PAR Technology: Software Solutions for Food Retailers

Chas Wurster | Chief Technology Officer | PAR Technology Corporation - Insights Success

The retail industry is in the middle of a transformative phase with changing consumer behaviors, a rapidly evolving set of enabling technologies, and growing complexity. Through all of this, their customers and partners rely on PAR Technology Corp to help them to be successful in this evermore-challenging environment.

PAR Technology is a conscious company with a strong culture where performance management is a way of life. The people of PAR are the inspiration for the creation of their shared core values: People, Authenticity, Awareness, Perseverance, and Dreaming. These values aid in talent retention and employee engagement among Millennials, GenX and Baby Boomers. PAR people believe that they are the servant leaders, and their stakeholder responsibility ethos is well understood across the company.

The organization is on a journey to transform PAR from a hardware and service provider, to a software lead solutions company. Central to this journey are the cloud-based Brink POS® and the SureCheck® Food Safety Platform. By combining their long-standing quality hardware product lines, with innovative Cloud and IoT technologies, PAR is able to rapidly introduce solutions to the market to support their customers ranging in size from single locations, to some of the fastest-growing and most respected restaurant chains in the world.

About PAR Technology Corporation

For nearly 40 years, PAR has developed technology solutions for food-based retail companies such as restaurants, grocery chains, convenience stores and contract food providers.

With POS systems in more than 75,000 restaurants and over 110 countries, PAR is redefining the point of sale to bring technological innovation to all aspects of the business. PAR’s POS software is complemented by reliable hardware and is backed by PAR’s international services infrastructure.

In addition to PAR’s hospitality solutions, it is a leading provider of technical solutions to the government sector. PAR’s Government business is a wholly owned subsidiary of PAR Technology Corporation and is comprised of PAR Government Systems Corporation and Rome Research Corporation. PAR’s Government business delivers innovative information management solutions through advanced technology and professional services to Federal, State, and local Government agencies, as well as private industry customers throughout the world.

PAR Technology Corporation stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PAR.

Charles “Chas” Wurster is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at PAR

Chas joined PAR in 2017 as Chief Technology Officer and brings to PAR experience and perspective gained from working as an entrepreneur and at Fortune 500 companies. As CTO, Chas leads the software and hardware development teams, as well as product management, across all product lines. Below are Chas’’ insights on the industry and the exciting things PAR is working on.

Industry Disruption

On the POS side, payments remain an area of disruption, both from the point of view of security, as well as emerging technologies. There is a constant stream of press around compromised payment systems that should be concerning to anyone in the space. On the technology side, PAR sees less than half of the restaurants with payment entry devices, which enable not just Apple Pay and Android Pay, but also EMV chip cards to be processed. The impacts of changing consumer behavior goes well beyond mobile payments. They also see disruption from meal kits, delivery options, kiosks and other self-ordering solutions. The challenge for the restaurant industry will be to balance these emerging consumer trends with the overall goal of producing exceptional food and delighting the customer.

Another challenge the industry faces is keeping up with reporting and food safety. There is a continuing proliferation of pen and paper reports out in the industry that is ripe for the transition to digital. As old school pen and paper checklists move to digital, it introduces the ability to verify that the activity was performed at the right time and in the right place. Included in the transition to digital recording are a number of improvements to temperature monitoring. PAR’s SureCheck platform offers not just checklists, but also the ability to take temperature measurements with their best in class, dedicated and all-in-one devices. By leveraging Cloud technologies, all the compliance and food safety data can be sent to the Cloud where it can be analyzed for trends and leveraged to generate compliance reports.

Competitors

In general, PAR has two types of competitors – large, mature companies that are still struggling to get to the Cloud, and venture backed startups targeted at smaller or single unit concepts that, while well-funded, do not have a long history of being able to scale and deliver value over time.

Technology systems, like point of sale and food safety, tend to have a relatively long expected lifespan compared to the longevity of typical venture backed offerings. While a consumer may enjoy trading out their iPad for a new one every year, it can be incredibly disruptive for a restaurant to replace infrastructure.

Benefiting Clients

PAR’s clients get best in class hardware, combined with industry leading Cloud systems. This unique combination allows their clients to get everything they need to run their business from one trusted partner. PAR also has a robust ecosystem of partners who provide additional services through their application programming interfaces (APIs). With the entire customer’s data is in the Cloud, it is significantly easier to perform updates, analyze data and trends, provision users, and add new features.

Strategizing the Success through Risk

There are a number of other competitors in the space. PAR’s strategy to address competition is to focus on delivering a quality product at a competitive price point without any gimmicks or hidden fees. By renewing their focus on quality, providing their technical staff with a work environment that fosters innovation, and partnering with their customers to understand their needs, they believe that the organization would outperform their competition.

Making the Industry Better

As a proponent of secure Cloud and IoT solutions, PAR is focused on enabling their customers to do more with the technology they have, while also creating an environment that allows new technology to be seamlessly introduced. By providing real-time access to data across all locations, trends can be identified instantly and corrective actions can be taken immediately. They also work with their customers on risk assessments and make recommendations to improve the overall security of their payment systems. On the food safety side, they are literally making the industry safer by introducing technology to ensure proper refrigeration and food preparation across a number of verticals, from grocers, to convenience stores and everything in between.

Looking Ahead

In the next few years, PAR continues its growth in traditional markets, while introducing some innovative new products and enhancements. The Brink POS Software and PAR hardware teams are very excited to be working in tandem on a refresh of their kitchen operations and kitchen video systems. As they look to the future, they see more demand for self-service ordering from mobile, kiosks, voice recognition and beyond. To facilitate this, and integrations with 3rd party delivery services, PAR is highly focused on improving developer partnership programs and making APIs easier to leverage and integrate with. Lastly, PAR is excited to be working on some payment related offerings that are expected to be commercialized in early 2018.