On a Greek getaway in 1997, Keith Richards and his wife Amy fell in love with small-table Mediterranean cafés where communities gathered to savor fresh Mediterranean flavors. With a vision to recreate their amazing dining experiences, they opened the first Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe in 1998 in Birmingham, AL serving fast, quality food at reasonable prices.
As Chief Innovation Officer for Taziki’s (and parent company Fresh Hospitality), Dan Simpson describes himself as a man with eyes on the horizon, on a quest to marry consumer dining trends, technology and marketing to grow the Taziki’s brand. With 65 restaurants now in operation, the line-service fast casual chain has aggressive plans to double its locations by the end of 2017. And, off-premise dining—takeout, catering, delivery and even third-party delivery—is the key to driving Taziki’s revenue growth.
“Guests want chef-driven quality delivered at very fast speeds and they want it for $10 or less, which is squeezing high-end restaurants,” cited Simpson. With federal and state laws driving up labor and overtime costs, Taziki’s lacked the technology to seamlessly support online ordering—and that capability is the lynchpin to off-premise dining dollars. “Operational efficiency is the backbone to success,” Simpson said. “All orders, regardless of how they are placed, must translate very quickly to the kitchen line to keep food moving.”
With Taziki’s existing POS system, there was no way to integrate online ordering without a costly and painful POS integration. In addition, Taziki’s kitchen display system had no backup when it went down, creating chaos in the kitchen and confusion at the register. Simpson needed a common platform for all order types—one that could funnel orders through a single gateway to the kitchen. When he met Shaun Shankel, CEO of ToGo Technologies, Nashville, TN, Simpson knew he was on the right path.