Jenna Keith-Birney, Director of Back of House and Above Store Technology, Taco Bell, Irvine, Calif., received the 2023 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Innovator Award at MURTEC 2023.
Keith-Birney was among 15 women recognized for their accomplishments.Hospitality Technology's Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards, sponsored by Paerpay, are now in their seventh year.
A Lateral Move
Keith-Birney made the move to technology after working in consumer insights. “I originally came to Taco Bell to join the consumer insights team, and through a couple fortuitous twists, found my home in technology,” Keith-Birney explains. “ I’ve been fortunate to touch many areas of the business and love the continued challenge to improve experiences for our customers and team members. Working in technology allows me to embrace my love of details and data and drive meaningful change.”
Her colleagues describe her as “extremely proficient” when it comes to product development, understanding customer needs, managing various stakeholders and leading large complex teams. “She has leveraged these strengths and combined them with her expertise in data analytics and restaurant systems to build new innovative products that solve complex operational problems,” such as building new platforms that are driving Taco Bell’s modern back of house that are centered around the use of mobile technology.
“The tools and technologies built under Jenna’s leadership allowed the business to quickly adapt to and thrive under the growing labor and supply chain challenges over the past year. The first major accomplishment was the development and launch of a new Recommended Ordering (RO) solution which provided General Managers automatic recommendations on what they needed to order by leveraging AI, current inventory levels and sales forecasts to predict what products they would need by when. With the new RO solution, GMs can now easily place orders on a tablet and leverage the recommendations provided by the system to make sure they order just the right amount of products,” they say.
Making an Impact
Keith-Birney says she’s most proud of making a positive impact on several areas of the QSR’s business including gift cards, ecommerce, delivery, back of house and above store.
Looking ahead, she’s jazzed about the “opportunities to leverage data and UX to guide key decisions in the restaurant, reducing the burden on the restaurant manager and freeing them to focus on engaging their teams and customers. I see continued iteration on this theme as a key driver of our business in the next several years.”
About the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards
After a call for nominations, Top Women in Restaurant Technology Award winners were chosen by Hospitality Technology magazine and members of its Research Advisory Board. The winners were announced and honored during an awards program on March 8 at the 28th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), in Las Vegas.