Supporting Our Jacksonville Community

Hazlnut Provides a Large-Scale Contactless Experience at the 2021 Jacksonville Jazz Festival

Venture-backed software company, Hazlnut, is bringing a contactless experience to the Jacksonville Jazz Festival for Premium Experience VIP packages from Oct. 1 – Oct. 3, 2021. Premium Experience VIP packages will include a wristband credential with a unique QR code that is connected to their festival account varying from $50 to $200 food and beverage credits for the weekend. 

The team at Hazlnut is led by co-founders Dick Sikes and Steven Edwards, Jacksonville natives and previous guests of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

“As jazz fans who have attended the Jacksonville Jazz Festival over the years, we’re always open to possibilities to give back to the City of Jacksonville,” said Dick Sikes, CEO at Hazlnut. “At Hazlnut, we are passionate about creating solutions for the food and beverage industry, but we are also passionate about the Jacksonville community. Our team will be on-site during the event to answer questions and enhance the festival experience.”

About Hazlnut

Hazlnut is a Jacksonville-based software company founded by childhood best friends. Hazlnut offers white-labeled, turn-key solutions to small-to-medium-sized restaurants to help them compete against larger chains on a national level. They seek to bring the latest technology into the restaurants, constantly working to improve the ordering experience for both the customers and business owners alike.

About the Jacksonville Jazz Festival

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is a free, multi-day music festival produced by the City of Jacksonville Division of Sports and Entertainment. The festival welcomes residents and visitors to enjoy live music performances, food, drinks, and activations throughout the weekend in Downtown Jacksonville along the St. Johns River. The Jacksonville Jazz Festival includes two stages of great music, Piano Competition, Sacred Jazz Brunch, Jazz Marketplace, Jazz Clinic, and more. For updates and information, please visit jacksonvillejazzfest.com.

The Swingin’ Stage at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival on the St. Johns River

Increase Ticket Size with Hazlnut

“Chips and a drink do sound nice…” is the standard reply when customers are offered an upsell, but you wouldn’t know otherwise if it is never offered in the first place. Employees will occasionally forget during the lunch rush or get caught in a conversation with the customer, and they never get the chance to recommend the add-on. Hazlnut ordering never forgets to offer a tailored upsell to the customer. This leads to more upsells added to their carts, and a higher ticket size. Historically, we’ve calculated a 15% increase on ticket size comparing dine-in to Hazlnut orders that have an upsell. On average, this is $7 added-on per ticket.

Tailored Upsell

A few tailored upsells receive a positive response more often than a single, generic upsell offering the same add-on no matter what is in the cart. Offering an item that the customer already added to their cart or offering sweet treats with a healthy meal seems a little silly. Hazlnut upsells solves this with a dynamic upsell system that reads into the customer’s cart before offering your carefully selected upsell. It will read from your list of recommended selections based on your set priorities until it finds the best match for the customer. Using a series of what we call “triggers” and “avoids”, the customer will always see the optimal recommendation to pair with their meal.

Tasteful Timing

Another key thing to consider is the fact that we don’t want to harass the customer with multiple pop-ups. To avoid this, the upsell is set to only suggest one item, and it will only appear the first time the customer goes into their cart. If they return to the menu to add something, or maybe wanted to double check something on the menu, they will not be prompted again on that order.

Upsell Photos

We have shared in the past how beneficial it is to upload appetizing food images, and the same applies to the upsell pop-up. A verbal offer from a server doesn’t have the same appeal as a mouth-watering photograph on a device. Nothing quite compares to the extra rumble in your stomach when you see the freshly fried churros drizzled in chocolate. It’s so tantalizing, there’s no way your customer can resist adding it to their cart. Ultimately, adding a few custom upsells to your Hazlnut Kiosk, mobile app, and online ordering will drastically increase the odds that your average ticket size will go up by 15% or more.

An Interview with a Developer

We sat down with one of our software engineers, Bhuvan, who led the kiosk development project here at Hazlnut, to ask him about how he approached our first tangible hardware project.

Thank you for joining us, Bhuvan.

Good to be here.

When our executive team announced the Hazlnut Kiosks idea, we were obviously eager to see what it would become. What was the most exciting thing to you about starting the Hazlnut Kiosks project?

The whole concept of kiosks and the numerous problems it solves for our clients made it an exciting and unique opportunity for me as a Software Engineer. I like to look at the impact that a technology can have, and the timing of this product couldn’t be more right. Kiosks tackle labor shortage problems, improve order flows and wait times, etc. which I feel make it a must-have for restaurants.

That’s great to hear that you were immediately inspired by the solution it would provide for our restaurant partners. Once you got started, what were the biggest challenges you tackled during the development process?

Being new to iOS development, there was a learning curve for sure which was the biggest hurdle when I started working on the kiosk. I was able to get on fairly quickly with the help of my teammates. Later on, working with a third-party physical accessory which is the card reader, and using new payment gateway services came with their own set of challenges.

How did you confront the additional challenges presented by the card reader accessory, and what did you ultimately learn from that experience?

Since it was something entirely new to us, we relied on the information they could provide. The documentation on the reader and its APIs was pretty obscure and there wasn’t much online either so I had to reach out to the technical team in charge of maintaining the reader’s firmware and APIs at times. I also read a lot of documentation and examples on Swift language’s external accessory modules. Overall, it made my skillset more diverse and I got some valuable experience having discussions with other developers from that technical team.


Well, I am glad you were able to overcome those hurdles. What features are you the proudest of?

I’m proud of the entire project for sure because a kiosk must be robust and reliable as it always keeps running, order after order. Features like a streamlined order flow and UI, building orders on the point of sale in real-time, and enabling card/contactless payments through the card reader and payment services in a secure way would be on the top of my list.

It sounds like a lot of features got packed into this device. Speaking of UI and order flow, what inspired you to build it out in the way that you did?

The restaurants’ customers are the end-users here so having a fast and streamlined order flow, and a very user-friendly UI were our focal points. Having discussions with the team, bouncing ideas off of each other helped a lot.

Well that’s all the time we have today, thank you so much for joining us.

If you wanted to hear more about Bhuvan, check out this blog post where we sat down with him and explored his background, how he became a part of the Hazlnut Team, and some of his interests outside of work.

