May 15, 2022

How a restaurant start- up pivoted from lockdown to labor shortage solutions


By Julian Hast – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal


The past two years have been something of a roller coaster for Hazlnut, a Jacksonville-based tech company that specializes in online and mobile ordering solutions companies for mid-sized restaurants, primarily those with around five to 50 locations.

In particular, it does white label solutions — making products for restaurants that brand them as their own — for restaurants that have good enough branding to benefit from online ordering solutions but aren’t so big that they can hire their own development team.

With online ordering having changed from something restaurants depended on to survive, earlier in the pandemic, to something that restaurants now consider for other reasons — to conserve manpower amid the industry’s labor shortage, among them — the Business Journal sat down with founder and CEO Dick Sikes to learn more about how Hazlnut is adapting.

Back when Hazlnut started under the name Gonogo, you were doing something pretty different — selling an app that customers would download to fill out surveys about their experience at the business they’d just patronized, thus providing rating data to small businesses. Why did you transition to online ordering for restaurants?

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