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MURTEC 2024 Rewind: Total Intelligence

We recap highlights of MURTEC 2024’s educational sessions, including Will Guidara’s stirring keynote and our riveting Start-Up Alley showdown!

MURTEC 2024, March 11-13 at the Paris, Las Vegas, featured an array of educational sessions, competitions, and awards. Here, we “rewind” the most noteworthy thought leadership, providing an easy reference for both attendees and those who couldn’t join us. 

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Will Guidara keynote

How “Unreasonable Hospitality” Will Up-Level Restaurant Technology

Will Guidara, hospitality authority and best-selling author of Unreasonable Hospitality, was 26 years old when he took over the helm of Eleven Madison Park, transforming a struggling, two-star brasserie in New York City into the #1 restaurant in the world (on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants). 

In his MURTEC keynote, he shared his principles of “unreasonable hospitality,” helping each MURTEC attendee embrace their role in the service experience, including: integrating automation while retaining the human touch, turning ordinary restaurant transactions into extraordinary experiences, and team building and employee engagement that fuels a culture of cooperation and excellence.

“One of the touchpoints we identified was dropping the check,” Guidara explained. “It’s virtually impossible to drop the check and have it be a good experience. You can’t bring it before the guest asks and you can never seem to bring it fast enough after they ask for it. So, we came up with an idea: We would bring glasses, a bottle of cognac, and the check to the table. We told our guests, this last drink is on us – have as much of the bottle as you’d like and whenever you’re ready, the check is here. This transformed this particular guest touchpoint because at the same time that we’re dropping the check we also dropped a moment of great generosity, and it made a big difference.” Read more about this session.

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SynergySuite’s MURTEC Highlights READ 

RTN’s Start-Up Alley Winner: Expo


Watch Dave Lu, President & Co-Founder of Expo, take center stage, then gets questioned by the "Sharks", industry judges Samuel H. Langley, VP, IT, TGI Fridays;  Kevin Bentley, Head of Technology, North America, Jollibee and Wade Allen, EVP, Strategic Growth, Costa Vida. 

Lu noted, "We save restaurant managers time from staring at reports and give them actionable solutions that drives four wall profitability. Our AI gives operators insights on multiple key areas of their business including: salesmanship, loss prevention, inventory management, waste management, delivery sales, guest feedback, turnover and more. We are data source agnostic and integrate with Restaurant365, Crunchtime, Paychex, Olo, DoorDash, Qualtrics, Xenial, Altametrics and more." 

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Collectiv’s MURTEC Highlights READ

Robert Dawson at MURTEC

How AI Is Transforming Restaurants Now: Real-Life Use Cases

How is AI delivering operational efficiencies and personalized guest experiences right now in the real world? Robert Dawson, hospitality industry consultant and a trailblazer in business intelligence, e-commerce, and solutions architecture, explored use cases that are already transforming restaurants. 

One example Dawson shared: “I told ChatGPT to act as an SEO expert and provide a list of keywords for a steak house located in downtown Chicago. Within seconds I had 20 highly optimized keywords. Were they all perfect? No. But I didn’t have to start from a blank piece of paper. Then I had it write two paragraphs of SEO optimized content based on two specific keywords it had generated. It gave me some great content to work with. Of course, you’ll have to tweak it. But you can ask it to rewrite the content with a more specific focus. For example, rewrite this to sound like a five-star restaurant. I used to charge a hefty retainer to do this type of work and ChatGPT was able to do in minutes what my team would take a couple weeks to deliver.” Read more about this session.

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Take Control of Your Restaurants’ Labor Costs With Crunchtime Labor & Scheduling READ

Peyton at MURTEC

Industry Outlook with Dine Brands CEO: Tech, Talent & What’s in Store for 2024

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. 

Insights included: 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. Read more about this session.

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UPM Raflatac OptiCut Linerless Labels Provide Cost and Efficiency Benefits for Restaurant READ

RTN’s Ring of Fire Winner: Tiphaus

Watch Tiphaus' winning presentation. Its Earned Tip Access product was launched in 2023 and has legitimately caught fire. Piggybacking off of the brand's tip management software, employees enjoy the ability to receive their tips after every shift, resulting in higher satisfaction and lower turnover of employees.

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Why QSRs Flock To Tattle Next-Gen Guest Feedback Platform For Visible CX Improvements READ

Lam & Montagano at MURTEC

Restaurant CEOs: What Keeps Us Up at Night

The corner office is more relevant than ever to restaurant technology because it’s no longer a line item and cost center. It touches every aspect of restaurant operations and is integral to running a successful business. In this session, Robert Firpo-Cappiello, Editor-in-Chief, Hospitality Technology magazine, spoke with Wing Lam, CEO, Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Michael Montagano, CEO, Dog Haus to learn what are some of the most pressing challenges and largest opportunities facing restaurant brand leaders as well as their philosophy around being an employer in this industry at this time. Highlights included Montagano’s observation: “Dog Haus is based in California with a large footprint. Every day there are new challenges that we face, whether that be regulations or laws that go into effect. For example, there is a new law going into effect in California on April 1st for fast food restaurants with more than 60 units that requires a $20/hr minimum wage. We knew this was coming and saw it as an opportunity to embrace technology that will not only enhance the guest experience but also could lessen the burden of this new law. So, for example, we now offer customers five ways to order food from our business when it used to be only two ways. This has increased our order volume and decreased labor costs, and guests are happier because we’re meeting them where they’re at!” Read more about this session.

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Boosting Same-Store Delivery Sales & Minimizing Downtime with Otter Always On READ

MURTEC Top Women panel 2024

Lessons & Insights From MURTEC Award Winners

Three Top Women in Restaurant Technology Award winners shared how they’re championing technology to improve the guest and employee experience at their restaurants. Jodi Boyce, CMO of Teriyaki Madness and Mary Jane Riva, CEO of Pizza Factory both received the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Lifetime Achievement Award.  Stephanie Nardini, SVP of Information Technology, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, was presented with the Top Women in Restaurant Technology – Innovator Award. 

Riva shared why culture is so important to the Pizza Factory and how it is using technology to enhance it. “The culture is apparent when you walk in the door – or should be,” explained Riva.  “It’s not only at our corporate level, it’s down to the franchisees, down to their teams and to the guest. Culture for us is important that it transpires into their experience.  Because sitting in a dining room, getting that business built back up like we're trying to do, that experience has to be one that reflects really what your company is about.” Read more about this session.

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