Keep the Ice Cream Frozen with Hazlnut

“Awesome, my fries were delivered cold” is a phrase said by nobody. Most people like their food nice and fresh. Unfortunately, with the heavy reliance on third-party delivery, a lot of people are having to settle for sub-par food temperatures. Nobody is satisfied when food is delivered in a way the restaurant would have never intended to serve it to the customer. Here at Hazlnut, we set out to eliminate the risk of customers receiving their food in a way that would result in a bad review. We have developed tools that influence the time quoted to customers and the timing of when the ticket prints to kitchen.

Average Prep Time

Something our system relies on is what we call the “average prep time”, which is estimated by the restaurant to provide a baseline of how long it takes to prepare an order from the moment it prints to when it’s ready to leave the door. The first thing it affects is the time quoted to the customer as the earliest possible pick-up time during check-out. A customer won’t check out at 3:00 and expect their food at 3:01, that just isn’t realistic. The ticket will then print to the kitchen letting them know they can start working on the order… Thanks to the average prep time, the order will always be prepared on-time. The restaurant will never have to worry about time-managing a future order ticket (i.e. an order that was placed in advance that morning, but is expected to be picked up in the evening won’t print until it needs to). This system ensures that when the customer comes to pick up their food, it will be as hot and fresh as it can possibly be. This also helps timing when deliveries should go out; the system will quote the customer an expected delivery time range based on what zone they are in and the average time the restaurant has determined.

Ticket Size Prep Time

A default prep time sounds great, but when a huge order comes in, that same prep time is no longer accurate. A large order is going to take longer than usual to prepare, luckily Hazlnut has thought of this already. From the Hazlnut Dashboard, the restaurant can set it up to add a few more minutes of prep time to account for the size of the order. It is designed to add x amount of minutes to the default prep time per every x dollars on an order. So, it could be setup to add 10 minutes of prep time for every $50 ordered. If the default prep time was 15 minutes, and someone placed a $100 order under these conditions, the system would quote the customer a 35-minute wait time. This gives the restaurant an extra 20 minutes to get the order ready on-time.

Volume Based Prep Time

The next feature that can adjust the prep time is the restaurant’s current order volume. A benefit of our Clover-integrated software is that we have the ability to read the restaurant’s order volume trends and identify when the restaurant is slammed with an unexpected rush of customers. When the system detects that the restaurant is experiencing a rush, it will dynamically add time to the quoted prep time. If there are any future orders it will also print the ticket earlier than usual to give the kitchen enough time to make it.

Information on how prep time can be set up and managed can be found here on our FAQ. For more information, please email sales@hazlnut.com or to see it in action schedule a demo here.

Clover-Integrated Kiosks are here with Hazlnut

For the very first time, Hazlnut is releasing a new product: Hazlnut Clover-Integrated Kiosks. We have been working on them for a while and some eagle-eyed followers on social media caught on. There are tons of benefits to utilizing a kiosk in a restaurant, so we wanted to give Clover customers an integrated option to reap these benefits. We explored those in a blog post found here but, in this post we will focus on Hazlnut Kiosks.

Perks of a Kiosk

Kiosks are helpful now more than ever before as our country faces a labor shortage; kiosks don’t take days off! Hazlnut Kiosks allow customers to place their own orders so staff can reallocate their focus onto other things. When a customer places their own order, there is also an increase in order accuracy. A request for ‘no pickles’ won’t go unheard or be misheard as ‘extra pickles’. Kiosks are gaining in popularity, and customers are starting to prefer them. In fact, customers are coming to expect them. Kiosks present the menu in a clearer way (with high resolution pictures) and ensure that any ‘add-on’ mods get charged appropriately.

Line Management

Kiosks can also be used as a line management tool where you can throttle (speed up or slow down) the influx of customers. Opening multiple kiosks can help clear a line out and get all of the orders in as quickly as possible. This allows the kitchen to get food out to the customers more efficiently and keep the kitchen from getting overwhelmed. It also means that the restaurant can operate with less seating. Since the customers spend more time in the line and are served quicker it means they spend less time at the table.

Hazlnut Kiosk Features

Hazlnut Kiosks are fully branded to the restaurant’s colors logos , just like our apps and online ordering. The kiosks follow the same menu as our other services so there won’t be any extra management needed. Since they are Clover-integrated kiosks all orders will continue to print to the correct stations. Our kiosks also can still utilize the dynamic upselling feature to increase ticket size. Using these upsells can increase ticket sizes by an average of 15% and the kiosk will never forget to offer it.

For more information email sales@hazlnut.com or to schedule a demo and see it in action click here.

Menu Management with Hazlnut

Summer is here which means new ingredients and flavors are in season and some menu management is needed. With the changing of the seasons, there are bound to be some menu changes to reflect the new inventory. Ensuring that the offerings online match the offerings in-store will require a bit of clean up and we have designed our system to make this as simple as it can be. With the Hazlnut dashboard now available on Clover stations (2018 or newer), it has never been easier to make menu changes.

Easy Menu Management

Menu changes are always going to be a part of the restaurant’s operation, the frequency of which varies. Some restaurants only change as needed when they can’t get an ingredient they need. Some change seasonally, some daily, as the chefs have the freedom to make whatever they want that day. Whatever the reason for a change, it is as simple as a few clicks to mark an item as out of stock or hide it entirely from the online ordering and app. It is just as simple to create new things or unhide items that were previously hidden.

Managing Pictures and Descriptions

When creating that new summer menu following the latest trends and available ingredients, there will probably be brand new menu items never seen before. When creating that new item, we make it simple to add a picture. As demonstrated in a previous blog post found here, we think food photography is essential. Adding a description can help the customer know what is in the item they are looking at.

Managing Modifiers

Another thing that can be toggled easily is modifiers, so those seasonal flavors can be easily swapped out. Coffee shops can easily toggle available flavor modifiers to match seasons and holidays. Peppermint mocha to chocolate-covered strawberry to shamrock to s’mores is made easy. All it takes is logging into the dashboard, finding the modifier, and turning the display on and off.

Helpful walkthroughs on how to do all of the things listed here can be found on our FAQ page under the “Menu Management” category. It can be found at the bottom of the sidebar on the dashboard or accessed through the link here.

