ChowNow Launches a Simple Food Ordering & Marketing System for Restaurant

ChowNow Offers Local Restaurant a Simple Food Ordering & Marketing System

Having a brick and mortar restaurant doesn’t excuse you from the necessity of engaging customers through the Internet. That means you need your own website, plus your own Facebook page. You may have listed your restaurant and your site at some 3rd party online platform. But all your other competitors have the same things. To have an edge, you can partner up with ChowNow instead.

ChowNow streamlines how your customers can access your business so that you can enjoy their patronage much more efficiently and smoothly. ChowNow can provide you branded custom-built ordering apps for iPhones and Android smartphones. These mobile apps can feature your own logo and your own food which your customers can then pick from. These apps have the Apple Pay and Android Pay already built-in.

Your customers can also order from your website, so they won’t have to go to a 3rd party website where they can also see other competing restaurants. You won’t have to pay commission to that site either. You can get your orders directly from sites like your pages at Facebook, Google Search Listing, Yelp, and Zagat.

There’s the ChowNow tablet that your staff people can use, where an unlimited number of prepaid orders can come in in real time. This means you won’t have to suffer from inaccurate or missed orders. There’s also the ChowNow Dashboard, which allows you to customize your menu and to get reports regarding the top spenders. With every order that comes in, you obtain marketing data that you can use to improve your business.

ChowNow is a veritable font of marketing services, and the apps and other services you obtain can increase the frequency of customer visits. ChowNow is great for increasing sales and enhancing customer engagement, which is why more than 6,500 restaurants have signed up with them since their launch in 2010.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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9 Best Restaurants To Eat In Marina Del Rey

9 Best Restaurants To Eat In Marina Del Rey

Despite this neighborhood’s really small size, there are still tons of great food options around. Discover some of our top picks here.

For some people, Marina del Rey is a magnificent food destination. With the enclave sitting by the water and the number of restaurants in the area, it can certainly be a good place to hit if you’re after a nice dining experience.

Others, however, think that the area is too cheesy with bland dining options. They definitely have a reason to believe so but a number of good eateries found here can change your mind. It’s just a matter of finding the right diner to visit if you’ll ask us.

And since we’re already on this topic, we’re sharing with you some of our favorite dining destinations in the neighborhood:

Brennan’s

Location:  4089 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

In a culturally diverse city such as L.A., it can be quite a challenge to be considered unique. But Brennan’s continue to be considered as such over the years, mostly because of its legendary turtle races held every Thursday. Nowadays, though, it’s also becoming a great date spot, thanks to the upgrade it got after changing operators.

With the facelift came more space for various kinds of fun activities that can make a date more exciting and a menu update. They now offer a full bar run by the Simms Restaurant Group, so you can definitely opt to eat there, too.

What to order:

  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Pizza
  • Fried Chickpeas
  • Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Salt

Location: 13534 Bali Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Most folks visit Salt for its amazing views of the marina but its food is also drawing diners in. Put together, it’s a great place for celebrations or when out-of-towners come to visit.

What a lot of people don’t know about this place, however, is that it offers amazing happy hour deals. It runs from 4 to 6 PM during the weekdays and will let you enjoy very affordable apps and drinks and get the best seats in the house.

What to order:

  • Maine Lobster Pasta
  • Fish and Chips
  • Fried Alaskan Cod Tacos
  • Fried Chicken Bucket

Morfia’s Ribs And Pies

Location: 4077 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Morfia’s Ribs and Pies is one of those places that are easy to miss since its pretty small and sits in between a bar and a carwash. However, you should still keep your eyes peeled for it, especially if you’re craving for some Texas BBQ because they offer authentic ones. People rave about their juicy sauce-drenched ribs and generous servings.

Unfortunately, the place is small with only 5 tables. You can grab them to go, though, so you can always just enjoy them at home.

What to order:

  • Texas Brisket
  • Baklava Cheesecake
  • Peach Cobbler Pie

Mendocino Farms

Location: 4724 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Mendocino Farms may have other locations around L.A. but their MDR outpost is still worth mentioning for obvious reasons. If you haven’t tried this place yet, you should correct that right away, especially if you love amazing sandwiches.

Just like all the other Mendo’s around the city, their food is fresh, generous, and flavorful. As they’re also very convenient to eat, they’re also perfect for picnics by the marina. Just remember to order online in advance so you can skip the long lines in the store.

What to order:

  • A Study of Heat
  • Kurobuta Pork Banh Mi
  • Chef’s Picks
  • Secret Menu items

C&O Trattoria

Location: 31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Deemed as an institution in the area, the C&O Trattoria continue to draw in people for its generosity and beautiful location. It sits near the water so it’s a must to grab a table outside and they have enormous servings that are already great for sharing. On top of these, they’ll also give you unlimited Garlic Knots which can already be filling in itself.

