meez podcast

Brandon Barton - CEO of Bite

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About this episode

#4. Join host Josh Sharkey as he catches up with Brandon Barton, CEO of Bite, a software technology company revolutionizing kiosks in the hospitality industry- particularly in QSR and fast-casual restaurants. Brandon and Josh, former colleagues at Tabla under Chef Floyd Cardoz, delve into their shared experiences in the hospitality sector and the evolution of restaurant technology.

In this episode, Brandon shares insights into sales methodologies and customer-centric approaches, drawing from his extensive background in hospitality and sales. They discuss the future of kiosk technology, AI, and leadership- reflecting on how parenting influences professional growth and leadership styles.

From navigating the challenges of running a venture-backed startup to raising capital, Brandon and Josh share candid stories and valuable lessons learned along the way. Whether you're interested in Restaurant technology, hospitality, or leadership, this conversation offers a unique glimpse into the dynamic world of startups and the future of dining experiences.

Where to find Brandon Barton:

Instagram

LinkedIn

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

Instagram

LinkedIn

SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR MEEZ POD LISTENERS:

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What We Cover

(03:48) Brandon's start in the hospitality industry

(08:17) Cornell and Brandon's realization to transition out of Engineering

(15:58) Bite 101

(20:45) AI and facial recognition

(28:06) Hardware and its innovations

(31:01) Brandon's leadership style as CEO of Bite

(42:58) The parallels between parenting and leadership

(48:08) Venture backed startups and raising capital

(1:00:17) What Brandon is excited to see for the future of the industry

Transcript

[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:


You're listening to season two of The meez Podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, a culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, we're going to talk to high performers in the food business, everything from chefs to CEOs, technologists, writers, investors, and more about how they innovate and operate and how they consistently execute at a high level.


[00:00:24]


And I would really love it if you could drop us a five star review anywhere that you listen to your podcast. That could be Apple, that could be Spotify, could be Google. I'm not picky. Anywhere works. But I really appreciate the support. And as always, I hope you enjoy the show. Alrighty, my guest today. is Brandon Barton and this was a bit of an ad hoc episode in that Brandon and I catch up pretty often maybe once every couple weeks or once a month.


[00:00:54] Josh Sharkey:


And just chat about running food tech companies. Brandon is the CEO of a company called Bite. It's a software technology company focusing on kiosks, specifically in the hospitality space, and more specifically in QSR and fast casual restaurants. Uh, so if you walk up and you want to order something at one of those little kiosks, odds are very often you might be encountering his technology.


[00:01:16]


Brandon and I got to know each other years ago. We both worked for Chef Floyd Cardoz by way of Danny Meyer at a restaurant called Tabla. And he went to Cornell and that's how he ended up, I think, meeting some of the folks that brought him to Tabla. But he's, you know, incredible hospitality professional and also an incredible salesperson.


[00:01:34]


He's been a great advisor to me as we've grown as a company because we at meez is my company. We're not a sales driven organization. And Brandon is a bit of an expert as it comes to the methodologies and the ways in which you think about sales as it relates to just helping customers. And I'm sure he


[00:01:51]

Deploys that into how he runs his company. So we spent a lot of time today talking about bite and future of kiosk technology, and of course, a little bit of AI and leadership. And Brandon is a parent of two children as am I. And so we talk about how parenting impacts. You as a leader, you as a person, you as a professional, and other things related to leadership.


[00:02:11]


We share stories that we always do about what it's like running a startup, specifically a venture backed startup, raising capital and things like that. And generally speaking, just had a great time catching up as always. So I hope you enjoy what is typically a usual conversation for Brandon and I, but hopefully sharing some insights into the world of food technology and hospitality.


[00:02:30]


So please enjoy. And if I haven't mentioned enough before, I would love it if you could share. A review, ideally a five star review, wherever you listen to this podcast. Have a nice day and enjoy the episode. Brandon Barton. Welcome to the show.


[00:02:53] Brandon Barton:


Thanks for having me, man. This is great.


[00:02:55] Josh Sharkey:


I’m very excited. I'm very excited. This was a little bit ad hoc, but we talk all the time. So we figured why not record our conversations this time.


[00:03:01] Brandon Barton:


Just like a normal Friday afternoon, except we're recording this one. So we can't say any of the juicy stuff.


[00:03:06] Josh Sharkey:


We can. And also, you know. I find that if you drop an f bomb, I'm not gonna yell at you. We can edit out or not edit out. But I like to take this opportunity whenever I have my friends on the show as I get to ask Things that I didn't know about you that I wouldn't have normally asked because we don't have time.

[00:03:24] Brandon Barton:


Yeah, I was gonna say normally you're gonna ask me questions that could potentially end our friendship, but now that you're asking me in public, I can't, you know.


[00:03:32] Josh Sharkey:


No we've already gone through those things, and I think we got past them. So, but no, I know you, I know generally speaking you went to Cornell. I know you, some places you worked, but like, can you just give like, The 50,000 foot airplane level view of like your background, just so that maybe I wouldn't know.


[00:03:48] Brandon Barton:


Okay, cool. Yeah. Yeah. I'm gonna, I'm gonna go back to 14 years old, busting tables in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for the best little burger joint that there ever is called Skinflints. I was doing this because, you know, I grew up pretty humbly and, and needed money to do anything in life, right? And, uh, so I found a job busting tables and that was my first love of restaurants.


[00:04:10]


Um, did barbacking, bartending, probably when I was too young to be doing either of those things. And, and serving at this beautiful restaurant, Skinflints on 5th Avenue and 79th Street in Bay Ridge. And then went off to Cornell University, not as a hotel student, which would have made sense, but actually as an engineer.


[00:04:26] Josh Sharkey:


Hold on one second. I know you're from Brooklyn. I didn't realize Bay Ridge. So this must have been like 1995 ish, because I know around your age. Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah. Yeah. So what was the restaurant scene in Bay Ridge in 1995?


[00:04:38] Brandon Barton:


I mean, you know, if you wanted like, you know, red sauce and the potential to sit next to famous, you know, it's not famous, infamous people, I should say. And if you don't know what that means, then, you know, sure. Then the Bay Ridge was spot, I mean, but it's, you know, from a culinary perspective, I don't think that there were many James Beard award winnings restaurants in the world of Bay Ridge. This burger joint, although I would say pioneered the idea of the English muffin, kind of like smash burger, um, which is just a delicious way to eat a burger.

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