Upserve Acquires Breadcrumb POS

I’m excited to share the news that Upserve is acquiring Breadcrumb. You can read the official press release here.

Upserve has been a terrific partner for Breadcrumb since Fall of 2015. Here at Breadcrumb, we’re huge fans of Upserve’s product and their commitment to help restaurants improve operations, guest service and profitability.

Most of the Breadcrumb team will join Upserve. We’re looking forward to delivering a great product with great support in our new home.

Read Upserve CEO Angus Davis’ blog post.

Breadcrumb 2.6.4 is here!

Just in time for the new year, we’ve got a feature-packed release of Breadcrumb POS.

Printer set up is easier than every with Automatic Printer Discovery. Supported Citizen, Epson and Star Printers will automatically connect with Breadcrumb when they’re added to the network.

Managing house accounts and non-cash tenders in HQ is simple. You can now archive or delete unused tenders, and order tenders to put the most used ones at the top of the tender list. Updates in HQ appear in the app instantly.

Cafes, quick-serve restaurants and bars love the speed and ease of Signature on Screen. Now you can set specific iPads to be signature on screen and others to print signature slips.

Auto-gratuity is taxed differently in different places or situations. Now you can decide whether automatically applied gratuities are taxed, making it easier to comply with local regulations.

Offline Mode updates make it even easier to continue working even when you aren’t connected to the internet. Offline Mode troubleshooting and reconciliation have gotten easier too!

In addition to new features, every update of Breadcrumb includes technical improvements to speed and stability. When you update to the latest version, you have the best version of Breadcrumb available. We strongly suggest that you update as soon as you can. Learn more about app updates here, and remember, if you update one iPad, you must update all of them.





Breadcrumb 2.6.2 is Ready!

Breadcrumb Version 2.6.2 will be available for general release in the app store on Thursday, November 19, 2015. The release will go out at 2 a.m. so you should update each iPad at the start of the day on Thursday.

What’s new?

  • Reminder to adjust credit card tips upon clock out
  • Comp reasons will no longer show on the customer receipts
  • Credit card swiper improvements
  • Speed and stability improvements

In order for swiper improvements to take place you may need to power cycle your iPads after you install version 2.6.2. Press and hold the top left power button for about 3 to 4 seconds until the screen dims. You’ll see a red slider at the top that says “slide to power off;” doing this will power down the iPad. After another few seconds, you’ll see the screen go completely black. Once the screen has gone black hold the same button down for 3-4 seconds until you see the Apple logo appear.

Remember, if you update one iPad, you must update all of them.

Learn more about app updates here.

The Revival of the Classic Cocktail

Classi ccocktails

The craft cocktail movement doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  Mixology programs and carefully prepared drinks are rightfully gaining importance when one considers where to eat and drink.  Bartenders are proving their worth with their ability to transform even the least approachable spirits, such as Chicago’s famed Malort, into surprisingly well balanced, sultry cocktails.  But through all the speakeasies, boozy slushies, and tiki bars of the last few years, 2015 has given us a nostalgic escape: the revival of the classic cocktail.


Bars are perfecting their take on everything from Manhattans and Old Fashioneds to Sidecars and Negronis.  More importantly, the twenty and thirty-something crowd is embracing the revamp of these old school favorites.  Eater’s list of bars slated to open in the remaining months of 2015 shows the trend of putting a modern spin on simple, classic cocktails will keep its momentum well into 2016.  The Skip and Standby, a restaurant-bar duo opening in Detroit, tout frozen Negronis and no frills cocktails as the focal point of the experience.  Even the Amaretto sour, often overlooked because of its overly sweet taste, is getting a blissfully bitter makeover at The Heavy Feather, Slippery Slope’s new venue in Chicago.


