The Newest and Most Innovative Food Tech in Chicago


Chicago restaurateurs, are you looking to tap into new and innovative ways to attract and retain new customers? You’re in luck – because there’s a wave of helpful technology hitting restaurants and it’s available to you.


Check out Chicago’s most innovative food tech shaping the windy city’s restaurant scene.



Founded by Chicago’s Nick Kokonas and Brian Fitzpatrick, Tock is an online reservation platform that allows guests to reserve a table by placing a deposit on it before they arrive. The system was created when Kokonas reopened his three-Michelin star restaurant, Alinea after a five-month close for renovations and tables sold out in two minutes.


Tock essentially mocks a ticketing system for a concert. For restaurants lucky enough to have a line-up at the door, this helps guests get in, without getting discouraged by a months-long wait. In addition to reservation tools, Restaurateurs can create guest profiles, communicate within the system, and get reports and insights on reservations.


Food Genius

The restaurant industry is always subject to change. Food trends, consumer habits, competition innovation, evolving tech – the list is endless. Recently acquired by US Foods, Food Genius collects, analyzes, and delivers foodservice data and analytics with the goal of helping restaurants enhance their pricing strategies and keep a finger to the pulse of competition by collecting industry trends.



Headquartered in Chicago and touted as being the city’s favourite hangover app, Seamless is an app that enables customers to order delivery from their favourite local restaurants. Simple concept, big demand.



A new addition to Chicago’s roster of food apps, MealPal, formerly MealPass, is known as the Tinder of food. With 63 fast-casual restaurants on board, members pay a moderate monthly fee ($119 per month) and select a lunch offering from a participating restaurant every morning. With everything from salads, to green bowls, to pizza, users simply select a special, place an order, and then pick up their lunch at the location they ordered from. It works out to around $6 a lunch. It’s kind of genius: it allows a fairly priced lunch option for users, and exposure for participating restaurants.



Work wins. Forgotten birthdays. Missed social obligations. The concept behind Gratafy is simple: users can send gifts of food and drinks through their smartphone, like a new age gift certificate. When a gift is purchased, the app posts the gift to the recipient’s Facebook wall, and they can redeem it at the restaurant with a three-digit code. Bada-bing-bada-boom! It’s easily integrated into existing restaurant systems so you don’t have to worry about implementation haggles.



Not everyone can get away from their desk for lunch. But they can still be a potential guest. Fooda capitalized on the busy corporate crowd running by the ethos: “get food at your office.” For a dollar (plus the cost of lunch), their order is delivered to users. Several different restaurants are featured daily. Hello, great exposure!


In addition, Fooda also offers offices the ability to host a pop up restaurant. They’ll even work with you to set up your short-time shop.


Zero Percent

Waste not, want not. Restaurants can alert Zero Percent when they have excess food. Zero Percent then donates the food to a participating charity or shelter. With high safety standards and an easy, convenient way to notify Zero Percent of a pick up time that works for your restaurant, no food or time goes to waste. Plus, as a bonus, you can save some tax dollars too.



Not-so-shameless plug! (Sorry, not sorry.) We’ve barrelled onto the Chicago scene, with a growing customer base now using our iPad POS and reporting system. We’re loving Chicago, and are so pleased that both full service and quick service establishments are picking us up all around the windy city. With intuitive design, table side ordering, menu management,  easy modifications, flexible customizations and more, restaurants are reducing their risk - and their daily frustrations - by using our intuitive system to improve their bottom line.  





About the Author

Dana Krook

Dana is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.

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