The meez Podcast

The Full Comp Podcast with Josh Kopel: Josh Sharkey on the future of menu engineering

December 12, 2023 Josh Sharkey
The meez Podcast
The Full Comp Podcast with Josh Kopel: Josh Sharkey on the future of menu engineering
Show Notes Transcript

You’re only as good as your tools, every chef knows that. But what happens when the tool you need hasn’t been created yet?

Today we are sharing Josh Kopel's conversation with Joshua Sharkey of meez, a former chef who sought to build the solution to his own problem. In this conversation Josh and Josh discuss the challenges facing the modern chef and what it took to create the Culinary Operation System for the chef of the future.

Where to find Josh Kopel: 

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

In this episode, we cover:

  • Josh's background as a chef
  •  the differences between running someone else's business and running your own
  • Why Josh chose to create technology for recipes
  • Confidence when building a company or running a business
  • How Josh works on building an effective tool, while using it consistently and in a compliant way?
  • How to inspire someone to do something new
  • How Josh's beliefs behind what makes a chef changed after transitioning into tech
  • Lessons that Josh continues to keep in mind when running meez
  • Words of encouragement or advice

[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey: 

Hey there, listeners. Uh, here's another podcast. I had a blast joining as a guest with the talented host, Josh Kopel of the Full Comp podcast in partnership with Yelp. Uh, Josh has a pretty stellar background in the restaurant industry, having managed and owned a bunch of restaurants and bars and nightclubs in LA, everything from casual like fried chicken spots to Michelin starred spots, um, on top of.


Talking about the origin of meez in the show, we dig into the state of technology in the food industry, and for me, why user adoption is everything. Uh, why people are still the most important asset in your business, and we even spent a little time talking about the monkey brain compulsions of a founder and how to like, lower that noise.


Uh, I hope you get some value from the show and another reminder, uh, in prep for season two of The meez Podcast. If there's any guests that you'd like to hear from or ideas to make the show better, uh, don't hesitate to shoot me a note on LinkedIn or Instagram. Uh, and as always enjoy the show. 

[00:01:00] Josh Kopel: 

We've asked and you have spoken. The votes for the survey awards have been tallied and the winners have been announced. Congratulations to the local legends who have taken the crown. This has been another amazing award season. Galvanizing your local communities to support the Front of House team members we love so much. To see this year's winners, visit


And to learn more about Yelp for Restaurants and how we support restaurant owners in reaching their potential, visit restaurants. yelp. com forward slash Full Comp. Now here we go.

[00:01:35] Josh Sharkey: 

We think so much about the tools that we need to run our business and at the end of the day, the people They're not just the most valuable asset in your business, they are your business.


It's not just enough to make sure that they're happy, but the more that you can understand them, I think that is the best thing that anybody can do for any business. Welcome 


to Full Comp, a show offering insight into the hospitality industry, featuring restaurateurs, thought leaders, and innovators. Served up on the house.

Are you on track to hit your profitability goals for this year? If you're struggling to hit your numbers, I might be able to help. Here's how I do it. Every year I offer five complimentary growth sessions to restaurant owners looking to. In this call, we'll examine your current situation to see what is and isn't working.


We'll identify your growth possibilities by the close of the year. We'll uncover the number one thing holding you and your business back. And we'll develop a growth plan that will get your business results. Go to to schedule one of the five complimentary growth sessions. They're going to go quickly.


They always do. You're only as good as your tools. Every chef knows that. But what happens when the tool that you need hasn't been created yet? Today we chat with Joshua Sharkey of meez, a former chef. Who sought to build the solution to his own problem. In our conversation, we discussed the challenges facing the modern chef and what it took to create the culinary operating system for the chef of the future.

[00:03:21] Josh Sharkey: 

Tech is very new to me. Actually, most of my life, most of my career has been in restaurants. So I started cooking before I ever got into actual cooking in high school. My father passed away and I was cooking for the family, ended up going to culinary school. Because they had a really good wrestling team, I thought I was going to go to school for wrestling.


