THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1936 – Revolutionizing the Restaurant Industry through Innovative Technology Solutions with PAR Technology Corporation’s Savneet Singh

The Future of Restaurant Technology

In a recent episode of “The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show,” hosted by Josh Elledge, the CEO of PAR Technology Corporation, Savneet Singh. He shared valuable insights into the evolving landscape of technology in the restaurant industry. ParTech, a leading provider of software, hardware, and services to fast-growing or large restaurant chains, is at the forefront of this transformation. This episode delves into the key themes discussed in the episode, offering actionable advice and expert insights for restaurant owners, CIOs, and marketing officers looking to leverage technology to enhance the consumer experience.

ParTech specializes in providing comprehensive technology solutions tailored for restaurant chains. Their offerings include streamlined and efficient Point of Sale (POS) systems, customized loyalty programs designed to increase customer retention and engagement, and robust online ordering platforms that cater to the growing demand for digital convenience. Savneet emphasized the critical role of technology in bridging the gap between consumers and the brands they love, highlighting how advanced technological solutions can enhance customer engagement, improve operational efficiency, and enable restaurants to quickly adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences.

The conversation also touched on the future of self-checkout and the increasing role of mobile phones, emphasizing their convenience, speed, and ability to provide personalized recommendations and offers. Additionally, the potential advancements and challenges in the use of AI and robotics in the restaurant industry were discussed, noting how automation of routine tasks can enhance accuracy and efficiency, despite the challenges in implementation.

About Savneet Singh:

Savneet Singh is an award-winning software / SaaS CEO with deep expertise across the retail, fintech and payments industries. 

Savneet is currently CEO of PAR Technology Corporation, a provider of point of sale software to the retail industry. Under his tenure, the Company has transformed from a distressed provider of hardware to a fast-growing SaaS business. This work has included two significant capital raises, two large acquisitions and a dramatic change in workplace culture. 

Prior to PAR, Savneet has extensive experience as both an investor and Board Member, having served on a number of both public and private Boards, including a listed SPAC.

About PAR Technology Corporation:

PAR Technology Corporation develops and markets products that assist hospitality operators around the world to better manage money, materials, people and the guest experience. PAR has provided solutions, including software, hardware and services to the world’s largest restaurant chains and their franchisees for 40 years. Today our extensive offering includes technology applications for the full spectrum of hospitality and restaurant operations, from independent table service restaurants to international QSR chains and five-star destination resorts, all backed by PAR’s global service network.

The Company has nearly 100,000 installations in 110 countries worldwide. PAR is also a leader in providing computer-based system design and engineering services to the Department of Defense and Federal Government Agencies.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out PAR Technology Corporation website at

https://partech.com/

Check out PAR Technology Corporation on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/partechnology

Check out Savneet Singh on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/savneetsingh/

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Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Are you looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers and clients? Well, I've had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video you can watch with no opt in required, where I'll share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for over 15 years, and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for great guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. I'd love to have you. With us right now. It is of need. Sings of need. You are the CEO of PA tech. PA tech is found on the web at PA Tech Comm.

Speaker 1 (00:01:15) - That's PA tech comm 17. It's great to have you.

Speaker 2 (00:01:19) - Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1 (00:01:21) - I daresay everyone listening to this podcast has likely used. I'm going to guess most people listening to our podcast have likely used their tech, your technology, and they may not even be aware. Would you mind explaining exactly what PA tech does, who you work with and and why? We've probably seen your work.

Speaker 2 (00:01:41) - Absolutely. so we sell, software, hardware and services to fast growing or large restaurant chains. So you'll find our technology at the point of sale system of brands like a Sweetgreen cava, all the way up to a Burger King. And then we sell loyalty and online ordering solutions. So everything from, the engine that powers a Taco Bell app to smaller organizations that are launching online ordering systems. So we like to think of ourselves as a unified solution, of, of technology for these emerging brands or these very, very large brands.

Speaker 1 (00:02:15) - You know, and there's some really exciting things that have happened in just in terms of the consumer experience when it comes to getting what they want, getting what they want quickly, right, keeping expenses and costs down.

Speaker 1 (00:02:29) - And like I said, just overall creating a better customer experience. would you mind maybe just sharing a few thoughts on, you know, kind of a PA tech's impact in this world?

