Every second counts in the restaurant industry and efficiency is the difference between earning a new customer or losing one. SALIDO, the operating system for restaurants, tracks everything from sales data to personnel. The software includes features for menu management, open checks, and much more. The company has raised 2 rounds of funding totaling $4 million since its founding in 2012 and has built a number of strong partnerships along the way.
AlleyWatch chatted with CEO Shu Chowdhury about the company and how SALIDO is disrupting the restaurant industry.
Tell us about the product or service.
SALIDO is building a product that will allow restaurants to access, own, and control their data—our product gets the right information to a restaurant’s critical decision makers, at all levels, supporting their business operations. We call this the “Restaurant Operating System.” Essentially it’s a single source for generating an operating income.
How is it different?
Many companies have endeavored to build Point of Sale solutions. Unfortunately, many of these systems, while functional, fall short of supporting the workflows and information needs of today’s restaurant landscape. These existing point of sale companies support a server or manager, which was an advancement 25 years ago but have not successfully evolved over time. The industry has changed tremendously and in most of these budding and successful restaurant groups there are many more levels of staff that need access to different data points. At SALIDO, we are modeling our product and our workflows to deliver correct information accurately and in real time, across quick service, fast casual and full service operators.
We’ve started by building a point of sale platform with a sleek, simple design, ease of use, and additional features that truly make us stand out from older disjointed systems. Next we are tackling our labor solution followed by inventory in 2018.
The restaurant industry is an $800 billion market, across quick service, fast casual, and full service (which includes fine dining). There are over 1 million locations and 14.5 million hospitality workers in the industry. We will democratize technology for these operators and their teams.
What is the business model?
Our approach is to work with the most influential hospitality operators in the industry who demand change from the current archaic, disjointed technology available. We’re working with industry titans, like Phil Suarez (ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina—Suarez Restaurant Group), Stephen Starr (Starr Restaurants), Will Guidara and Daniel Humm (Make It Nice), David Chang (Momofuku), Jimmy Haber (ESquared Hospitality), and several others. As we grow SALIDO we’re able to incorporate real-time feedback from our operating partners to continuously deliver the best software available.
What inspired the business?
I met a young Stephen Starr at one of his restaurants as he was just starting in Philadelphia. We quickly became friends and over the years he would tell me about this antiquated technology stack. He would say, “Shu, you’re an engineer, build a solution to fix this mess.” I had that eureka moment. I’ve created enterprise systems in both the aerospace & defense and financial services industries. I quickly realized that if this same method of enterprise software delivery could be applied to the hospitality industry, it would deliver massive operational benefits, which in turn could revolutionize how operators own and control their data. That’s the moment when SALIDO was born.
How are smaller restaurants owners embracing your technology? Are they reticent about using technology in their operations?
Our focus has been on established operators that understand the need for technology to evolve. We love groups and individual operators who are committed to giving us the feedback to build the best product. Though, our future goal is to make the SALIDO platform accessible to all.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Delivering our integrated labor modules across labor costing and scheduling will be great. Our customers who are currently in beta have given us awesome feedback enabling these great features to shortly become a reality.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
It’s not ideas, execution or even people. It’s motivating, developing, and caring about amazing people that make a truly great company.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
I want to go out of New York, but to someone with a NYC connection. George Biel the founder of Hillstone Restaurant Group. Not only is it one of the most impressive restaurant groups I’ve ever seen in terms of it’s consistency and operation, but I LOVE to eat there. I would want to get the story from him directly on how they built such an amazing team and concept from scratch.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is the restaurant capital of the world. We all know that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
It’s unfair to ask this question and not let me answer by category. But gun to my head, it’s definitely Sushi Zo. But 4 Charles Prime Rib is my favorite non-Asian inspired restaurant. The place is incredible.