Then, I ended up winning this contest, flew to New York, met a bunch of chefs that I didn't know named Eric Ripert, Marco Samuelsson, Rick Moonen, Rocco Dispirito. They were judging this contest that luckily I didn't know who they were at the time. This was 1999, 2000. I ended up winning the contest. The prize was flying to Norway and traveling the country with the chefs and, and some other folks.


My career really started there, I think. Not really in culinary school because I ended up working at this Michelin star spot from this guy named Terje Ness, who had just won the Bocuse d'Or the year before. So this must have been 2000 because he had won it in 99. And it was just like the light bulb moment, like, this is what I want to do.


Tiny kitchen, everything fresh, just cooking at a level that I had never seen before. At a level of execution and precision that was just I just loved it. That's when I fell in love and then I just went back to New York eventually after working there for a while and I worked for most of my career in New York, so I worked for chefs like David Bouley and Floyd Cardoz at Tabla and a long time for Craig Kunz at Cafe Grey.


I worked for Rick Moonen at Oceana for a while. That was my first job in New York and then a little bit of time in Jean George, but I ended up going to Italy. So cut that short to go work overseas and then fast forward to about 2009. 2008, I was about ready to open a fine dining restaurant and then the market crash was pretty tough and so I decided rather than open a fine dining restaurant, a very good friend of mine and I had an idea for a fast casual concept called Bark, Bark Hot Dogs.


It was a combination of everybody called him B, since brand everybody called me Shark, my last name B Shark, we called it Bark. It was a hot dog spot. That ended up going really well. We were right out of the gates. We were just really crushing it and my thought was that I would do that for like a year or two, get the awards we needed to, and then go do the next thing.


I ended up staying there for eight years. Brandon ended up leaving the business and going to the west coast for family. And so I ended up running that for a lot longer than I thought throughout that time that I had started developing more and more of this need for a. a tool that didn't exist. We can get into that afterwards, but in terms of my time before meez, it was mostly cooking and then running restaurants.


And then as soon as I decided I wanted to build meez, I sent an email saying I was closing the restaurant. And about 30 seconds later, I got an email from the CEO of this company called Aurify Brands. We had spoken a few times in the past. And anyways, fast forward, we had talked for a while. They wanted me to come work there.


I didn't want to, and then. Decided there's a really cool opportunity. I joined the company, eventually becoming COO, but starting off just as a culinary director, building brands and in return, they invested in meez. And so I was with Aurify for several years before launching meez to the public. 

[00:06:20] Josh Kopel: 

That's a really interesting dynamic. So if we go back to your time as a chef, there's this coach in our industry named David Scott Peters, who I'm a big fan of, and he always says, chef means manager, and it's a paradigm shift that he's trying to create. And the minds of people, but that's not always the case. And just because you're a great chef doesn't mean you're necessarily a great manager.


And so talk to me about, especially as you entered your own restaurant, the differences between running someone else's business and running your own and the skills that you needed to acquire to do that successfully. 

[00:06:50] Josh Sharkey:

To run a restaurant? 

[00:06:52] Josh Kopel: 

Yeah. As a chef, right? From an administrative perspective. 

[00:07:00] Josh Sharkey: 

Maybe just to back up for a minute, though, it is interesting that the word chef, I don't have a dictionary for me. I don't know exactly what the word would say in the dictionary, but I think that you can be an incredible cook. And not a great chef, but to me, a chef is someone that it's a leader and someone that can help that can take a team and spread their vision through their food by, by way of cooking. And that's to me what a chef is.


I know that isn't necessarily what the general understanding is or how people use it. I think everybody calls themselves chefs and kitchens. And there's a different sort of respect piece to that, which I understand, but. Yeah, chef to me is a leader and a cook is someone you can make delicious food and you can be a great line cook and be a great technician that doesn't make you a great chef, but that's separate.


I think the idea of the ability to run a good business relative to being a great chef or being a great cook, they're actually completely different. Running a business is economics and there's so much involved where you have to actually separate yourself from the product and from all of that creativity piece to understand, like, how do I create an economically viable business?


And then you have to like layer on top of that to make sure that it's also creative and that it's also inventive and innovative and that most importantly, it's a really special place for people to. Want to work and want to come and eat or do whatever your business is. And to be honest with you, that is hard.


