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John Olk, Vice President of Sales at NCCO, shares the secret of NCCO’s century-long success–prioritizing customer needs and welcoming feedback on innovation and improvement. NCCO has indeed pioneered in this field and established itself as a household brand in foodservice.
Could you give us an overview of NCCO?
National Checking Company traditionally served table service restaurants and now operates across several foodservice operations and commercial kitchens in North America and Europe. For many decades, NCCO focused almost exclusively on the restaurant industry, where our trademark GuestCheck™ order pads helped increase sales while enhancing the dining experience. We also provide products that are successful in the hospitality, convenience store, healthcare, education, and contract foodservice industries as well. We offer a wide variety of products, from printed items like the Guest Check™ to a highly-customizable smart labeling solution.
What are some of the major pain points that your clients currently face?
The two significant challenges we hear from our customers are increasing labor costs and food labeling protocol. Managing these two criteria across broad networks are the primary pain points our customers face. NCCO’s products help adjust and overcome these challenges.
What are the major technological trends emerging in the foodservice sector that help tackle these challenges?
Most forward-thinking operators are looking for technologies that can control multiple operations from a single location through a cloud-based interface. More importantly, companies who are expanding quickly or opening locations in new places are utilizing a variety of technologies to streamline the training process and avoid reinvention for every new location.
Could you elaborate on the products that you have, their features and functionalities, and how exactly they help your clients?
NCCO offers a variety of products.
The Date Code Genie® is our cloud-based labeling system. This intuitive system makes printing labels for prep, to-go, delivery, and more a breeze. It also stores and manages all the information related to an operation’s food and labeling from a single location. One organization may have multiple food brands, and the Date Code Genie® can store all food-related information in the cloud and access it across locations. The labels are printed right from the device and ready to be used.
"As a family-owned company, our business continues to evolve. Over the years, NCCO has grown from a single company to a family of businesses offering a variety of products, services, and technologies that improve foodservice profitability, enhance food safety and increase server and operations efficiency"
NCCO’s complete line of First Aid Kits and components help make OSHA/ANSI compliance simple with specially designed cases and no bulk refill requirements.
How exactly do the products that you manufacture meet the client’s needs and their customization criteria?
The Date Code Genie® is a device with both a tablet and a thermal printer. In the Date Code Genie® portal, there is a Label Designer. Customers can design labels with logos, multiple colors, shapes, sizes, formats, and layouts through a simple drag-and-drop builder. For instance, if a grab-and-go store sells freshly prepared salads and sandwiches, each item will have different ingredients, prices, and expiration dates. Using the Date Code Genie®, you can set a default label style for each item with price, ingredients, and expiration dates, and save it in the cloud. If you have 300 stores selling the same products, the store-level worker doesn’t need any additional information before printing the label. He pushes print for a particular salad or sandwich, and the label is printed with the customized logo on it and the item’s price from the information that is stored in the cloud.
How do your products prevent cross-contamination and help ensure customers’ safety?
Food safety and labeling are of great importance in the foodservice industry. Before, food labeling was optional, and now it is regulated by city, state, or federal systems.
Could you mention a customer success story where your client approached you with a unique challenge and how you went on to help them?
We are continually evolving, updating, and upgrading NCCO’s products based on customer feedback. For example, a customer suggested if we could have a sequential numbering code on preparation items – after exploration and coding, we were able to implement this functionality for all Date Code Genie® systems.
I’d like to know if there are any key differentiating factors that give you a competitive edge in the market?
NCCO has had nearly six evolutions since we started with the original green Guest Check™ in the early 1900s. In the years following, we introduced cash register rolls and ribbons, food safety products, portion control systems, and more. In the last decade, we added the Date Code Genie® and tamper-evident labeling. We have a wide variety of food safety products along with food safety training through Always Food Safe®, a sister company of ours. With each development, we have listened to customer needs and brought a solution to the market. All of us at NCCO care greatly about customer feedback. This year we are hosting a Date Code Genie® “roundtable” event where customers from different industries are invited. During the event, we collect reviews on our products and offer time for discussion on potential new ideas or upgrades to current products. This helps us to optimize NCCO products based on customer needs and wants.
Could you tell us about the company’s future roadmap for the next couple of years?
As a family-owned company, our business continues to evolve. Over the years, NCCO has grown from a single company to a family of businesses offering a variety of products, services, and technologies that improve foodservice profitability, enhance food safety and increase server and operations efficiency. As we look towards the next few years, we are planning an expansion to the Date Code Genie® product offerings along with further advancements to our current products. As part of our evolution, we are looking for additional opportunities to add to our portfolio of products and services.