Jax Favorites: Best Ice Cream Spots

Cool off this season with a cold treat! These are a handful of our favorite treats at some of our local ice cream spots. 

Cookies and Creme

This local gem offers a wide variety of ice cream flavors within walking distance from the beach. What started out as a crazy idea to make cookies and ice cream with cereal milk out of their garage, has now become a favorite of the beaches community and Jacksonville residents overall. Head on over for a Grom sandwich as you watch the cotton-candy sunsets near the Jax Beach pier!!!

Our favorite treats:
• X (Black Madagascar vanilla bean – previously #9)
• JSO (Krispy Kreme doughnuts & house blend coffee flavored ice cream)
• Bon Jovi (Cinnamon Toast Crunch)
• Jimi Hendrix (Blackberry ice cream w/ mini raspberry-filled cups)
• Unstuffed Oreo Grom (Cookie with a whole Oreo baked in the middle of it!)
• Wednesday Shake Night (Only day of the week they make shakes)

“Baking our beach a better place! We are a local, veteran and family owned LATE NIGHT cookie bakery in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.” 

The Hyppo

Looking for the greatest variety of popsicle flavors? Look no further! The Hyppo has been my go-to spot for a refreshing treat, whether it’s a dairy-free or creamy popsicle, this place hits the spot! 

Our favorite treats:
• Elvis
• Watermelon Basil
• Blackberry Cheesecake
• Hibiscus Pear
• King Street Horchata
• I-10 Plum

“We strive to provide authentic and uncommon culinary experiences. We craft foods with integrity and serve them up with our one-of-a-kind blend of welcome and whimsy. We enjoy making our foods, and we hope you find them delightful.”

Whit’s Frozen Custard

While this might not be originally from Jacksonville, FL it is a locally loved custard shop. Fun Fact: The one in Atlantic Beach was the first Whit’s location to open in Florida as well as the first to open outside of the state of Ohio as a whole. 

Our favorite treats:
• Kit Kats ‘n’ Creme
• Almond Joy
• White Chocolate Raspberry

“It’s this promise that sets us apart. Our flavors are made fresh on site. In addition to our signature Flavor of the Week, we also churn our Vanilla and Chocolate throughout the day.  Our many quality, fresh topping options lets you custom create your own unique flavor.”

The Yard Milkshake Bar 

Although it’s not native to Jacksonville, this new staple offers crazy sundaes and shakes that you can’t keep your cameras (or taste buds) away from! 

Our favorite treats:
• The Sunshine Bowl (Jacksonville Exclusive)
• Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake Milkshake
• Cappuccino Crunch Ice Cream
• Milk & Cookies Milkshake

“The Yard Milkshake Bar has the most delicious desserts in town. We offer premium ice cream and are widely known for our over-the-top milkshakes! We also offer eight flavors of edible cookie dough and over 50 topping options!”

Dreamette

Dreamette has quality ingredients available at an affordable price. Soft serve can sometimes be brushed aside, but Dreamette has obviously been doing it right for over 70 years. 

Our favorite treats:
• Soft serve strawberry twist
• Peanut Butter dipped cone
• Piña Colada shake

“Dreamette, a beloved Jacksonville tradition since 1948. Whether you’ve visited Dreamette since you were knee-high to a grasshopper or are the newest member of our Jacksonville community, Dreamette is here to serve up sweet treats to you and your family!”

Mayday

Go for the ice cream, stay for the enthusiastic employees and friendly environment.

Our favorite treats:
• The Aviator (Chocolate + Nutella + Biscoff cookies)
• Gillespie’s Bourbon Pecan (Butter Pecan w/ Buffalo Trace Bourbon)
• The Perfect Pear (21+ flavor: Fresh pears w/ a splash of Riesling)

“MAYDAY is named in honor of some innovative Americans who served our country in World War II. […] At Mayday we celebrate their courage and optimism by creating ice cream that’s both authentic and innovative- we churn together the best ingredients in fun new ways and serve them up with some good old-world hospitality. So whether the skies are sunny or stormy, just scream MAYDAY and join us for some life-changing ice cream.”