In fact, Scofflaw group, behind Slippery Slope/Heavy Feather and its eponymous bar, are no strangers to the new age of old drinks.  Scofflaw’s gin centric cocktail menu has charmed critics and bar-goers alike.  The Logan Square bar has been a popular Chicago leader in vaulting gin to the forefront of bar menus again.  Bartenders have taken advantage of a recent shift in taste buds.  More young drinkers in their 20s and 30s are moving away from vodka and choosing a retro staple like gin instead.  According to a study done by Independent UK, whose citizens take pride in the London tradition of gin distilling, gin sales globally are rising roughly four percent year over year, indicating that this trend isn’t unique to the United States.


How can restaurants and bars take advantage of this as 2015 comes to an end?  It’s not necessary to overhaul your existing cocktail menu.  Instead, play around with easy ways to put a new twist on an old original.  Craft brewed gins, for example, offer variations such as earl grey or pepper infused brews which could be the elevating flavor needed to mix up the traditional martini or cocktail. Or take a play from Portland bartender Jeffrey Morganthaler’s book by putting a dark, bourbon spin on an otherwise sweet Amaretto sour recipe.  While the wave of craft cocktails allowed for forward thinking, flavor blending recipes to come to the forefront, perhaps the best way to take advantage is to use creativity and taste to make your own mark on a classic favorite.

Check out how Breadcrumb can help bartenders work the bar effectively!

Breadcrumb Live: Be There Even When You’re Not There

Breadcrub-LiveWe launched Breadcrumb Live back in May so our customers could monitor their business in real time, whether they were on floor, in the kitchen, at the gym or even at home. For those who missed it, Breadcrumb Live is an iPhone app that gives you a real-time view of the most important metrics  of your business – tracking revenue, average check, labor costs, comps, voids and more.

Five months in, we’re delighted with the feedback we’ve gotten. We’ve seen GMs who use it while on the floor to ensure that they’re hitting their goals for the night; we’ve seen owners who can understand at a glance which of their locations to visit on any given day; we even heard from one chef/owner that he felt comfortable taking his first vacation in two years because he could monitor his business from afar.

Do you have Breadcrumb Live yet? Get it here.

Breadcrumb 2.6.1 is Ready!

We’re very excited to release Breadcrumb version 2.6.1, early in the morning on September 29, 2015. The release includes support for unpaid break tracking, improvements to swiper reliability and full iOS 9 compatibility.

Unpaid break tracking allows you to track your staff’s breaks. This tracking complies with labor laws in several states. It also allows your employees to go on break without having to transfer their checks.

Breadcrumb to 2.6.1 includes significant improvements to swiper performance and stability for merchants who are using Apple’s iOS 9 operating system. We strongly encourage you to update your iPads as soon as you can.

Learn more about app updates.

Tap to take a break.
Tap to take a break.

From Outsider to Visionary: The Business of Restaurants with Nick Kokonas of Alinea


Many talented chefs and restaurateurs use Breadcrumb Point of Sale and we want to celebrate their unique stories. This month Francis Lam, editor at Clarkson Potter, judge on Top Chef Masters, and columnist for New York Times Magazine interviewed Nick Kokonas, owner at Alinea, Next, and Aviary, and valued Breadcrumb Point of Sale customer.

A sommelier sabers an enormous, biblically-named bottle, and soon Champagne is fizzing in glasses. All the restaurant’s guests are in the kitchen. Grant Achatz lifts his voice, somewhat reluctantly, to address the room. It’s midnight, the clock turning to Alinea’s 10th anniversary, and he says, “10 years ago, we had all these expectations that we never knew we were going to meet…”

“Oh no,” a voice interrupts him. It’s Nick Kokonas, Grant’s business partner in all their restaurants. “10 years ago, you stood in this kitchen and said, ‘Anything less than this, less than exactly this, would be unacceptable.” Grant looks up to the ceiling, saying, “Ok, see? I told you. You do the talking.”

And Nick has never been afraid to do some talking. For all of Achatz’s acclaim as a chef, the mark he makes on gastronomy, Kokonas is poised to make his own on the business of restaurants, most famously with his new company Tock, pioneering prepaid online ticketing for meals. Kokonas has opened their restaurants’ books and evangelized about the viability of tickets for all kinds of operations, becoming one of the most eye-opening voices in the dining world.

