Before FH, I worked with a start-up company called Table Top Media as a consultant, of sorts. I was never employed by them, but I had the privilege of working closely with their senior leadership for a few months. Last week, I heard some great news that should help put them on the map and hopefully, get their product in front of people sooner rather than later.
First, just a bit about the company and the product – Table Top Media is a company based here in Dallas that was started by a restaurateur, Jack Baum. They developed a product called the “Ziosk” that was designed to facilitate a more convenient check-out process for patrons in casual dining restaurants. This Ziosk is a small, wireless touchscreen kiosk that sits on each table in the dining room and allows patrons to access their receipt and pay via credit/debit card right there at the table. It’s a smart concept. How many times have you waited at a restaurant for your server to come and swipe your card at the end of your meal? As a father of 3 little ones, when our meal is over, it’s time to leave. Often times, though, we’re held hostage by the restaurant because the server is too busy to get us our check and pay us out IMMEDIATELY after we’ve finished our meal. Ziosk takes that waiting out of the mix.
But the Ziosk goes way beyond this specific utility. The platform, itself, (TTM designs and produces the hardware and software) is flexible enough to be turned into a straight-up utility machine, integrating with the restaurant’s POS, complete with interactive menus, ordering capabilities, timed drink/food requests (based on the original order), and loyalty program tie-ins. Or it can be turned into a more experience-type machine, complete with up-to-date news feeds, sports scores, interactive games and entertainment (especially for kids my little ones’ ages, this feature infinitely improves our dining experience), and social features, be it geo-location integration, Facebook and Twitter feeds, or even cross-store, cross-region gaming and communication. Not to mention unique advertising opportunities, both for the restaurant and other 3rd party advertisers/brands. It’s a very cool product – check it out:
The major barrier they face is obviously an operational one – these casual dining restaurants are being forced to think about their workflow differently and opening up more of a gateway to their infrastructure. It also has server (waiter) implications being that this machine can do many of their functions. Ironically, it can free them (and the restaurant for that matter) up to do what they need to, like make sure food is good and drinks are filled.
Anyway….the good news – this year, PepsiCo launched a program for start-ups called PepsiCo10, a “incubator program that matches technology, media and communications entrepreneurs with PepsiCo brands for pilot programs” – and last week, announced that Table Top Media was one of the 10 chosen start-ups for the program! This is, no doubt, huge for them. They’ve worked long and hard to get traction and this should give them a platform to show the power and potential of their product.
This is a true IOOH solution and really, a device that makes sense. I’ve seen (and reviewed here) many that don’t, but the Ziosk serves a useful purpose and can add to the dining experience. This is something that I would interact with myself and tell other people about. It deserves a chance and now, thanks to all their hard work and perseverance, they might just be getting the “big one” through this program.
Disclaimer – TTM did not ask me to write this and I am not getting paid to do so. I am writing this because I believe in their product and I’m always happy to hear and spread good news.