How Hazlnut can help with catering

After more than a year of video-chat holidays, business meetings with pets on-screen, and virtual schooling, the country is returning to some level of normalcy. Businesses are re-opening, group limits are being lifted, traveling is resuming, and, best of all, we can spend time with loved ones face to face. There is a year’s worth of events to make up for, and these events need to be catered. Hazlnut already has a way to allow customers to order catering. It is built right into our existing service, and everything we are about to go over is included in current Hazlnut subscriptions at no additional cost to our partners.

Features in Hazlnut Catering

We have packed our catering option with the features already available in all Hazlnut products. This includes orders printing on the restaurants printers and being processed by the restaurant’s existing service. Any customer on their favorite restaurant’s app can easily order catering using the methods they are used to, no need to learn something new! The biggest changes are how the restaurant sets up the item in the Hazlnut Dashboard. Using the availability setting on an item the restaurant can set how many days notice they need for the item. Once set up a catering button will appear on the location within the app. A new link will be provided to post online for web based ordering.

Setting up the catering menu

Our partners can find all the tools needed to set up their catering menu in the Hazlnut dashboard. A helpful FAQ detailing step-by-step instructions on how to set it up can be found here. Just like our other services, the items will need to be added to the Clover inventory first. Once the items are made, it is time to arrange them using the Hazlnut dashboard. The Hazlnut dashboard is accessible from a computer; it can also be accessed using a Clover station on the Hazlnut app (only on Clover stations 2018 or newer).

For new and existing partners wanting to learn more, reach out to sales@hazlnut.com to set up a demo.

How Hazlnut Halts App Fatigue

App fatigue is something most people don’t actively think about, but it affects everybody. Users don’t want to download new apps and delete apps that they no longer see value in. We are constantly evaluating the causes of app fatigue and how to ensure our apps never fall victim to it.

Fighting App Fatigue

App fatigue is an interesting concept but one that is a significant threat to the app development industry. When it comes to apps for restaurants, it takes both the developer and restaurant working together to overcome the fatigue. As developers, we need to be at the top of our game, ensuring that what we build has modern top-of-the-line features and functionality. Marketing and customer engagement is essential. The perfect storm to fight app fatigue is combining a fully-loaded app that the restaurant is involved with .

Hazlnut’s Contribution

Our part is to build a cutting-edge app that makes the customers feel like there is value to having it. We look at industry leaders like Starbucks and Chick-fil-a to draw inspiration for features we add to our apps. Using this research, we regularly update our apps to keep them feeling modern with parts that fit today’s needs. We also use feedback from both the restaurants and their customers, who use the apps, to enhance our offer. We track the trends of what customers want and try to add them as quickly as we can.

Restaurant’s Contribution

With Hazlnut keeping the app in tip-top shape, the responsibility to get customers engaged on the app falls on the restaurant. A big hurdle of app fatigue is getting the customer to download the app first, so marketing is vital. Here in the office, we have a shared folder of some of the cleverest ways we have seen restaurants market their app. This has prepared us to help our clients market the app to theirs. Once the customer has the app installed, it is essential to keep them using it regularly and using it to the fullest potential. Push notifications sent out to targeted guest segments at optimal times can keep the app top of mind for the customer.

Conquering App Fatigue

App fatigue is a genuine problem, but with Hazlnut and a restaurant’s forces combined, it will never stand in the way of success on our platform. We have developed the tools needed to overcome app fatigue and encourage restaurants to team up with us to implement the resources. Tools like targeted push notification, easy reordering, and loyalty points. Once hooked customers will stay on the app to take advantage of loyalty points. If you would like to learn about more features Hazlnut offers contact sales@hazlnut.com.

2020’s Hottest Restaurant Technology

Here at Hazlnut, we believe restaurant technology is the future. We took a look at all of the advancements made in 2020 and will integrate the best of them into our products to provide cutting edge apps and online ordering. We are here to shine a spotlight on some of those advancements and see how they can help businesses grow.

Kiosks

One advancement that has been gaining popularity and we are starting to see everywhere is self-service kiosks. They are incredibly popular due to how easy they are to use. With kiosks, customers can place their entire order by themselves, which means the restaurant can focus their staff in other areas. Kiosks also can improve order accuracy since the customer adds the modifiers themselves. Since multiple people can order at once with multiple kiosks wait times will be reduced.

Chat Box

Speaking of chat boxes, the digital communication in the restaurant industry is on the rise. Facebook has integrated chat on pages with average response time displayed to the customer. There are going to be questions from customers at home who have turned to online ordering. Deploying a chat option on a restaurants website and social media is a way to cut down the time your employees are on the phone. Questions like hours, location, and contact info will be automatically answered with a chat bot. With Hazlnut you can program it to give them the link to your online ordering page and have it tell the customer about your app.

Tabletop Ordering

Many foodservice advancements are based on limiting contact between customers and the restaurant staff. Servers won’t have to go to tables to take orders when restaurants utilize tabletop ordering. This is an option for when a full sized kiosk won’t work, like at a restaurant with table service. Every restaurant has different needs, so there are different tabletop options. Tabletop kiosks will be ready at the table when the customer is seated to take their order. Another option is to have the customer use the hardware almost everyone has in their pocket, cell phones. Using a branded mobile app like the ones we develop here at Hazlnut, a customer can order food to the table right from their own phone. Details on how that can be set up can be found here.

Robot Chefs

One technology advancement that we find really cool and just want to talk about is robot chefs. One of our sales reps has a background in baking and first was introduced to the concept by the Unifiller cake decorating machines. They are impressive machines that are designed for commercial output of baked goods that have a made from scratch touch. More recently, Samsung has made a pair of arms that hang from the ceiling and act as a sous chef. These are currently for home use but with the way the restaurant technology is advancing it will be no time at all before all kitchens have robotic sous chefs to increase kitchen productivity.

At Hazlnut we look at what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly to provide the best products. Analyzing trends from past years is a way we focus efforts into what to develop. Looking ahead is important too, so stand by for what restaurant technology we are looking forward to in 2021.  

Hazlnut Food Photography Tips

In recent posts, we have emphasized how important it is to have photographs of food items on social media and online ordering for customers to see. Research shows that adding photos of the product on an online ordering page can increase sales by 30%, help build the brand, and increase customers’ conversion rate. With all of this data to support pictures’ importance, we decided to give our tips for all restaurant photographers who want to snap some photos.

