If you work in an office in New York City, there’s a good chance that when noon strikes, determining “where should we get lunch” ends up being one of the most trying parts of the day. Increasingly, there’s a good chance that office is located around Flatiron — like Blue Bite’s office is! The Flatiron District is a great place to work in terms of lunch options. Pretty much anything your heart desires is all located within a five-block radius. So here are my favorite lunch spots in the area:
By Chloe — for when you’re feeling a genius counter-style restaurant for vegan and healthy food lovers that looks like Shake Shack but feels like Anthropologie. An incredibly popular vegan restaurant, By Chloe just opened up a second location in Flatiron, and has quickly become my favorite vegan restaurant ever. My favorites were the Guac Burger, and the Spicy Thai salad. Despite being vegan, it’s extremely filling — make sure to save room for their amazing dessert!
Sweetgreen: for when you want a really good salad. Their salads are creative works built from local and organic goodies. My favorite was the Santorini Salad (chopped romaine with citrus shrimp, feta, red grapes and chickpeas; topped with a cucumber basil yogurt dressing and a fresh lemon squeeze). Along with that, I had a tall cup of flavorful limeade with cucumber. This place is just a tad more upscale than other salad bars but paying the extra one or two dollars is so worth it.
Dig Inn: the comfort food you can feel good about. Dig Inn is a counter style eatery that serves homey food made from seasonal, local ingredients, so everything tastes better by default. For about $10, you get a protein (my favorite: the red wine vinegar braised beef), a grain, and several veggie sides.
Num Pang: for when you want a party in your mouth. This Cambodian sandwich shop serves their classic and seasonal specialties on freshly baked bread that is crave-worthy. My favorite is their classic Duroc pulled pork sandwich (with spicy mayo, pickled cucumbers, shredded carrots and cilantro). They have a few other staple sandwiches and seasonal vegetarian specials as well.
You might be reading this and wondering: what does Flatiron lunch hot spots have to do with a tech company? Here’s the answer: most of the restaurants I have listed above have taken advantage of IoT. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the idea that objects will be able to connect to each other via the Internet. IoT is being used everywhere today, including the restaurant industry. After all, speed and convenience are important to most consumers, and IoT offers restaurants these benefits, taking convenience to a whole new level.
IoT is already beginning to change how consumers shop. Consumers presented with advertised discounts while searching for information online is nothing new. However, it is evidence of the great influence of IoT has on our daily lives. And this influence is growing. For instance, we have seen the proliferation of ordering food through apps at any given moment or location. These orders are then automatically transferred to points of sale and kitchen display systems.
For the aforementioned restaurants, I have experienced their mobile apps. I always like to place my order ahead of time so it will be ready when I pick it up. IoT allows for apps to work in this way, which may be the key to encouraging people to order their food online. Such apps also make it possible for customers to earn loyalty points and special offers when they order using their smartphone or tablet. There was a time when technology lay only at the cash counter in terms of calculations or stock enquiry, billing and systems; today the world has moved to easy shopping, touchpoints, and mobile payments, enabling customers to shop on their own, scan products with smartphones, and quickly pay minimizing time spent.
IoT solutions also can save money and increase revenue. IoT can do this by tailoring promotions to customer profiles, matched by data from loyalty programs to information from big data cloud services. For example, if a restaurant had enabled sensor technology, like beacons, my customer profile can be picked up on the Point of Sale terminal as I enter the location. The servers would, by that time, have all the information they need about me to provide great customer service: from my name — which they could use to greet me personally — to information about my order. Beacons can also be used with restaurant (and other branded) apps to identify potential customers who are nearby, and send them a quick notification for a free drink with their next order! Better yet, apps with loyalty programs can use beacons to notify customers who are close to getting that 7th free sandwich to drive them into the store and increase transaction value.
With the advent of 5G networks and better access to the Internet, IoT is already changing the way we interact with the world around us. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and there will be 25 billion smart devices transmitting tiny amounts of data to us, to the cloud and to each other by 2020. Considering the safety and cost-saving benefits of IoT devices in restaurants, the market is primed for expansion.
VP of Finance