Where We Began: Q&A with Co-Founder Brendan Bencharit

Image of Brendan Bencharit Cheif Customer Officer and Co-Founder at Squadle
Q1: Why did you start Squadle?

A: I am an engineer by training but I’ve always had a passion for restaurants and hospitality. I opened my first restaurant shortly after college and after 5 years, got it to a point where I was ready for my next venture. In order to step away from my restaurant and to maintain standard operating procedures, I came up with the idea to create a digital checklist system. I pitched the idea to a friend of mine, who later became a co-founder of Squadle. We started building the idea out, and after piloting the software at my restaurant, we realized we had a great opportunity to bring this technology to others in the restaurant industry. We spoke to a lot of restaurant owners and leaders in the Boston area about the value of a digital checklist system and their feedback was very positive. Once we better understood the market and the opportunity, we started Squadle in 2013.

Q2: How would you describe Squadle’s culture?

A: Squadle has 5 core values: customer first, intellectually curious, diversity, integrity, and teamwork. Since we work in the hospitality industry, we listen to our customers and always try to do the right thing for them. We’re also intellectually curious as a company. Our team keeps an open mind, especially when it comes to feedback from our customers or from other colleagues at Squadle. We also aim to respect the differences that make each of us unique. Lastly, without teamwork, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We’re not afraid to ask for help in order to get things done faster and better. 

Q3: What are some of the challenges the Squadle product helps solve for customers?

A: Squadle gives customers complete visibility into compliance and task completion for food safety among other critical operational procedures at their locations. Our customers can review their standard operating procedures and compliance documentation to see if they are complete, and if they aren’t, we give them tools  that facilitate follow-ups and coaching opportunities. Our products also save time for our customers, having a digital window into real-time operations at their locations and by accelerating completion of their checklists by leaving the pen and paper behind.

Q4: Can you tell us about a specific time when Squadle’s technology helped a customer? 

A: A restaurant client came to Squadle and asked if we could provide a digital solution that would help improve their completion rates for food safety checks. Once they started using Squadle, they experienced improvements across the board. First off, completion rates for daily food safety checks increased by 25%. They also reported significant time savings with Squadle’s ZeroTouch Bluetooth temping product, getting back 90 minutes of their day.

We were able to prevent this restaurant from losing up to $9,000 worth of inventory in their walk-in freezers using Squadle’s remote temperature sensing. The restaurant owner told us that, after a routine check of their walk-in freezers, an employee forgot to turn the freezer equipment back on. After the restaurant closed (around 1 a.m.), the restaurant owner received a Squadle text alert that the freezer was getting too warm. Luckily, their general manager arrived at the restaurant just in time to turn the freezer back on, saving their inventory and preventing unscheduled downtime. 

Q5: What setbacks has Squadle faced and how did the team overcome them?

A: Early on, about 8 years ago, many restaurants were hesitant to adopt technology. By offering a great product, 24/7 support, and hands-on training to customers, we were able to overcome this challenge. Once we moved past this hurdle, our early on customers started realizing the value of Squadle, which led to referrals and organic growth. 

Q6: How were you able to scale Squadle over the past 8 years? Where do you see Squadle heading in the future? 
Quotation:" "During our early stages, we made an effort to work hand-in-hand with customers to shape the [Squadle] product based on their feedback."

A: During our early stages, we made an effort to work hand-in-hand with customers to shape the product based on their feedback. We have always valued and continue to value their input on our products – whether it’s positive or negative, allowing us to create a best-in-class product with an easy onboarding process. Thanks to the key relationships we’ve developed with restaurant owners, managers, and corporate partners, we’ve been able to scale to where we are now. Looking ahead, I see Squadle becoming the standard platform for task management, food safety, and sensor technology in the foodservice, grocery, and convenience store industries. With the amazing team we have at Squadle, our outlook is both very positive and exciting.