Presentation

How a dish looks can significantly impact how the picture comes out, and presentation is critical. A “the camera eats first” culture that craves beautiful looking food, giving them what they want can draw them in. Factors in the presentation to consider are plating, props, lighting, and background. All of these things working together is the key to snapping the perfect picture of the dish.

Plating

When plating a dish for photos, present it in the way it is served to the customer. Plating the food one way in a picture then serving it a different way can confuse and disappoint customers. Although most orders are for takeout or delivery these days, try to avoid plating the dish in plastic containers. Cheap packaging can come across as telling the customer the food is exclusively for takeout, and customers won’t consider it when thinking of where they would like to dine in.

Background and Props

Props are a fun way to show what is in a dish or pairs well with it, like putting a champagne bottle next to champagne infused cupcakes. Props can also be used to create the background and help encourage the customer to order more. Placing a glass of red wine in the background of a steak can get someone to think about the pairing and how they would enjoy it. Going back to the “the camera eats first,” a customer may be inclined to want to recreate what they saw, so they need to order what they saw. Backgrounds can help set the scene and get the person in the mood for food. An all black background can hinder rather than help because food isn’t best enjoyed in a void.

Lighting

Lighting has a huge impact that I didn’t believe until I saw it. The way a camera sees the item is different than how we see the same thing with our eyes, so with proper lighting, the dish can look better on camera than it does in person. A cameraman for the Cooking Channel showed this to me in real time. He panned over a tray of sticky buns that were directly in front of me. I watched the live feed from the camera, and the sticky buns on the feed looked more delicious than the ones in front of me, even though they were the same thing. The cameraman explained the science, but he said the key was the lighting.

Framing

Once the dish’s presentation is ready, it is time to take some pictures, but it is crucial to consider the picture’s framing. A photo too close can make the dish look strange and take away from the background and props. One framed too far out can lose details on the plate, and the customer may not be drawn in. Choosing the shot angle can take some planning. When we look at food sitting down, we look at it from a 45-degree angle, which is a natural angle. A birds-eye view angle can be tricky when incorporating props but can really pay off with individual dishes.

Taking the Picture

At last, the time has come to snap the picture and capture it. Most modern cell phones have cameras that will take a high-quality image. It is good to take a few shots from various angles to have a selection to choose the best from. Never be afraid to play around with all of the elements. Have some fun with it. While pictures are essential, customers can sense if it isn’t genuine, which can hinder rather than help.

Check out some other tips here.

Boosting Restaurant’s Social Media Engagement in 2021

Looking back at 2020 one lesson we’ve learned at Hazlnut is the importance of social media and digital branding. We are on our phones more than ever giving restaurants a unique opportunity to reach more customers and sell not only food, but a social experience through digital marketing. With the crazy year we have had coming to an end, we can start looking to the upcoming one and what we can do to prepare ourselves for it. At Hazlnut, we have a few ideas to help restaurants start 2021 off on the right foot!

Social Media

With smart phone cameras competing with DSLRs these days, we live in a time where food photography is shown off and photography has become an integral part of how we choose where to eat. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and even LinkedIn have become channels for sharing delicious food – so that’s where our focus will be in 2021. When a restaurant’s social media is managed well, it shows off the food and reassures a customer that the restaurant is open, trustworthy, active. Going to the social media page of a restaurant and seeing the last post was months or years ago can turn away customers. We believe that when it comes to food, people shop with their eyes so posting high quality photos of a menu that can be shared and shown off can really help elevate marketing reach and bring in more hungry customers.

SEO

People need to be able to find the business when they search it, so SEO is important. We all know no one goes to the second page of Google search results, so being front and center is key to getting clicks. SEO is something that needs to be refined restaurant to restaurant, there is no blanket solution but there are tips and tricks. For example, when posting on Instagram there is an option to edit the caption in advanced settings to include Alt Text to increase the restaurant’s visibility. There are companies that specialize in SEO or with some time and research it can be dialed in by anyone. This is something that will take some time, but it will pay off in the end.

They found the restaurant…..what now?

Once someone finds a restaurant’s social media channel and decides the food looks amazing and they MUST have to have it now, the next step is finding a way to order. That’s where Hazlnut comes in with online ordering. We build a branded online ordering page and give the restaurant a link to it that they can put on all of their social media and website directly. Posting a picture of a new item that looks amazing and garners a bunch of likes? Put the OLO link in the description to convert it to a sale on the spot. The online ordering link is a tool to get all of those people that they were able to reach using SEO and social media to make the final step to fall in love with the restaurant.

How Hazlnut wants to help Small Business

Small businesses make up over 99% of US businesses, and Hazlnut, being a part of that statistic, wants to help other small businesses. There are resources in place from the SBA that allow small businesses to stay afloat in these trying times, and new guidelines on those resources have recently been published. The new guidelines may allow some funds from the PPP program to be used on software, and that is where Hazlnut fits in. We provide contactless ordering to keep your employees and customers safe. More information about that can be found here.

According to various sources, the SBA is now allowing 40% of the funds received from the PPP loan to go to non-payroll expenses. This helps small businesses allocate some funds to create a safer environment for employees and customers. Using contactless ordering is a sure way to create a safer environment for everyone and Hazlnut provides the means to set up contactless ordering. In our contactless ordering blog post, we talked about order types and how we can customize them to fit most contactless order types.

We are here to get restaurants set up with a premium contactless ordering solution fully integrated with their Clover station. We offer online ordering and mobile apps and are running several promotions. Contact us at sales@hazlnut.com, and we would be happy to answer any questions and show a demo of our system. Please contact your PPP lender to ensure they will cover Hazlnut in the loan.

How Does Clover’s Online Ordering Compare to Hazlnut?

When choosing an online ordering service, it’s essential to do a lot of research and make sure you’re going with the right provider. This series offers a fair and honest look at how Hazlnut compares to other leading online ordering systems. In this installment, we’re taking a look at Clover’s built-in online ordering solution.

At their roots, these platforms have some similarities. They both allow customers to browse the menu and place orders, they both operate without any commission fees, and they both use the existing items in your Clover to build the menu. Both platforms operate as an external link that can be posted on your website, which allows you to use them regardless of the website provider you use.

Let’s look at both platforms’ pros and cons and discuss the best fit for your business.

