PMQ’s staff members review their favorite products at the 2014 National Restaurant Association Show.
Learn more about new cutting-edge products and time-proven services at the NRA Show.
Steve Green's Picks
For just $29, Review Trackers monitors Yelp, Urbanspoon and 38 other top review websites to give you a clear idea of how you’re doing in the battle to win hearts and stomachs in your marketplace. In my discussions with him, Kevin Kent of Review Trackers cited a Harvard Business Review study that equates a one-star decrease in a restaurant’s Yelp rating with a decrease in sales of between 5% and 9%.
With Review Trackers, you can get one report that shows you everything people are saying about your restaurant on the top 40 review sites. You’ll also get the ability to respond to unfavorable comments. You can get email alerts for every review and ask your best customers to post positive reviews on various sites. You can even monitor your competition! Finally, you get email and phone support to help you manage your reputation and make the best use of Review Trackers’ features. 866-854-7670, reviewtrackers.com
Moving Targets made my list of the best finds at the NRA Show 17 years ago when we did our first review. They’re on my list this year for seamlessly adapting to so many new technologies without losing their focus on getting new customers into your restaurant and keeping them coming back with their popular New Movers, Birthday and Loyalty programs. They’ve adapted their time-tested selling principles to email and social media, and their approach really works.
For examples of Moving Target’s moneymaking promotions, check out their website. You’ll see videos and get excellent marketing tips and a quick education on how to get more customers inside your business. You can even enter your ZIP code into a box that will tell you how many new movers arrive into your market each month. 800-926-2451, movingtargets.com
Linda Green's Picks
The aroma of garlic caught my attention at the Joseph Campione booth. Their garlic breads and Texas toasts are great as appetizers before the meal or as accompaniments to the meals. Their cheese-stuffed bread-sticks were a hit with me, transporting me back to my childhood. The bread was robust with butter, garlic and parsley, filled with just the right amount of mozzarella cheese. It reminded me of the bread my father prepared for our Sunday meals. 414-761-8944, josephcampione.com
The future is here, and it’s economical and green! This street-legal, 100% electric vehicle from our friends at Delivery Concepts was a great find. I was immediately attracted to the cute little vehicle, which can hold two adults and a truckload of food and provides refrigeration, freezing and heat. It can be charged in as little as two hours and, because it’s all green, it qualifies for government tax incentives. 800-654-1857, deliveryconcepts.com
Green Hills Group
I’d bet you’re within arm’s length of your smartphone right now. Is your pizzeria within arm’s length of your customers? If not, it should be, and that’s why I like Green Hills Group’s mobile app service. Every pizzeria needs a cutting-edge app like this one to compete. From push notifications and online ordering to loyalty punch cards and reservations, its all-in-one platform can customize an app for the smallest store to the largest chain. 615-370-3013, thegreenhillsgroup.com
Clifton Moody's Picks
This company bought out Action Images and now offers a concept that lets pizzeria operators place a clear film with high-definition graphics over the top of pizza. This perfectly edible film melts directly onto the pizza, leaving an image on the pie. Images can range from a “Happy Birthday” message to football team logos or a child’s favorite superhero character. A code can even be embedded in the image—scan the code with a smart device and it will sing “Happy Birthday” or any other song to you! 630-781-4548, talkingeats.com
These roses add a touch of elegance to any pizzeria large or small. They’re designed to last up to 60 days with no maintenance required. Unlike real roses, they need no water and don’t give off an unpleasant smell after a few days. They’re perfect for operators who want to provide a relaxed, appealing dining atmosphere. 312-492-7772, luxebloom.com
Vito Oil Filtration
This product is ideal for any pizzeria that serves fried food. After the same oil has been reused several times, the food that’s prepared in it starts to taste bad. This system filters and cleans the oil, making the food taste better, giving the oil a longer life span and saving you up to 50% on your oil purchases! 416-388-0707, vitooil.com
This is a great marketing tool for any operator whose customers use smartphones or other smart devices. Give a uZappit smart tag to your customers, and, when they scan the QR code on it, a special offer instantly appears. Meanwhile, customers’ digital profiles are captured, and you can promote to them via text or email. For only 99 cents per smart tag, you can build a promotional campaign that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars to launch! 800-872-8778, uzappit.com
Tom Boyles' Picks
Wilson Safe Company
Wilson Safe has a new line of safes designed specifically for pizza operations. It allows delivery drivers to deposit cash so they aren’t driving around with a bag of money, which makes them a target for robbery. The safes can be equipped with fingerprint recognition and keep track of any sort of deposits, whether it’s from the cash drawer, waitstaff or delivery drivers. 800-345-8053, wilsonsafe.com
Almost every pizzeria has T-shirts for sale or for promo giveaways, but the 295 Guys had the best deal I saw at NRA. You can get as many colors as you want printed in one location for just $2.95 when ordering 1,008 White shirts. For an additional cost, they can help with a custom design, do smaller runs and even compress them into shapes such as a pizza or whole pie. 800-536-5959, www.295guys.com
Ultra-Thin Pretzel Flatbreads
Flatbreads are the rage right now, and pretzel crust and breads are also popular. Ultra-Thin introduced its new Pretzel Flatbread for the first time at the NRA Show, and, believe me, it was great! I liked that it combined two things that are popular right now with consumers. They have other flatbreads, too, but definitely call about sampling their pretzel crusts! 516-279-6655, ultrathinpizza.com
Robot Coupe has many products that make prepping easier and faster, but the one that every shop needs is the Combination Processor. It gives you a cutter bowl and a vegetable preparation attachment in one unit. It can do everything, and you get a consistent cut for veg prep every time. And thanks to their complete selection of discs, you can grate, slice or julienne. 800-824-1646, robot-coupe.com
Anna Zemek's Picks
I always look for foods and products with personality and versatility. I found that in the piadina from TETI Bakery. Before this lesson in Italian cuisine, I didn’t know what a piadina was, but if you can imagine flattening flatbread, well, there you have it! It’s a very thin, flaky bread that serves as a blank canvas. You can use the piadina to make wraps, crispy flatbread pizzas, even desserts! 800-465-0123, tetibakery.com
Sunny Sky Products
I’m that mom who only lets her seven-year-old daughter have Cokes (soda, pop or whatever you call it in your part of the world) on Saturdays and special occasions. It’s a treat for her and not given. The machines that let you mix and match your favorite soft drink are the ultimate treat, and they’re often why we visit certain restaurants. So imagine my delight when I found the Flavor Fusion Center by Sunny Sky Products. They offer a variety of traditional and fruity flavored beverages without the high-fructose corn sweetener in a fun mix-and-match. 877-235-6466, sunnyskyproducts.com
SAAS Hot Sauce
The slideshow at the SAAS booth showed celebrities from the Golden Globes and SOBE Wine and Food Festival heating up the red carpet with a bottle of SAAS. At the NRA Show, they served their hot sauce samples with melons and other fruits for unique pairings and tastings. This sauce would be great on wings or just sitting on your table, but imagine a pizza with fruit and a surprising wave of heat. If you want to serve this year’s “It” sauce, SAAS is it. 646-454-9394, eatsaas.com
With Wifast, you can offer free WiFi to your customers, who must first sign in with an email address that is then associated with a MAC number from the mobile device or computer. The system tracks that email address, allowing owners to pick up on customer behavior patterns and send out coupons or specials to loyal customers who may have skipped their regular visit. After all, we all know it’s easier and more profitable to keep a loyal customer than to seek new customers! wifast.com