Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Takeaways from this episode:

Digital UX is a Part of the Customer JourneyCEO Brendan Sweeney and the Popmenu team understand the importance of digital hospitality, and that a restaurant's digital user experience (UX) is often the first impression for customers.

Ego is the Root of all Evil — According to Brendan Sweeney, money gets a bad rap. When building a longstanding positive culture, he and his teammates at Popmenu decided that they would make decisions devoid of ego as often as possible.

You Gotta Have an Answer — As the industry deals with worker shortage and a growing digital influence, Brendan Sweeney and company have implemented new technology to ensure that no customer question goes unanswered, and the experience is even enhanced by interacting with their new technology.


When co-founding Popmenu, CEO Brendan Sweeney knew to do things differently. The first rule? No corporate bullshit or egos.

Digital technology has grown to become an integral part of the restaurant industry. One of the leaders in the digital hospitality movement is Brendan Sweeney, the CEO and a cofounder of Popmenu (@popmenu). As its tagline states, the restaurant tool is "designed to turn more first-time guests into regulars."

"Popmenu is giving control and simplicity back to restaurants, helping them navigate this crazy digital world, put their best foot forward, attract, engage and transact with their guests in a way they've never been able to do before and simplifying their lives," says Brendan Sweeney to Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

That user experience is what drives Popmenu to provide increasingly efficient mechanisms for their partners to use. With a background in product and marketing, Brendan Sweeney has a keen understanding of how potential customers shop with their senses prior to walking into the door and making the decision to become regulars. Years of research also helped the Popmenu team employ the strategy of a fairly well known business — Amazon.

"It does feel like an Amazon product page when you come to a regular menu on Popmenu," says Brendan. "You can see what does this dish look like? The chef could put as many pieces of text as they want about it. Tell the whole story. The reviews are directly there. The ratings, the social validation. It's all in one place."

That harmonious experience is paramount for Popmenu to provide to their restaurant partners and ultimately to the consumers. Harmony is also a cornerstone on which the Popmenu culture is built.

"We decided to try to do it differently," says Brendan Sweeney about founding Popmenu. "So we, from the beginning, said, number one: no corporate bullshit. And what that ends up really meaning long term is trying to keep ego out of it as much as possible."

The likelihood of more than one founding member of an organization being aligned in what they want is unlikely. Yet, the Popmenu team has hit the jackpot in that arena.

What started as just an idea to break out of cubicle life, and one which Brendan Sweeney admittedly thought would significantly dwindle after a year, has blossomed into an entity that is pushing the digital hospitality industry forward with no sign of losing momentum. The Popmenu team hope to also push the spirit of perseverance and encourage entrepreneurs to keep going.

"It is incredibly rewarding when you figure stuff out, but man, it's hard. It's hard. And so the whole thing is just not having this expectation it's going to happen overnight," he cautions.

Hard is not impossible. It took years in separate occupations for the minds that created Popmenu to come together, and the growth continues to be phenomenal.


NOMINATE A RESTAURANT INFLUENCER — Do you know someone who is killing it on social media? Let us know by emailing or sending the @calibbqmedia team a DM on social media.


Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Popmenu is also a sponsor of the Restaurant Influencers podcast. We wanted to share with our audience this powerful opportunity to help your restaurant reclaim the power of your phone now. Learn more about Popmenu Answering.


2020 in Photos: A New Book Captured the Year that Changed Everything

Christina Hawatmeh, the CEO and founder of Scopio, a community-based image marketplace, talks about her new book, 'The Year Time Stopped: The Global Pandemic in Photos' with Entrepreneur's Jessica Abo.

Geoff Alexander of Wow Bao on Branding Dark Kitchens

Interview with Geoff Alexander, CEO and President of Wow Bao, about improving your online brand presence, digital ordering innovations, and letting go in order to grow.

3 Ways Your Brain Reacts to Uncertainty

Here's Ben Angel's three-step plan to control your emotions and achieve your goals.

How a Throwaway Joke Became an Award-Winning Ad Campaign

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, Creative Director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners Tristan Graham and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss the birth of a very funny (and impactful) commercial.

How This Amazing Campaign Succeeded in Changing a Brand's Perception and People's Lives at the Same Time

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Group Creative Director Tony Jones gives the heartwarming story of how Operation Santa finally took off.

How this Tech Entrepreneur, Biohacker, and Author is Helping Women with Their Periods

The founder and CEO of Flo Living on the future of biohacking and hormonal healthcare.

Duce Raymond of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ on Using Social Media Like a Boss

Interview with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Catering Culinary Director Duce Raymond about his fresh approach to social media content marketing and huge results with short video for the already world-famous brand.

The Key to Effectively Communicating Important Messages Is All About Simplicity

In our 'Creative Conversations in Advertising' series, award-winning Group Creative Director Giancarlo Rodas and Entrepreneur magazine Editor in Chief Jason Feifer discuss distilling complex ideas down to a simple message.

How to Deliver a Serious Message Through Humor

In our series 'Anatomy of an Ad,' Creative Director David Stevanov explains how humor can be a storyteller's most effective tool.

This Successful Shark Tank Entrepreneur Shares His Latest Innovation

The Founder of Ooonimals, Club 44, and the OOO Studio Lab talks about his current projects and what you need to know about the risks and rewards that exist in the NFT space.

Brendan Sweeney of Popmenu on How Ego is the Root of All Evil

Interview with Popmenu CEO Brendan Sweeney about building a positive user experience, the state of restaurant technology, and the importance of providing answers.

Recession-Proof Your Mindset with Neuroscience

With top economists fearing a recession, award-winning author Ben Angel teaches how to recession-proof your mindset with neuroscience to manage stress levels.

How to Find Your "Oxygen Points" to Sustain and Grow Your Business, According to an Investment CEO

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with the CEO of Al Zarooni Emirates Investments, Dr. Adil Alzarooni.

How to Get Investment Funding for Your Business

Entrepreneur magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jason Feifer and Narya Partner Falon Donohue have a lively and informative conversation about securing the funding you need to launch your dream.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.