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National Restaurant Association - 4 questions with restaurant tech investor Sam Khoury

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4 questions with restaurant tech investor Sam Khoury

Sam Khoury puts his money where his mouth is.

The restaurant industry and finance veteran is president of Next Stage Partners, a Dallas-based investment and innovation firm focused on food companies and technologies.

He’s moderating a panel at the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Innovation Summit, Nov. 7-8 in Dallas, on food-industry mergers and acquisitions. The panel will look at latest investments in the industry and what they could mean for industry technology. We asked Khoury about his panel and what he’ll be watching for:

What are you hoping to learn from your panel?
We’ll discuss overall trends in restaurant technology -- and the needs and challenges in the space. I want to learn areas of opportunity for investment, and also bring out areas of opportunity for solutions providers. I hope to learn about the fast-moving changes and disruptions in the space and how to capitalize on those trends.

Who are the panelists?
This group includes a nice representation of the restaurant technology value chain. We have both solutions providers and investors:

  • Our solution providers include Andre Angel, founder of Tango Tab, an app that pairs a hungry consumer with an empty table at a restaurant, and donates a meal to a local food charity for each transaction. Rom Krupp is CEO of Market Vitals, a data-mining marketing analytics software that tracks every part of operations.
     
  • Investors/accelerators include David Matthews, co-founder and managing director of REVTECH, Retail Technology Ventures, a venture accelerator seed fund for restaurant, retail and hospitality; and Michael Caplovitz, vice president of innovation, The Howard Hughes Corporation, where he develops and implements innovative technology and identifies startups for potential investment.

Where are investments being made?
We are seeing money flow to tech solutions that speed service in the back of the house, and improve the guest experience in the front of the house. We are still seeing a lot of activity with delivery strategy and the technology that supports it.

     For investors, the key is monitoring and then taking quick action to invest in companies that not only have a competitive advantage and business model, but that also continue to invest in research and development and enhance the technology.

     Investors also look at what’s called “complementary construction.” An innovation, even a disruptive one, needs to be easily integrated into the restaurant’s system. The change has to be big enough to catch attention -- but it can’t be so disruptive that people don’t use it.

Why should executives come to the conference?
The Restaurant Innovation Summit has incredible content, and speakers and panelists who will share information, trends data and fast movers. It also has networking opportunities to meet and learn from c-level executives in the restaurant industry.

The Restaurant Innovation Summit is being held Nov. 7-8 at The Empire Room in Dallas. For more information or to register, visit restaurant.org/ris.

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