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice

Another favorite of the locals that isn’t necessarily local to Jacksonville… This place is well known for their Gelati (a perfect layered blend of soft-serve gelato and Italian shaved ice). 

Our favorite treats:
• Vanilla + Key West Tropical Gelati
• Chocolate + Banana Gelati
• Swirl + Cookies & Cream Gelati 

“Tasty Frozen Treats Served Up With A Smile. At Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, we deeply value our community and the relationships we are able to create with our neighbors. We strongly believe in giving back to our community and look forward to opportunities to reach out and connect with our wonderful communities. Over the years we have been honored to work hand-in-hand with schools, religious organizations, chambers, and charity organizations all in an effort to better our surrounding communities!”

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.

Order Tracking

See what Hazlnut order tracking can do for you!

Ordering food through an app and online should be a simple and easy process. It’s frustrating for a customer who is picking up food when it’s not ready or even worse, hasn’t even been made yet.

With order tracking, we help companies do their part in preventing customer frustration with app and ordering online ordering. Ensuring a smoother experience is Hazlnut’s goal, and order tracking is just one small, but very helpful part of that. A customer placing their order online or via the app can track their order statuses by clicking a link in their emailed receipt, or they can opt-in to receive text messages…

How to update the order status

This tool is available to all employees with access to your in-store POS. From the Hazlnut app, they can give the customer various updates on their order status on eligible orders.

These statuses are customizable, with a recommended range of no less than 3 and no more than 5 steps. On top of that, we’ve added the ability to let the customer know if anything has changed via a Special Note.

These our a few of our recommended statuses:
Order Received/Order Placed (automatically generates when your POS receives the order information)
Making Your Order/Preparing Your Order (the kitchen is preparing the order)
Queued for Driver/Finishing Touches (driver is on their way or you’re packing up the food)
Out for Delivery/Ready for Pickup (order is on the way or ready to be in the customers hands)
Special Notes: __________ (if you ran out of an ingredient, driver encountered traffic, or are taking longer than usual to prepare the order)

Text updates

With text messaging enabled, customers can receive text updates each time their order status is changed. With the simple push of a button at checkout, customers can opt-in or opt-out of the text feature. Either way, you’ll be able to send text updates through the emailed receipt for those who decide to opt-out.

Reach out to our team today to learn more about the texting abilities and the current cost per text delivered.

In conclusion, the ability to track a food order is something all customers want the ability to do once an order is placed. There’s comfort knowing their food is being prepared quickly and it’ll be ready on time.

For more information email sales@hazlnut.com or to schedule a demo click here.

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.

Order Interception: Fewer calls, more everything else.

To help restaurants ease the congestion of phone orders, Hazlnut has come out with a new “Order Interception” service

Phone calls to restaurants are becoming more and more of an issue, even post-pandemic after the large migration to online ordering.

In a recent study, we found that nearly 40% of all orders still come through over the phone. So, although more people are ordering online than ever before, between in-person and phone ordering, the majority of orders still require staff to handle.

Restaurant labor shortage over the past 2 years, phone orders for pickup_ have actually increased.

But therein lies the rub. Faced with a well documented labor shortage, it’s becoming harder to find the staff needed to help meet customer demand. As people are starting to come out of isolation and go back out to restaurants, they may still prefer to spend as little time as possible in public places, so phone orders (for pickup) have actually increased alongside online orders at the expense of in-person dining. But the current state of phone orders is a sad state of affairs…

Current state of phone ordering: By the numbers

We’ve found that only 82% of calls were even answered. That means a whopping 18% of calls were missed. This is most likely due to the fact that most calls occur at lunch or dinner rush, the busiest times for restaurants.

Even more alarming, of the calls answered, 74% of all calls were to place an order. That means of the calls missed, 3 out of 4 were most likely people looking to spend money at the store.

Furthermore, 24% of all calls answered put the customer on hold with the average hold time being 68 seconds!

Percentage of unanswered calls from customers intending to place an order

Phone orders today are a horrible experience. Coupled with the fact that answering phones takes staff away from helping other customers, all customers end up with a worse experience.

What is Order Interception?

