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Food Trends to Watch in 2017

FoodTech Trends for 2017

If 2016 was the year of finding sustainable, long term and realistic solutions to issues pertaining to food systems and restaurants, 2017 will be the year that these technological solutions will become prevalent. In 2017 food technology will be at the forefront and both restaurants and patrons will witness how technology will begin to help our food systems and make restaurants more efficient, sophisticated and customer friendly.

Here are some restaurant tech trends that will become more prevalent in 2017…

Food Delivery Apps

According to Morgan and Stanley the food delivery industry is a $10 billion industry that has a $210 billion dollar potential, which means that we have only seen the start of an industry that will continue to grow. Companies such as Grubhub and sister company Seamless were one of the first to capitalize on the need for delivery solutions for restaurants, yet in 2017 there will be a massive growth of this industry that everyone from Uber to Square is going to bank in on. The industry is growing so fast and will be so prevalent that in 2017, we will see the rise of Bootler, an application as a search engine for all food delivery apps. As the technology gets more refined, delivery apps will be more efficient and effective than every before, and soon enough you’ll be able to have your any of your favorite restaurant foods at the comfort of your home or your office desk.

Food Waste Apps

2016 saw a surge of food waste apps and in 2017 more and more people are bound to use them. From apps such as Too Good to Go that take leftover food from restaurants and sell it for as low as 2€ to Unsung and FoodCloud take food waste from restaurants and grocery stores and distribute it to those in need. Back of the house applications, such as SimpleOrder, will be the first tool to use automated inventory counting to make inventory management more transparent and efficient, leading restaurants to manage inventory better and substantially reduce waste. Imperfect Produce allows you to buy imperfect vegetables from farms and grocery stores at a reduced cost- and these apps are just the tip of the iceberg. Around the world food waste apps are becoming more and more common and will likely become a tool used by restaurants and patrons alike in 2017.

Tablet POS

In any dining experience, no matter how pleasurable, there is a certain amount of impatience when a table is waiting for the check. Often times it just seems like a long process in the industry, which is why in 2017 you’ll see more and more restaurants utilizing apps that let you pay your restaurant bill online or tablet POS systems that allow you to pay your bill on a tableside tablet. Pay with OpenTableTabbed Out, and Dash of just one of the many applications that are making it possible for diners to pay their bill on their mobile phones. POS systems such as SquareTouchbistroToast and are integrating with technology to allow diners to pay their bills tableside- leading to better service and a speedier checkout.

Waiting List Apps

Along the list of restaurant technologies aimed at streamlining the restaurant experience, waitlist apps are on the radar. Some restaurants are developing their own apps to allow diners to get on a waiting list before they walk into the door. More and more restaurants are adopting apps such as Nowait and Waitlist Me to do the job, allowing guests to get on a waiting list through the mobile phones, receive SMS updates on their wait time, and manage the entire waitlist process.

‘Robot’ Restaurants

Perhaps we wont see a menagerie of tech driven restaurants in 2017, but we will see the first restaurant that has a machine that is fully automated to make a hamburger, which will be the start of many “robot” driven restaurants to come. Momentum Machines will open their first location in SOMA area of San Francisco. In Hanoi at the Haohi Restaurant robots are running the entire show, perhaps a peek into more things to come.

Iwould say I am most excited about innovation in food ingredients through better vegetable protein technology.

Vegetable Protein

The Impossible Burger is currently available at select restaurants around the United States, however as vegetable protein technology becomes more refined and less costly, we are bound to see more and more restaurants using plant based proteins to create meatless “meats.” Vegetarian “butchers” will also grow as more and more patrons request meatless meat and more establishments see the benefits. According to Inc. MagazineHampton Creekraised $120M for their egg substitutes, while Ripple raised $46M, making milk out of peas. With this kind of backing, this industry is bound to grow and we will be seeing vegetable proteins throughout our dining experiences.

Original Judith Goldstein — Restaurant Management Tech

The Idea Farmer – Cusp Conference

I recently spoke at a wonderful Chicago based ideas conference called CUSP. Check out these photo highlights:


Riana Lynn Riana Lynn CUSP Conference CHicago

Riana Lynn Cusp Conference


Planting vegetables with her grandmother led Riana Lynn to the White House South Lawn – and to the forefront of food+health technology.

After graduating with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where she taught herself how to code and was also a top-ranked performer in discus and javelin) Riana went on to pursue a Masters at Northwestern University. While getting her hands dirty in the White House Kitchen Garden, her work also included major policy initiatives such as Small Business and Jobs, STEM, and Public Health.