Speaker 2 (00:02:43) - Yeah, I think, you know, restaurants play a key role in society. We they feed, they feed us, they feed our kids. They help create these meals and moments that we remember for the rest of our lives. And restaurants have had to go through a rapid set of transformation over the last few years with the pandemic. But even before that, they were dealing with things like Amazon, DoorDash, you know, delivery meal kits, grocery stores becoming restaurants. And so what our technology has done is allowed them to build what we think are closer meals, and then our technology really brings them closer to their customers. We like to our mission is to bring consumers closer to the brands meals and moments they love. And the idea really is how do you have technology become ambient such that you, as a guest of that restaurant, feel like the technology is present, but not as a wedge between you and your guests? So when you walk into a restaurant is, I always imagine a situation where I walk, I sit at the table and they already know I'm, you know, I'm a dad.

Speaker 2 (00:03:39) - I got three kids. I'm going to want a kid's meal. My wife's gonna want a vegan thing. I'm gonna want this thing. I don't have to ever pull my wallet. This beautiful experience. And so we're not there yet. But what our technology really does is help restaurants compete in this world where they're competing against these very large tech companies, but also what they're helping their guests get the food, where and when they want it. So whether that means a mobile app that says, hey, I want to order delivery to my house, whether it means that that restaurant needs help dealing with UberEats and DoorDash orders, or literally if it's as simple as, hey, I need to find a better payment system because I'm getting ripped off of my vendor. We kind of provide it all for them, but in reality, we think technology should be aiding in that relationship between the end guest and the brand that they love, and we should really not be seeing.

Speaker 3 (00:04:20) - And I'm wondering 17.

Speaker 1 (00:04:22) - If you can give me your impression.

Speaker 1 (00:04:24) - I'm sure you keep really close watch on this. And that is consumer sentiment. So I think one thing that we've seen in terms of, self checkouts, there's been a little bit of blowback, I'd say in the consumer world on the self-checkout world, any observations there? Because again, I think the idea and what it seems like is, you know, is how to provide this as an option for consumers to make those who are looking for it to make that process more seamless. But I'm sure you're keeping eyes and ears on how consumers are responding to all of this. I would love your insights on this.

Speaker 2 (00:05:02) - I'll give a I'll give a personal opinion and then, you know, some objective perspective. You know, I think your phone is really going to be the kiosk, the self-checkout of the future. And, you know, in the end, our phones are as powerful as the devices in those kiosks or at the register and give us more control over that experience. You don't feel the stress of somebody behind you.

Speaker 2 (00:05:20) - You're not taking out a credit card. and and really, we've got a transition to the experience where you are, you know, walking to a store, and you can place your order on your phone, pick up your food, or sit down at a table order. And it still feels like you had that amazing, you know, restaurant experience today. I would say we're, you know, I think the market's quite bifurcated. You have Europe, where kiosks are a way of life. You go into a McDonald's internationally and you have this amazing kiosk experience. You place your order, you can pick it up or it's brought to the table of your choice and it works well. And it's actually the way it's been operating for, you know, over a decade in the US. We have this push to kiosk now, and I think that's being driven by two things. I think one is, restaurants are trying to fight back on wage inflation. you know, you have California raising the minimum wage. You have all sorts of other rules.

Speaker 2 (00:06:07) - And restaurants in general are just trying to figure out ways to be more cost effective. And fortunately or unfortunately, it leads to more, you know, disintermediation of that, that, that, that, that employee. And so you have got this push for cost savings. And so you'll put a kiosk. The other reason that I think restaurants, you know, like to have potentially kiosks or tablet ordering, whatever you may, is that it can help them increase their turns. you know, when you've got two registers that have great lines, you lose some of those people. When you've got 4 or 5 kiosks, you're kind of always you can take in more orders. So there's a lot of reasons why kiosks, I think will work, but I think it's really going to be a bridge between a kiosk that's a big device that, you know, you spend five, ten, $23,000 on to pay. My, my consumers are just ordering on their phones and that that phone acts like my point of sale terminal.

Speaker 2 (00:06:48) - so I think we're there and there's certainly blowback. I mean, there are some consumers, you see, it actually just, you know, this last week when the new California wage hikes went in, a bunch of restaurants went to kiosks only, and there was a ton of blowback because, you know, most people don't like that experience still, it's still very hard for them. they didn't grow up like that or they didn't, you know, have issues, whether it's visual impairment or hearing impairment. There's just all sorts of things we have to think through. And so it's just like QR code ordering. It's just like, you know, mobile phone ordering. It's not for everybody. And so as a vendor to restaurants, you know, I think a lot of it we're trying to help them find is it's not going to be everything for everybody. There's not going to be one magic tool, whether it's a kiosk, a phone, a human being that works for everybody. And so we're still trying to figure out what this is going to balance out to.

Speaker 2 (00:07:29) - But there's definitely some blowback. But there's also some people that just say, I get it, you can't afford the labor anymore. This is what I'm going to do.

