2019 Top Women in Restaurant Technology
Here are some heartening statistics for women in technology: Women now make up more than half of new computer science graduates and junior developers entering the workforce, according to a March 2018 study from tech recruiting company HackerRank. Women under 25 are also 33% more likely to study computer science than those who were born before 1983, according to the study.
While these are certainly steps in the right direction, currently only about a quarter of professional computing jobs are held by women, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Boosting this percentage will not only benefit the perception of women in tech, it will help meet the anticipated future demand for computer science professionals. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings in the U.S. by 2024, but more than two-thirds of these jobs could go unfilled due to the insufficient pool of college graduates with computer-related degrees.
Hospitality Technology’s third annual Top Women in Restaurant Technology awards honor women from both restaurants and technology suppliers who have been making their mark in a male-dominated industry. These professionals are recognized for outstanding achievement in helping to reimagine restaurant processes and operations while demonstrating excellence in leadership, inventiveness and skill.
This year’s winners have all demonstrated incredible passion and accomplishments that will inspire the IT professionals of today and tomorrow. It is with great pride that Hospitality Technology, with sponsorship by 7Shifts, introduces the 2019 Top Women in Restaurant Technology.
She also works to identify and solve pain points. One of her recent accomplishments was creating an AI-powered assistant for general managers. From her experience as a general manager, she had first-hand knowledge of the required tasks that chain GMs to the back office for an hour each day. She led a cross-functional team of internal and external support to create an AI-powered “assistant” for the GMs. The AI tool learns how to most efficiently run the location and creates recommendations on labor scheduling, waste management, fraud, ordering, etc. The tool allows GMs to get out from the back-office and spend more quality time with guests and team members improving guest satisfaction and team member retention.
In the coming year, Kirkwood expects the shift to digital ordering solutions and more seamless payments solutions to continue. “It won’t be long until you can walk out of a restaurant after paying with your face,” she predicts.
When it comes to future advancements, Kirkwood is looking forward to implementing seamless technology “that feels so natural you wouldn’t even know it was there,” she says.
Now the director of program management, Merrifield is most passionate about technology that improves the user experience whether its making an operator’s job easier or improving the guest experience.
When it comes to her career, Merrifield says she’s most “thankful for starting at the bottom and working my way up … I feel fortunate to be in a position to influence others in the organization and remind them of our team’s main goal: to provide our operators with the technology needed to deliver the most personalized and unique experience in the industry.”
TOP WOMAN VANTAGE POINT
“It’s exciting to see the algorithms and recommended tactics evolve based upon the data," Hartman says.
In the coming years, Hartman predicts an increase in smarter marketing spend driven by technology. “…Using technology to drive marketing decisions has only just begun,” she says.
According to Hartman, one of her top career achievements is receiving McDonald’s President’s Award that recognizes the achievements of the top 1% of McDonald’s corporate employees globally.
Being recognized as Innovator in HT’s Top Women in Restaurant Technology awards “is an amazing feeling,” she says. “I’ve spent my career helping local restaurants build their businesses, and to be acknowledged for bringing them a revolutionary technology that is disrupting the status quo is very gratifying.”