedule . Wing nights and trivia nights, for example.
“A couple of months ago, we added customer responses where customers can go and write in response to any of the more than 200 queries that AI can respond to,” Sweeney said. “They have this ability to customize and sell and you can make the AI say whatever you want.”
As for whether PopMenu will expand its restaurant concept — don’t expect a chain of R&D Provisions, but the team might open a full-service restaurant or food truck to further learn about the tribulations and tribulations their customers are going through.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]
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