About a month ago, Brinker International, owner of Chili’s Grill & Bar, announced it would be renewing its partnership of more than 20 years with QSR Automations. As part of this agreement, Chili’s will upgrade its kitchen display system to ConnectSmart Kitchen. These technological improvements are part of the reinvention plan laid out by Brinker’s President and CEO Kevin Hochman “to simplify the business and make it fun again.”
Some of the many improvements to come from this upgrade include increased capabilities of touchscreens, plus Cloud-connectivity, which allows for centrally managed datasets and additional integrations in the future. The first installation of ConnectSmart Kitchen took place in February, and full deployment to approximately 1,200 Chili’s restaurants are scheduled to be completed in 2024.
QSR Automations and Brinker International have teamed up to create a video case study highlighting the dynamic partnership and the important role technology continues to play in Chili’s restaurants today. In this video, you’ll hear from Pankaj Patra, CIO, Brinker International and Adam Dingman, VP of Operations Services, Chili’s Grill & Bar as they discuss the history of Chili’s and how technology helps each one of its one million daily guests feel special.
In particular Patra emphasizes how important it is for the brand to deliver “food perfection,” meaning food that is fresh, hot and consistent across all locations.
“Technology is what stitches all of this together,” he notes. “From how [orders] go to the kitchen to how it arrives at the table, every aspect of that experience has a technology component woven into it.”
But the company is not just concerned about the dine-in experience. Pickup and delivery are major sources of revenue that rely heavily on excellent execution via the use of technology. For instance, data from QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen is used by Chili’s to notify guests when their order will be ready.
“On a Friday evening when we have 70 orders coming in at the exact same time, we have to be realistic about setting that expectation for guests so they aren’t waiting around at the restaurant [for their food]. The speed of service and data coming from ConnectSmart helps us to deliver on those promises,” Patra added. “We can get to a really accurate quote time so that when the guest comes, the food is hot and ready within a few minutes [of our original quote].”
Although it’s only 12 minutes long, this video case study is filled with interesting insights on other aspects of the business as well, including how it used technology to pivot during the pandemic and remain a viable, profitable business, how it used technology to launch a wildly successful virtual brand, and how its technology helps the brand to retain staff members by making their jobs easier.