Being really good at running a P and L is one skill set. Being good at leading people and inspiring people and getting the most out of them is also really difficult being good at being organized and rallying together a bunch of different disparate tasks and initiatives at once and making sure that they're all moving ahead.


These are all separate skill sets that required in running a business and they're just separate, right? So you have to get good at each of these things or find people that are good. So I think the shift from being a chef to being a business owner, there's a big level up that has to happen. And I think for me, it's interesting because I think about it now as a business owner of restaurants and then as a business owner now of a technology company.


And as a chef for us, first and foremost, we're creatives, right? We want to innovate. We want to create, want to make people happy. We want to provide something for people. And. Our number one metric of success is this thing delicious? Do people love it? But that does not make a great business, right? It's necessary.


But, you know, there's an old adage in the technology world that an incredible product with poor distribution is not going to work just as much as, well, it's actually even a little bit better to have incredible distribution and an okay product. Sure. And what I mean is like, you have to be able to tell a story.


You have to be able to figure out how do you sell what you have and make sure that you can sell enough of it. And, and those two things, they can be diametrically opposed if you don't figure it out. And that was my biggest learning curve coming into running a restaurant. And then even a tech company is like.


Dude, it's not enough that your product is great. It's not enough. It just doesn't pay the bills long term because you have to figure out how do you get more people to tell that story on top of yourselves, how do you make it very clear what your vision is so that other people can understand it, and because that small group has to turn into a big group. And that, for me, personally, was the biggest learning curve. 

[00:10:18] Josh Kopel: 

One hundred percent. When I looked at restaurant marketing, what I figured out early on, and it was a real blessing for me, was that everyone else was competing in food and beverage, and I chose to compete in ideology. It was a game changer, because instead of saying, we have the best this food item, or that food item, because it's totally subjective, right?


And then you're competing on price. Either this is the most expensive, or it's the least expensive, and everything in the middle doesn't really matter. When I found that I competed on ideology, and I said, this is what I believe, This is what I think about our community. This is where I see us going. There was immediate resonance, not with everyone, but the people that were willing to give me money on a consistent basis, which is really what we're looking for in this industry as it relates to our consumer base.

[00:11:03] Josh Sharkey: 

Yeah. It's interesting. Now, just thinking about me and you talking, you figured this out really well. Right. Because you've sort of gone through the entire gamut from cooking to running a business to marketing and scaling. And yeah, I think that you've done a really incredible job of figuring out how to scale the messaging.

[00:11:19] Josh Kopel: 

We're trading in ideas. That's the whole idea. I mean, if we go to meez and we talk about the genesis of the idea, which I think is a really interesting story. I mean, as a chef looking to create technology to solve foundational issues within our industry, I mean, you could have chosen from any one of a thousand things. Why recipes? 

[00:11:39] Josh Sharkey: 

It's interesting. The genesis of the idea is very different from why we are here today. And I think it was an important lesson for me around working towards why you're building a company. The original genesis of this was I was working for free on my days off. We're actually in the mornings before going to work for Floyd.


And I lost a notebook that had all these incredible recipes. And I was like, I'm never going to lose a notebook again. That would have been Evernote. That was good enough for Evernote. And then fast forward, I started running restaurants and I was like, okay, I need this tool that doesn't exist. And, and then that's when this sort of the idea sparked for the business of, wait a second, designers have Figma and engineers have GitHub and architects have AutoCAD.


Why don't chefs have a tool? Inventory doesn't count. That's a finance thing. We need something for us. And that was sort of the next building block in understanding why we're doing what we're doing at meez. But it took a lot more work to understand what we're really doing, right? Because then it grew into, as we launched the business, my personal goal was I wanted this to be the universal recipe medium, which I still do.


I want every food professional in the world to store, organize, Manage and share and collaborate their recipes within meez. The first thing you think of when you think of recipes should be meez. And you and I talked about this and you pushed me on it too, which I really appreciated, is that's also not why we exist.


That's a goal of ours, but we exist to help. Scale your vision and in the paradigm of restaurant, that means we want to help you scale your food, but that's your vision, right? And I think that you have to, with any company, you have to figure out what is the big why behind what you do is going to significantly change the lives of people.


