Meet Frank Lindner, Trendwatcher and Senior Editor of a multimedia inspiration platform that caters to professional foodies. Guest speaking at our next edition of Amsterdam Talks tech, Frank shares his thoughts on the future of tech in the food, beverage and hospitality industry.
Spaces: Hi Frank, can you tell us about what you do?
Frank Lindner: I’m a Trendwatcher and Senior Editor at Food Inspiration, a multimedia inspiration platform for food professionals, indispensable for every food professional who is active in the world of eating, drinking and sleeping. We help you to stay successful in the turbulent world of service and hospitality. Our expertise has been obtained by attending and organising dozens of exhibitions and events, reading hundreds of reference books and reports, giving thousands of interviews with professionals, eating hundreds of thousands of restaurant meals and traveling countless kilometres across the world. We offer a combination of ‘street credibility’ and ‘expert opinion’.
Can you tell us about your background and how it lead you to where you are?
I have food in my vains! When going on holiday I always safely secure my Big Green Egg mini barbecue on the backseat of the car. Being a young man, I always stood in the kitchen preparing dinner with my dad. At the age of 15 I started working as kitchen help in a small restaurant in Utrecht, the Netherlands. My choice of study was however international economics. Though it was a close call between that or going to a hotel school or chef’s training. From 2008 onwards I could finally combine my skills with my interests becoming the editor in chief of several business magazines and papers on food and hospitality in the Netherlands. I’ve been working with Food Inspiration since 2014.
What are some of the industry related apps and websites that impress you the most?
Besides our own digital magazine Food Inspiration and our latest app Trendement, that features short exclusive articles and videos about trends, inspiration and how to improve your business as a food entrepreneur, I love the Vice sister site Munchies, their video productions are great. As for apps, Downtown by Good Time Labs and iBeacon, a Tellspec app scanner that determines the nutritional value of the products you scan. With each scan the database of Tellspec gets smarter. With our newly launched app Trendement, the average reading time is 2 minutes so people can watch and read during staff food breaks, for example. As a multi user subscriber you can easily share articles in the app with up to five team members in your business or restaurant.
How do you harness tech? What role do you see tech playing in your business?
Tech is really important for us. We are a digital and online first company. We believe in readers becoming viewers. We need to keep an eye on big tech companies like Apple and Google. With the size of the screens of their devices they dictate the ‘paper size’ we must use.
What are your thoughts on the future of tech and food? Which direction do you see it heading in?
It’s going to be huge in food related to cure and care. Wearables and insideables combined with smart apps and software are going to disrupt the cure and care sectors in the coming years. On the other side, people strongly need to reconnect with each other, with their food, with producers and farmers, and with the seasons. Tech can be of assistance, but will certainly not play the lead guitar.
What companies do you look to for inspiration?
Big players such as Google (contact lens) and Apple (devices playing our content), but also small startups such as the Dutch company MiniBrew.
What are your thoughts on the tech startup scene in Amsterdam?
I think we need more startups who combine software and products and or devices. Not just separate software and app developers.
What advice would you give others trying to crack this market?
Start, start small, be brave, and take your risks. Say “yes” to 60% certainty of success. Waiting for 100% means someone has done what you’ve came up with already. Know your market and target audience and use your network! A popular saying in Silicon Valley is “the sooner you fail, the sooner you learn!”.
Great, thanks Frank.
You can listen to Frank speak about starting up and integrating food and tech in our Amsterdam Talks Tech VI: The Food Edition.