In business since 1978, Potomac Pizza is one of Maryland’s most beloved family restaurants. We recently caught up with Adam Greenberg and Andy Goldstein of Potomac Pizza to find out how and why they choose FoodTec almost 15 years ago…and how it is performing today all these years later.
When did you first encounter FoodTec and what was your motivation to employ FoodTec for your operations?
Adam: It was about 15 years ago, and we were looking for a POS and we knew exactly what we wanted. At the time we were with a different vendor, but they weren’t very good at pizza. We went to the Atlantic City Pizza Expo, and I saw Andrew from FoodTec in a booth, he gave us a quick demo and it did everything that we had dreamed a POS would do 15 years ago. I looked at my partner and I just said, “You know, if it looks too good to be true, there must be something wrong.”
Our current vendor at the time was a big company and if there was ever a problem, we knew they’re going have our back and fix any issues. On the other hand, we were thinking, this FOODTEC company is small, and we thought, “Can they really handle our needs?” We went on to stay with our current vendor for another two years…until we moved to FoodTec.
In that two-year period, what did you think that you were missing? What made you finally switch to FoodTec?
Adam: We were missing everything. Our legacy system literally created a PDF of a pizza pretty much. You could do halves, quarters, thirds, all that type of stuff but once you picked that pizza and you put it on the order, it wasn’t changeable. You would have to go back and delete that pizza and remake another pizza.
Whereas with FoodTec I could go back five items and I can make a medium, a large, or a large a small. I can change the topping of the left half, the right half, I can manipulate it any way I want. It really was all about the pizza functionality. When we installed FoodTec, it was like a whole new world. You could see what you had and where everything went. And it was a really good experience.
So that was 15 years ago, would be fair to assume that was probably core functionality? As time has gone on what have you added on to the FoodTec system since then in terms of feature sets?
Adam: We were probably a very early adopter to web ordering. We’ve been doing web ordering for at least 10 years. We’ve been using gift cards from day one. We’ve been using loyalty; email marketing has grown from the POS to the cloud, which has been good. I’ve been using the data warehouse from day one, which has been great for me. There’s been a lot of features. In the early days I would read all the release notes to see what was new. So, I knew “oh great, this feature we’ve been waiting for is available.”
What about FoodTec security, is that something that you employ?
Yes, and when we installed it, it proved its worth pretty much straight away. We went live first with our Potomac store and a month later with added two more stores, Gaithersburg store and Rockville store on the same night. Getting them both set up meant we were on a very tight schedule. In the middle of everything, I got a call from Montgomery county police, saying there’s been a break in at the Potomac store. When I arrived, they asked “Do you have cameras?”. With FoodTec security set up and installed, we caught it all on camera! So, it worked! It was perfect.
Do you use DeliveryIQ?
Adam: DeliveryIQ is fantastic. We use the app and it’s great. We’ve been using it for a while and I would always call it “Uber’esque,” meaning the customer can see the delivery coming to their house. We are going move to the next level app through FoodTec with push notifications, additional features and such. Once it is set up, if the customer has opted in to push notifications, if your delivery order is within five minutes of your house, the customer will automatically get a push notification letting them know, “Your delivery will arrive at under five minutes” etc.
Would you say that the benefits of that DeliveryIQ are efficiency and customer experience?
Adam: Yes. When we started using the app, tipping went up probably 20% to 30%. Now things have changed because of COVID. Pre COVID, the customer would sign the phone and pick a tip on the phone and usually pick a tip as a percent, not a dollar. And in delivery it always used to be, I’ll give a 2, 3, 4 or $5 tip. But when you go to a percent, it really is 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, $10, depending on the size of the order. So now with online ordering, we prompt the customer and people overall have been very generous on the tipping.
The other part of the FoodTec technology that’s been very good for us is at Bagels & Grinds our QSR concepts where we have the tipping on the screen. And we’re starting to do that more Potomac pizza now, but at Bagels & Grinds, 90% of the orders go through the register. And so, we prompt the customer to tip at the point of sale and as a result we do very well with the tipping, our employees average anywhere from like $5 to $6 an hour in tips.
Andy, you’re a Store Manager, besides the POS itself, do you interact with any of the other systems such as DeliveryIQ? What’s your interaction with the system?