And if you don't have that, it doesn't matter with cool stuff you build. I don't think it will work. 

[00:13:28] Josh Kopel: 

Talk to me about confidence. So, I mean, I could list a thousand tech ideas I have that could fix. The industry, or at least facets of the industry. Lord knows there's no shortage of foundational issues, but it takes confidence and optimism to an unreal degree to open a restaurant.


Sure. But you see people do it every day, but every day people with no experience in tech, aren't starting. Tech companies. I mean, I'm sure at some point in our industry felt like an outsider. And then eventually you felt like an insider. And that takes years of effort to prove yourself and build those connections.


So to jump outside of the industry and try it again to benefit the industry. I mean, I would assume that there was a fair amount of fear associated with doing something so far from Um, Where you were imposter syndrome, right? As you're sitting here trying to raise money for this idea with no practical experience in tech, walk me through that.

[00:14:27] Josh Sharkey: 

Yeah, I mean all of that and then some, right? So confidence, you have to manifest confidence because it's not just going to be there. And yeah, there was fear, there was imposter syndrome, there was all this anxiety and depression around, Oh my God, I'm like starting my life over again at 38. And I tell people this all the time.


When they're thinking of starting a business, because anybody could think to start a business, but never start a business unless you just can't not start that business. That was this. I couldn't not do it. I knew that I wanted to have a big impact. I thought that impact was going to be becoming the greatest chef in the world because I was a really good cook.


It was what I thought I would do with the rest of my life. And then at some point I was like, you know what, I don't know the impact I'm going to have with that. And there's a lot of really, really talented folks. I could continue this path, but this is where I think I can have an impact. And side note, I just really wanted this thing for myself.


I was like, this would be really cool if I had it. And so I just couldn't not do it. And then once I decided that I have a thing that I do that I've been doing since I was 17, 18, as soon as I know there's something I want to do, I just tell everybody. So that used to mean I would tell everybody that I'm going to Oaxaca.


I couldn't afford it. I wouldn't know how I would do it, but I would tell everybody. I would keep saying it. And then eventually I had to do it because everybody kept hearing me do it. And so for me, I had to force this upon myself because there wasn't. Confidence if anything it was the opposite. I had to put myself in really uncomfortable situations because I really do genuinely believe the industry needs this.


And I felt like one, I was uniquely qualified to do it and that I didn't see anybody even considering thinking about it, if anything, it was people were going the opposite direction. And so I just felt like, here's something that I think I could do where to give back to the next generations. And that can also just be a really cool tool that we have for our lives.


So no confidence, actually the opposite. Anything everyday, confidence, that sort of like mountain that you climb to get more confident, I think just gets higher. But that's exciting. I think it makes it more fun.

[00:16:33] Josh Kopel: 

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Go to Full Comp to download this powerful free resource today. In practical application, as you were evolving the concept, as you began to bring on customers, I would assume that the hurdle isn't having the chef use the software, it's having the chef's team effectively use the software and you being an owner operator yourself.


How did you go about that and how has that process evolved to make sure that not only are you using an effective tool, but you're using it consistently and in a compliant way?

[00:17:40] Josh Sharkey: 

It's a really good question, something we actually think about all the time because it's a behavior change that we're trying to make. Yeah. We're not trying to sell you a better version of something different. We're trying to convince you that there's a much better way to do the work that we've been doing for the last X number of decades. And that's really hard, right? It's a much different story to say, Hey, this thing is cheaper or it's faster, or it's better than that other tool because of X.


What we're saying is, you know how you've been using those binders and you know how you've been using those Google sheets and Google docs to do all that work. And there's really cool formulas that you built. Yeah, you don't need that anymore. And you know how your cooks are opening up that binder every day, and then they're writing the notes of the thing.


Like you don't need to do that anymore. That's the hard part because what's interesting is the way that we actually acquire most of our customers is because of the intuitiveness of recipe costing. And then we have to migrate them into like, here's this other thing that you can do because most people aren't looking for a solution that they don't know exists.


Right. So we actually make sure that our recipe costing Is incredible, right? And easy and fast and obviously laser accurate and intuitive and dynamic and actionable. We have to make sure that that's all the case because we get you in with that. And then we say, Hey, look, you can also completely change how your operation works to be more consistent and execute more consistently.