To help restaurants ease the congestion of phone orders and improve the overall guest experience, Hazlnut has come out with a new “Order Interception” service.

This service works by issuing you a new phone number that you use to replace your existing number on any channel customers use to call you.

This would include your:

1. Website

2. Google “My Business” page

3. Facebook page and other social media

4. Apple maps

When customers call this new number they’re greeted with a recording welcoming them and offering to text them a link to place their order online before connecting them to the store… and that’s it! It’s as simple as that.

Send your ordering link by text

If you go back to the stat we mentioned earlier, if 74% all calls are to place an order. If you can re-direct even a small amount of these customers to your online ordering or mobile ordering page it can have a huge impact on the amount of calls actually reaching your store.

What are the benefits of re-directing these callers to your ordering site with Order Interception?

More orders

Beyond the obvious (fewer calls), you’ll experience more revenue! You’ll get more orders overall. Remember, missed calls = missed orders.

Higher average ticket sizes

Also, by moving orders online, it’s a lower cost channel with a higher average ticket size. Countless studies have proven that the average order value is higher for online orders. Customers don’t feel rushed ordering online, they have more time to browse, see that delicious dessert or maybe even add an appetizer. Furthermore, with your staff taking fewer calls, that leaves them more time to work with in-store customers or other tasks such as packaging to-go orders, acting as a food runner etc.

With the current staffing shortages and increased call-in orders, Order Interception could be just the service you need to help you and your customers adjust to the “new normal”.

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.

Supporting Our Local Jacksonville Community at Jacksonville Jazz Festival

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 over at Hazlnut is led by co-founders Dick Sikes and Steven Edwards, Jacksonville natives and previous guests of the 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 that play 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 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.

jacksonville jazz festival

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 Clover integrated 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 Clover integrated 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.

Your Newest Employee: Hazlnut Restaurant Kiosks

Restaurant kiosks are the self-ordering solution your business craves. As people go back out to restaurants and return to some level of normalcy, restaurant operations have become stressed to a near breaking point.

16 months have passed since COVID-19 impacted daily lives forever. As people go back out to restaurants and return to some level of normalcy, restaurant operations have become stressed to a near breaking point. Meet Hazlnut, a company that is helping to bring new-age technology to small businesses across the country.

Meeting a Demand for a Market Heavily Impacted by COVID-19

As restaurants struggle to hire serving staff, Hazlnut provides a solution that is helping brands win big through the use of restaurant kiosks. Seamlessly integrated with popular point of sale systems, Hazlnut helps deepen customer relationships by managing lines, increasing front of house efficiency, and providing a custom dining experience that can keep up with demand without the hassle of hiring a new employee. Kiosks allow customers to place their own orders so, managers can reallocate staff to more pressing tasks like food prep. When a customer places their order through a kiosk, there is also an increase in order accuracy.

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

The timing is just right for such a product as well.

Restaurant kiosks are gaining in popularity, and customers are starting to prefer them. In fact, certain customers prefer them. Customers like interacting with kiosks as they tend to present the menu in a clearer way (with high resolution pictures) and restaurant owners can ensure that any ‘add-on’ mods are charged for appropriately.

John & Angie, Franchisees at Larry’s Giant Subs (Florida) said, “Already planning to purchase more for our other locations!”

Hazlnut connects restaurants directly to customers through e-commerce, online sales, and point of sale systems such as Clover, which is used in millions of restaurants worldwide. This saves time for employees so that they don’t have to pick up the phone as often and can focus on who they are serving in-stores. Wait time decreases and every order can be filled faster.

Optimize your business with an integrated kiosk, website, and branded app today by Scheduling a Demo with Hazlnut. To follow their story, visit Hazlnut.com.

Keep the Ice Cream Frozen with Hazlnut

Hazlnut’s apps and online ordering has features to help both restaurants and their customers with prep time and ticket printing.

“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 for prep.

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

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

Hazlnut’s tips for food photography for social media and menu, including tips on framing, props, lighting, plating, and more.

In recent posts, we have emphasized how important food photography is 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.

Food Photography 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.

Food Photography 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 Using PPP Loan

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 small business PPP loan 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 small business 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.