Clover Online Ordering

Pros:

Free: Easily the strongest selling point for Clover’s online ordering is the price point. You can’t beat free and having an option like this available during the pandemic has saved many businesses from going under. Clover’s Google integrated partner, The Ordering.app, charges a 1.5% fee per transaction and allows customers to access the menu through a button on Google.

Quick set up: For those looking to get something in place as soon as possible, Clover’s solution can be set up in as little as 10 minutes. Clover copies over your existing inventory and then allows you to make changes from the pre-built menu.

No commitments: As easily as you can get Clover’s ordering set up, you can cancel the service. This makes it a good starting point and something that you can upgrade from at any time.

Manage from existing Clover Dashboard: Because this service is available directly from Clover, it’s all managed from the same Clover Dashboard where you currently make inventory changes.

Cons:

Not branded: Clover’s platform is very clearly a Clover product and does not allow for a company’s logos or colors to be used on the page. While this allows them to keep costs down, it can be off-putting to customers who may feel like they’re ordering from a third-party as opposed to directly from the business.

Lack of features: The old adage “You get what you pay for” rings true here. Clover’s system is very basic. There are no bells and whistles, lacking in areas like upselling, dynamic prep time, cash payments, modifier customization. It does what it’s supposed to: Take orders and accept payments.  But unfortunately, not much else.

Manual editing: The set-up is quick and matches Clover directly, but then it’s up to you to make changes as you go. In most situations, a Clover’s inventory contains shorthand names or modifier groups that are designed to make things easier on the staff, but these aren’t always ideal for online ordering. This can cause some headaches in the set-up process, and Clover’s general support line tends to be an unreliable source for problem-solving.

Lack of personalized support: This is one of the biggest differences between these two services. While Hazlnut provides you with a personal onboarding rep and a support line that gets you directly to an expert, Clover requires you to go through their general support line, which tends to be very unreliable.

Limited to one printer: Despite being a service directly from Clover, this online ordering system limits you to using only 1 printer for all online orders. This can be a pain in the event that a business has multiple stations and printers and creates a disconnect between online orders and standard, in-store transactions.

No pictures: Pictures are extremely important whenever someone shops online, but especially so with food ordering. Not being able to add pictures can hurt customer engagement and can result in a lower average ticket size. According to DoorDash, menus with pictures receive 25% more orders.

Hazlnut Online Ordering

Pros:

Branded: One of the biggest selling points for Hazlnut is that it’s a completely branded solution. We use your logos, colors, and fonts to make the page look and feel like you built it yourself. This adds a personal touch to the order process and allows you brand to be represented well every time an order is placed.

Food pictures: Hazlnut allows you to add food pictures for every item and category, which can really help customers to engage with the menu more and can even increase ticket size by 30%.

Customizable: While Hazlnut’s system uses the existing items and modifiers in Clover, it’s not limited to how these things are display on Clover. From pictures, descriptions, and modifiers to the display order and categories items are displayed in, Hazlnut allows for nearly unlimited menu customization.

1-on-1 support and hands-off set-up: After signing up with Hazlnut, you’re assigned an onboarding specialist to work with throughout the entire set-up process. Based on the information you provide, that specialist will help set up the menu for you, and adjust it based on any feedback you give. That same person will be a direct contact for you in the future if you run into any issues.

Custom printer set-up: In direct contrast to Clover Online Ordering’s printer limitations, Hazlnut allows you to utilize any printers you have and can even set things up to mirror exactly what you’re using in-store, blurring the lines between these different order types and making these transactions feel like the normal in-store transactions that the staff is used to.

Dynamic upselling: Hazlnut has the ability to offer customers an item at the end of each transaction. It’s called “dynamic” because the item that gets offered can change based on what’s in the customers cart. This allows you to pair items that go well together and avoid offering a customer something they already have in their cart.

Cons:

Price: Hazlnut isn’t the cheapest option out there (starting at $89 a month), and it definitely can’t compete with Clover’s pricing (free). It’s much more so a premium option and if you’re looking for a short-term bare-bones solution, it might not be right for you.

Longer set-up time: Because Hazlnut’s product is more customized and we do the set-up for you, this obviously takes longer than the 10-minute set-up that Clover’s ordering boasts. Assuming you’re able to get your brand assets to us pretty quickly, we’ll have the ordering page up and running within two weeks, or sometimes sooner, depending on the complexity of your menu.

Conclusion

Both of these solutions have a place in the market, but cater to different groups of people:

Clover’s online ordering is best suited for the extremely cost-sensitive. If you’re in a really tough financial situation and just need a quick fix to survive as a business, this is the solution for you. It’s not flashy or feature-rich, but it could be just what you need to get through a tough season, like we’ve all just experienced in 2020.

Hazlnut’s online ordering is a premium solution best suited for growing brands looking for a customized solution that they’ll never have to upgrade from. The price point is very competitive compared to others in the market. Upgrading to Hazlnut’s All-in package also includes an app and loyalty program, so it can become the all-in-one solution your brand is looking for.

If you’re interested in learning more about Hazlnut and seeing if it’s a good fit for you, schedule a demo today!

How Hazlnut Makes Contactless Ordering Easy

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken quite a toll on the US economy, but perhaps no industry has been hit harder than hospitality. Lockdowns, dine-in restrictions, and fears about food preparation have all contributed to many businesses closing their doors for good.

If your business has survived to this point, congratulations, that’s a huge accomplishment! But as a vaccine rolls out and this virus becomes a part of history, a new normal will set in regarding the health and safety standards people want and expect from businesses.

Contactless ordering is a term that has gained a lot of popularity recently, as customers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with handing a cashier their cash or credit card. So how can your business navigate this trend and continue to serve customers in a way they expect and appreciate? Hazlnut provides a suite of features to make this transition easy for everyone!

Ordering for Pick-up, Curbside, or Delivery

If your restaurant doesn’t have an online or mobile ordering platform, you’re already behind the times and failing to give customers the convenient ordering methods that are essential to restaurants in this environment. Hazlnut’s core order types, pickup, curbside, and delivery, all provide ways that a customer can safely obtain their meal without having to come in contact with other people. And if you need something more tailored to your business, Hazlnut gives you the ability to create a “custom” order type to perfectly fit your unique situation!

