Squirrel Systems and the Cloud
R: Rob Grimes with the IFBTA, here at the NRA show, but actually more importantly here with Jason Leeson, the president of Squirrel systems who is one of our newer Global industry partner members. So Jason, welcome to NRA, welcome to the IFBTA and it’s great to see you someplace other than Vancouver for a change.
Jason Leeson: You bet, glad to be here Rob.
R: Now you said that jointed Squirrel two and a half years ago and what did you do before?
J: Before that I was the chief technology officer at a managed cloud and a managed network service provider up in Canada, where we supported—
R: —but not in the business?
J: —I was not in the point-of-sale business, the hospitality point-of-sale business, mostly building out those networks, around which payment transactions and point-of-sale would operate.
R: This opens up two questions, so is there a cloud strategy somewhere in the future here?
J: Absolutely, absolutely yes that was one of the reasons why I’ve been brought into Squirrel. So I built the cloud business at the service provider that I was previously at. So we’re very much focused—look today, and I hear a lot of the stuff around cloud, the conversation I usually like to have is what is it about cloud right that’s so interesting to you? So Squirrel for example today if we’re talking about menu management across a multi-unit chain within the cloud, Squirrel is already doing that today. If we’re talking about above-store reporting across a multi-unit chain in the cloud, Squirrel is already doing that today. So we have elements of cloud that are part of our portfolio, as far as the core POS itself goes, that’s something that we’re currently working on. We’re actually showcasing an early preview of it right here at the show here today
R: So in the next 12 months it’s out.
R: And, let me ask you this, we are at the NRA show, we are looking around at many technology providers here, many that are in the cloud as well, how would you say your points of differentiation are between you and the other providers in the market space?
J: Right, well look, our differentiation really rests on three key pillars. First and foremost a proven platform, we have been doing this for a long time we’ve got a very deep and wide enterprise-grade feature set and were built on an open architecture and we’ve got one of the most configurable, I would say, point-of-sale platforms in the market today. Number 2 is around the domain expertise, having acquired that over the last 34 years to show our customers how to leverage that proven platform, to streamline their operations and elevate the guest experience. And lastly I can say without a doubt hands down, Rob, we have the absolute best service and support in the industry. Not only are we going to answer the phone in a timely matter when you call, but our staff because they’re connected to our corporate mission of amazing guest experience, they’re actually going to care and they’re going to work to resolve the customers’ issues as quickly as they possibly can.
R: Well listen, it’s great speaking with you and it’s great taking a look around. I just have to tell you, you know, looking down the side of the different things, so you are showing the point-of-sale platforms here, you’re showing the tableside ordering here, you’re showing the labor scheduling here. You’re showing, quietly, the cloud program here. Did I miss something of what you’ve got in the booth or something we should take a look at?
J: No we’re showcasing our new hardware platform, so you talked about our investment in hardware. We’re actually, our Hardware engineering team has been doing some very interesting and innovative things with the inner electronics of some of these components, where we think we’re going to have an opportunity to do something fairly disruptive in terms of the price point of some of these enterprise-grade terminals in the market over the next little while so stay tuned for that.
R: Right, but it’s about working within the industry having a good price point, because of course you’d be competing with somebody who says “I’ll just go buy a tablet” right?
R: Right so have to have something that works in the environment, works for adding peripherals to it if they need it, and so that’s why you probably have gone down that path that you need to continue to offer industry grade—
J: Well that’s why we talk about enterprise-grade, I mean spills, drops, you know these restaurants are very busy, the types of customers that we have—they’re not gentle, let’s just say with these devices and they need to be able to withstand that.
R: I will say that I was looking around the booth snooping, and I did notice that you guys are also doing some thought leadership. You’ve been putting out some pieces and you talk about EMV and the digital restaurant and are these pieces that you guys developed internally or did you—
J: They are, white papers and based on our experience and our customers and um yeah we’ve pulled that together and you’re going to start to see a lot more
R: Can people download these things from your website?
J: Yeah absolutely, absolutely so you can go to my website and I think you fill in a “contact me” form more something to that effect, and we’d be happy to reach out
R: And you’ll hear both your perspective and the industry perspective and trends on different topics that you’re engaged in and ones that you guys are feel are important for the future.
R: Listen, it’s been a pleasure. And it’s been a pleasure getting together with you now several times during the year as our Global industry partner member, and I look forward to spending a lot more time in the future and seeing where things go with Squirrel.
J: sounds good I appreciate you Rob.
R: Thank you, so Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and here in Squirrel Systems at the NRA show.