Aside from the food, the place itself is always lively. There are nightly sing-a-longs, so if you love to dine in restaurants with boisterous atmospheres, this place would be a great choice for you.

What to order:

  • Penne Arrabiata
  • Fettucine Sun-Dried Tomato
  • Linguini Mare
  • Shrimp Ravioli

Irori Sushi

Location: 4371 Glencoe Ave B4, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

A go-to date spot in MDR, Irori Sushi has this rule that you have to remove your shoes at the door. It can be quite weird because it’s one of those well-loved strip mall sushi places, but since the food is good, taking off your footwear is just a tiny setback.

In exchange, you’ll get to enjoy really fresh fish prepared in many different ways. They have a creative range of sashimis and sushi, so you’re in for a unique dining experience when you visit.

What to order:

  • Toro Trio
  • Chef Special Rolls
  • Urchin
  • Salmon Blue Crab

Settebello

Location: 13455 Maxella Ave #250, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Settebello might be another casual chain that you can find elsewhere but it doesn’t mean that the one in MDR doesn’t deserve to be appreciated. Besides, they still offer the same amazing pizzas, so there’s really no reason to give it the snub.

The most special thing about this joint is that they have some of the most legit Neapolitan pizzas around. The flour used in their pizza dough and the other ingredients they use are imported from Italy to really achieve their food’s authenticity. This results to a unique mouthfeel for their pies that, when combined with their tasty recipes, can really have you coming back for more.

What to order:

  • Margherita DOC pie
  • Settebello
  • Specials

Cafe del Rey

Location: 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

To be very honest, a lot of people come to Cafe del Rey for its views. It sits right on the marina so you’ll get to watch the yachts parked outside. The place itself is pretty upscale so expect to see corporate types.

The Wednesday bottomless brunch offers a great reason to visit, though. Not only is it reasonably priced but the menu is quite spectacular, too.

What to order:

  • Kobe Burger
  • Cured Salmon Toast

Tender Greens

Location: 13455 Maxella Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Considered as the pioneers of the build-your-own-salad movement, Tender Greens is now a chain restaurant with new locations around L.A. This isn’t a bad thing, though, especially since this place has seen lines that go around blocks during its early days. The atmosphere now is more relaxed so you can better enjoy your healthy meal in peace.

What to order:

  • Tuna Nicoise
  • Endless Summer Bowl
  • Your own customized plate
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Top 4 Reasons to Order Room Service Breakfast When on Business Trips

Top 4 Reasons to Order Room Service Breakfast When on Business Trips

So you’re on a business trip. You’ve done that quite a bit, have you? If that’s the case, then you must have some sort of routine that you do when you’re in a hotel. Part of that routine is that when you’re having breakfast, you just need to order room service for it. While a room service breakfast may seem overly luxurious and indolent, there are actually very good reasons for such a move:

1.   It Works as an Extremely Effective Alarm Clock

Sure, we all have alarm clocks with our indispensable smartphones these days. But there’s always a reason to dawdle and delay in your foggy little brain in the morning, which is why the snooze button is evil.

But when you’ve scheduled breakfast to arrive at 7:30 AM on the dot, you can’t just press the snooze button and take a few more minutes of zzzs. The reason is simple. Very few people—men as well as women—have enough chutzpah to actually deal with room service delivery without being decently dressed. Lots of men really don’t want to get their breakfast in their ratty boxer shorts, while quite a few women would prefer to have at least brushed their hair.

Since your breakfast arrives at 7:30 AM, you have to wake up beforehand with enough time to get a shower and to look somewhat more presentable. It forces you to wake up and you’re able to start your morning without being rushed.

2.   You’re Actually Able to Eat Breakfast

If you don’t order room service breakfast, there’s a very good chance that you may just skip this important meal. That’s because you didn’t wake up at the right time, or you don’t want to bother finding a place that serves breakfast.

But now you have food and coffee, and you get to eat after more than 8 hours of not eating overnight. You get the fuel you need for your morning activities.

3.   You Can Avoid People If You’re Not a Morning Person

Lots of us aren’t at our best behavior in the morning. So when you head on out the door looking for a breakfast deli, you run the risk of offending people with your surly morning demeanor. These may be other people in the conference you’re attending or the members of your own team, and you may alienate them.

You can try to act nicely, but it can be frustrating. That’s especially true when they insist on coming with you to find breakfast when you’d rather be alone. Then they may even sit with you at the breakfast table and try to chat while you just want to eat, have coffee and read the newspaper.

