As the industry continues to resettle and welcome restaurant customers back, it faces new challenges. At the top of that list is how to sustain and manage growth in takeout and delivery revenue while working to scale traditional tableside dining to pre-pandemic levels.
“The challenge that our founder Daniel Khachab saw was how to digitize the food chain from farm to fork for operators and vendors/distributors,” said Hilary Kenyon, Chocolate Managing Director-United States. “He really came to this from a food waste perspective and it evolved into the Choco solution. We know the landscape is very fragmented with so many middlemen touching everything from produce to seafood until it reaches the table in a restaurant or home. The company is taking on a $6 trillion restaurant industry that traditionally does business via spreadsheets or pen and paper. He has developed software that digitizes ordering, supply chain and communications for suppliers and restaurants to give back some of that time.
From an operational perspective, running two separate businesses requires an infusion of technology to manage it. With that in mind, Choco has burst onto the scene with a platform that manages the complexity of multiple supplier relationships for restaurants and foodservice operators around the world.
“We act as an aggregator between buyers and suppliers with the aim of streamlining both sides of the market and how buyers buy and sellers sell,” Kenyon added. “In the past, restaurant owners would typically call an online fish from a seafood distributor, testing a meat vendor purchasing products from an online portal. With Choco, they have a single portal to transact with all of their suppliers. »
The Choco app is free for restaurants and allows them to chat and place orders with any supplier in seconds. It eliminates delivery errors, late-night phone waits and purchase orders. Choco simplifies the ordering process for restaurants. It guarantees that each order will always have product identifiers, units, delivery date and delivery confirmation. The proof is in the choice track record of 85% elimination or order errors.
For many restaurants on the Choco platform, the ease of use has been invaluable. Choco allows operators to browse all orders from their suppliers in a single application. Orders can be placed in just three clicks and most restaurants on the platform have found they save over 2 hours per week. With the cost of labor constantly rising, Choco allows the operator to redeploy employees from time spent on inventory and ordering mechanisms to other key aspects of day-to-day operations.
Choco allows restaurateurs to place orders and chat with all their suppliers in one app. The orders are then converted into the format chosen by the supplier: e-mail, WhatsApp, SMS, fax and direct ERP integration. Operators can view and edit all of their order sheets online. Choco eliminates the days of stacks of paper pinned to walls. Products, IDs, units and pars can be added to Choco and organized by category. This allows perfect orders to suppliers with a target of precise deliveries.
Choco was built by understanding how demanding the question of catering professionals has become. With that in mind, the platform was designed to easily track orders from multiple restaurants from the palm of your hand. Choco also offers multilingual options and customizable profiles, so management can share real-time access with their team.
More importantly, the restaurateur controls the sellers on his Choco dashboard. “We understand how important these relationships the restaurant has had are,” the former GrubHub executive explained. “It really promotes the ability of the distributor’s sales representative to provide information on a special offer that is being promoted. It also ensures that what is ordered is used to minimize our mission to do our part to eliminate the food waste.
Choco’s popularity with the global distributor and seller community continues to grow in 2022. The platform allows distributors to manage orders, edit catalogs and promote platforms on a single platform. The goal is to allow the distributor to save time, reduce errors and deepen their relationship with their customers. Choco integrates with your ERP to eradicate manual order entry forever. It also generates time savings that reduce costs. Restaurant orders with Choco take the guess work out as they come with product IDs and delivery dates.
Keeping your catalog up to date is one thing, but letting customers know about it is another. Managing your online catalog with Choco means that product information (units, identifiers, availability) is always up to date and visible to customers. Distributors can promote special offers and seasonal products by sending messages to multiple customers at once. Choco is even opening up a new type of marketing by sending offers directly to customers’ Choco app. 20-30% of products promoted to customers via Choco are purchased.
The Choco platform has given distributors across the country a one-stop solution to communicate with their customers. “We have the option for a distributor to let customers in their restaurant know that we are an hour late today, or that we are out of stock on Kale and can replace it with a new product,” said Kenyon noted. “It is interesting to see how this new transparency has created new opportunities. A distributor may very well have a batch of tomatoes with a day of remaining shelf life which, although it may not be suitable for a salad, could make a perfect and profitable base at 75% off for a batch of marinara sauce that needs to be prepared.”
The company also understands that it is part of an industry that seeks to be part of a community that can solve something meaningful for the planet. With the company’s fundamental goal being to make the food supply chain more transparent and sustainable, they conducted 14 months of research into food waste. Choco’s research found that food waste plays a leading role in other global issues, causes deforestation and is the third driver of climate change. Choco has become a leader in the fight against food waste. “We know there’s something broken in the food supply chain that’s creating all this waste,” Kenyon noted. “This puts farmers and producers under strong price pressure. Our goal was to create a digitization solution for the entire supply chain. It even reflected our name: Choco, which is one of the most biodiverse areas of the Amazon rainforest.
“With the cost of gas and the issue of carbon emissions, Choco was able to eliminate the pesky second-cycle issue that has plagued distributors for decades,” Kenyon continued. “By increasing our penetration in the United States and eliminating errors in distributor/supplier orders, we are able to have a significant impact in eliminating waste. In addition to food and beverage, American restaurateurs use the Choco platform to manage everything from recycled packaging to table tops, linens and kitchen equipment. »
Choco also collects real-time data so suppliers can more accurately balance supply and demand so less food is wasted before it reaches the consumer. Its goal is to “completely digitize the wholesale food market across the world by 2026 in the name of zero food waste”. Choco’s goal is to provide the supplier/distributor with the most comprehensive portfolio of solutions in the industry. “We support restaurants and suppliers on every step of their personal digitalization journey,” Khachab noted. “We are confident that the entire industry will go digital by 2026. We believe that vendors who digitize and optimize their end-to-end operations will be winners.”
Choco’s premium offer for suppliers focuses on optimizing three keys. “We can increase sales by displaying products digitally and targeting the customer,” Kenyon added. “Chocolate reduced costs by streamlining and automating orders through integrations. More importantly, we can fully digitize the hundreds customers that a supplier has in a few weeks thanks to our simple integration with the order management platform.
Choco’s mission is to provide an open platform, with free transmission of basic orders to all suppliers. “For vendors who want to start the digitization journey step by step, they can, for a small fee, be listed and created a profile so that existing customers can find them and start ordering from them,” Kenyon explained.
Meanwhile, Choco is active in the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Belgium, and has seen a 350% growth in users over the past year. And as of February 2022, the total value of goods traded through Choco exceeded $1.2 billion, and it works with approximately 15,000 restaurant customers and 16,000 on the supply side.
Choco also understands that for those new to the technology or platform, there will be questions. With this in mind, Choco’s support team offers 24/7 support. Moreover, integration can be completed in less than 24 hours. “Onboarding is a simple, white glove. We want to be an extension of your team and your brand,” Kenyon concluded.
Restaurant owners and distributors interested in learning more about how Choco can streamline operations are encouraged to visit the company’s website. The company will also be exhibiting in booth #7607 at the upcoming National Restaurant Association Show May 21-24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.