Tech startups often start with big, audacious goals but typically fail to clarify what those goals mean. This leads to employees not knowing what’s expected of them at work – something affecting 50% of employees, according to Gallup. TouchBistro managed to evade this trap.
Following the announcement of TouchBistro’s partnership announcement with EVO Mexico to expand payments systems in the country, VP of Payments John Florinis spoke with PulseBlueprint about how the Toronto company built an environment where everyone can do what’s best for the business.
A clear vision becomes a decision framework
“Our underlying philosophy is to see restaurants succeed,” said Florinis. “When we look at embarking on new initiatives and how we explain value to our customers, it’s predominantly around the business side; their revenues and growth.”
TouchBistro’s goal is to reinvent the restaurant experience, per their careers page, and does so via their iPad POS system. For anyone who’s worked in restaurants – or even just eaten at one – ordering digitally streamlines the entire experience.
Growth stems from this corporate vision that is endorsed and supported by TouchBistro CEO Alex Barrotti. The EVO partnership, for example, came from thinking about how to help restaurant owners. TouchBistro knew
It was that simple: the initiative made things better for restaurant owners and thus it became a priority.
TouchBistro building to its vision and for its customers
The TouchBistro ethos of helping restaurants permeates the business and lives in the ways they’ve built the product.
One key example is the cloud. As more apps race to become ‘in the cloud,’ TouchBistro cloud couldn’t follow suit in the traditional way. If the TouchBistro cloud solution relied wholly on the cloud, small restaurants with shaky wifi would lose their entire ordering system if the internet went down.
“We are cloud connected but not cloud dependent,” explained Florinis. “If the internet ever went down, you could still operate your business and when it’s back up, everything syncs to the cloud.”
If TouchBistro only aimed to bring restaurants online, they may not have thought about the cloud dependency issues. Their holistic philosophy made difficult choices like how to build a cloud solution a simple matter of serving the customer.
Empowering employees to think about what’s best for TouchBistro
As TouchBistro thought about its partnership with EVO Mexico, the company wanted to differentiate itself in the market. This is something Florinis thinks about a lot, since the company already operates in Mexico. The EVO partnership was one way to stand out from the crowd of restaurant POS systems.
For this partnership and other differentiating factors, Florinis goes back to the vision again when it comes to solving hard problems.
“There’s a commitment to deliver – it’s good stress,” said Florinis. “For the team, it was ‘how do we get past the finish line?’ It was about pushing ourselves in a positive way knowing there was light at the end of the tunnel.”
But when it comes to challenges, Florinis said that “the biggest challenge is always juggling short-term versus long-term” opportunities. In one example, a large Latin American brand in an adjacent category wanted to partner with TouchBistro on their launch. While the partnership would have been flashy, Florinis noted it would have “set us off track in the short term”. The team ultimately passed.
Florinis doesnt want these decisions to come from executives only, though. He encourages his team to explore opportunities they see and help set company priorities. Instead of simply pitching ideas upwards for Florinis’ acceptance or denial, he helps his team walk through the thought process of whether it’s a good idea for the business.
He starts with the vision, helping employees identify for themselves if the idea can have real business impact. From there, he helps them figure out if the idea is high priority.
“I could look from a high level and say ‘not right now,’ but you want people to look at opportunities with a lens of what’s best for the business,” Florinis said. “We want them to come to that conclusion themselves.”
Images courtesy TouchBistro.