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HT Launches Leadership & Insight Council


Hospitality Technology has launched the Restaurant Leadership & Insight Council, underwritten by HotSchedules. This community of executives will identify best practices and develop standards under a charter to create a framework to help operators turn insight into action. 

The first meeting focused on two areas: intelligent infrastructure and operations. The executives agreed that restaurants having data is not the problem — it’s the accuracy of data and getting those insights into the right hands at the right time that can prove challenging. Operators call for solutions that offer a single repository for data. As Zwayne Sealy of Mellow Mushroom notes, “Without one single version of the truth, there is little accuracy, and it can be difficult to make accurate predictions.” 

Equally important to the reporting piece is identifying best practices to make sure the processes are in place to ensure the right people are getting the right information in a fashion that allows for timely decisions. “We produce a lot of data as a company, so we want to make sure the right systems are in place to highlight anomalies,” Zerrick Pearson, VP of IT, Five Guys explains. “We make sure all parts of the business are involved in that conversation so they are getting the data points they care about.” 

For Five Guys every department has an ambassador. Pearson highlights how this has helped the organization more efficiently identify outliers and recognize how those outliers might impact another department.

Council members discussed the complexities of companies’ respective technology stacks. Many had already made strides to reduce the number of disparate systems operating in silos and equal number believe that a best practice will be to house data in its native form in a data lake which will better allow restaurants to leverage the data they need when they need it. 

Decreasing redundancies was named as a top goal for Dave Conger, director of IT, Costa Vida. “It causes confusion internally, and we want to be able to get meaningful info to employees in an efficient way to maximize time in front of customers.”

Council members identified several areas that will shape future discussions:

Online ordering & delivery integrations. “We want to be able to get data fed into one centralized repository, so that to an operator it doesn’t matter where that order — or data —came from, they just know what they have to do,” says Maryann Byrdak, CIO, Potbelly Sandwiches.

GDPR. “We have replaced every system over the last 18 months and built everything around integration, data, reporting and predictive analytics,” says Austin Brinson, VP of analytics, B.good. “Not all of our systems are prepped for GDPR, so we will have to undo a lot of those integrations in order to be compliant.” 

MDM (Master Data Management). Steve Barrow, VP of IT, Noon Mediterranean says, “Our data lives in multiple places. We’re doing 20% of our business online, and we have limited visibility — it’s vital to make sure data is correct.” At Le Duff, Tamy Duplantis, VP of IT, says they are working towards the concept of master data management for a single source where data that runs the business is housed. “This requires strong integrations and a platform that will push changes,” she explains. 

The next meeting of the Restaurant Leadership & Insight Council will take place on July 16, 2018. 


Steve Barrow, Vice President of IT, Noon Mediterranean

Austin Brinson, Vice President of Analytics, B.Good

Maryann Byrdak, CIO, Potbelly Sandwiches

Dave Conger, Director of IT, Costa Vida

Tamy Duplantis, Vice President of IT, Le Duff America

Anthony Lomelino, IT Director, Caliburger

James Park, CEO, Garbanzo Mediterranean

Zerrick Pearson, Vice President of IT, Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Zwayne Sealy, IT Director, Mellow Mushroom

Mark Uffer, Senior Technology Administrator, Burgerf

David Cantu, Co-Founcer & Chief Customer Officer, HotSchedules

Mary Hamill, VP of Sales Engineering, 


Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology magazine

Abigail Lorden, Vice President/Group Brand Director, Hospitality Technology magazine


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