Keeping kids satisfied and entertained while dining out is almost as important as catering to those who are actually paying the tab (we're going on the assumption that most preschoolers don't have credit cards). The maze-covered paper placemats of our childhoods are now kind of gauche. Today's generation of kids choose tablets over coloring books and could benefit from a higher level of engagement when out at restaurants.
BizzieMe is a Maine-based company that realized happy kids = happy customers = happy restaurant owners/managers. They also noticed and acted upon the growing trend of technology within the restaurant industry as a way to engage customers. Their goal is to create kid-centered applications to increase brand loyalty and customer retention.
BizzieMe is currently focusing on family-oriented restaurants (an $80 billion business) and creating branded games and activities for their youngest customers, who are digital “natives” and expect to be engaged digitally. They have a patent-pending platform in which they can build custom, geo-located applications for use on mobile devices while the customer is at the specific establishment. Their design team works with the restaurant's marketing department to create customized content to convert into an engaging mobile experience. Once the application is launched, guests can access it in-house using their own devices.
The BizzieMe team is headed by Emily Bernhard, a marketing and PR pro who has worked for National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, and PBS, and Julie Kingsley, a literacy expert turned social media consultant with a long history in the education field.
Whether parents want to admit it or not, kids are often the driving force behind where families choose to dine and spend their money. The BizzieMe platform is aimed at the right audience for their current market. However, it would also be interesting to see if they branch out to create similar applications for adults (big kids like to be engaged, too!).
BizzieMe showcased at our first Maine Tech Cocktail Mixer & Startup Showcase.