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Curiosity Inspires Innovation

In the weeks prior to finalizing this issue, HT produced the 22nd installment of MURTEC (Multi-unit Restaurant Technology Conference; The theme for this year’s event was Experience Innovation, but what emerged as an underlying through line was the importance of data and analytics – and what operators are doing with it. 

John Lukas, CIO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen offered his perspective on the shifting role of the CIO from chief information officer to chief innovation officer. The fact is that you can’t have one without the other. Intelligence has become the great enabler for innovation, however data alone is not a differentiator; what you do with it is what matters. 

To make smart decisions with available data, hospitality operators must turn to analytics, unfortunately, hotels and restaurants are not confident in how they compare to competitors in this area. Almost half (43%) of restaurants feel they lag competition in the use of data and analytics. Meanwhile about one out of three hotels (34%) lack confidence in analytics maturity. Therefore, it is not surprising that improving analytics is a top technology goal for both hotels (29%) and restaurants (39%).  

Todd Davis, CIO of Choice Hotels and this month’s cover subject, shared some technology strategy with me, including the fact that at Choice, data is viewed as a corporate asset. 

“Everybody has a lot of data,” he explains, “but you have to leverage it on a regular basis to drive business performance.”

From MURTEC to the pages of this issue, one thing is clear: the need for data is not diminishing. If anything, the quest for business intelligence that will help deliver ROI is expanding at light speed.

With that, it seems fitting to conclude with this thought from NASA chief engineer of the Mars Rover Curiosity and MURTEC keynoter, Adam Steltnzer: “Be curious. The curious mind stays agile, innovative and competitive.”

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