These alternate order types make it possible for customers to completely avoid waiting in a line of people, drastically improving social distancing and hopefully helping to stop the spread of this virus. Being able to have food placed at your doorstep or in the trunk of your car can help alleviate some of the anxiety customers have and allows you to continue serving everyone effectively.

In-Store Scanning

Mobile apps through Hazlnut include a very useful feature called “Mobile Pay.” Much like what you’d see at Starbucks, this feature allows a customer to pay for an in-store transaction by simply scanning a QR code at the register. On most Clover devices, such as the Clover Station, you’re able to flip the screen around and let the customer scan on the built-in camera. No extra hardware needed! But for those who expect to do a lot of scanning, we recommend buying an external scanner, which completes this “Starbucks experience” of paying with your phone.

Hazlnut’s apps also have a built-in loyalty program, so each time a customer scans their phone to pay, they’ll also be earning points which can be redeemed for rewards. This can really help generate more regular, loyal customers customers which are even more important to stay afloat during these trying times.

QR Codes on Tables

Another popular way to generate contactless ordering for customers is to use QR codes codes to take customers directly to your online menu. This is done by placing the QR codes on tables or signs around the restaurant. The customer can easily scan it with their phone and instantly browse the menu while giving them peace of mind.

Hazlnut has a few great ways to make this work easier and to be more customized to your brand! For example, by utilizing Hazlnut’s custom order types, you can create an “Order from Table” option and allow the customer to select their table number upon placing the order. That way your employees will know exactly which table to walk the order to. In addition to this, Hazlnut creates a branded QR code template that you can put on every table. This allows you to make sure your brand is well represented no matter how customers place an order!

Learn more about these and other great features Hazlnut offers by scheduling a demo!

Boost Your Restaurant’s Social Media Engagement in 2021

Looking back at 2020, one lesson we’ve learned at Hazlnut is the importance of social media and digital branding. We are on our phones more than ever giving restaurants a unique opportunity to reach more customers and sell not only food, but a social experience through digital marketing. With the crazy year we have had coming to an end, we can start looking to the upcoming one and what we can do to prepare ourselves for it. At Hazlnut, we have a few ideas to help you start 2021 off on the right foot!

Social Media

With smart phone cameras competing with DSLRs these days, we live in a time where food photography is shown off and photography has become an integral part of how we choose where to eat. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and even LinkedIn have become channels for sharing delicious food – so that’s where our focus will be in 2021. When social media is managed well, it shows off the food and reassures a customer that the restaurant is open, trustworthy, active. Going to the social media page of a restaurant and seeing the last post was months or years ago can turn away customers. We believe that when it comes to food, people shop with their eyes so posting high quality photos of your menu that can be shared and shown off can really help elevate your marketing reach and bring in more hungry customers.

SEO

People need to be able to find your business when they search it, so SEO is important. We all know no one goes to the second page of Google search results, so being front and center is key to getting clicks. SEO is something that needs to be refined restaurant to restaurant, there is no blanket solution but there are tips and tricks. For example, when you post on Instagram you can edit your caption in advanced settings to include Alt Text to increase your restaurant’s visibility. There are companies that specialize in SEO or with some time and research it can be dialed in by anyone. This is something that will take some time, but it will pay off in the end.

Now that they found you… What now?

Once someone finds your social media channel and decides your food looks amazing and they MUST have to have it now, the next step is finding a way to order. That’s where Hazlnut comes in with online ordering. We build a branded online ordering page and give you a link to it that you can put on all of your social media and website directly. Posting a picture of a new item that looks amazing and garners a bunch of likes? Put the OLO link in the description to convert it to a sale on the spot. The online ordering link is a tool to get all of those people that you were able to reach using SEO and social media to make the final step to fall in love with your restaurant.

Meet the Team! Zachary – Account Executive

Next up in our series of interviews with the Hazlnut team, we sat down with Zachary, an Account Executive for Hazlnut:

Thanks for joining us, Zachary.

Pleasure to be here!

What were you doing before working for Hazlnut?

I was a student at the University of North Florida before being hired at Hazlnut. Nathalie, one of our Account Coordinators, and I actually graduated in the same class. For work history, I come from a food service background. My family owns a local bakery called Amaretti Desserts. They have been in business since June of 2013 and I helped out since day 1. The bakery will always have a special place in my heart, and it taught me so much.

It’s great that you have restaurant experience since you now work directly with restaurant owners. That must make it a lot easier for you to understand what these owners are going through. How did COVID affect things at the bakery?

The food industry as a whole was shaken by COVID and the bakery was lucky enough to be able to ride it out. The customer base there is very loyal and continues to support them through this tough time. I know my family will be eternally grateful for all that the customers do for them. We had a second location in the San Marco Theatre for three years and closed it last December when the owners reclaimed the space we were using. I can’t help but feel like that wouldn’t have lasted if we had stayed there. 

How did working in a bakery prepare you for the job at Hazlnut?

I think it gave me a unique insight into the businesses I reach out to. Like you said, I was in the shoes of the clientele we have here at Hazlnut, so I know how restaurants work. I also know how to take a “no”. I got calls from so many people who would ask to speak with the owner, who was my mom and standing next to me 90% of the time. I would look her in the eyes and tell the sales rep that she wasn’t in and hang up. Now I am the guy on the other end of the phone. So, if anyone ever receives a call from me, don’t be afraid to tell me no because I understand and won’t hold any hard feelings.

How did you start working for Hazlnut?

My story is an interesting one, I met Dick and Steven months before I got hired. I was in an entrepreneurship class that had weekly guest speakers. Dick and Steven came in one week to talk about the life of Hazlnut. They had an awesome presentation that showed how much they loved this company and how they pour that love into their product. I briefly spoke with them after class, and apparently my flour and cocoa powder covered hat made an impression. Nathalie and I graduated that semester and started our job hunts, keeping each other updated. She called me one day and told me she had an interview with a company called Hazlnut. I was excited for her and a little jealous she saw the listing before me. She got the job and kept me updated and told me how much she loved it. When a new position that I was qualified for opened she let me know and put in a good word for me. They remembered me from that hat, and I guess they liked me enough to hire me.

That’s awesome! What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m pretty lame outside of work if I’m being honest. I love spending time with my significant other and going record shopping with her. I collect vinyl records, so we go out once a week to try to find new ones. She collects Funko Pops, so we search for those too. I still go help out at the bakery because I do love baking and spending time with my family. If no one is available, then I will relax with some video games. I built a PC a few years back and try to still get use out of it.

