Updated: Dec 7, 2020
When our CEO, Tom Dillon, called me to officially offer a leadership position at Jetson, admittedly my first feeling was of apprehension. There I was, a career food and beverage operator operator (and all-around hospitality junky), sizing up the task of leading a budding startup in an unknown field (technology). Living in San Francisco didn’t help much either. Having launched a hospitality venture of my own after relocating to the hub of technology and innovation, much like many service industry workers there, I’d developed an inherent connection to the industry without ever actually being a part of it. While the Bay Area is renowned for its local eccentricities and international tourism, it was actually the techie locals that felt more foreign to me than the transient hotel guests and local cast of wonderfully bizarre characters I'd encounter on a daily and nightly basis on my afternoon and late night commutes through Union Square and Nob Hill. Within the hospitality and service community, especially among the "old guard," there’s a palpable distaste for tech culture, especially in technology's emerald city. Beyond squadrons of buzzed “tech bros” pitching me the next “revolutionary-unicorn-industry-disruptor” on a nightly basis, in nearly every bar and restaurant in America you’ll find a server complaining about their point of sale (POS) system, a host struggling with an iPad, or a manager regretting the money they’ve wasted on a new bit of technology promising to make their day shorter and job easier. To a hospitality worker, nothing feels more naturally foreign to the human experience than technology. In fact, more often than not, what is pitched as "innovation" often becomes the very disconnect that compromises hospitality at its core.
It was this same bias that I carried into my early discussions with Tom. Despite seeing the dire need for innovation and smarter integration of technology in bar and restaurant operations even prior to COVID, I couldn’t imagine that we, a technology company, could successfully approach the hospitality industry in a way that I, a hospitality manager, would ever be receptive to.
So we took a step back, and after much discussion, we decided that Jetson would no longer be a traditional tech company. Instead, our identity would be founded on the notion that, first and foremost, we were a hospitality company. Our core principles, our customer service, and our company culture would reflect the principles of the small local businesses and larger hospitality organizations we strive to assist in this unprecedented time of need, not only because it’s the best way to communicate and connect with the industry, but also because it’s the way we learned to deliver transcendental service through human connection after years of serving drinks, bussing tables, and creating experiences. At Jetson, our mission is to reinvent the role of hospitality technology in this new age of our industry. By bridging the gap between innovation and operations we can streamline service and enhance the guest experience all in the name of hospitality.
We’re taking off, and we can't wait for you all to join the ride.