Question: What technology have you implemented to make it easier for you to run your business, and what difference has it made?
Our point-of-sales system is incredibly helpful. We use it to understand our sales, what we have sold, processing credit cards, guest counts, discounts, comps, et cetera. This is the most important piece to us for understanding how we are doing financially and for tracking sales.
Technology in equipment has given us the combi oven. Combi is a combination steamer and convection oven — it can be both simultaneously and is incredibly accurate. We can cook a piece of halibut at 103 degrees at 90-percent steam function. The end product is a very moist, perfectly cooked piece of fish. It takes the guessing out of cooking and creates a very consistent product.
For products, we have liquid nitrogen. This helps us push cooking into areas we have never seen or worked with before. Liquid nitrogen is negative 321 degrees, giving us the capability to do things I would have never imagined, from making ice cream within seconds to a semifreddo with a hard crunchy outside and liquid center.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for technology in my business.
Chef Kevin Binkley and his wife opened nationally and internationally acclaimed fine-dining Binkley’s Restaurant in Cave Creek in 2004, and have since opened the more casual Café Bink, Bink’s Midtown and Bink’s Scottsdale. Binkley cultivated an in-depth understanding of fine dining at two of the top restaurants in the United States, the French Laundry and the Inn at Little Washington. His numerous awards and accolades include being nominated for the James Beard Award Best Chef of the Southwest every year since 2005.
Donn C. Frye Jr.
Owner and CEO
Technology has significantly enhanced our relationships. Like many businesses, we have integrated various types of technology features to assist with the basic generic tasks as well as more sophisticated industry-related applications. Garment care and finishing has many individual preferences and the use of technology allows for us to keep information stored and easily updated so that we can provide convenient personal attention to each customer each visit. One specific method is the use of garment barcodes, which offers the ability to identify customers’ garments and their finishing preferences, contributing to greater efficiency and accuracy.
Our latest shift is servicing our drive-thru customers with the help of computer tablets, providing quicker service response, including payment and paperless transactions. In addition, we’re implementing automated assistant assembly system to match each customer’s garments to their ticket orders, freeing up staff to attend to other non-automated tasks, like garment mending. Other common technology utilized includes GPS to assist our Route Specialists’ daily home/office pick-up, delivery service, to our online/mobile website and social media presence for greater community bonding.
Donn C. Frye Jr. has worked at Prestige Cleaners since his father, Don E. Frye Sr., founded the company in 1964. Actively involved in the community, Frye Jr. is a member of the Scottsdale Charros and serves on the boards of Kiwanis, Boys and Girls Clubs Foundation and Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale. He is a past chairman/president of the Scottsdale Mayor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, STARS and Arizona Drycleaners Association, among others.
Co-owner and CFO
Changing Hands Bookstore
Google Apps for business has been great for us. Even with our limited technical skills, we can set up email accounts for all our staff and add additional mailboxes for event hosting, book clubs, employee applications, et cetera. We also share and work collaboratively on documents (spreadsheets, word-processing docs, PDFs) with each other. Lastly, the multiple calendar functions are useful for tracking scheduled events, staff business trips and vacations. These tools have improved our communications within our staff as well as with our vendors and the public.
Credit card processing for our offsite events was always a challenge until recently. Working checkout lines with a knuckle-buster card imprinter or a cranky Wi-Fi terminal led to long backups and cranky customers. But with the combination of the iPad running on a wireless phone connection and The Square, we can now process cards more efficiently and keep the lines moving, resulting in increased sales with the same or fewer staff. This same technology also provides a fallback at our registers in the store when the Wi-Fi goes down.
Bob Sommer, co-owner and CFO of Changing Hands Bookstore, holds a B.A. in physics and a Ph.D. in math. He has served as a board member of the Mill Avenue Merchants Association and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association and an advisory council member of the American Booksellers Association. Changing Hands has operated its store in Tempe since 1974 and recently opened a second location in Phoenix.
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