If you give this to your cooks, let them own like scaling and producing their recipes every day and your life's going to change. And we see you in customers, every one of our customers whose cooks rely on meez. For their recipes is using the tool. There's a thing called DowMal in technology, right? It's daily active over a monthly active users.


They're all at a hundred percent. I mean, they're using it every single day, every month. And that's when we know it's just becoming a technical part of your, of your operation. Getting them to do it. It's tough, man. It's been a three year uphill thing of talking to folks and trying to get the message out.


And folks are like, we don't need recipes, things that are obviously very silly, but you hear them, it's combat them. And then of course. It's hard to run a restaurant. It's hard to run a kitchen. If you're used to something a certain way, it's also just hard to shift away from that. Especially if you have a big operation, change management of a behavior in a big operation is really freaking hard.


So, we also have work around that as well from a psychological perspective, from a operational and people perspective of how do we help with that change. 

[00:20:08] Josh Kopel: 

How do you help with that change? How do you inspire someone to do something new? And how do you do it in a way that makes it seem like they're not doing you a favor, but they're acting in their own best interest?


Generally, I mean, as a chef, I'm sure you dealt with compliance issues, right? And now you're dealing with similar compliance issues, but as an outsider trying to influence the restaurant. So what's worked for you? 

[00:20:34] Josh Sharkey: 

Yeah, there are two ways in which it works. The best is one. Is maybe a bit of a cop out, but it's just word of mouth, right? We just hear once someone gets it, word travels fast. And the majority of our customers have come because they heard of us from somewhere else, or they worked here and they went there, or they were a chef here, another chef there, and they opened up in the restaurant. So that's been a huge way of how we've spread that information and promulgated that sort of that message.


The other way is get it into the hands of a cook as soon as possible. So the chef. Has a job to do and they need to sort of run a profitable kitchen and make delicious food. And they have a lot of things that they have to do and a cook needs to sort of run their station. And make sure that they can quickly prep everything they need to as fast as they can.


Give them the tool, because it's built for them as well. And let them, they figure it out quickly, and then they're the ones that actually spark it for the chef. So, no one's gonna sell it to the chef better than their cook. And so that's what we try to do, is we try to give it to the cooks. And, you know, give it to them as fast as possible, and that's why we have a free product as well.


Because you don't have to have your entire recipe database in there. to see that it works. Put five recipes in from my station and see how I can, I'm running low on pepper today, on red peppers and I can make just the amount of pepperolis that I need, I'm not wasting, and I don't have to do back of the fuckin math for the duck sausage that I'm making.


What used to take me an hour just took me 40 minutes. And what used to take me three hours just took me an hour. I'm going to tell my chef, I need more of my recipes in here. Can we put more in? And that's the number one way it's like, let the cooks convince the chefs, because even though most of my team is chefs, we're also selling the tool.


So, you know, it has to come with a grain of salt that, yeah, of course you can take our word, but take the word of your cook. And I think that usually ends up working the best. 

[00:22:21] Josh Kopel: 

You went from being a restauranteur to a tech founder, and there's so much groupthink in our industry, right? There's so many limiting beliefs that I think exist that we just kind of take as truths over the years because you hear from so many people that are reputable, and I think it's gone a long way to limiting our growth as an industry.


Are there any truths or things that you believed to be true as a chef? That you found out weren't necessarily true once you got out of the industry and moved into tech. 

[00:22:55] Josh Sharkey: 

Jeez, man. That's uh. 

[00:22:56] Josh Kopel: 

I know. That's like Mark Andreessen or Peter Thiel is one of those guys asked this question in job interviews. But I mean, in my own life, I found that that's the case as I've evolved kind of through and around the industry.

[00:23:09] Josh Sharkey: 

Yeah. Well, I think the first one is the one I said earlier, right? Is the notion of we just need to make delicious food, right? And even saying we need to make delicious food at a good food cost. That's enough. That's what we got to do. The notion that that's all we need to do. I quickly learned that's not the case.


