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.

Jacksonville Startup Hazlnut Raises $3 Million in Series A Funding to Accelerate Growth

Hazlnut, a SaaS company that provides restaurants with their own branded apps and online ordering platforms, announced today that it has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round. Atlanta Ventures led the investment, along with PS27 Ventures Rhea Fund.

Jon Birdsong, a partner at Atlanta Ventures, said Hazlnut was the right company to invest in because, as soon as they crossed paths, “[Atlanta Ventures] immediately knew they were a team who obsesses over the customer, solves their gravest problems, and provides a preeminent user experience.”

Hazlnut is on a mission to help local, independent, and regional restaurant brands thrive. They do so by providing a software template for web-based, app, and in-store ordering solutions. The cost of hiring web and app developers is a greater investment than most restaurant owners can afford. Hazlnut offers development, onboarding and on-going support at an affordable monthly rate. 

The restaurant industry has proven to be tougher than ever for smaller brands thanks to the increasing competition, the rise of third party delivery providers who take a large chunk of every sale, and the overall complexity of managing multiple technology solutions. With Hazlnut, your local favorites can offer online and mobile ordering solutions, a full scale loyalty program, and Panera-like kiosks for guests who want an interactive menu with high resolution images and robust descriptions. 

“With software, if you can envision it, you can build it. We come in and help lift up small businesses to help them compete with bigger brands like Panera and McDonald’s. It’s rewarding seeing local businesses rise to the competition,” said Dick Sikes, Co-Founder and CEO of Hazlnut.

The company had previously closed a seed round funded by PS27 Ventures in 2018 of  less than $200,000. Jim Stallings, CEO of PS27 Ventures, is excited to see Hazlnut grow exponentially.

With this funding, Hazlnut is not wasting any time to grow aggressively. They are looking to fill key roles such as Head of Software Engineering, Sales Director, and Director of Marketing, as well as growing their sales, service, and engineering teams. 

About Hazlnut

Hazlnut is an all-in-one ordering solution that helps companies develop deeper relationships with their customers through beautifully designed websites and custom branded apps.

If you know a restaurant owner who is in need of an online ordering and loyalty solution, let us know! 

About Atlanta Ventures

Atlanta Ventures empowers entrepreneurs to start, grow, and scale.

Create Companies / We co-found companies via the Studio with driven founders in a collaborative environment

Fund Founders / We partner with companies seeking early stage funding

Equip Entrepreneurs / We provide content, tools, and events to empower the startup community

About PS27 Ventures

PS27 Ventures invests in early-stage companies that are driving dramatic changes in high-growth markets. ​​We invest in early stage startup ideas and businesses, supporting their growth with a broad range of expertise from a team of highly regarded professionals. Bringing selected startups into our accelerator, we work side by side with them to grow their business and help them realize their true potential. 

Our team of experts takes a hands-on approach, helping startups succeed. 

About the Rhea Fund

The PS27 Rhea Fund is a 20 million dollar venture capital fund focused on early-stage technology companies. Rhea Fund is seeking to invest in early-stage solutions in SaaS, HealthTech, FinTech, Sustainability, and E-Commerce companies that can scale rapidly. Rhea Fund also has an interest in founders who are women, veterans, and people of color.  

For more information about the Rhea Fund please email us at info@ps27ventures.com.

How Does Clover 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 Online Ordering.

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 Online 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!

Jax Favorites: Best Brunch Spots

Summertime is almost here, and there’s no better way to enjoy the sunshine than brunch! Check out these local spots for our favorite foods and some of the absolute best drinks & brunch cocktails! 

Canopy Road Cafe

This local gem offers an incredible menu filled with options for a wide variety of visitors. 

Our favorite foods:
• Southern Benedict
• Mutt’s Breakfast Club
• Fat Elvis Pancakes
• Palm Beach Club

Best drinks:
• Canopy Road Coffee (Lucky Goat Coffee Co.)
• Arnold Palmer
• Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

“Here at Canopy, we always say we have something for everyone. We specialize in taking traditional diner favorites and adding our own little twists. The results are both exciting and delicious – see for yourself!”

Casa Marina

Looking for a brunch spot to visit before hitting the beach? Look no further! This hotel offers indoor and outdoor seating for brunch exclusively on Sundays. The back door leads directly to the sand!

Our favorite foods:
• Beignets
• Breakfast Burrito
• Shrimp & Sweet Hash

Best drinks:
• Watermelon-Rosemary Mimosa
• The Ultimate Bloody
• Espresso White Russian

“For twenty years, The Casa Marina Sunday Brunch continues to receive dining awards for its marvelous classic dishes, local seafood and house-made desserts.”

