One of the secrets to entrepreneurial success is recognizing and acting on trends and opportunities before everyone else. Jeffrey Harris knows this better than most, and it’s part of the reason that the vegan fast-food restaurant, Plant Power Fast Food, which he co-founded in 2016 with Mitch Wallis & Zach Vouga, has rapidly expanded to seven locations throughout California, with more planned to open in 2021.
When much of Americans’ work went online in 2020, Harris recognized something else: because everyone from investors to employees began using video conferencing for communications, having high-quality audio and video solutions became necessary to make good first impressions and ensure efficiency for meetings. This realization led Harris to the ClearOne’s Aura Versa 50 system, which includes a plug-and-play 4K camera with pan, tilt and zoom and a speakerphone with HDConference® audio.
“Visual presentation has a very real brand impact, and in many cases, an entrepreneur is part of the brand,” Harris said. “How I appear and sound on my daily video calls makes a difference, and the low-quality camera and microphone in my laptop were not allowing me to put my best foot forward. The ClearOne Aura Versa 50 system changed that in an instant. Once I plugged the gear in, I was using it 60 seconds later.”
The Aura Versa 50 system combines ClearOne’s UNITE® 50 4K ePTZ camera with a CHAT® 150 speakerphone to deliver a complete professional-grade video and audio conferencing solution. The UNITE 50 camera offers features far beyond what integrated laptop cameras provide, including up to 4K quality, an ultra-wide 120-degree field of view, a 3x digital zoom and pan and tilt functions that can be controlled through an included remote. The CHAT 150 speakerphone delivers excellent audio quality to match the video, leveraging ClearOne’s HDConference audio technology in a table top unit that features hard buttons for instant control of volume and mute functions.
Harris had reservations about implementing a new technology in his home office, since he doesn’t have much downtime and must always be ready to present, so he was ecstatic to find that the system requires no setup or instructions while offering advanced features.
“When a technology is this simple to use, it’s common to wonder ‘Why didn’t I do this before?’, and I certainly had that thought after a day of using the ClearOne gear,” Harris explained. “I had thought about upgrading my home office, but I’m running a business and have a million daily tasks that take priority. Luckily, my concerns evaporated once I plugged the camera and speakerphone in, because that’s literally all the setup I had to do – plugging it in. No drivers, no downloads. It just worked, and I started using it right away with multiple online platforms.”
Harris has also jumped into the world of podcasts and interviews that focus on the edgy vegan fast-food segment, allowing him to develop a personal brand while promoting his business and the industry as a whole. For these types of public appearances, quality and reliability is paramount, even more so than for internal communications.
“When I’m online talking to people I’ve never met or presenting to an audience, I need to know that they are focused on what I’m saying and showing, and not on how grainy the video is or how choppy the audio might be,” he added. “People feel more comfortable and engaged when the technologies around them work correctly: Whether it’s in a retail store or watching a video presentation at home, the quality of the audio and video really makes a difference. When everyone is comfortable and there are no distractions, the message has a greater impact, and having an impact is the whole reason that my partners and I started this business.”
Both the UNITE 50 4K ePTZ camera and CHAT 150 speakerphone are small enough to toss in a laptop bag, making them an ideal long-term solution that provides excellent value regardless of changing work environments. Being responsible for the company’s investor relations, franchising and public relations, Harris expects to take the gear on the road with him as normal business resumes.
Plant Power Fast Food aims to change the conversation about fast-food by offering the same familiar items leading chains sell, but with a selection that is entirely plant-based. So, when someone is craving a bacon cheeseburger, they can get one that doesn’t actually contain any beef, bacon or cheese. In this way, the all plant-based selection caters to the average consumer and the brand isn’t specifically targeted to vegans or vegetarians: it’s for everyone. The goal of Plant Power Fast Food is to reduce animal suffering and decrease the environmental impact of animal agriculture while keeping hungry people happy. As Harris puts it, “We aren’t a business with a mission statement, we’re a mission statement with a business.”