Media & Press, Business Tips, Random Faves


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

Cafe Mocha and 106.3 Host Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Award

Source: LeeBailey's EurWeb

The Café Mocha radio show affectionately known as ‘Radio from a Woman’s Perspective’ that airs Saturday mornings from 10 – 12pm on WSRB 106.3 will host its 3rd annual Salute Her: Beauty of Diversity Awards presented by Toyota. This holiday they’re celebrating a diverse array of women who are making a difference in their respective communities.

Read more about the event and the honorees including Journey Foods CEO Riana Lynn here.

Food-tech entrepreneur Riana Lynn invests in (and gives back) to the community

Source: Innovate Carolina

Riana Lynn has chalked up more high-powered experiences at age 30 than most people accumulate in a lifetime. Since graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008, she has founded three startups, managed high-profile projects at the White House and secured a coveted spot as a Google entrepreneur-in-residence. Lynn is now negotiating the sale of her third food-related venture – FoodTrace, a software platform and suite of services for food suppliers — and planning the launch of a fourth.

Read more here.

Venture capitalists are so white – but what if they weren’t?

Source: Chicago Tribune

What if venture capitalists looked less like Oscar voters and more like the rest of Chicago?

The vast majority — 87 percent — of venture capitalists are Caucasian, according to a 2011 survey from the National Venture Capital Association, and 89 percent are male. Only 4 percent identify as African-American or Latino nationally, and there are very few in Illinois. The widely mocked Oscar voter lineup is 94 percent white and 77 percent male. Adams Street Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, is one organization trying to change the investor profile. Read more here.

40 Diverse People In Tech Who Made Big Moves In 2015

Thank you Techcrunch and  for the feature.

Excited to continue to think of new ways to impact millions of people with improve food systems around the world.

Diverse people — people of color, LGBTQ men and women, women in general, people with disabilities, older people, younger people, etc. — have contributed a lot to the overall tech ecosystem this year.

Before you dive in, please keep in mind that this list is by no means comprehensive. There are tons of diverse people in tech who accomplished amazing things this year, so don’t hesitate to tell us who they are and why they should be on this list in the future!

Read more

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!