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This Edmonton company's new digs are a tech startup's dream

After years of exponential growth, Jobber has finally found a place to call home >

Decades of Discovery

Every time you drive down a paved road, smear bug repellent on your body, hurtle down the ski hill or take Echinacea to fend off a cold, you can thank, at least in part, the Alberta Research Council (ARC).

Virus Alert

Virus Alert

Superhuman Resources

The industrial revolution promised to set workers free with decidedly mixed results. The machines of the working man’s liberation in many instances became nothing less than soul-crushing boat anchors.

More Waiter, Less Waiting

What if every waiter could list all the ingredients in your Eggplant Parmigiana, never billed you for the wrong meal and could always recommend the perfect glass of wine with any dish? It’s not impossible in the world of wireless waitering. Calgary-based Ozzitec Inc. has obtained the North American distribution rights for the WaiterPad, a wireless from-the-table ordering system, developed by PalmTEQ, which the company claims is poised to revolutionize the way the hospitality industry operates.

Here’s how it works: The waiter enters guests’ orders onto a touch screen, using a series of drop-down menus. The WaiterPAD prompts the server to ask about specific cooking instructions, side orders and suggestive sellers and can also hold detailed information on each menu item, including recipes and wine suggestions. The orders are then instantly relayed to staff in the kitchen and bar and automatically tacked onto the bill. Servers can devote more time to customers and spend less time running back and forth to terminals and food preparation areas, says says Ozzitec president and CEO Greg Rodda.

“It’s been proven that [the WaiterPADs] improve efficiency so much and they almost nullify mistakes,” he adds. Feedback from restaurants indicates servers can look after 60% to 80% more tables after implementing the software which uses a PalmV as its platform. Its ability to add significantly to a company’s bottom line is clear, says Rodda. One 400-seat restaurant claimed it increased its liquor sales by $1,100 a day after implementing the WaiterPADs.

“The system has been in existence now for nearly three years and, in Australia, where it was developed, it’s the largest selling wireless point of sale system,” he says. The company’s first Canadian client is a drive-in restaurant in Prince Edward Island. It does, however, require a significant upfront investment, with prices starting at $20,000 for a two-WaiterPAD system including main touch screen terminal printers and a cash drawer.

ICT Going Global

With almost two-thirds of industry now operating globally, efforts to strengthen and promote cross-border opportunities are imminent, especially in the field of Information and Communications Technology.

Bookmark This September 2001

Who: Paul McElhone, executive director, Canadian Institute of Retailing and Services (CIRAS), Edmonton

Geoffrey Shmigelsky

Geoffrey Shmigelsky – Entrepreneur in Residence, University of Calgary

Retirement sits uneasily with Geoffrey Shmigelsky, the 32-year-old Prairies Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. Shmigelsky started Cadvision in 1990 with less than $1,000.

Arthur Price

Arthur Price – Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia Corporation

After a career as a young gun running Husky Oil, Art Price has turned his attention to a high-tech pipeline that will bring groundbreaking interactive Internet service to every community in Alberta at lightning speeds.

Antoine Noujaim

The development of Alberta's biotechnology sector rests to a large extent on the shoulders of Dr. Tony Noujaim, co-founder of AltaRex and Biomira and chair of the board for BioAlberta, the province's leading association for the bioindustry. >

Sam Shaw

Sam Shaw – President, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

Dr. Sam Shaw is committed to lifelong learning. Recently, he facilitated a $40-million partnership with Compaq that will create a state-of-the-art facility and training centre for ICT at NAIT. The contribution speaks to the credibility that NAIT has earned, under his leadership, as a centre of excellence for the high-tech community.

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