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! BJ – Software Developer

Next up in our series of interviews with the Hazlnut team, we sat down with BJ, a software developer for the company:

Thanks for joining us, BJ.

It’s a pleasure to be here.

Before we get into your work life with Hazlnut, let’s learn a little about your personal life. What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m a diehard Jacksonville Jaguars fan & ticket holder, a total nerd, and a gamer. I spend the majority of my non-work time on a computer either gaming, surfing the web, writing code (yep, in my free time), or just chatting with friends via Discord. If I’m awake and the Jags aren’t playing, you can probably find me at my PC.

Thanks for sharing! Most people probably don’t associate development and sports, but it shows you’re a well-rounded person. Now why don’t you tell us a about how and when you started working for Hazlnut.

I started working for Hazlnut as an intern in November 2018. Back then the company was just Dick and Steven, and they found me through a program at Florida State College at Jacksonville called I-Tech. The internship covered by the program was set to run for 9 weeks, but thankfully I was offered a full-time position before the end of that term.

That’s awesome! It’s really cool to see a temporary situation like that turn into a permanent job. What did you do before Hazlnut?

While I was in the I-Tech program, I landed a temporary position doing some quality assurance (QA) work for a database administrator who changed my life. I am so grateful to “Cap” because I gained valuable experience and skills while working for him, and the job, which was supposed to be a few days of QA, turned into months of me testing and helping to develop the workflow for their new system. Then, when I interviewed for the position at Hazlnut, he wrote me a fantastic letter of recommendation which I believe helped Dick and Steven make their decision to take a chance on the guy with no professional coding experience.

What made you get into software development?

My step-dad has always been into computers and technology so we’ve pretty much always had a computer in the house; and I quickly developed a passion for computers and figuring out how they worked. In middle school, I saved up enough money one summer to buy my own computer; that’s when the hobby really took off. I eventually found Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and started to learn how to write simple macros and custom scripts there. I realized that writing code is a lot like solving a puzzle; you know what the end result should look like, the challenge is putting the pieces together. You know that awesome feeling you get when you solve a difficult problem or finish a puzzle? I get that from my job.

I love that you’re so passionate about your job! I know “Development” can mean a lot of different things. What does your average day look like and what are your responsibilities?

Man, I feel like I don’t have an average day, and I think that’s cool. I am pretty much always writing code in multiple software languages either for exciting new features or to fortify current features. The reality of software development is that there will be bugs, so I spend time on some days looking into reported issues and fixing those. I also monitor the status of our clients throughout the day in order to alleviate the pain of service interruptions caused by things like internet outages at their location.

Very cool! It sounds like there’s a lot that you love about your job, but what would you say is your favorite thing about working for Hazlnut?

That I get to be a real part of what goes on here. I get to see my work put to use because what I do actually matters to the company. Also, there is a lot to be said about feeling valued by your employer, and I appreciate how valued I feel working at Hazlnut. I never leave work feeling like I wasted a day on a useless project or busy work.

Thanks so much for giving us some insight into Hazlnut today. Good luck to everyone on the team going forward!

Data Evolution & Customer Experience

Conquering Convenience & Consumer Experience

Convenience, customization and quick delivery have conquered consumers expectations in the digital age. Holiday shopping has shifted from long lines and crowded malls to a comfy couch and one click on a smart phone. Packages arrive within days, sometimes even hours, of ordering. Consumers needs have evolved, and their expectations in the food industry are no exception.

In an effort to meet heightened customer needs, the food service industry has found itself in the middle of a digital evolution. PoS systems are appearing in almost every QSR, offering a smart and custom way to process orders. Clover PoS systems make managing food service run smoothly by not only taking orders and accepting payments, but also organizing inventory and managing team members.

Beyond the PoS: Mobile Ordering Apps

As we head deeper into the digital evolution, a PoS system alone is not enough to stay ahead of the technology curve. In 2017, 960 million restaurant visits were paid for with a mobile app. This shows an impressive 50% increase compared to 2016.

QSRs can deepen relationships and customer loyalty by integrating custom branded restaurant apps and websites with PoS systems. A seamless and efficient execution of the brand and its products can benefit both the customers and the company. These new additions in tech create opportunities to connect with and gather data about consumers in a way that has not been possible in the past.  

Consumer Convenience

Hazlnut app

It is not difficult to identify why consumers are adopting apps for their favorite lunch time spots. Apps allow them to order and pay without standing in line, and often find their order ready for pick-up by the time they arrive. Customers also enjoy in-app features that remember previous orders and allow order customization. Understandably, they want more convenient food and a more efficient use of their time.

However, convenience is not the only driving factor in app usage. Many apps offer to opportunity to receive exclusive coupons, loyalty points and notifications of special promotions. Rewarding customers for in-app ordering leads to increased allegiance and positive association.

Marketing Benefits

While QSRs are rising to the technical age to retain customers, PoS and well-branded apps create opportunities for the companies themselves as well. With mobile food ordering apps, restaurants can now sit directly in the hands of consumers, creating a much more intimate marketing delivery. Push notifications can alert users of promotions and specials, or even remind them of their favorite order as lunch time nears.

Once a consumer decides to open the app and order, there is new opportunity for up-selling through custom ordering and prompted add-ons. Apps are often connected to the user’s credit card, creating less hesitation in spending and instead raising ticket averages with just a few clicks.

Data Collection and Efficiency 

mobile ordering

Restaurant ordering technology has opened the door to a wave of data. By analyzing who, when and how often consumers are ordering companies can prepare better than ever before. This data allows them to forecast when they should order certain inventory and to what extent they certain ingredients should be stocked. This optimizes kitchen operations – leading to lower waste of ingredients and cash.

A Digital Evolution

Companies should not fear technology taking away from the personal experience their brand has to offer. Rather, it is time to celebrate the opportunity to add a secondary positive experience for the consumer, and a wealth new tools and data for the business. Optimize your business with an integrated PoS, website and branded app today by Scheduling a Demo with Hazlnut. 

Ready to take your business to the next level? Schedule a demo today