App, kiosk integration boosts choice for Colorado customers - CulinArt Group

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App, kiosk integration boosts choice for Colorado customers

January 15, 2021, GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO- Dining services at one of CulinArt’s newest accounts features innovative uses of technology that reflect unique needs brought on by the 2020 pandemic and pave the way for future openings to occur under similar conditions. The Plaza Bistro opened on Nov 2 with modified service to support a limited population of about 125. Offerings include a grill for breakfast and lunch, Quik Pik salads and sandwiches, packaged snacks, and beverages. Concepts and stations will be added as population grows toward full occupancy of 1,200 this year.

“The unit is the first in my region to be 100% cashier-less,” says Area Vice President John Drexel, who oversees accounts in eastern states including Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, plus Colorado. Instead of at registers, customers pay for meals via one of two methods: the Eatify app, which allows them to peruse menu offerings, place orders, and make payment on a cellphone; or one of two Nextep kiosks, which were installed a month after opening. The Eatify app and the Nextep kiosks offer associates the ability to customize selections such as type of bread, cheese, toppings or sauce they would like on a Crispy Chicken Sandwich (one example). Eatify also allows customers to use their phone to select and pay for any bar-coded items via its Scan-and-pay module. “Scan-and-pay is helpful in a scenario whereby I ordered my burger and fries at the kiosk but forgot to select a beverage and bag of chips,” says Ali Bernardi, VP Marketing and Brand Strategy.  “While I’m waiting for my burger, I can grab my bar-coded extras and checkout right on my phone.” Customers can also return to the kiosk to order these items if they prefer, she adds.

Each application has a database of menu items, prices, portion sizes, and other details, and integrating them requires a coupling of the two databases, according to Paul Calice, director of digital strategy, B&I, for Compass Digital Labs. The availability of the app and the kiosks gives customers a fair amount of choice that traditional payment systems cannot match, including mobile ordering with contactless pick-up, in-store ordering via kiosk with contactless pick-up, or individual scan-and-pay functionality.

According to Tony Frisch, CulinArt food service director, most customers use Eatify to place their orders. “That is what we had available when we opened initially,” Frisch says. “They are starting to warm up to the Nextep kiosks now—maybe about 10% usage and 5% on Eatify’s Scan and Pay. I would expect these percentages to ‘roller coaster’ quite dramatically once there are more people allowed on site.”

Just how much the scales tip toward either technology remains to be seen. “Folks seem to prefer being able to come into the café, pick up their order, and walk out,” Frisch explains, “without having to stand around in the café for more than a few minutes.” The limited variety of concepts may play a role in influencing that behavior, as well as the fact that “everything else is a scannable impulse or grab-and-go item,” he adds, especially bottled beverages.

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  • February 4, 2021
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What our clients are saying

“What a wonderful dinner we had tonight for our international families. The food was delicious and well presented as well.”

“Thank you for including me today in the food waste demonstration/[chef competition] and flattering me with the role of “judge.” I will proudly don the [Stop Food Waste Day] apron the next time I plan an “event” in our own kitchen. I think this is a very worthwhile cause and the statistics you read off are staggering. They, alone, can intimidate a home chef, let alone be the “driver’ for a professional one.”

“Thank you and your staff for all the care and thought you give CSW adults and students. You approach events with such care and elegance- I don’t know how you do it! Especially day after day. Please thank all your staff for their wonderful work and kind manner with all of us. Here is to a great year!”

“Many, and I do mean many, thanks for a great Parents Weekend.  I heard from so many happy parents and you all work very hard to make it happen.  In gratitude and kindness…”

“We are so thankful and so impressed by your immediate attention to our power outage. It was such a relief to see all the equipment and workers coming in within a few hours of the outage. Thank you for serving dinner to all [the] students in a very difficult circumstance. Please extend our thanks to your workers who braved cold weather to grill hamburgers and hotdogs.”

“With all the prep work from Winterim ramping up and classes continuing as usual, it's a busy time to be a Forman teacher. Imagine my delight, tired as I was, when I delved into the upscale-restaurant-quality chicken parmesan our dining hall served last night. Forman is all about support, and providing our students with a dinner of that quality is just as important a measure of support as anything that happens in a classroom.”

“I can’t thank your entire team enough for the outstanding service, food, displays, everything!  You are a master at detail, and because of that Adam and I were able to focus on the parents.  I know what a sacrifice pulling off a weekend like this means, we are so appreciative and grateful to you all for your talent and generosity.”

“I ALWAYS feel spoiled by the meal offerings at CSW (The Cambridge School of Weston) and am entirely grateful for it. As I eat today's delicious and lavish lunch (and think about yesterday's as well), I can't tell you how much I feel so well cared for here, both with the food and by the dining hall staff. CSW cares for us in so many ways, both big and small.”

“Thank You! Chef Budd [and team], you overcame a new online ordering system (and hundreds of labels daily!), provided creative and healthy menus, continued to connect with local farmers to incorporate locally sourced ingredients, and worked tirelessly to serve the school community on three campuses.  While it feels like you are all a little like the Wizard of Oz right now, working behind a curtain in a kitchen far away, we sense your smiles and your passion to deliver the best possible service during these trying times. We are all so grateful!”

“I will say that CulinArt has always been a very collaborative partner to T. Rowe Price, listening to our current needs and future goals and suggesting realistic and achievable strategies to meet those goals.  2020 was obviously no exception.  CulinArt also altered other areas of our OCS and pantry programs to create safer environments for all our associates. We can only thank you for your continued flexibility and innovative ideas through these difficult times.”

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