March 14, 2023


Restaurant Tech with Tasha Kewalramani

Hosted by

Tyler Seybold
Restaurant Tech with Tasha Kewalramani
Levy Inspiration Grant Program
Restaurant Tech with Tasha Kewalramani

Mar 14 2023 | 00:05:24


Show Notes

Tasha is a self-proclaimed foodie. Her relationship with food has always been centered around connection and culture, using food as a way to get to know other people. With some experience at the restaurant tech company Toast under her belt, she visited a few countries in Latin America to see how different restaurants are (or aren’t) incorporating new digital restaurant tech innovations.

Learn more about the Entrepreneurship at Kellogg program at


Produced, written, edited, and mixed by Tyler Seybold

Hosted by Tyler Seybold

Special thanks to our guest, Tasha Kewalramani

Background music by Blue Dot Sessions

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Episode Transcript

In her friend group, Tasha is the go-to person to make restaurant reservations. From previously starting a food brand with her mom to interning at a restaurant tech company. The ways in which people gather around food have always been an area of interest for her. Recently, Tasha traveled to a few countries in Latin America, also known as LATAM, to see for herself the ways in which restaurant operators utilize or don't utilize technology in their day-to-day operations. This is her Inspiration Grant story. My interest in restaurant tech stems from a few different things. From a passion perspective, I've always sort of been a foodie and have loved the restaurant space. That's the primary way that I like to socialize with people. I think it really came to light for me when I was interning at Toast and realizing all of these metrics around how much of a struggle the restaurant space is. They have such low margins. They're kind of just, bringing in checks and having to spend that check on labor management or on their rent and so on and so forth. I ended up narrowing it down to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, and the reason there is because I was looking for regions where the digital adoption has been a little bit quicker than the rest of the LATAM market. There were different sets of experience that I wanted to build for myself in planning for this trip. One set of experiences was speaking to restaurant operators. What better way to understand the needs of restaurants than to speak to the people that own them and the reasons for adopting technology or not adopting technology. Witnessing firsthand the livelihood of these restaurant operators in South America, how it might not be that they're trying to be the next millionaire, but they're more so just loving to cook and wanting to feed people and oftentimes they don't have the head space to think about spending on these very expensive restaurant tech innovations. But we should not take that experience that they're giving us for granted. Going digital is at the expense of that homey feeling of sharing a meal. We've seen post-pandemic with the QR code adoption how much that digital aspect of eating out has changed how we interact with people. In my mind is always that trade-off between digital adoption, always having your phone at the table, versus the pen and paper, which is how a lot of LATAM operates. That's made me a little bit more humbled and kind of grounded me a little bit after seeing the volume of restaurants that I saw in those countries. The area that I would innovate in is within fine dining. I actually spoke to a restaurant operator in wine country in Mendoza, in Argentina. He was telling me about all of the technology that they're investing in, and it was clear that dichotomy between that restaurant operator within the fine dining space and those of more, sort of middle class, lower class restaurants that I was dining at regularly. That tech adoption is there, but it's within more of the fine dining where they have that higher willingness to pay and they're more concerned about things like table turnover and making sure they're optimizing the utility in the space that they have within their restaurants. From an innovation perspective, because of my revelation around the fine dining space in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, I could very much see myself developing some kind of startup in that space. I think for the near term though, I would certainly bring this idea to my next job, and I think that will be either at Toast or some other growth-stage startup, hopefully within the food and restaurant tech space. Sharing a meal with someone is such a great way to engage with people, but also to experience the culture of different countries. So whenever I like to travel, eating out, visiting the grocery store is always the first thing that I do, and I wanna remind students that even though tech innovation in some of these countries may not exist. It may not exist for a reason, right? Keeping that sort of love and homey-ness associated with eating a meal with someone is something that we just shouldn't take for granted. The Levy Inspiration Grant Program is made possible through the generous support of Larry and Carol Levy and is managed by the Entrepreneurship program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. To learn more about the Levy Inspiration Grant Program and other ways we support student entrepreneurs, visit our website at

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