There's a lot more to it. I think something that probably. It isn't necessarily something that I learned because I left the world of being a chef to being a tech entrepreneur, but just a general sort of framework that probably a lot of people that are chefs also understand that used to not be the case.


I think I came from a culture, late nineties, two thousands, where it was a very different culture in the kitchen that if you really want people to execute well, and you really want people to get behind you. The way to do it is not through fear. It's through inspiration and you do not have to be the expert at everything.


I think those are frameworks that exist in any sort of management role and in leadership role. I think for a long time as chefs, we were sort of myopically sort of thinking about the kitchen a certain way because that's just how the environment of Where we brought, were brought up was, and I think there's a lot more chefs that now know that that doesn't work, but it's pretty insane that that was how it worked for so long.


And there were still incredible restaurants, but maybe that's why there was so much fewer incredible restaurants than there are today. 

[00:24:40] Josh Kopel: 

It's so easy to look at your career. And just see this constant, gorgeous vertical trajectory, right? meez has thousands of customers and you've raised tens of millions of dollars for it.


I was listening to Alex Ramosi, who's a business coach. And one of the things that he says consistently is people underestimate the level of effort that it's going to take to achieve the level of success that they want. And even if you think it's going to be almost. You're probably still underestimating how difficult it's going to be to achieve your goals.


I would assume that there have been some super valuable, hard lessons learned along the way as you've worked to build this company. And I'm sure some of those would translate to the founders that are listening today. What are those lessons? What are those things that you remind yourself of constantly?

[00:25:32] Josh Sharkey: 

I think I would have answered this differently, even three, six months ago.

Anybody that's a chef, works, you know, we just work maniacally, I've been working maniacally for 20 plus years. Yeah, you can't start a business, unless you do that. There's no substitution for Constant iteration, sort of Kaizen approach to running a business. Even if you get lucky, you'll eventually get unlucky.


And the obsession around, okay, how do we make this better? How do we make this better? That doesn't stop. It doesn't get easier. And things don't get easier. It's hard to accept, like, this isn't going to get easier. It's going to get harder. Then, as it gets harder, you don't get upset when it does, and of course, I think anybody that's run a restaurant has a one up on others when you start a business, because a normal day is the edge case.


Crazy things happening every day is what you should expect, right? The curveball says actually that's the norm, and so as long as you're okay with that, you can at least navigate those things better because they don't get you down. The reason why I say that this is something that I would answer slightly Even three months ago than today is like, I've been this way for so long.


I've, this is through therapy and lots of meditation. Just, I'm always pushing, always moving, always thinking, always strategizing, always iterating, and always assuming this won't last. Right. And there's good to that. And there's bad to that. And I think that it's necessary in order to build anything, right?


You have to be doing that. What's interesting is. Recently, I'm 42 years old now, I have a couple kids, I have a wife, family is really important to me. And I've been thinking about the balance between how much of that is useful versus just something that's a part of me now. I read a lot, sounds like you read a lot as well.


I read a book recently that I've had it on my shelf for a long time and I never really thought to read it. I've read a lot of books about meditation and stoicism and things like that. But there's a book by Dan Harris called 10 percent Happier. Yeah, I've read it. It's a great book. I really loved and it really resonated with me.


And one of the things that I found really insightful that I've been thinking about a lot of the last couple of months is the price of security. Versus the wisdom of insecurity. And to unpack that, what he was saying was that price of security is this constant stress and analysis. And you're constantly on edge thinking about how am I going to make this better?


How am I going to improve? This is not going to work, so I better do this. And that's what we perceive as we have to always be doing that. Otherwise things will just crumble. And by the way, I'm not there yet, although I'm trying with more and more meditation is the wisdom of insecurity of, Hey, wait a second.


What if you'd actually stepped back for a second and a little bit control. And in my case, maybe it's, I have an incredible team. They are just the best and they work their asses off and they are super talented. And I try to build a very autonomous organization, but I know there's times when my thumb is pretty pressed hard on, on buttons.


And I'm constantly thinking about, okay, this is an initiative. Let's do this to make sure we're doing more of this and thinking. And what if you let go a little bit? And so that's something I've been contemplating on a lot lately is how much of this constant iteration is helpful versus not that might not have answered the question that you had, by the way, but I thought it would be germane to the conversation.