The French Pantry

The line out the door is a clear indicator of how incredible their food is! Believe me, it’s worth the wait…

Our favorite foods:
• French Dips
• Portobello & Mozzarella Bruschetta
• Blueberry Farmers Tart
• Cheese Danish

“The French Pantry can trace its iconic Northeast Florida roots more than 20 years, and since then, not much has changed. Our food has a cult following, and our breads and pastries are sought after by restaurants around the region.”

River & Post

This rooftop restaurant located in Downtown Jax along the St. John’s will treat you to some of the best views. 

Our favorite foods:
• Bread Pudding French Toast
• Eggs Benedict Cubano
• Stuffed Mushrooms

Best drinks:
• Florida Georgia Line
• R&P Bloody Mary
• Bourbon & Berries

“River & Post is a culinary driven restaurant in a warm, modern setting where we strive to captivate our guests with quality ingredients, impeccable service and memorable accommodations for any occasion.”

Johnny’s Angels

If you’re looking to travel back in time, this diner is the place for you! As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by the 1950s aesthetic, the best shakes in town, and other American classics. 

Our favorite foods:
• The Thunderbird
• Breakfast at Tiffany’s
• The Elvis Special
• The Richie Cunningham

Best drinks:
• Oreo Shake
• Creamsicle
• Malts

“Enjoy our homemade burgers, hand-dipped shakes, and scrumptious sandwiches, all served by our friendly staff.”

Delicomb

Unique bagel sandwiches are their specialty, with a new one almost every week! Sit back and relax at this beautiful little shop within walking distance to the beach.

Our favorite food:
• Açaí Bowl
• Sunshine Bagel
• Del Fuego Special

Best drinks:
• Café Au Lait
• Dirty Chai
• Granita 

“Delicomb is locally owned and operated. We make it how we’d want it! Delicombilicious.”

Let us know what you think by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you get a chance to try one of these out. Keep up with the ‘JAX Favorites’ series and read some of our other blogs here.

Meet the Team! Carl – Account Executive

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

Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today, Carl.

Thanks for having me!

What did you do before Hazlnut?

Most recently, I was a Food & Beverage Manager at the Sawgrass Country Club. Before that, I worked as a Sales Associate at Greenshades Software. Most of my experience prior to Hazlnut had been in selling HR & Payroll software, or management roles in private clubs/the food & beverage industry. 

It sounds like you were already trained for the role before you even got here!  How do you feel your previous positions prepared you for your role at Hazlnut?

Both Greenshades Software and Sawgrass Country Club developed my ability to constantly adapt and solve customer pain points. After Greenshades Software, I came out of it already prepared to sell software without the traditional face-to-face interactions. It was all handled over the phone, through email, and with online meetings.

I joined the team at Sawgrass Country Club just prior to the pandemic in 2020. Being able to help spearhead a To-Go only service showed me the importance of having technology that works for restaurants when dining-in isn’t an option. I came into my role at Hazlnut with that perspective, and I think it helps me empathize with restaurant owners and managers who may be looking for a similar solution for their business. 

How did you hear about Hazlnut? 

My recent experience in the Food & Beverage industry, plus my previous role selling software led me to look for a job that could marry those two together. I started searching online for software companies in the Jacksonville area specializing in the restaurant industry and I found Hazlnut through a job post. I did some research on the company and recognized Larry’s Giant Subs as a client of theirs and became more interested. From there, I scheduled an interview with Dick and Steven. Soon after that I joined the team!

We’re happy to have you on the team! What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I like to workout and watch sports. I mainly like to watch football, basketball, and MMA. If I had to narrow down my hobbies, I’d say they are: Traveling, creating music playlists, and playing basketball. 

If you could pick your favorite athlete, who would it be and why?

I would say my favorite athlete is Steph Curry; he’s an amazing basketball player. I’m particularly fascinated at his ability to shoot the ball from anywhere, and the way he can make these shots that look like something out of a video game… Curry is very dedicated to his craft and he gets better every year. It’s not only his athletic ability, but also his character on and off the court that makes him my favorite. He does a good job of not letting his emotions get the best of him, and he has an easy-going personality. 

But on the court, he is very competitive. I like that!

So do I! I have one more question before we go: What’s your favorite thing about working at Hazlnut?

It’s exciting being in an environment that isn’t rigid or stuck in old ways. Hazlnut is consistently looking forward and onward. As a whole, this company is always finding new ways to improve over time. 

Thanks again for your time! 

Click here to schedule a demo. Remember to ask to meet with Carl!

