The June Food+Tech Meetup featured five startups that are revolutionizing the restaurant industry, including yumspring, Clean Plates, Mirth, Single Platform and BuzzTable. Presenters gave a 5-minute pitch followed by Q&A with attendees. The conversation covered the problems each startup is solving, their business models and their growth plans. Each is taking on a unique slice of the food industry pie:
Until now, there has been no crowdfunding site focused on the needs of food entrepreneurs — enter yumspring. It is a “crowdfunding platform dedicated to foodies” that seeks to improve the success rate of new ventures by helping them:
- raise funds
- connect with customers at an early stage
- find and test new products
The company is pre-launch (with 10 restaurants on deck) and looking for any restaurant owners, food incubators or event spaces that are interested in partnering.
Looking for a vegan, organic brunch? Searching on Yelp might not get you very far. It’s difficult to get granular detail about a restaurant’s menu, including nutrition facts, ingredients, and sourcing — enter Clean Plates. It brings together a food reviewer and a nutritionist to “make it easier and more enjoyable for people to eat healthier,” by:
- publishing a guide to the healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable restaurants in NYC and L.A.
- offering a mobile app that consumers can use to search for restaurants based on select criteria
The company is getting ready to release a new version of its mobile app and looking for beta testers.
Single-proprietor restaurants, bars and retail merchants don’t tend to use daily deal programs and lack a great alternative for rewarding customers — enter Mirth. It offers “rewards for regulars” without the punch cards and:
- helps restaurants reward repeat business from particular customer segments
- is integrated with existing payment infrastructure so customers “sign up” by using their credit cards
- gives businesses an open line of communication with repeat customers
Mirth is piloting the program with 10 venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn and looking for new users (regulars) and participating restaurants.
Single Platform and BuzzTable are also doing some exciting things. There are no videos because they gave information at the meetup that is not for rebroadcast, but Single Platform “helps local businesses get discovered” by, in part, aggregating menus and syndicating that data to publishers, like travel guides, local review sites or mobile applications. Restaurants interested in participating can sign up on its website. And for anyone that has been to Shake Shack or another restaurant that uses buzzers to alert you when your order or table is ready, BuzzTable has a more elegant solution that utilizes your mobile phone and includes a customer loyalty reward program. The platform also serves as a mobile CRM for restaurants, allowing them to collect consumer data on traffic and preferences. Its free mobile app is available for iPhone and Android.