Technology finds a sweet spot in D.C. restaurants: RAMW Pre-RAMMYS 2018 Roundtable

At a restaurant roundtable, “The Business of D.C. Restaurants,” at Church Hall in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., featuring 2018 RAMMY Awards “Restaurateur of the Year” Finalists, a panel of local restaurateurs shared their views on a variety of topics and lessons. At this two-session, pre-RAMMY Awards event, sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), a restaurant trade group, panelists were asked to give their feedback on technology that has benefited the day to day operations or independent restaurants.

One of the technologies named for its helpfulness and utility was the NoWait app by Yelp. Among its features, the smartphone application sends a text to people that have added themselves to a participating restaurant’s waitlist. Those waiting to be “called,” can also periodically check where they are in the line so they can make informed decisions about what to do during their wait and how much time they may have before they are seated.

The app can be very helpful to customers who find themselves in malls, food halls or busy commercial districts and have wait times they can spend in other activities, making the eventual restaurant experience more enjoyable. Loyalty apps have also come into popularity over the last several years, and this roundtable was no exception. Loyalty apps that redirect funds to scholarship or local schools can be popular.

Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurant Group CEO & founder, turned the attention of the crowd to more administrative, back-of-house matters. He’s grateful for the CRM/database that helps his restaurants log work orders and repair tickets, notifying his facilities manager. This gives his restaurant team an opportunity to prioritize projects and resources “to determine how quickly things needs to be fixed.”

Jamie Leeds, founder and owner of JL Restaurant Group and Hank’s Oyster Bar, is keen on the Hank’s app, a proprietary smartphone application developed for use by the Hank’s brand of restaurants. Geo tags, which use geofencing technology, alert Hank’s customers that have opted in when they are close to one of the Hank’s restaurants with a pop-up notification. The app also provides a listing of menus and has a built-in loyalty program. She noted the app is very useful as a (customer-facing) technology tool.

MarginEdge is another technology that came into the spotlight at the roundtable. The program simplifies the process of recording invoices, eliminating the need to input line items one by one. The technology was “built by restaurant operators for restaurant operators,” says its website, and MarginEdge based in Northern Virginia. Printing out reports and reducing the workload have been additional useful features of the app.

RAMW’s full list of roundtable participants at this “Panel Discussion Two: The Business of D.C. Restaurants” can be found below.

Ari Gejdenson,
Mindful Restaurants

Jamie Leeds,
JL Restaurant Group

Katsuya Fukushima & Yama Jewayni,
Daikaya Group

Stephen Fedorchak & Brian Normile,
The Liberty Tavern Group

Ype Von Hengst & Bob Giaimo,
Silver & Silver Diner


Eatery Pulse News is a D.C.-area restaurant industry publication distributed by Eatery Pulse Media since April, 2017. To learn more about our multiple, web+digital publications, navigate to our about page. Eatery Pulse News past issues can be found on the Issuu platform.


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