Networked restaurants: from finance to funky tunes

Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:47am EDT
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By Maria Kiselyova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Making money from social networks is the holy grail for tech startups, and a Moscow firm reckons it has found a way to do so by creating a front-to-back restaurant management system that includes a loyalty scheme.

In his day job, David Yang runs ABBYY, which specializes in linguistic recognition and translation software. But, as a passionate restaurateur, he has spotted an opportunity created by social networks such as Facebook and Foursquare.

The result is iiko (, an integrated system that handles orders, inventory, finance and security. It also runs a loyalty scheme geared to the fad for location-based networking.

"Loyal guests are better motivated because if they publish a recommendation on their wall and their friends come, the recommender receives part of their spending (as a discount)," Yang told Reuters at Artefaq, one of his trendy restaurants.

"His or her friends will also receive free wine, free burgers, free mojitos," said the Armenian-born Yang, whose father came from China to the Soviet Union to study physics only to be stranded by the Cultural Revolution.

If that's not enough, iikoDJ can play the right music, at the right volume, at the right time of day or night.

"During the day you should change the volume and in different rooms have different music playing," said Yang.

"But people in the restaurants don't usually care, they don't switch music, they don't switch volume or, even worse, they put on their own music."   Continued...

<p>A man looks at his mobile phone in a restaurant near the Bahrain Financial Harbour in Manama March 24, 2011. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed</p>