Speaker 1 (00:07:35) - Yeah. Well, and I think, you know, we're talking about completely changing or upending how people do business. And sometimes these things just take time for consumers to adjust. And again, you're going to have a segment. We're going to be your early adapters. They're cool. They've been waiting for this long and hard. And then you have your, you know, more traditional consumers that, they love the experience of ordering from a human and talking about their order or whatever. That's fine. Right. so what would you say would be the biggest challenges? And I think you've already mentioned or alluded to this, but if we think about this entire world, maybe not so much challenges, but but areas to watch where you think that there's going to be some significant advancements. Certainly I'm thinking about how AI starts to play in this, how and how I can provide, again, an even better experience.

Speaker 1 (00:08:28) - What are you kind of like if you're looking in your crystal ball or you kind of know what's on your roadmap or, you know, generally like, listen, this is kind of an inevitability, what are some of these things that we can look for in the future?

Speaker 2 (00:08:40) - I think it's inevitable that we will have more robots or something like a robot in the kitchen in the preparation and fulfillment of your food. I think that's going to happen for two simplistic reasons. One, obviously there's a cost element. robots can work 24 over seven. They don't need breaks. They don't complain. They kind of do what you want. and they tend to do the same thing over and over again without a margin of error. So there's going to be this sort of push that's going to happen. You see certain brands trying it with burgers and fries. That's going to be a trend in the future. So, you know, robotic, you know, salad chains. They're using robotics robots to build salads now. Like there's going to be that that trend there.

Speaker 2 (00:09:15) - The other part is I think from a safety element, oddly like for stuff that's. Like a salad or fries. We as humans, you know, in many ways think it's going to be safer to have a robot make it than a human being who might not wash their hands or whatever. And so there's going to be some of this, but you kind of have this push towards robotics that are going to happen. We are very far away from it. There are so few chains that have made this work yet, but to me that's going to be inevitable. It's safer, it's faster, it's cleaner, it's more efficient. All the things, all the same reason I think that you barely have a, you know, people working in the lines at airports anymore. it's just going to be you just can't stop it. That's the way we're going to go. so that's one thing. The second part, I think, is it sounds simplistic, but you are going to see AI impact how restaurants work on staffing their labor, buying their food, their guest sentiment.

Speaker 2 (00:10:00) - Today, the challenge with restaurants is they have too much data, they have too many products. And so it doesn't connect together. It doesn't unify. And so that's smart data to make actions doesn't exist yet. So I think that the trend in AI is really going to be let me help you make sense of all this data that you have so that you can be more efficient with your operations, make better menus that you're that your guests like, track your supply chain, so on and so forth. So to me, those are two things I just think are inevitable. These aren't going to be if there's just a matter of one.

Speaker 1 (00:10:24) - Yeah. you know, one thing that I, and again, I don't I really love a a well-done, large visual display of a menu, like, where there's. It's some subtle animation or there's some dynamic aspect to what I'm looking at. but that to me, just it just feels so much more exciting as a consumer to see that and experience that rather than, you know, just kind of like the old pegboard where you've got the, you know, the words kind of like punched in up there.

Speaker 1 (00:11:00) - and I'm seeing a lot of really cool stuff there that, again, I just think it it creates a sense of atmosphere in addition to just being, you know, having some operational advantages.

Speaker 2 (00:11:12) - Totally. And that's even generational, though, because there's some funny studies of, you know, Gen Zers don't like that. They just like to look on their phone for the, you know, like, yeah, it's good to be, like I said, it's such a hard challenge running a restaurant because you got to service you and I who like that experience of, like, maybe it's like a Las Vegas experience or maybe. Yeah, like, you know, something about it. you've got millennials who probably are in between, and you got Gen Zers like, oh, I just, I if it's not on my phone, I don't understand it.

Speaker 1 (00:11:38) - share with me about, you know, your your brand or part tech. like, we're part of tech has come from, you know, kind of where you've been, and, and where you're going as a company.

Speaker 2 (00:11:51) - So we've got an industry story where, you know, let's say we're a young and dynamic company that's sort of been rebuilt. But we were actually founded almost 60 years ago on an Air Force base. Our original business was doing, IT services and research for the US Department of Defense, primarily the Air Force. So for ten years we did basically just it work for the Department of Defense. And then in 1978, our founders invented the point of sale terminal. And then in 1982, our company went public off the success of McDonald's using that point of sale terminal and really going sole source, so that if you had a McDonald's store, you were buying power equipment. And it's it is an amazing story in the sense that we are we are. We were located in literally the middle of nowhere upstate New York. This is not a tech hub. This is not like a place you'll find another any company like bar. And so it was this kind of amazing journey. We had a good run, I'd say call it in the early to mid 80s, but then for 25 years we really went the way of almost like a traditional manufacturing company in the United States.

