TechTable’s tag line is perfect, bridging the gap between hospitality and technology. I was honored to be asked to sit on a panel at the first year of this event. The conversations around technology are taking place in this community of people in the food world so putting together and event to take it to the next level is smart.
The event opened with Danny Meyer and Steve Case talking about this industry. A perfect combo. Danny has been way on top of the technology used to change the hospitality industry from the onset. He sat on the board of Open Table over 15 years ago. Steve’s venture fund, Revolution, just put a substantial amount into SweetGreen and he actually delivered pizza in his early years. Who knew?
I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with Nic Jammet of SweetGreen who interned at Gramercy Tavern when he was 15 and Alice Cheng of Culinary Agents. Technology was the foundation of this panel. My first investment was in Eater (Curbed Media) which is content on food news. Eater was the first of many investments I made in the food industry.
Here is the thing about technology in the food industry. Technology is just changing how the back end of many businesses but the front ends still remain the same. You might be in the restaurant business but the technology behind it can help you run a more efficient business from reservations to ordering supplies. I have seen the importance of customer service in many businesses whose platforms might be changing the way some things get done but there is always something to be said for the interaction with a human being particularly in the early stages of a business.
There was one great sports analogy from Steve Case when he talked about start-ups in any industry. He said that Babe Ruth was the home run king but he was also the strike out king. He always hit for the fences. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but you have to keep swinging.
It is pretty remarkable how the industry of food is forefront these days. Not sure anyone saw that coming 15 years ago. Millennials care about food. They care about what they are putting in their bodies. It is one of the reasons we are seeing the change in the fast food/fast casual world, the new consumer products being launched, the immense content around food, the new food halls throughout the globe and more. The future of food is an interesting arena to be hanging out in. Tech Table put a stake in the ground to lead that conversation and I hope that they continue to do so