Say goodbye to Swipely, and say hello to Upserve.
The venture-backed Providence, R.I.-based tech company announced the name change on Monday, and with it some major updates to its restaurant analytics and management software. Two of the new features involve the use of artificial intelligence to help restaurants improve their bottom line.
In shifting the focus away from its core function as a credit card processor, Upserve CEO and founder Angus Davis told BostInno the name change was about letting the “brand catch up with where our products and services have been” and reflecting the fact that nearly all of its customers are restaurants now.
The big idea for Upserve’s spring product update, Davis said, is taking a number of disparate systems a restaurant has—like a point-of-sales system and a table management system—and letting them talk to each other to help restaurants make smarter decisions about daily marketing and planning.
One of the two new AI features is called Shift Prep, and it uses machine learning to predict how many customers a restaurant will have based on a number of factors, including historical sales data for certain days of the week and whether or not it’s a holiday. It will even take weather into account to predict how many seats will be filled in addition to the reservations already made.
Using this information, Davis said, restaurants will be able to better prepare for any particular day, whether it’s adjusting staff numbers and other factors.
“This is one of the first uses for machine learning for restaurant management,” Davis said. “We’re pretty jazzed about it.”
“This is one of the first uses for machine learning for restaurant management.”
The other AI feature is called Menu Intelligence, and it builds upon Upserve’s previous capability of aggregating restaurant reviews by honing in on what customers are saying about particular menu items. The new feature, which uses natural language processing, lets restaurants line up the sentiment scores of every menu item with their sales data, so that restaurants can make better decisions of how to tweak their menus and make more money.
Another interesting feature is an update to its Service Performance tool, which will soon let restaurants break down a server’s strengths and weaknesses with selling certain menu items, along with their turnaround time, guest retention and use of voids of discounts and voids.
In highlighting the use of of the latter measure, Davis said one restaurant using the tool during the update’s beta test figured out that one server was using the birthday discount for guests 4,000 percent more than their peers, meaning the person was likely giving their friends repeat deals. It’s that kind of intelligence that can help restaurants better manager their service, he said.
Other new features include the ability to build internal profiles for the buying habits of each customer, the ability to view certain trends that are driving a restaurant’s operations and a new mobile app that lets restaurant managers view the performance of their restaurant from anywhere.
Davis said Upserve, which has a Boston office, has thousands of restaurant customers in all 50 U.S. states, though he did not provide a specific number. With a transaction-processing run rate of more than $7 billion, he said he’s excited by the growth the company has seen so far, and that he expects the company to double its number of customers this year.
“The year ahead is going to be pivotal,” he said.
Upserve employs at least 100 people, though it’s not providing a more specific number. It has raised funding from First Round Capital, Shasta Ventures, Index Ventures, Pritzker Group and Greylock Partners, among others.