Her passion for the value of fresh food, farms, entrepreneurship, and technology ultimately inspired her to develop innovative supply chain management tools and create FoodTrace, a next level technology platform designed to help businesses with growth and supply chain management by helping them become more traceable and discoverable.

A native of the Chicago area, her story and accomplishments have been featured in, Wired Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, TheGrio 100, and other local and national publications. Riana is a politico, restaurant enthusiast, world traveler, and innovative fruit connoisseur, and is currently serving as the Google – Code 2040 Entrepreneur in Residence.



Women Tech Founders Live! Fall Series #WeAreWTF


WTF is back!
Our next event, cohosted with WiSTEM and Ms. Tech, will be on Monday, October 19th 5:30pm at 1871!
We’ll be featuring many women who are not only successful tech founders, they’re tech heroes, saving lives from Afghanistan to our backyard. Find out more about this unique event here:
If you know students/groups who need free tickets, please message me.
100% of the ticket proceeds from this event will fund the videos we’ll share on Vimeo, YouTube – so stories by women tech founders can reach future founders and leaders. These stories will also be distributed to great organizations such as Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Year Up, and Youth Technology Corps.
Here’s why you should spread the word:
At one of your Women Tech Founder’s event at 1871, I actually found a path to reach my dream. If you did not hold that event, I would not have been who I am today. If you are wondering who is Gereltuya. I am an intern at I.C Stars. I was selected out of 500 people to get this position. I am currently building an Android mobile application for Central States Fund…” Gerulteya Batdembarel

“Hearing the WTFs speak with such strength and passion about their startup journeys coupled with WTF’s desire to authentically diversify tech energized and excited me–it was the last push I needed to join the tech world and I decided to jump in–they gave me hope and energy. Now I’m excited to have completed the Startup Institute and to be joining the ThinkCERCA team!”  Katie Ekler-Lynch

Please share this unique event with your networks and help us improve diversity in tech!

Free Tech Coding Camp for Girls

Apply here:

Dear loving parents or mentors,

We are on a mission to empower young girls between 14 – 16 years old to become agents of change in the world. We offer a 5-day BraveCamp for high school girls focused on solving meaningful community problems through design thinking and technology. The camp exposes participants to expert mentors, leadership and entrepreneurship development training, and basic coding skills. No previous coding experience is required and lunch is provided. Scholarships are available. Apply now! Only 20 spots are available!

Yours truly,
The Brave Squad

10 Women Tech Founders Share: “WTF Startup Lessons.”

This Thursday, the high-energy crowd of Women Tech Founders (WTF) is back at 1871! After our first event drew more than 200 people to be inspired by 15 fantastic female entrepreneurs, we’re holding our second WTF event this Thursday at 5:30 – and it will fill up quickly so get your spot!

We’ve got 10 new WTF to share their very earliest lessons and challenges, like the actual baby steps they took to get started. How they spend their first $1,000. How they got their first customer. The biggest mistake they made. Awesome founders include:

Claire Lew (CEO of Know Your Company and recently named a Crain’s 20 under 20)
Sandee Kastrul (the highly respected founder of i.c. stars)
Nicole Staple and Sonali Lamba (Brideside cofounders)
Lindsay Austin (TapePlay)
Heidi Brown (Options Away)
Corielle Heath (LiftUpLift)

There will also be time for networking and lots of asking questions.

Register here:

Hope you see you there!

Google backs 3-city program for black, Latino techies (USA Today Mar. 16, 2015)

Jessica Guynn

published by USA Today on March 16th, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — The growing effort to get more African Americans and Hispanics to join tech companies or start their own is hitting the road, pushing beyond Silicon Valley into the rest of the nation.

Google is backing a new pilot program from CODE2040 in three cities. Starting this year in Chicago, Austin and Durham, N.C., the San Francisco non-profit will give minority entrepreneurs in each city a one-year stipend and free office space.

CODE2040 is a non-profit founded in 2012 that focuses on getting more African Americans and Hispanics into the tech workforce. It has graduated nearly 50 fellows, many of whom have gone to work for companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Uber. The group’s name refers to the year the population of minorities in the U.S. is expected to overtake whites.

While building their start-ups, the three CODE2040 entrepreneurs in residence will build bridges to technology for minorities in those communities.

“There is no question that Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the tech world, and as such there’s huge opportunity for impact on inclusion in tech,” says Laura Weidman Powers, co-founder and CEO of CODE2040, who came to Austin to announce the launch of the new program at a SXSW panel Monday morning.

“However, working on diversity issues in Silicon Valley means going against the status quo,” she says. “(It means) trying to change the ratio of employees at large companies, trying to bring inclusive techniques to established hiring practices and trying to infiltrate relatively closed, powerful networks.”