 But how does a derivatives trader, someone who had never worked in a restaurant until he owned one, become so in-tune with what guests want…or will accept? We talked about how being an outsider to the industry may have helped him, and how the business side of restaurants can be a creative space. And we talked about some of the lessons behind hospitality – how to understand the behavior of a guest or someone you’re conducting business with, and how to make business work better for everyone in the deal.

Francis Lam: Some people learn how to change industries by growing up in them, some people by showing up all of a sudden. You were pretty new to the restaurant industry when you opened Alinea. How has being an outsider helped you see this world differently than a career restaurateur?

Nick Kokonas: The day Alinea opened was my first day working in a restaurant. Which is a pretty good place to start! But I didn’t think I’d still be working on it 10 years later. I’d met Grant, and this guy was clearly going to be one of the best at what he does. So I wanted to invest some money and time to help him—I’d help get it going, and then people who knew how to manage a restaurant would take over.

But when I got to the industry, I started looking at the software people use – POS, online booking, etc. And it was salesmen showing up with some brochures and a chunky laptop and showing you this software from 1995—this was in 2004—and as late as a couple years ago, it still felt exactly the same way. There wasn’t a lot of innovation, there were a few players who dominated it, and people would install some bad software, everyone would learn it, and it would just stay there.

FL: And you could see that was weird, because as an outsider you didn’t come up through the ranks just working with this stuff?

NK: Yeah, we didn’t buy any of it. I wrote some spreadsheets, like we’d use in the trading firms where I’d worked. And eventually Grant said, “You’re not going anywhere.” A few years later, while we were building Next, I starting thinking that I knew what I was doing, and thinking that lots of these traditional methods could be better.

FL: And that includes your push to move from reservations to prepaid tickets. What made you think that would actually…work?

NK: What’s great about Alinea, and our group in general, is that people have really out-there ideas. So we often say, “Sure, let’s try that on some guests, what the hell?” And guests actually feel special if they know you’re doing something unique for them. So we have that kind of spirit.

Tock was born out of this kind of situation: We’ve only got a six top available, so the guest says to the reservationist, “Sure, we’ll take that.” And they come with two, because they only meant to come with two. So there were huge inefficiencies with food cost, planning, lost revenue. How do you work smarter?

So when we started Next and Aviary, we thought we could solve some of those problems. By using prepaid tickets—or even just taking a small deposit, 10 bucks to guarantee your table—no-shows would disappear. I knew people in the industry who said tickets were a terrible idea. Our own managers were like, “You’re not really going to do that, right?” But at some point it seemed obvious to me, and we sold out in the first 24 hours.

And everyone shows up on time. At Alinea, we thought no one would come for a 5:00. But once we started booking tickets with Tock, we moved our first seats from 5:30 to 5:00, and people still show up on time. And that meant we could serve 12 more guests a night. We don’t really even stress it, but it’s because people are already conditioned to buying tickets for a show, knowing it starts on time, and so they make sure they’re there.

FL: So it’s about understanding the psychology and the behavior of the guest, knowing the triggers that cause you to act a certain way. That seems like a useful skill in business. Is that pure instinct? Or do you study and analyze opportunities?

NK: I certainly don’t have a checklist. My dad was an entrepreneur by necessity—his father died young— and he felt all business is personal. I learned that you invest in people, not products. And as a trader, you had to know who was honorable—the traders that might lose $20k, but look at you straight and just own it.

Then you get into the general business world, and you see in that more people are just trying to get the deal done, regardless. Here’s a classic example: you’re selling our house. At some point, you realize that the real estate agent makes their commission if they close, so they don’t really care about getting you your maximum price, because they really just want to finish the deal and move on. Lots of business works that way. It’s the classic principal-agent problem. But it’s ok—you just have to think of ways where you can improve your deals with people around you.

