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Restaurant manager discussing with chef in kitchen. Cook preparing a dish with restaurant owner standing by.

For Jon Grayem, owner of the technology reseller TableCrunch, partnerships are an essential part of doing business. And though he sells a variety of different products, “Upserve is definitely one of the biggest tools in our tool kit.”

TableCrunch, an organization with four employees and growing, has long been a partner with restaurant management platform Upserve, a company Grayem calls “a big pioneer in the restaurant tech industry.”

“We’ve been a long-time partner because we’ve always believed in the products Upserve rolls out, and we like selling them,” he says. “We look at the competition. We’re hoping to stay ahead of the competition and continue to roll out new solutions.”

Seeing the Potential in Restaurant Technology

Grayem says restaurants have historically been part of “an industry that’s been left behind when it comes to technology.”

“Even if you look at retail counterparts, a lot of them were much quicker to adopt cloud-based technologies,” he says. “Restaurants haven’t had a lot of tools readily available to use, like data, to make objective decisions.”

But Grayem knew there was an opportunity. 

“I was drawn to the restaurants because they’re notorious for doing a lot of transactions and having a lot of high volume,” he says, adding that even though he doesn’t personally have any experience working in a restaurant, “I found my niche.”

tableside emv compliant pos

Saving Restaurateurs Money

In restaurants, “the margins are razor thin,” Grayem notes. “If they’re not using technology in rigging objective decisions using data then they’re leaving tons of money on the table.”

He says Upserve works to make that process more accessible and effective for restaurateurs.

“I think the product works really well for us to go in there and do just that, get them to actually start thinking about the data, and making smarter decisions using modern technology,” he says.

Customer Management is Key

While TableCrunch has an internal sales team that makes cold calls to restaurants, as well as a strategy that includes content and social media marketing, Grayem says word-of-mouth remains the most effective way to locate prospective customers.

“Our business really was built on word-of-mouth. We get a lot of referrals,” he says. “Our whole business is still face-to-face.”

Even though he’s the owner, Grayem is not afraid to get his hands dirty alongside his employees to make sure every customer receives top-notch service and attention.

“I meet with clients on a daily basis, pretty much,” he says. “I do everything from running out IT calls; I find myself rolling up my sleeves and tracing down ethernet wires. We do everything internally. We’re very hands-on with our clients.”

If problems do arise, Grayem says a local network of partnerships helps solve them: “We’re able to get someone out quickly and get a resolution.”

Restaurant manager checking food quality in the kitchen

What to Look for in a Technology Solution

“We need to sell solutions that are going to actually streamline their businesses and make them more efficient,” Grayem says, noting that cloud-based technologies are becoming the industry standard. “Ultimately, they have to make a financial impact. They have to make more money as a result of doing business with us. Otherwise, we lose a client.”

Grayem considers three criteria when choosing technology partners:

1. What’s the benefit to the customer?

“If we’re not convinced that it’s actually going to make a financial impact, we’re not going to. sell.”

2. What is the financial impact for us?

“Is it going to be about making us more money? That’s why we get out of bed in the morning.”

3. Is this something that we’re going to be able to do for a long time?

“We don’t want to put our time into something that’s just ultimately going to not be there a couple of years from now.”

Finding Success in a Restaurant Technology Partnership

Reputation is important to Grayem.

“I think it’s really important that what we say is what we do and when we’re out in the marketplace when we are out prospecting. I think we want to always operate with integrity so if it ever got to the point where I felt integrity went out the window, then I would no. longer be excited about what we’re doing,” he says. “I think all of us have failed at that point.”

On the flip side, for Grayem, success means caring for clients, as well as his employees.

“I always foresee a staffed office with people who are actually excited to get out of bed and come to work, as well as the financial freedom to be able to do what I want and not have to necessarily answer to anybody,” he says. “That’s what I’ve always envisioned for myself and my team.”

From left, Deadhorse Hill general manager and wine director Julia Auger, and owners Albert LaValley, Sean Woods and Jared Forman. Photo Credit Brian Samuels Photography

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Alan Alberto started his career in the hospitality industry over ten years ago. Turning his passion for entrepreneurship, culture, food, and family into an independent business which crafts small batch sauces that are currently nationally distributed. His passion for business and working with people have turned him into a Partner Success Manager. He connects with individuals to provide guidance and enable them to succeed as advocates for world class restaurant technology. At Upserve, he integrates his passion for the restaurant industry and knowledge of the needs of small business owners to help make restaurants wildly successful.
Restaurant Insider