Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season and typically is one of the quietest days for many restaurants, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right promotion, you can target the right patrons who are staying clear of the kitchen during Thanksgiving. Driving traffic to your location takes the right marketing, and that is where Dot It Restaurant Fulfillment can help.
Developing content for your promotional items and menus can be an incredibly frustrating task. How do you describe a delicious meal in a way that doesn’t sound hokey but will get across the message that this food is worth buying? How do you keep your restaurant’s marketing strategies on-brand with the demographic you are targeting? Words are powerful. Using the right ones can make or break your business. Thankfully, the experts at Dot It Restaurant Fulfillment have taken the guesswork out of choosing the right terminology. Use this lingo to take your restaurant menu content to the next level.
This fall sees the launch of our industry changing cloud-based labeling software LabelLogic Live, or LLL as we like to call it. LabelLogic Live supports foodservice operators in creating professional food labeling content and then printing this onto labels for sandwiches, salad and other food to-go items. In this post we discuss why we developed LabelLogic Live, what ‘cloud-based application’ actually means and - most importantly - how this free of charge software supports “grab and go” foodservice businesses.
We’d been floating ideas around for several years ahead of starting the project. So, when we officially began work on LabelLogic Live we had some clear insights into where we wanted to go and how the labeling software could work. At that stage however a lot of the technology we required simply didn’t exist yet, we’d aimed for the moon only to find our rocket was still being built. While initially frustrated, we soon realized the delay gave us time to speak to our customers to learn what they really needed.
The important thing for us was accessibility: how will food service providers get into the software in the first place and without having to get their I.T. department involved? How will they design and print their labels and generally move around within the program? LabelLogic Live had to work on any device a customer might want to use it with and be available anywhere our customers might go... No one remembers if there was an exact lightbulb moment but developing LLL as a cloud-based application (meaning that absolutely everything is stored and accessed online) solved all our problems. But we couldn’t just dip a toe, we had to go full-cloud for this to work. Otherwise our users would be back to third party software installation and manual updates which have been the downfall of other part-cloud providers. Besides, double bonus here, going all out future-proofed the system allowing us to incorporate any legislative changes to food labeling, software updates or other developments that may crop up in years to come.
OK, so if LabelLogic Live can be accessed anywhere, the next question is what device do you view it from? Historically we didn’t need to ask this question as when foodservice labeling software was first being developed, there was only one option: a PC. However technology has come a long, long way in the last few decades and devices once thought of as science fiction are being operated by toddlers (if you’ve ever seen an 18 month-old use an iPhone it’s truly terrifying). Equally, hours, days, months of 'office work' are now being conducted on trains, on-site and on the go! Therefore, it was a no brainer to us that LabelLogic Live was going to have to work on all internet connected devices - cells, laptops, tablets, PCs, Macs, smart TVs (because you never know when that labeling mood will take you) - and across a wide range of operating systems including Linux, iOS and Windows. No ifs, no buts and definitely no ‘not available on your Android until 2025’. Period.
Putting absolutely everything online can be problematic: what about security? Where is it all stored? And - most importantly - will it be safe? We considered a few hosts but to be honest Amazon Web Services (AWS) kind of had us at NASA. Yep the National Aeronautics and Space Agency use them, as do AOL, IMDB, Shazam… a small start-up called the United States Department of State and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AWS’ client list goes on and on because the security and assurances they offer are exceptional. When we visited an AWS site we were met by armed guards so trust us when we say that your salad recipes and sandwich label designs have never
been in safer hands.
With your data under lock and key what about those errors from within your business, especially if you're a multi-site operation? A spelling mistake for example (Lobster Toll anyone? Philly Cheese-Take?), rolling out a new product or, you know, accidentally deleting the street food menus of your entire restaurant group? Also, what happens if an individual site wants to change its pricing - how do you police that? To avoid these problems we adopted a parent / child structure whereby parents (head office) can roll out a master database while their children (individual sites) can only operate within the limitations ‘mom and dad’ have set. This guarantees consistency across the board and not a naughty step in sight. Moreover any errors - such as spelling mistakes or legislative changes - can be rectified instantly by head office as opposed to issuing a new version of data to every last site. What’s more, if a site wants to change something locally (let’s say highlighting their coffee shops use of local artisan produce or lower regional pricing) this is not a problem either as head office can grant permission accordingly.
Next up, using the application: our customers told us they wanted to be able to produce nutritional labeling so we included a full recipe builder and nutritional calculator for nutritional information on pack. This incorporates the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 25, which contains over 8,000 foods. The need for customers to be able to tailor their labels was a given so we developed intuitive design tools which allow users to add images, logos, change fonts, layouts and more. We also created plenty of ‘ready-to-wear’ label templates for anyone who didn’t fancy channelling their inner graphic designer: barcode label templates, allergen label templates - not to mention our much requested photo shoot templates for that 'as seen in the catalog’ finish. Oh and just for good measure, we threw in an angled text function as well just in case anyone wanted to print labels with text on a slant.
With the internal framework in place it was time to start work on the front end: how LabelLogic Live would look to the user. We knew we wanted a clean finish, something that was easy to navigate and super simple to use so we began exploring how best this might work, asking our expert in-house design team to come up with some concepts which you can see below. Language was really important to us too, no foxing users with confusing technical jargon, so we kept it nice and simple introducing icons and colour coding as well to ensure everything was crystal clear.
Functionality and design were complete which meant we were ready to send our baby out into the world to see how it got on. We needed testers - as many people as possible - to create and print labels for their foodservice business to get an accurate gauge as to how the application really looked and performed. We approached our customers and the response was overwhelming. Dozens were enlisted and over the following year, with their invaluable help, bugs were fixed, new functions added and our labeling software got sharper all around. We got all our staff involved on the secondary phase of testing then we hit the road - two months visiting customers from every type of business we could think of to see what they thought: bakers, farm shops, contract management, delis, hospitals, zoos… we saw them all in our quest to ensure each and every individual’s requirements were being met. With our final revisions made, we were ready for labeling lift-off.
We first launched LabelLogic Live in the UK in February 2016, it was three years in the making and all the better product for it. The US version comes to market as LLL version 2.0 having spent another 18 months being tested by foodservice operators in the real world. LabelLogic Live comes with a ton of support too - telephone, remote, instant chat, out of hours messaging, your own dedicated sales development manager – which, like LLL itself, is all provided free of charge. In many ways however, this is still just the beginning because (and this really is the joy of a cloud-based system): we can continue to update and enhance LLL as we go: our labeling software evolves. And, regardless of the many twists and turns the foodservice industry will no doubt take, we have every confidence that our little cloud can weather anything!