Thanks again for your time today, Zachary. One more question before we leave: What’s your favorite thing about working at Hazlnut?

I am a firm believer that people are what make a business, and the people here are genuinely amazing. I am constantly amazed at what the development team accomplishes on a daily basis. I know when I pass someone onto Nathalie for onboarding and support that they are in the best hands they can be in. Jordan provides the friendly competition needed to strive in sales. Dick and Steven are great to work for because they see all of our talents and potential and help us thrive. This team is unbeatable and I am so excited to see and help it grow and flourish.

Good luck to you and everyone on the team!

Click here to schedule a demo and ask for Zachary!

Meet the Team! Bhuvan – Software Developer

Next up in our series of interviews with the Hazlnut team, we sat down with Bhuvan, a Software Developer for Hazlnut:

Thanks for joining us, Bhuvan.

Good to be here!

What did you do before working for Hazlnut?

 I grew up in India and I’ve always been interested in tech and programming. For me, it had to be either a sport or Computer Science as a career path. I completed my Engineering degree in Computer Science and worked for two startup companies prior to coming to the United States, which had always been a goal of mine. In Spring 2020, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Florida (Go Gators!!). Completing my graduate degree at UF was an amazing and unforgettable experience as Gainesville truly felt like home and I’m grateful for all the memories and friends that I made. Post-graduation was a difficult period as the pandemic worsened making interview opportunities difficult to come by. Thankfully, a professor at UF whom I’d worked with during my summer internship offered me a volunteer research assistant position.

That’s great! How did you start working for Hazlnut?

As I mentioned, I worked for two startups before and I’ve always loved the startup culture. Especially since I get more responsibilities and a chance to work on things from the ground-up all the way to production on the latest technologies. So I was definitely leaning more towards startups and stumbled upon Hazlnut on a job board. The technologies I was interested in aligned with what Hazlnut was looking for, and the work environment they described was just what I was looking for. So, I applied! The hiring process was the kind I excel at, involving the development of a small project. Everything worked out and I’m grateful to Dick and Steven for giving me an opportunity to work with this team.

So, we know you lived in India before coming to America. What was the transition like and what were some of the biggest challenges in adjusting to a new culture?

I have always been a fan of American culture, sports, music, etc. I had visited the United States twice before, in 2008 and in 2010 which only heightened my interest in coming here. In some situations, all that has been helpful. Adjusting to a different culture does take a bit of time and getting used to. Two years of school definitely helped me getting used to the new culture. Making friends and connections has helped me feel more comfortable. You do miss your family and friends back home, of course, especially on big or important occasions. I know they’re always there for me and rooting for me!

Thank you for sharing, we are happy to be on your team and we’ll be your home away from home. Tell us, what does your role at Hazlnut look like?

I work across the stack, front-end and back-end. I get to work on anything from adding/prototyping new features and functionalities, updating existing ones, and solving bugs. There is an impact from everything you do on the final products.

What do you like to do in your personal time to decompress after a long day at work?

Playing any kind of sports or games such as badminton, basketball, pool, volleyball, running, and more. I like watching sports and being on top of what’s happening by watching movies and tv shows. I often hang out with my friends on the weekends and play Poker with them. I’m very passionate about music too.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Hazlnut?

I always struggle to pick a single favorite in anything. My favorite things are making software that improves people’s lives, working with the amazing team, and sharing crucial responsibilities. Oh, and not to forget our mini-basketball sessions! They’re a fun way of taking a break and relaxing for a bit during the day.

Thanks again for your time today, Bhuvan! Good luck and happy holidays!

5 Ways Hazlnut Will Make Your Holidays Happier

On-the-Go Ordering Simplified

With holiday savings at major retailers ramping up, the restaurant industry is preparing to feed all of these shoppers. Considering the current events, we have a huge number of people grabbing their food and drinks to-go. When people are out shopping for deals, they don’t typically want to stop and sit down. With Hazlnut it has never been easier for your customers to place an order while waiting in line somewhere else. With future ordering, your customers can place an order for pick-up from the retail store they are waiting at. Their food will be cooked, packed and ready as soon as they’ve gotten through the line, checked out and make their way to your restaurant.

Gifts and Food from the Couch

Retailers are shifting to an online ordering model for this holiday season to accommodate those who can’t go out. It is estimated that a third of all holiday shopping will be done online this year. Hazlnut is here to let you reach those customers too. Our apps and online ordering support delivery options, all you need to do is supply the driver. From the comfort of their home, customers can order gifts and have dinner delivered to their door!

Push Season’s Greetings

Thinking of a restaurant to order from to host loved ones can take a lot of energy and time. Make your restaurant the easy choice! With push notifications you can remind customers you have the best product. Customers on the run will be drawn to your restaurant because they won’t have to make that arduous choice of where to go. That quick suggestion in the form of a push notification is the only nudge they’ll need to choose you.

Catering Ease

Catering has never been easier to manage with Hazlnut. We have the ability to add a catering menu button on the app and a catering page for your online ordering. If customers are ordering catering for home or for an office, it is easy for them to customize their order and easy for you to set it up without a hassle. With future ordering limits, we close off time slots once they are full. No need to worry about all those orders being picked up or delivered at once!

Grab Valuable Real Estate

With the release of new phones like the iPhone 12 and the Galaxy S20, people will be opening boxes with new phones. This opens new real estate for your app to take up, with newfound potential to increase the number of your app users and overall customer base. At Hazlnut we want to give our clients the ability to offer their customers an app experience on the same level as Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A. Our apps have a loyalty program and one-touch reordering so you can grow your list of regular customers. Storage space on a phone is valuable and we guarantee your app is worth every byte of it.

Meet the Team! Jordan – Account Executive

Next up in our series of interviews with the Hazlnut team, we sat down with Jordan, an Account Executive for Hazlnut:

Thanks for joining us, Jordan.

Thanks for having me!

To get started, tell us about what you were doing before starting at Hazlnut?

Before working at Hazlnut, I worked for Publix: a supermarket chain based here in Florida. I worked there for over 6 years and it’s the only other job I’ve ever had. Publix’s Tuition Reimbursement program allowed me to work there part-time all the way through college without having to worry too much about class payments. I graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in 2019, shortly before I started at Hazlnut.