I use the DeliveryIQ a lot, it’s actually one of my favorite features. This is my third store I’ve been at; the first store I was Assistant Manager, and I did a lot of expediting and assigning deliveries. And it was more, “you take this one,” “you take that one,” trying to time it all out in my head. Then we got DeliveryIQ.
With DeliveryIQ, it tracks and lets me know when drivers are done and that’s really helped me. I can tell my kitchen today to stop making deliveries. It manages operations efficient – food is not sitting out for 10, 15, 20 minutes while drivers are coming back. With DeliveryIQ, I can manage orders coming in against the number of drivers that we have on at any given time, and we know and can ensure food’s going hot out the door, which has been fantastic.
Outside DeliveryIQ are there any other particular features or functions of the POS that you find particularly useful in your operations, specifically that might be pizza specific?
Andy: The ease of use, whether it’s building a pizza or adjusting, some of our specialty pizzas in there. Whether it’s size, quantity, toppings, half and half, other random things we can put on there, it’s super easy – and it’s super easy to train on as well. I’m not spending a week training people, I’m spending a shift or two and then putting them out on their own. Obviously we’re there to support them, but we get a lot of high school kids who are in their first job and within a shift or two and they’re ready to roll. We take credit for training them to some extent, but really it’s down to ease of use with the system as well, which is great.
One of the things FoodTec is known for is that it handles a lot of exceptional situations, whether it be transactions or orders or even couponing. Do you have any experience with this?
Andy: For sure. I know a lot of people, other people in the restaurant industry, always complain about splitting orders and splitting checks. I don’t see that problem. It doesn’t really make sense to me on our system because it’s super easy to do. We get bunches of kids coming in who want to split a couple pizzas etc. and I can split it up by item, I can split it up by quantities and so on. That’s super easy. And couponing is, like Adam said, once we started doing the email marketing etc., we now get a lot of rewards and through the rewards program and it’s already in the POS. So I’m really just hitting a button and adding something on. If not I can put in a code that they provide me and it’s good to go, it’s really easy to use. And as I said, when I’m training new people, I tell them once or twice about it, and once they’ve done it once or twice, they know what to do.
There’s a lot of systems out there that are light on features and functionalities, but they rely heavily on integrating with third parties. FoodTec on the other hand is sort of an all in one where you have a fully integrated system. What’s your opinion on this approach?
Adam: One of the things that I always tell people about FoodTec is that everything is in one box. The example that I traditionally use is Apple computer. When you call up Apple and you have a problem, which is a rarity, but if you have a problem, or you go to an Apple store, they know what’s in your computer. You’re not using parts from 5 million different things that you piece together that they pick the parts that go into your computer and they know they work well together. So, talking about that from a software point of view, with FoodTec, you’ve designed the loyalty, the gift cards, the cameras, the delivery software, all these different pieces that everybody wants are integrated to work together.
When we were with our previous vendor, lots of other vendors said they could integrate with the system, “Oh yeah, we can do that, we can do this”. But every time you did want to do something in reality it was $5,000 extra and it never worked properly. A funny story: We were at a food show last August and a company approach us and said they could integrate with the FoodTec POS. Then I spoke with FoodTec and asked if they had ever heard of this company? And no, they hadn’t!
You guys have grown over time. You diversified your QSR concept, and then you have a full sit-down restaurant concept. How has FoodTec been able to be flexible in terms of growing as your company grows?
Adam: Initially when we went live we had four pizza stores. Since then we’ve added two other brand names, Bagels & Grinds and College Park Grill. We’ve also added two more pizza places and closed one. With all those changes and additions FoodTec has been very good. At Bagels & Grinds we’ve adapted it to the way it works best for us on the ordering – and the grill is somewhat simple in terms of ordering, types of orders we take. But on the whole, the FoodTec system works really well across all our business concepts.
In your experience, what do you think is like probably the most important factor that FoodTec has delivered that you would want to make sure that somebody who is shopping for a POS kind of focused in on?
Andy: I do really like the delivery side of it. The ease of use of delivery and tracking people is really great. It’s got all the features and everything you want. And being able to train people quickly and easily. If you’re in a small shop, you’re probably doing everything and you don’t want to be spending all your time training people. There’s turnover, you know? You don’t want to spend yet another week doing training and then everything else falls to the side. I love how I can go through this and then I can have one of my Assistant Managers or even other cashiers show other people how to use it. It’s pretty quick and easy. We love FoodTec. It has been a very good experience.