Director of Operations JT Riley is a restaurant veteran with a passion for using technology to solve problems. Taste of Belgium founder Jean-Francois Flechet, who also shares a passion for technology, hired JT early on to streamline the restaurant's operations and to build a strong foundation to move them forward.
"When I joined this company, our top priority was finding a point-of-sale system that could grow with us," JT remembers. "We were using Micros at the time and I had 8 years of Aloha programming background."
A Growing Business on a Single Platform
While cloud-based point-of-sale systems were new to JT, the benefits of real-time reporting and easy POS menu management were immediately clear.
"Our first impressions of Toast were that we were pretty impressed, to be honest," JT says. "The Enterprise cloud management has been the most impactful feature. I have the ability to do menu updates without having to dial into a server. I can look into our business as a whole from one central location."
JT and Jean-Francois have visibility into each of their six locations from anywhere.
"Analyzing the product mix is something that, prior to Toast, would take me two or three days to complete. Now, it's at my fingertips at any given time," he says. "The time commitment for us after switching to Toast has decreased greatly. We're able to be more involved in the operations instead of locking ourselves in a room for a few days while we pull data together."
Toast API Supports Powerful Integrations
Management at Taste of Belgium has always embraced technology as a way to help their business grow. With nearly a decade of experience programming Aloha systems, JT was used to working with technology constraints that come with on-premise systems.
"Based on my years of experience in the restaurant industry, vendors were always finding reasons why technology integrations wouldn't work," he remembers. "There were a lot of restrictions on us. Toast's API has allowed us to expand on the technology partners we use."
Toast is a cloud-based platform that enables direct system integration, which was a key differentiator for JT and his team. Taste of Belgium uses a variety of external tools to optimize labor, loyalty, and guest management.
"Toast integrates with HotSchedules, which we use for labor management and sales forecasting," JT says. "It downloads all the data from Toast automatically and allows us to make more informed decisions as we plan what our next day or week looks like. We also partner with TableUp for loyalty. We can create everything from a beer club to reservations and waitlist management — the whole platform is integrated into Toast."
An extensible point-of-sale system has given Taste of Belgium the power to utilize each tool to its full potential.
"With an integrated platform like Toast, the sky is the limit," JT says. "There's not much that's off the table if you're willing to do the work to make it happen."
Taking Pride in Restaurant Technology
After nearly a decade of working with legacy systems, JT has become a Toast expert. He's an advocate for Toast because of the significant impact that the cloud-based, extensible platform has had on Taste of Belgium's business.
"When you realize how much easier it's made your life, you want to tell other people about it," he says. "Toast is like the next great kitchen tool or the next great process for waiting on tables. When you have a point of sale system that works for you, it makes a big impact."