Sofia Franzon, Restaurant365’s new Product Manager for Business Intelligence, is naturally data driven and dedicated to providing our customers with valuable data to empower strategic decision making. But how did she get here? Through a career in the restaurant industry, Sofia saw the many challenges facing restaurants firsthand, from the aftereffects of the pandemic to the increased need for restaurant technology.
As a food lover, Sofia’s newest career venture at Restaurant365 allows her to marry her passions while drawing upon her industry experience. We sat down to talk with Sofia about how she got started in the industry, her views on the relationship between data and hospitality, and the pain points she hopes to solve in her role. Continue reading to learn about her work on R365’s Business Intelligence solution, where that passion was born, and her advice for industry workers.
Love Good Food
What’s your favorite food?
Anything noodle heavy. I love everything from Dan-Dan Noodles to a hearty Tonkatsu Ramen.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I can’t think of a single restaurant, but instead have an eclectic mix of some of my favorite dishes:
- Lechon Hash from Chug’s Diner in Miami, FL
- Tiradito Lujoso Ceviche from La Mar in Miami, FL
- Stir Fried Rice Noodle Roll with XO Sauce from Minghin in Chicago, IL
- Tartufo Pizza (sans sausage) from Forno Rosso in Chicago, IL
How long have you been with Restaurant365?
I’ve been here for about four months now and am proud to be a recent hire who is helping shape the future of the company, as well as the restaurant industry.
From QSR to R365
Tell us about your time working in a restaurant.
My favorite restaurant job was as a hostess/food-runner – weird combination, I know – at The Huddle in Bolton’s Landing in Upstate New York. I worked there as the world was slowly coming out of lockdown from COVID, which gave an interesting perspective into the challenges restaurant owners faced and how they pivoted during those years.
How did your career path lead you to Restaurant365?
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, I’ve always been a food lover by way of exploring different tastes and eventually becoming a little bit of a home cook. I started my career in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space, where I held a variety of different roles across marketing, finance, analytics, and technology.
Around that time, I stumbled upon a user experience (UX) course and fell in love with the centrality of the user. I was always very user-focused in everything I did. I cared about creating products and processes to help other people and, from there, decided that I wanted to pivot to technology.
From UX, I learned about product management, and the rest is history! I found this role with Restaurant365 and thought it would be an amazing fit. I love analytics and numbers, so I was excited at the opportunity to leverage my QSR background and I’m enjoying it so far.
What do you like most about working for Restaurant365?
The people and the culture. It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t embody our values here. On the customer side, we also have a culture of really listening to our users—which is very important as a member of the product team. We’re a feedback-driven team, which I saw first-hand as soon as I joined R365.
Making it Count
How does your daily work impact our business and the industry?
The harsh reality is that the restaurant industry is somewhat behind in adopting and leveraging data in making important decisions. Even more so, we are in a place where we see a polarized pool of clients. Often, a client either has limited data or is running so many different analyses across so many platforms that they lose sight of the questions they need answered: classic data overload.
My daily work involves making our users’ data more accessible to them as well as empowering them to better understand their business. This means making data approachable for the businesses that require a bit of help, while also being advanced enough for our clients who already run complex analyses and need a tool that can handle more.
I really believe that everyone can benefit from leveraging their data, especially when it can be found in one place. If my efforts allow just one restaurant to make a better decision or learn more about their restaurant, it will validate all of the work I do—although, of course, I’m hoping for more than one!
What impact can restaurant technology have on the operation of a successful restaurant?
I think most outsiders think about restaurant technology as a robot arm making burgers (looking at you, Flippy). In reality, restaurant technology can have an incredible effect on a successful restaurant—both from a hardware and software perspective. Thoughtful restaurant technology can do everything from make employees happier and more efficient all the way to providing CEOs better information. At Restaurant365, we try our best to create thoughtful technology that makes it easier to run your business because every second, minute, and hour counts in this industry.
What advice do you have for current restaurant industry workers looking to grow their careers?
My biggest piece of advice is to stay hungry and be authentic. It’s important to ask questions until you understand and keep learning from the people around you. Everyone’s experience is different and you can learn a lot from other people’s expertise. Equally, if not more important, is being authentic. Show up as yourself and learn to grow as your own person on your own path. Don’t compare yourself to others and focus on being better every day. I’m still working on these things as well! Staying hungry and being authentic isn’t just a phase; it’s something that you need to push yourself toward to be growing, humble, and honest well into your career.