Speaker 2 (00:12:45) - We got stuck selling just hardware and services to these large restaurant chains, and that became a tough, harder and harder business because as you know, we all know software is a better business. Software drives the buying decision of hardware. and you were dealing with, you know, international competitors that had cheaper costs of labor and inputs and so on and so forth. and then anyways, in 2014, we made a smart acquisition of a software product that really has now become our core product. in 2018, I stepped into the company, you know, candidly, because we were going off the shelf. We were, you know, teetering on running out of money. you know, it was it was a very bad situation. but a couple of us sort of got passion and said, hey, if we can get through and not have to do bankruptcy and figure this out, restaurants are really at that moment in time where they're becoming tech companies and they are ready to, adopt software at a faster pace. And we think that our product, the point of sale could be that fulcrum, could be that ERP like system that everything's built off of.

Speaker 2 (00:13:38) - And so we sort of jumped in and, and, and kind of rebuilt the company since that time. So we've got a ton of respect for the past and what we've done over the past 50 or 60 years. but I'd say it's a very much a brand new company in the last 5 or 6 years. and so I always joke, you know, most of the people running the company today weren't alive when we went public, you know, 40 years ago, and, and a lot of us sort of came from that kind of entrepreneurial startup world. And so we're trying very hard to keep the cadence, the urgency under everybody. and, you know, we hope we hope it continues.

Speaker 1 (00:14:10) - So how do you know who do who is reaching out to partake today to to engage like so in other words, like if there's someone listening and that, that really needs to grab a conversation or, or kind of investigate exactly the technology that you provide, who would that be? And, and how might they know that they're ready for you?

Speaker 2 (00:14:30) - We we really work with a sort of, two constituencies.

Speaker 2 (00:14:34) - One is CIOs or restaurant chain, and CIOs are generally in charge of the big, big tech purchases within a big restaurant. So that would be the point of sale, back office payments, things that really run within a restaurant. and then our second buyer persona is marketing officers, you know, people who buy loyalty software. So if you're a big enterprise restaurant brand, you're coming to us and saying, hey, we want to build a new loyalty, system, and we'd love to look at your products. Or if you're a CIO, you might come to us and say, hey, I've been running the same point of sale software for 15 years. It's not modern. It's not in the cloud. It's not working. and, you know, I want to take your product now, in reality, it's us calling them and saying, hey, let me tell you why you want to get off that old legacy thing you have. Let me tell you why. Our services are better, our products are better, what we can do with our products.

Speaker 2 (00:15:19) - But if they were to call us, it would be the CIO or CMO of a fast growing or a very large restaurant chain.

Speaker 1 (00:15:26) - Yeah. so somebody, you the website that we've been talking about, part tech comm to our friend that's been listening to our conversation. what would you recommend they do next? and by the way, before we get into that, congratulations on your recent acquisitions as well. so it's it's exciting to see the growth that, that partake is experiencing.

Speaker 2 (00:15:48) - Thank you. Yeah. We've had, you know, an exciting round of it. We sort of, I think, have gotten this cadence of trying to acquire a business once every year, 18 months. And for some reason we had two at the same time. But, you know, we continue to, to, to to sort of push forward. you know, as far as just trying to learn about par, I always tell people, you know, learn about who we are, first and then, let's talk about and then sort of see what we do.

Speaker 2 (00:16:12) - we pride ourselves on having a unique culture. we, we run a little bit more decentralized than most organizations. We put a lot of trust in our emerging leaders, people who may not have any background, but who have high aptitude, high desire, high care. We will throw them into the deep end. And so we had a really, you know, amazing, experience with that. And I think what I joined the most and what I think our team enjoys the most is, you know, giving people the opportunity to go build a career, and not follow a GPS and take a big risk and try something new. So, we really enjoyed that kind of development of our team along the way.

Speaker 1 (00:16:46) - when somebody goes to tech. Com what would you recommend they do next?

Speaker 2 (00:16:51) - I would say go to our website. Reach out to us on socials, and we'd love to talk to you.

Speaker 1 (00:16:56) - Yeah. Again PA tech. Com PA tech comm subnetting. Thank you so much again. You're the CEO of PA technology.

Speaker 1 (00:17:05) - Your website pa Telecom PA tech Comm 70. Thank you so much for joining us.

Speaker 2 (00:17:13) - Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1 (00:17:20) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful leaders. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this program, if you're looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers, and clients, I have had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video that you can watch right now with no opt in or email required, where I'm going to share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies.

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