HT Talks Tech With Marco's Pizza

HT caught up with Rick Stanbridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marco’s Pizza, to learn about its 100% cloud-based proprietary technology system.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants
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HT caught up with Rick Stanbridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marco’s Pizza, to learn about its 100% cloud-based proprietary technology system.

HT: What are the priorities for Marco’s 2023 technology to-do list? 

Rick Stanbridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Marco’s Pizza: As Marco’s Pizza strives to improve the customer experience, we are investing heavily in technology and innovation this year and beyond. Continuing to rollout Marco’s Order Management System (MOMS) is a top priority. Other projects include exploring voice-to-text ordering, continued adoption of third-party delivery, and utilizing AI and machine learning to generate automated promise times. In prioritizing these technologies, we can create a better frictionless customer experience with a focus on improving store-level profitability.

Smart investments in these relevant technologies will be a winning strategy in delivering immediate results.

HT: Tell us more about Marco’s Order Management System (MOMS)? When and why did that come about?

Stanbridge: MOMS is a 100% cloud-based proprietary technology system built in-house and being rolled out across the system in 2023. Our goal is to enhance the customer experience, as well as streamline business for franchisees and store team members. This fully integrated system supports payment processing and the point-of-sale (POS) system, labor scheduling, inventory management, and a cloud-based reporting dashboard with centralized data management capabilities.

By owning and operating the customized cloud technology platform, Marco’s can reduce the need for middleware - plus it will be a device-agnostic system, providing a huge savings to franchisees. The purposefully built, fully-integrated solution is easy to deploy and efficient to manage with essential features and functions that will help franchisees run their business more efficiently. When franchisees convert to this platform, Marco’s can digitally monitor the POS system and dashboards via a network operations system that functions as a command center. This gives Marco’s access to every digital device – customer-facing or back of the house.


Additionally, the system enables all kinds of applications both now and in the future, allowing us to keep up with rapid digital change. We can pivot and plug in additional technology features for customers as they become available, such as ordering from virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google, using remote kiosks, delivering items using GPS, and utilizing social media for instant delivery.

This will allow us to be very nimble as we continue to implement new technologies while saving franchisees money and providing best-in-class customer experience. 

HT: Prior to MOMS, what were franchisees using? 

Stanbridge: Marco’s uses third-party provider FoodTec for its current POS system. MOMS, however, is broader than just a POS system and will allow us to plug in other data sources and technologies platforms for an enterprise-level look at the overall business. This will allow us to increase operational efficiency and utilize data to create a more personalized customer experience. 

HT: To clarify, which features will locations start with? All the above?

Stanbridge: All of the above. The fully integrated enterprise technology infrastructure supports payment processing, the POS system, including features such as conversational ordering, labor scheduling, inventory management, and real-time reporting dashboards with centralized data management capabilities. 

HT: Is Marco’s using API integrations to get all the best-in-class solutions needed? 

Stanbridge: Our 100% cloud-based proprietary technology system is built in-house to enhance the customer and franchisee experiences. This is a flexible platform designed and developed to be compatible with other technologies or business solutions both now and into the future.  

HT: Will MOMs be the standard across all the locations?

Stanbridge: We look to have all Marco’s locations migrated onto the MOMS platform by the end of 2023.

HT: Where do you stand now in your rollout chainwide?

Stanbridge: We have just begun to migrate stores over to the new MOMS platform after Beta testing several locations at the end 2022.

HT: A lot of pizza brands take orders via phone. Is that the case for Marco’s? Are you using or considering adding a voice AI solution that can help handle the influx of calls in real-time? 

Stanbridge: While the majority of Marco’s orders come in via digital channels, many Marco’s customers prefer to order via phone. To assist store employees, especially on busy nights, we have a few technology solutions to help manage phone calls. We use call-sequencing technology to help manage call volumes and we are also testing a voice-to-text ordering system. This speech-enabled application uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI). As part of our MOMs rollout, we are also implementing text-to-text ordering, and we continue to evaluate these technologies to see how it best benefits both employees and consumers.

HT: Have phone orders increased or decreased? 

Stanbridge: Actually, we have seen an increase in digital orders over the past year, through the Marco’s app, online, and via third-party delivery platforms such as DoorDash, which have been integral in our success.

Just five years ago, Marco's had a 22% digital presence in all our markets. We are now exceeding three times that.  We have reduced the time it takes to place an online order by two thirds in the same time frame.  As other channels for ordering open up, we must be ready to pivot so that we can accommodate those channels.

HT: Regarding staff, are you using gamification in training? Same day pay? Scheduling app? Are you considering adding workforce-centric tech this year? And if yes, which ones?

Stanbridge: We have built our own scheduling app, included as part of MOMs, to help franchisees, general managers, and store employees stay connected and informed about the schedule.  Additionally, we have always had a robust online employee training library that we continue to make updates to and enhance on an ongoing basis.