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Collaboration & the Business of Technology


“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” These words, uttered by physicist William Pollard, are a fitting introduction to recap the collaborative environment that permeated the inaugural 2017 MURTEC Executive Summit. For three days, restaurant leaders from a diverse range of companies came together to be a part of a unique executive-level networking and educational event. 

As restaurant companies are grappling with diners that demand both personalization and autonomy in service, brands are looking to technology to help them evolve to be both high-tech and high-touch. The Summit offered attendees a unique format to be inspired by experts and dig in with peers to identify best practices and new ways of addressing issues to take back to their organizations.

Dustin Garis, Former Chief Troublemaker at Procter & Gamble, Global Brand Innovation Leader, kicked off the 2017 MURTEC Executive Summit on Monday, November 6, or more accurately, a breakdancing body double spun, kicked and “popped and locked” off the Summit. When the authentic Garis took to the stage, he explained that he just wanted to give everyone a memorable experience.  He then shocked and dismayed attendees with the statistic that most people only have three memorable days in any given month. When doing the math, that becomes about one memorable month out of a year or approximately one memorable year in a decade. Garis stressed that routine is the enemy of innovation and that for attendees to be happier, they needed to be willing to implement change every day. While important for attendees’ personal lives, Garis helped attendees understand how change needed to be incorporated into their business lives as well.

In a new treatment for content, Innovation Labs gave attendees thought-provoking 15-minute presentations, followed by 15 minutes of intimate group discussions. Brian Best, Head of Interactive Engagement (Digital - Loyalty - CRM - eCommerce), P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., began the Innovation Lab series with a session titled, “How to Drive Loyalty & Revenue by Knowing Current — and Future — Customers.” In a candid discussion, he pointed out that while most people in the room had been to a P.F. Chang’s at least once that year, very few had been there more often. 

“We have a frequency problem,” he joked. To help change that trend, P.F. Chang’s embarked on a database marketing initiative which has allowed them to segment their guests and target them with different marketing campaigns that are more personalized and more likely to resonate. 

Hope Neiman, CMO, Tillster then took the stage to share research and insights on how restaurants should use digital to grow business. She made the point that consumers don’t compare one restaurant’s online experience to another restaurant’s, they compare it to Amazon, Uber or the GAP or another great e-commerce experience that they’ve had. 

Tuesday’s opening keynote presentation by Janneke van Geuns, Head of Insights & Analytics, Food, Beverage & Restaurants, Google, was titled “Calling B.S. on Big Data.” Van Geuns reminded attendees how big data can be beneficial to restaurants if they’re willing to act instead of being scared that they “won’t get it right.” 

To bring the event to a close, a Leadership Panel took the stage, with Mike Nettles, SVP & Chief Digital Officer from Papa John’s, Scott Scherer, CIO of Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Mike Nolan, President of Johnny Rockets and moderator, Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants. The candid discussion gave attendees insight into how these major brands structure IT in the leadership paradigm as well as the specific issues impacting brands in the digital age including online ordering, delivery and the need for data and actionable insights. 


2017 Murtec Breakthrough Awards Winner


P.F. Chang’s was honored for its development of a digital engagement platform, that allowed the brand to simultaneously acquire new guests, drive awareness of the brand and improve sales performance. Social and digital messaging was used to target guests and incent them to take part in a sweepstakes themed around the Chinese New Year. The campaign yielded more than 363,000 registrations into the sweepstakes, more than 7 million impressions, with 10,000+ mentions of #PFChangsWish on social media. Of the 12 million+ personalized emails delivered, there was a 23.9% loyalty open rate and a 6.7% click-through rate. In total, P.F. Chang’s netted 68,220 new email addresses to its database.



The ONE Group, LLC won for its deployment of an EMV solution that reduced chargebacks by $500,000 per year without any negative impact on customers or wait staff. Implementing EPXpay by PayProTec allows transactions to run through a tethered Ingenico IPP 320 that is connected to the Micros Subnet. The functionality of running transactions stays within Micros, but when it comes time to process the card, it sends the amount to the IPP 320 and the chip is read through that device.



Twin Peaks Restaurants was recognized for its success in increasing purchase price allocation (PPA) at the individual, store, and brand levels and for finding a better way to measure team member performance and engage with staff. Twin Peaks implemented Marketing Vitals’ IncentivizeMe! mobile application, to normalize variances in shifts or sections and focus on upsell opportunities that weren’t being leveraged. Using machine learning to count customers the restaurant now has accurate guest counts to understand its true traffic. The IncentivizeMe! mobile app is also downloaded by team members and performance statistics are updated daily and shared with them. Twin Peaks can use the app to create contests to incentivize behavior and uses the performance metrics for scheduling: the top performers get their choice of shifts each week and day off requests.  

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