Address Verification System (AVS): Fraud Prevention

Combat fraudulent orders with address verification tools

As a business, the customer experience is always the number one priority. For customers who order ahead, that experience begins at your website, ordering site or mobile ordering app. In situations where the customer is ordering remotely (not presenting their card in-person), you may run into the risk of fraud. It’s simply unavoidable. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk as consumer, and also as a business.

Image sourced from the Consumer Sentinel Network data book published by the FTC in 2020

As a consumer

The FTC published their 2020 findings for the Consumer Sentinel Network data book which found more than 2 million fraud reports were filed. Between January – September of 2021, it is estimated that more than 2 million Americans fell victim to card fraud, with a total loss calculated at $3.3 Billion. Thieves can gain access a few different ways, including:

Physical theft: This one is a no-brainer. Theft has existed since the creation of the Mesopotamian shekel, and perhaps even since Otis the Iceman. Keep your wallets and purses close to you at all times, and only hand over your card to a trustworthy person/vendor or if you feel your life is in danger. 

Requested: Suspicious phone calls, mailed invoices and phishing emails are relatively familiar methods to most people living in the 21st century. More recently, similar requests can be sent via text message, social media, and QR code scanning. Before providing personal information to anybody, make sure it is a bill you were expecting to pay or it is being sent from a trustworthy sender. 

Skimming: Magnetic strips offer little-to-no security; inserting the chip for payment is more secure. However, if a merchant only accepts swipe technology, there’s not much the buyer can do. The malware can be installed physically, but most recently it has been accessed through the network. This malware would impact the merchants’ entire point-of-sale ecosystem. Obviously, not all swipe technologies are monitored by hackers who can remotely steal card information, but as a buyer you should be aware of this risk.

Malware: Phishing emails are relatively familiar methods to most people living in the 21st century. More recently, untrustworthy links can be sent via text message, social media, and QR code scanning. Before clicking on any links, make sure it is a message you were expecting to receive or it is being sent from a trustworthy sender. 

Image sourced from the Consumer Sentinel Network data book published by the FTC in 2020

As a business

If a customer’s card is stolen or they were the victim of a card reader scam, someone who isn’t the card owner may be able to use that card information to make fraudulent purchases. As a restaurant owner, you can take extra steps to guarantee their card cannot be used on your web or app ordering by anyone other than the authorized card user.

When adding their payment, customers will be prompted to enter more than just a CVV

AVS Security

Hazlnut has a great tool to protect not only your customers, but also your business from fraudulent activity. By requiring a postal code or billing address, the person entering the card information to pay online will need to know more than what can be found on the physical card. As a business, it will reduce the amount of chargebacks received since you are taking those extra steps to block fraudulent charges at your business. 

Clover has an account setting dedicated to fraud prevention tools that allow you to automatically void suspicious payments taken from Virtual Terminal and the eCommerce API. They don’t block payments taken from your point of sale device, but it will validate additional information. By default, all Hazlnut orders require the Card Verification Value (CVV) and a matching/valid expiration date. If you would like to use the Clover Address Verification System (AVS) tools, Hazlnut can require additional fields including postal code and street address. The Clover payment system will validate this information and accept or decline the payment.

How to turn on Address Verification (Clover):

You can enable it by going to your Clover dashboard (please do this from a web browser)

1. Click on Account & Setup on the bottom left
2. Under the ‘Transactions’ group, click on Fraud Tools
3. Click to ‘Show Rules’ for the Address Verification System (AVS) group
4. Here, there are 6 options that perform different functions. 
5. Make your selection, and click ‘Save’. 

You can also visit the Clover Help Center for more information (Scroll down to “Set up fraud prevention tools”): https://www.clover.com/en-US/help/set-options-for-using-virtual-terminal 

Please let us know if you would like to prevent fraudulent transactions through Hazlnut with the Clover Address Verification System (AVS) by contacting us today.

Physical Deterrents

Also, keep in mind… Your staff are always the first line of defense. If you’re faced with an increased number of disputes and looking for options to avoid these chargebacks, you can have the staff require identification or have the customer present the credit card used at pickup. This simple, old fashioned approach can help deter future instances of credit card fraud as would be bad actors will know this is your policy and look for easier prey. At Hazlnut, you can even add this as an urgent message or a pop-up to let customers know they’ll need to bring ID and the name on the ID needs to match the name on the card at pickup.

Of course, as we mentioned in the beginning, all steps taken should consider the overall impact to the customer experience. It’s give and take. You want to add more protections to help your store avoid chargebacks while not impeding the overall customer experience.