Bart Shuldman, CEO
The restaurant industry has forever been a quick adopter of the new wave of technologies that emerge at regular intervals. Within the last decade, more than a third of restaurants in the U.S. have transformed their front-of-house operations. This change is represented in the form of tabletop technologies such as Tablet POS systems, migration of payment processes to cloud-based software, KIOSK machines, mobile apps for reservations, payment apps such as Apple Pay and Cover, and food delivery apps such as UberEATS and Grubhub. Some restaurants have waiters using wearables such as an Apple Watch to receive real-time alerts from the kitchen, and others give customers the option of tableside ordering via tablets. While these innovations create a superior dining experience for the customers, the back-of-house operations of a restaurant are yet to benefit from emerging technologies. That was until recently.
In March, TransAct Technologies—a Connecticut-based food safety technology provider—launched a groundbreaking platform called BOHA!™ with the objective to help restaurants digitize and automate back-of-house operations.
BOHA! is an ecosystem of apps and hardware that work together to help restaurants tackle pain points such as rising labor costs, employee turnover, food safety, and quality of food. “With minimum wages on the verge of spiking to $15 per hour, restaurants must prepare to deal with massive labor costs and labor turnover. Through our platform, they can automate tasks such as inventory management, temperature monitoring of food and equipment, food safety labeling, and equipment servicing. This frees up valuable labor hours to focus on what’s most important—the guest experience,” says Bart Shuldman, CEO, TransAct Technologies.
Similar to a smartphone that lets users pick-and-choose from a billion apps, BOHA! offers restaurants a pool of apps designed to serve varying purposes. For example, while the Food Prep app helps chefs with precise quantities so as to eliminate waste, the Timer app creates timers for items that require time-tracking. Meanwhile, the Sense app is designed to aid restaurants in avoiding the breakdown of refrigerators. By placing sensors in freezers connected to a gateway in the cloud, TransAct informs restaurant staff when storage area temperatures go out of range. The BOHA! apps can also integrate with one another. For example, to service ovens and fryers, a restaurant can use the Service app to connect to the service provider, before using the Checklist app to mark off preventive maintenance tasks. The Service app also allows restaurants to perform billing for serviced repairs.
“Several competitors offer apps for food temperature monitoring or inventory management, but they are coming from different vendors. Our solution is a unified platform that allows restaurants to purchase just one app, or all ten apps, depending on the pain point they wish to address. The labeling app, for example, is useful when someone in the kitchen uses only half a bag of lettuce and wishes to stick a ‘use by date’ notification on the bag. Once you have our hardware, you can add apps as and when needed,” explains Shuldman. The BOHA! suite of hardware— which includes the BOHA! Terminal, BOHA! Handheld, BOHA! Sensor, and BOHA! Gateway—is purpose-built to handle the rigors of commercial kitchen environments.
Despite its recent foray into the industry, TransAct is already making an impact. Just ask the CEO of a large restaurant company who was shocked to learn that every outlet of his eatery was overcooking the chicken—courtesy the BOHA! Temp app. The apps provide critical insights into what’s actually going on in the restaurant. They take the guesswork out of the process. Since every restaurant has specific requirements, TransAct customizes apps accordingly. “With regard to temperature, some chefs prefer an eight-minute delay, and others want a lengthier delay. We work closely with the restaurant, understand their process, and customize accordingly,” says Shuldman.
As the only single-vendor solution automating back-of-house operations for restaurants, the road ahead for TransAct is filled with limitless potential. “This is a huge opportunity and we’re looking ahead to the future of this industry,” concludes Shuldman.