How do you feel Publix prepared you for your role at Hazlnut?

Publix is all about customer service and quality. When I interviewed with Hazlnut, I asked Dick Sikes, our CEO, what the company values were and those were two things that he mentioned. I knew it would be a great fit.

Publix helped me gain invaluable people skills that have helped me in my current role. During my middle and high school years, I was the quiet kid. Working a customer service role forced me to talk to people all day, every day and that helped me gain a level of confidence that has carried over into my position here at Hazlnut.

Was it strange transitioning from retail to software sales?

Definitely! Working in retail is very fast paced. There is always something to do and more customers to help. But it’s always the same exact thing every day, just moving customers through the line.

Compare that to my job at Hazlnut… It’s night and day! The job here is task-oriented, so it feels more satisfying to get things done. The work environment is also much more relaxed, which I definitely appreciate.

How did you hear about Hazlnut, and how did you start working there?

That’s a funny story, actually. I was about 2 months away from graduating college and having trouble finding jobs that seemed like a good fit for me. Marketing was my major, but I was never really into the creative side of marketing. Business to Business sales were something I had a growing interest in, but sales can be tough to step into without any experience or internships under your belt.

One day a close friend of mine applied for an E-Commerce position with PS27 Ventures, a group that invests in Startups. He mentioned a sales position was available, and the possibility of working together peaked my interest. I applied, and later discovered that the position was for Hazlnut, a business that PS27 invested in. After researching the company, I became very interested in what Hazlnut was doing. I moved forward with the interview and was offered the job later on.

That’s great! I know B2B sales can be cut-throat. How do you stay inspired in your sales position?

It’s definitely a challenge sometimes. I was told it would be an emotional rollercoaster, but I didn’t really realize what that meant until I got started.

Sometimes things go really well and everything seems to come so easily, other times you have to grin and bear it until things start to fall into place. But, between my faith and the encouraging work environment here, I’m able to work through the rough days, knowing that better times will come if I work hard enough.

What do you do outside of work? 

I love to spend time with my girlfriend, friends, and family, but when I have free time, I enjoy watching sports and playing video games. Both of my football teams, the Jaguars and Seminoles, aren’t doing very well right now so, like sales, it can be an emotional rollercoaster and I try to stay positive!

COVID-19 really ramped up around the time that you got hired, and after only a few weeks you ended up working from home for several months. At its height, how did COVID-19 affect the way you connected with the team and restaurant owners? 

I was just beginning to get comfortable around the office and all of a sudden I had to work from the desk in my room. Communication between the team was tougher and we had to meet on Zoom every morning to make sure we were all on the same page. Everyone was really helpful in making sure I was well equipped to do what was asked.

Thankfully, it didn’t really affect communication with restaurant owners on my end, as most of what I do is through email or Zoom. However, it did cause me to become an independent employee much faster. Doing demos from home without my bosses around to help or answer questions, forced me to learn new things on my own in such a short amount of time.

I understand working for a growing startup business is considered risky to most college students. Do you have any recommendations for young professionals who are afraid to take a leap of faith shortly after graduating?  

Through college, I always assumed I’d find a job with a big company and try to work my way up in a secure environment. At Publix, everything was structured by corporate and there wasn’t much flexibility, so that’s what I was accustomed to. Working for a start-up is a completely different world. You have a lot more say in how things are done, and you get an in-depth look into how the business is actually run.

I’m really thankful I ended up working here, and to those who are afraid of taking the leap: I recommend you look at the leadership and values above anything else. If you feel confident in the leader’s ability to take the company where it needs to go, and the values are consistent with those goals, then it’s worth taking the chance!

Thanks for your time today, Jordan!

Click here to schedule a demo and ask for Jordan!

Meet the Team! Amrita – Software Developer

Next up in our series of interviews with the Hazlnut team, we sat down with Amrita Sapkota, a Software Developer for Hazlnut:

Thanks for joining us, Amrita.

Thank you for having me!

Before we really get into your job at Hazlnut, what are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

Outside of work I like to travel and spend time with my family and friends which I cannot do right now due to COVID. Though I am not good at editing pictures, I love to take pictures and read books whenever I am free. Also, I love cooking and I spend most of my time trying out recipes for various dishes.

What did you do for work and school before Hazlnut?

Before Hazlnut, I obtained my Master’s Degree at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. While in school, I worked there as a Graduate Assistant in the Center for Career and Professional Development. My job was to monitor candidates during different kinds of tests, administrative support for testing, career service functions, troubleshooting, and general technical issues.

I understand you grew up in Nepal before moving here for school. How was the transition to America?

That’s a good question! Well, my cousin lives in Dallas, Texas. When I was doing my undergraduate in Nepal, I was frequently in contact with him. Through him, I got to know about the American education system (which is completely different from Nepal) and I really liked it. Since then, I was determined that I would complete my Master’s Degree in the United States. It was not easy, but I did it. And as we all know, the United States is really ahead in the latest technology and tools. Plus, an international degree would open up an infinite number of career opportunities.

How did you start working for Hazlnut?

After my graduation from Lamar University, I was looking for a job. I found a job posted in Indeed and I applied for it. I got a response after couple of days for an interview and then they hired me. I am really thankful to Dick and Steven for providing me this opportunity and trusting a college graduate who didn’t have any professional experience working in the tech industry in the United States. It’s been amazing working here at Hazlnut.

What do you do at Hazlnut?

I mostly work on Android, but I also do iOS, Python, PHP, and JavaScript. My day-to-day activities include working on adding new features, fixing bugs, or testing new features. Sometimes I also help with taking care of customer requests.

Very cool! Development for a tech company definitely seems to be a job that keeps you busy.

Thank you for your time today, Amrita. Just one more question before we end things here. What is your favorite thing about working for Hazlnut?

My favorite thing about working for Hazlnut is the work environment, the team, and doing what I love to do, which is coding. Every morning when I wake up, I always feel excited about going to work, which is really a good thing. Also, the team is really very helpful and supportive. I still remember those days when I just started working with Hazlnut, where my team members really supported me in each step and helped me grow and learn. They always push me for better and appreciate the work I do. I feel really blessed.

Thanks again and good luck!