The sun set on MURTEC 2018 in Las Vegas as we reflected on some of our experiences and key takeaways from the show. After several days packed with networking and knowledge sharing with some of the best and brightest in foodservice, we left the halls of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino revitalized with a fresher perspective of the industry.
1: Synergy Discovered through Networking
One of the most notable takeaways from the event was the powerful synergy fostered between the attendees through the high-energy networking experiences orchestrated by the Hospitality Technology team. At the opening night reception on the Chateau Rooftop, you would have encountered a whirlwind of conversations and war stories from technology leaders from across the industry — describing their goals, pain points and vision for a more connected future. New ideas and paths toward operational success through technology innovation emerged between specialty cocktails and gourmet entrées through the evening as the fountains of the Bellagio erupted in the background.
2: The Art & Science of Success in Integration Efforts
Integration, a popular yet illusive subject, found its way across various presentations and conversations at MURTEC 2018. Expert wisdom emphasized the importance of focusing on the impact to operations first when exploring new integrations, as well investing in identifying and understanding the core foundation in which integration would rely upon before extending capabilities to third parties. Notably, a recommendation emerged in these talks around integration; the importance for brand technology leaders to facilitate collaboration and communication between disparate vendors that seek integration.
3: The Importance of the Guest Experience
Improving the guest experience through technology was a topic of common interest across the conference. Several speakers bridged the gap regarding challenges around successfully deploying guest-facing technology by providing personal examples and best practices. Some recommendations included focusing on understanding and mapping the natural interaction between your guests and your operators on the front lines as a first step before introducing technology. Additionally, operators shared that their guests highly valued transparency into the order entry and production processes. Guests were pleased by status updates and expect increased visibility into orders.
4: Learning from the Successes and Failures of Others
The candor and thoroughness of the speakers was empowering for restauranteurs of all sizes. Technology leaders from newer, smaller brands were able to learn from the pioneering efforts of larger brand through discussions around potential pitfalls and promising opportunities on the road to innovation. At the same, smaller brands offered insights around the value of agility and experimentation with cutting-edge technologies.
“Every problem in business has already been solved if you know where to look,” stated Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, in an excellent keynote during the second day of the event.
This sentiment came into fruition through the stories illustrated by veteran technology leaders across MURTEC’s 10-Minute Win sessions and the Power Panels, pointing operators “where to look” when solving their business problems.
5: The Right Ways to Prepare for the Future
With an audience consisted primarily of industry IT professionals, cutting-edge technologies of the future were on the top of everyone’s agenda. Topics such as artificial intelligence and blockchain technology were explored through MURTALKS, where thought leaders in these areas explained the impact of these emerging technologies for restaurateurs.
Artificial Intelligence was presented as a solution for deriving meaning and value out of large data sets, as well as a method for enabling one-to-one brand to guest relationships. Blockchain, on the other hand, was revealed to be a powerful mechanism to secure and safeguard key information for your brand, including the data surrounding your money, your material and your people. In fact, the blockchain technology may become an inevitable element of the retailing environment through future legislation and increased regulation.
With new industry knowledge and connections in hand, we are presented with a perfect opportunity to rediscover the needs of our operators, our guests and ours brands. Where will you start?