So we sold tickets for meals ahead of time, and it was like, “Ok, now we have all this cash on hand, what do you do with it?” Most people would put it in the bank – great! You can pay your bills. But what if we called our meat purveyor and asked, “What if we prepaid you?” We were going to order 400 pounds of dry aged ribeye per week. I thought maybe he would give us a five percent discount, which would be great, compared to what we’d get in the bank. And he said 35 percent! Because he has to figure out how much people want to buy, and he’s got 35 days until no one wants to buy the beef, and he’s chasing people down for payment. So he’s happy to make a much better deal if we cut him a check ahead of time.

So we realized that if we can get better terms for our vendors, they love us. And guess who gets the best products along with the best deal? So we can do a 14-course meal at Next right now, including Iberico ham, for $85.

There’s no way I would have thought of that 5 years ago. I’m sure there are larger restaurant groups who do that. But would I have gotten to that idea without selling my house? Probably not. So now, I try to invert the perspective. If I’m the farmer, if I’m the purveyor, what do I want?

FL: Inherent in any creative choice is an element of risk. What have been your biggest mistakes?

NK: Grant will laugh if he reads this, but look at the mat plate [where the chefs plate guests’ final course directly on their tables– Ed.], which is kind of iconic to the restaurant now. The chefs were talking about how to make people feel childlike. And I went to a science museum with my kids, and they had this giant table, plate, chair, all that, at the size that would make an adult feel like a kid. And so I thought, “What if we had a giant plate?”

Grant was so busy that I couldn’t get a meeting with him, so I had to grab tweezers and plate next to him on the line to talk with him. I would be pissed because his plates would always look better than mine, because there’s a real skill there. And I thought, guests would love to see the chef plate in the dining room. So we should make giant plates and have him plate in the dining room.

So for a year, nothing. Martin Kastner and I were mocking up giant plates you can bring into the dining room, but none of them worked, until Martin brought in this silicone material, and suddenly Grant was working on it.

And then the manager said, “You can’t do this anymore, because when you do one, every table wants it.” And some guests complained that the table next to theirs got to have the chef come give them special attention. So then they had to work out a way to make sure every guest gets that experience.

So the first 10 iterations of that were… mistakes. But they weren’t mistakes, they were unformed ideas. The problem with a lot of modernist cuisine is that when someone figures out a cool new idea, they throw it on the menu right away, and it doesn’t quite work yet. And we’d practice it for months or years. And the challenge is: how you stay current and innovative, while also presenting your ideas after they’ve matured?

The same with tickets—now we have more sophisticated ways to use them. If you are an a la carte restaurant and take 85% reservations anyway, sure, just keep doing that. But now you can blend in tickets to book the PDR, or book that occasional chef’s tasting, and it’s been fun to watch the idea change as it gets applied from a $20 walk-in restaurant, to a 500 people-a-night restaurant, to an Alinea. So it’s great to have the attitude of: It’s not a mistake, it’s just not a finished idea yet.

FL: That’s an awesome attitude to have, but there’s got to be a difference between that and just being naïve.

NK: Well, that’s all about your team. Two days before Next was going to open, I was concerned about the food. The execution just wasn’t 100 percent killing it at the test dinners. So Grant and I had been arguing a lot – I never, ever argued about food at Alinea but at Next I knew what I wanted. Suddenly the guy who does the math was talking about what he wanted in the food, and it was tough for us.

I got in early that morning for a meeting, and Grant was at the restaurant all by himself. He had all these saucepans going, all numbered. They were all sauce Choron, which I was saying wasn’t right, and they were all slightly different in a progression, from 1 – 20.

So he goes, “Which one should it be, Chef?” I knew he was annoyed, so any one that I would pick would be wrong. So we decided to both taste all 20, write down our favorite, and show each other. I wrote down “5 or 6.” He wrote down “5 ½.” And we laughed. And then I realized that when you work with amazing people, you always need to remember who you’re working with.

Visit Breadcrumb for more information on iPad point of sale for your restaurant!