[00:28:50] Josh Kopel: 

It is. It totally is. And I think you come from an interesting vantage point, right? You're deeply seated in our industry, but you're also deeply seated in tech. And so I think you probably have an interesting view on the state of technology in our industry. What do you think we should be aware of? What do you think we should be looking forward to?

[00:29:10] Josh Sharkey: 

If we say the state of technology for our industry, I think it's very different than the state of technology, obviously in the world, because things that are happening right now are just incredible. The adoption curve and the innovation curve in our industry are not aligned. And so there's a lot of innovation happening outside of industry that is starting to penetrate our industry.


In my opinion, until the adoption curve. Can meet that innovation curve. I don't think that we're going to be ever completely there. And what I mean by that is you can have all the AI in the world. You can have all of the machine learning and predictive analytics and throw on some AGI throw on anything that you can think of, but.


You first got to figure out how do you introduce tools into these very complex organizations called restaurants that they can adopt. If they can't adopt it, who cares, right? It doesn't matter what interesting technology you have. If they can't actually use it every day and take action on it, then it doesn't really matter.


I always liken technology in the restaurant industry to like the dashboard on a race car. And the restaurant's moving at like, you know, 200 miles an hour and you're driving this car. You can't just rip out all the stuff while they're driving. You got to figure out how do you do it without slowing down the car.


And sometimes you have to slow down a little bit to stop, sometimes you have to pit stop, but for the most part, this car is moving. And we have to, the onus is on us as folks providing technology to build things for adoption. It's all we think about at meez, is how do we make sure that you can figure out how to use this thing and get your information in there.


Then layering everything else on top, by the way, it's really easy. Layering on top, predictive analytics and AI and ML and purchase, you know, optimization and all that kind of stuff, whatever you want to do, that stuff's actually much easier because the technology is already out there, you know, you're not reinventing the wheel, you might be deploying that technology to a different data set, just a different corpus of information in general.


But it's there, it exists, you don't have to create that, but creating adoption, creating an intuitive product is really hard. And so I just implore everyone that's trying to build technology for the hospitality industry is think about the end user, how they can actually introduce this into their day to day.


I think we're getting closer to that. As more and more people that come from the industry build technology, but that's in terms of like the state of our industry, I think we still have a little bit of ways to go. 

[00:31:31] Josh Kopel: 

It's an industry podcast and you come at it from such an interesting perspective, both as a chef and as a tech founder, based on all of your experience, do you have advice or words of encouragement you'd like to offer to the folks listening today?

[00:31:45] Josh Sharkey: 

If I'm just reflecting on what has impacted me the most in the last year or so, we think so much about the tools that we need to run our business and what other sort of services do we need to add on to optimize and where do we need to cut. And at the end of the day, the people in your business, they're not just the most valuable asset in your business.


They are your business. And it's not. Just enough to make sure that they're happy and to make sure that they're taken care of But the more that you can understand them understand what they value And then take action against that. I think that is The best thing that anybody can do for any business and then help them with that.


And there's nothing that can replace that. And there's also no amount of technology that's going to make them any better than they will be if they know that you actually care about that. 

[00:32:40] Josh Kopel: 

Our industry suffers from razor thin margins and the only way for us to ensure profitability is to make data driven decisions. The numbers don't lie and Yelp for restaurants just released some incredibly compelling numbers. For starters, Yelp reaches nine times more customers online than OpenTable. And when restaurants pair that level of visibility with guest manager in Yelp ads, they experience up to an 8 percent lift in diner bookings.


Think about what that 8 percent lift could do for your restaurant's finances. To learn more about how Yelp for Restaurants can support your business, visit restaurants. yelp. com forward slash Full Comp to learn more today. That's Joshua Sharkey. For more information on meez, visit 

[00:33:31] Josh Kopel: 

If you want to tell us your story, hear previous episodes, or check out our other content, go to restaurants.

[00:33:37] Thank you so much for listening to the show. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. While you're there, please leave us a review. A special thanks to Yelp for helping us spread the word to the whole hospitality community. I'm Josh Kopel . You've been listening to Full Comp.