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Industry Outlook with Dine Brands CEO John Peyton

During MURTEC 2024, Peyton talked technology, talent and what’s in store for 2024.
Abby Lorden and Dine Brands CEO John Peyton on stage at MURTEC 2024
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Over the last five years, Dine Brands Global has tripled its spend on technology in a strategy that’s paying powerful returns: new innovations are driving wins in customer spend, and the company was just named a 2024 Best Places to Work in IT. During MURTEC 2024, Abigail Lorden, VP and Publisher, Hospitality Technology magazine and Co-Founder of Restaurant Technology Network, sat down on stage with Dine Brands CEO John Peyton to talk tech, talent and what’s in store for 2024. Here are several important insights from this session.

  • The business of running a restaurant today is much more complex than it was prior to COVID. This is largely due to the fact that the customer mindset has changed. Instead of asking: “What do I want to eat?” and then “How am I going to get it?” Now the customer asks first: “How am I going to get what I want to eat?” and then asks themselves “What do I want to eat?”
  • Dine Brands is experimenting with dual-branded restaurants outside of the USA. These restaurants contain both an Applebee’s and an IHOP. From the outside they look like two restaurants, but within there is no wall dividing the two. So if one restaurant needs tablespace it can overflow into the other one. And since one brand is primarily an AM brand and the other is a PM brand, it allows Dine Brands to double the revenue and halve the costs.
  • Dine Brands uses ghost kitchens to test new markets to see where it makes sense to build a new location. 
  • Dine Brands also partners with virtual brands, allowing them cook and deliver food from IHOP locations. Since IHOP serves guests mostly in the mornings, it has the space within its kitchens for these brands that target dinner and late night hour diners. 
  • Since 2019, Dine Brands has tripled its spending on technology. “When I took over as CEO, I was surprised by the limited technology budget we had. So, we tripled our spending and caught up!”
  • About two years ago, IHOP decided to ditch its legacy POS and swap to TRAY POS. The new POS is in about 96% of all IHOP locations. Along with the POS, IHOP has begun to implement handheld POS devices for servers. Already the brand is seeing servers turn tables faster, average check size grow, and larger tips come in for staff. 
  • IHOP works with Punchh to manage its loyalty program: International Bank of Pancakes. Launched in March 2022, the company has about 8 million members and is hoping to pass the 10 million member mark by the end of 2024. These members visit nearly twice as much as non-members and spend about five percent more. 
  • Recently, Foundry’s Computerworld named Dine Brands as one of the best places to work in IT. “When I got to Dine, the CIO reported to the CFO and was not part of the weekly CEO team meeting. But I didn’t understand how tech can be a strategic business partner if they don’t have a seat at the table. So, I changed that. Second, we have monthly meetings that are meant to help break down the barriers between the brand teams and the tech team.”

More Great Content from MURTEC 2024

This is just one of the dozens of though-provoking sessions at MURTEC 2024.

You don't want to miss the MURTEC 2024 keynote featuring Eleven Madison Park's Will Guidara, author of Unreasonable Hospitality.  

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