So order room service breakfast, and enjoy it in peace.

4.   You Can Even Get Some Early Work Done

No one’s stopping you from checking on with your work through your laptop when you’re in your own hotel room. You don’t have to worry about people looking over your shoulder either.

So go ahead and order room service breakfast. It doesn’t cost much, but the rewards are worth more than what you pay for it!

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

You’ll need a different mindset if your website is primarily designed for mobile users.

It’s funny when you think about it, but there was a time when websites weren’t really designed for smartphone screens. They were designed for the much larger monitors of desktop PCs. Of course, when you shrink those web pages you can hardly read and see anything, which became a problem when mobile Internet surfing became more popular. So the more farsighted website owners created their websites for PCs, and then they tried to have a different version for smartphones.

Nowadays, most serious websites have both a PC and a mobile version. In fact, more websites are actually being built for mobile surfing first, before a desktop PC version is created. That’s because more people are going online using the smartphones rather than their desktop PCs.

So how do you build a website that’s more focused on serving the needs of mobile visitors? Here are a few tips that can start you on your way:

1. Strip Your Pages Down

When you’re determined to build a website that’s actually geared for smartphone users, you can’t use overly complex webpages. You have to simply your web pages instead.

There are good reasons for this. One, with a small screen to work with you don’t want to overwhelm the user with too many details. A simple layout works much better so they know what to do. Two, with too many complex elements it’ll take too long for a web page to load, and we all know how impatient mobile surfers are. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load a page, chances are good they’ll press the back button and try another website.

2. Plan for Your User’s Needs

Will they be tapping buttons on the web page? If so, you need to make those buttons visible, and they should be large enough so that they can be tapped easily enough. Will they have to input a username and password? If that’s the case, you’ll have to put in a keyboard interface as well. What if they’re looking for a particular section? You may want to feature a clear outline of your site, and a search bar can certainly help.

You have to put yourself in your website user’s shoes. Pretend you’re the user and you need to find something on your website. You’ should then realize what kind of helpful elements you need to put in.

When you’ve designed your web pages, try them out first. You have to know for sure how they would work within a mobile browser.

3. Don’t Forget about Laptops

When you’re designing with a smartphone user in mind, at least you have a touchscreen working for you so your users can simply swipe along the way to navigate your site. But that’s not exactly the case when your mobile user is actually using a laptop. In some instances, they don’t have a mouse either.

What this also means is that you have to plan for various resolutions to make sure your web pages appear at their best. Laptops are often limited to 1024 x 768 resolutions, and that’s what you need to plan for. In fact, check out the various screen sizes of the most popular laptops so you can have a different version for each resolution.

4. Going with Responsive Layouts

Some people would rather opt for a responsive layout, rather than have a different type of website for each type of Internet device. With a responsive design, your website morphs to fit whatever type of resolution your website user is using.

This can be quite convenient for you. You’ll have the same HTML markup that works on all screens. You won’t have to go with specific stylesheets for different types of devices.

Since you’re focused on mobile users first, at least with this approach you take care of the needs of those using smaller screens. Of course, there’s a good chance that you won’t get an optimal look when you’re website visitor is using a desktop browser. But those are bugs that you can fix later. These guys aren’t your top priority after all.

To help you see just how responsive websites can work for different devices, you ought to do some research on the various responsive sites that are currently in operation these days. Just Google for them and you should find them easily enough. You can then cherry-pick the features that you want to appear on your own responsive website.

5. Don’t Forget about the Navigational Requirements

If you’ve been designing websites all this time with a focus on desktop users, then you’re probably more used to people who can just use a mouse to get around a webpage. That’s not going to fly with a mobile website.

For most website designers, the simplest solution here is to just have your page sections cascade down. Your visitors can just swipe downward to see more of your content. You can also have your links appear constantly at the top or at the bottom of the screen so that they can get around your site more easily.

Just don’t go overboard and put in too many links on your navigational menu bar. Just go with the basic root items instead.

6. Set Up Your Images Properly

Dealing with image content can be problematic when you have such a small screen to work with. One solution is to have a set of images solely for small smartphone screens, while you have another set for normal displays. However, you can’t overlook the need for high-resolution images for iPhone retina displays.

Another solution is to set up all your images to contract and then expand up to the maximum point. This can work just as well for desktop users too. Even HTML5 video supports this setup, so it’s convenient.

It does require a different mindset when you’re building a website that’s more focused on mobile users. The old ways won’t work if you’re used to traditional desktop websites. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to give it a test run on your own smartphone first!

Here are 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website for Google’s Mobile-First Index

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.