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MURTEC Day 3 Highlights: The Need for Speed, Award Winners & More

MURTEC 2023 ended with a bang, celebrating the Top Women in Restaurant Technology, Industry Heroes, the next generation of restaurants guests — and what they want from tech! — and top restaurants sharing how they're supercharging efficiency.

MURTEC, March 6-8 in Las Vegas, experienced a record attendance of 1,000 industry professionals -- better than a 1-to-1 ratio of restaurant technology professionals to suppliers.

Leaders & Innovators: 2023 Award Winners

Day 3 kicked off with Hospitality Technology's Industry Heroes and seven annual Top Women in Restaurant Technology awards.  What a truly engaging award ceremony! Anna Wolfe, senior editor - restaurants, Hospitality Technology, and Derek Canton, CEO, Paerpay, presented awards to Industry Heroes and the Top Women in Restaurant Technology (both sponsored by Paerpay). 

ICYMI:  MURTEC Day 1 Highlights: Metaverse, Security & More

MURTEC Day 2 Highlights: Digital Transformation, Start-Up Alley & More

Industry Heroes awards were presented to:

  • Checkers & Rally's for CAREs program, its support of No Kid Hungry, and its support to help underrepresented groups become franchisees. 
  • Leanpath for its contributions in reducing food waste
  • Gigpro for its work on solving both sides of the labor crisis
  • Giftameal for its gift-a-meal program

The winners of the 2023 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards were:

Lifetime Achievement, presented in recognition of more than 15 years of service and accomplishments in the foodservice technology industry, honoring women who have had an impact on the foodservice technology industry as well as their colleagues and industry peers through enthusiasm, mentorship and commitment, while also showing how technologies can provide new ways of doing things.

  • Kathi Klein, VP of Hardware Solutions and Support, QSR Automations, Louisville, Ky.
  • Kelly MacPherson, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Supply Chain Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group, New York
  • Brenda Parker, Partner, Results Thru Strategy, Charlotte, N.C.

Innovator, presented to women who are forward thinkers and who have executed on tools and strategy to transform the foodservice technology space in a positive manner by creating or deploying emerging technologies that reimagine how things are done while paving the way for future technologies.

  • Carissa DeSantis, Chief Technology Officer for BRIX Holdings, Dallas
  • Jenna Keith-Birney, Director of Back of House and Above Store Technology, Taco Bell, Irvine, Calif.
  • Brittany Maroney, Head of Marketing & Communications for PAR Technology, Phoenix
  • Deborah Matteliano, Global Head, Restaurant Technology atAmazon Web Services, New York
  • Priyanka Mehra, Director of Product Management, Olo, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Meredith Sandland, CEO, Empower Delivery, Newport Beach, Calif.
  • Marcy Setter, Sr Product Manager - Restaurant Technology, Inspire Brands, Canton, Mass.

Rising Star, presented to women from any level of an organization with less than five years' experience in the industry, who have demonstrated leadership and are making a mark in foodservice technology.

  • Gabrielle Andrade, Senior Product Manager, Qwick, Scottsdale, Ariz. 
  • Lindsay Eichten, Director CRM, Loyalty and Media, TGI Fridays, Dallas
  • Cynthia Hollen, CEO and co-founder, MAVI.ioOnMyWay Commerce,  Miami
  • Beth Olson, Director of IT Restaurant Engagement, Inspire Brands, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Christine Schindler, Co-Founder & CEO atPathSpot, New York

What's the Vibe? Genzennial Sentiment Panel

The future of the restaurant industry will be shaped by a new generation of guests, who bring new expectations, depends, and energy. In a MURTEC first, Angela Diffly, co-founder of RTN, sat down with students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas to get the lowdown on what they want when it comes to technology-enabled experiences, both in the workplace and when making decisions on where and how to devour their favorite meal.

HT will publish an in-depth recap of the session shortly. Some highlights included:

  • GenZ prefers to discover restaurants on TikTok and other social media. 
  • They like free food and other offers, which can be an incentive for downloading a restaurant’s app. 
  • When it comes to using a kiosk versus ordering from a person, it may depend on how busy the restaurant is and how well the customer know the brand’s menu. 
  • They prefer e-wallet — they’d rather not carry cash or debit cards — even though they may be tempted to spend more money.

Thank you to our student panelists:

  • Ariana Zarate, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
  • Ira De Jesus, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
  • Delaney Cloma, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
  • Dominique Hlavac, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
  • Jessica Kang, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
  • Wanjin Li, Student, UNLV Hospitality College

The Need for Speed: Restaurant Innovation

Jim Vitek, Restaurant Technologist & Entrepreneur, former tech leadership roles at Yum! Brands & Domino's, chatted with Karl Goodhew, CTO, BurgerFi; Jonathan Tryzbiak, VP of IT, Checkers & Rally’s; and Chris Demery, CTO, Blaze Pizza, to explore how they're pioneering new paths at the intersection of technology, customer experience and store design.

  • Jonathan Tryzbiak, VP of IT, Checkers & Rally’s, noted that while speed count is a primary concern, context — including experience and revenue — is important. Many factors affect speed — Checkers is using data and analytics and AI at the drive-thru, which accurately takes orders, eliminating the need for the challenging cashier position. The brand conducted a study watching people work and identified wasted time, paving the way for a redesigned kitchen for efficiency.

  • Chris Demery, CTO, Blaze Pizza, said speed is part of the brand’s promise: 8 minutes from order to fulfillment. But when Demery joined Blaze, he didn’t have a way to measure speed other than checkout. He moved POS to the front of the line, then measured time to pay. He noted that while KDS is part of the speed equation, it is not not the final step. Brands must also understand the manufacturing process and customer exoerience.

  • Karl Goodhew, CTO, BurgerFi, observed that speed of service does not mean as fast as possible — digital customers can take as long as they want. In person at a kiosk, the more time at the kiosk, the more money they spend, the more time for upsells. The time BurgerFi cares about is the time they tell the driver. The brand focuses on multiple time points, and a clear correlation between drive time and customer satisfaction.


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