That work, says Powers, is crucial in Silicon Valley because it houses the headquarters of some of the world’s most powerful tech companies, which can set an example for the rest of the tech world.

But spreading to smaller tech hubs also presents an opportunity, she says.

“Here, rather than trying to change what is, we are trying to shape what might be. In smaller tech ecosystems around the country, often the cultures and norms around talent and inclusion are not yet set. We have the opportunity to help these places bake inclusion into their DNA from the ground up,” Powers says. “It’s an opportunity to create whole ecosystems where we never see the divides we see in Silicon Valley.”

Silicon Valley has never been diverse, but until last year, no one had any idea just how dominated by white and Asian men the tech industry here is.

In May 2014, Google disclosed that 30% of its workers are female and in the U.S. 2% of its workers are African American and 3% are Hispanic.

By the end of the summer, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and other major tech companies had followed with their own statistics, all of which showed the same lack of diversity.

“Releasing our numbers last year was a really important first step, and we were really happy to see other companies do that as well,” says John Lyman, head of partnerships for Google for Entrepreneurs. “This is an issue that Google really cares about. We really believe that better products are created by a workforce as diverse as the people who use them.”

That said, “a lot of the conversation is happening in Silicon Valley, which is great. But we also want to get it out to different parts of the country,” Lyman says.

So Google is putting money and resources behind the new CODE2040 Residency. CODE2040 received $775,000 in grants from Google in February to work on bringing more African Americans and Hispanics into tech.

Beyond getting the free office space in tech hubs in Chicago, Austin and Durham for one year and $40,000 in seed funding for their start-ups, the three entrepreneurs also get a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., as well as face time with investors, mentoring from entrepreneurs through Google For Entrepreneurs and CODE2040’s network and support from CODE2040 on building their diversity programs.

There will be one entrepreneur each at Capital Factory in Austin, 1871 in Chicago and American Underground in Durham, N.C.

Riana Lynn, 29, is founder of FoodTrace, a year-old tech start-up making new software tools to connect consumers, restaurants and distributors with local farmers.

Lynn graduated with a degree in biology and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she taught herself to code.

From spending summers planting vegetables with her grandmother to working in first lady Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden as a White House intern, Lynn says technology has given her a way to combine her interests in science and public health and the ability to fulfill her ambition of changing what people eat. The CODE2040 Residency will give her more of an opportunity to help others tap the power of technology, she says.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to take my company to the next level and continue some of the activities I am doing now,” Lynn says.

Joel Rojo, a 25-year-old Harvard-educated software developer in Austin hails from a small town in southern Texas five minutes from the border.

The son of Mexican immigrants, he goes back there to talk with young people about the opportunities that a college education and a career in technology can provide.

Rojo started an online real estate firm when he was 18, worked at Google’s Creative Lab and built products at job search engine Indeed. Now the avid music fan is co-founder of TicketKarma, a marketplace “for good people” to find or sell reasonably priced tickets to concerts.

“Knowledge is power,” Rojo says. “Mentors in my life showed me what I could do with my life. If I didn’t have that, who knows where I would be?”

Talib Graves-Manns, 34, is a third-generation entrepreneur. He says “Blue Blood Hustle” runs in his DNA. Passionate about education and diversity, he’s co-founder of RainbowMe, which is building an online television network for kids of color.

Adam Klein, chief strategist for American Underground, says Graves-Manns will boost the Durham tech hub’s ambitions to become the nation’s most diverse tech hub by 2016.

American Underground houses 225 companies, 23% of which are led by women and 36% are led by women or minorities.

“I feel optimistic we are going to see a major shift,” Klein says. “There is a huge business opportunity being missed. How many ideas are not coming to market because of biases that are preventing people from being full and active participants in the innovation economy?”

A March Event Not to be Missed!




We’re always excited for March to come around, not only for the (hopefully) warmer weather, but also for the Good Food Festival and Conference hosted each year by! The three-day conference, held at the UIC Forum March 19th-21st, will feature tons of speakers, food industry experts, and people passionate about growing the local food movement.

Check out the schedule!

Thursday: Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference (March 19th, 2015) PRESENTATION BY RIANA LYNN

Highlights: The Financing Fair in the afternoon provides a great opportunity for innovative farms and businesses seeking capital to pitch their plans, build partnerships, and engage with funders.

Friday: Good Food Trade, School, Producer, and Policy (March 20th, 2015)

Highlights: Workshops based on the tracks listed above will take place all day, led by national leaders in food policy, production, and advocacy.

Saturday: Good Food Festival (March 21st, 2015)

Highlights: Inspiring speakers, DIY workshops, chef demos, and more!

Tickets are on sale now!