MURTEC Executive Summit Day 2 Recap: Real-World AI, Robotics, and Collaborative Ideation

Use cases for generative AI, real-time data, and robotics were just some of the highlights of our full day of educational sessions.
Robert Firpo-Cappiello
Editor-in-Chief
Robert

MURTEC Executive Summit Day 2, at The Charleston Place, touched on a range of real-life use cases for bleeding edge tech, culminating in an incredible collaborative session.

Highlights included:

Metrock at MES 2023

Real-World AI for Restaurants. Bradley Metrock, CEO, Project Voice, provided an inspiring and actionable kickoff to Day 2. Metrock, a seasoned pro in the field of generative AI and voice tech, put it bluntly: “Your peers are already moving down this road." He stressed the idea of augmenting, not replacing humans, and noted that brands can benefit from identifying AI as a priority, and leveraging this tool for operational efficiencies and more.

Robert & Clark at MES 2023

Strengthening the Customer Relationship with Real-Time Data & Communications. Clark Matthews, VP of IT, El Poll Loco, joined me onstage for an engaging firechat focusing on how El Pollo Loco builds and maintains exceptional customer relationships via mobile app, loyalty, POS integrations, and real-time data. From the brand's Loco Rewards loyalty program to its streamlined day-to-day operations and unique staff-facing dashboard (which Matthews shared in an animated presentation!), this lively session delivered start-today takeaways for restaurant operators.

Recipe for Success: Migrating to the Cloud. Zubair Shaikh, LogicWorks (a Cox division), joined Lee Holman, IHL, for a discussion of the importance of the flexibility of data systems for handling varying customer traffic, the accessibility of critical information for staff from anywhere, the importance of disaster recovery measures, and the use of AI to enhance operational efficiency and customer experiences. 

Labor session at MES 2023

Tech Tools to Supercharge Hiring, Training & Retention. HT’s Senior editor - restaurants Anna Wolfe welcomed Justin Skelton, Dine Brands; Robert Hess, Ascent Hospitality; and Bobby Reedy, Kava Restaurants, to the stage to explore how the best recruitment platforms, mobile training, performance management, and employee engagement and recognition solutions can attract, foster, and keep the most effective workers. Hess shared how Ascent deploys CrunchTime to feed to POS and LMS for training via tablet or smartphone, and how daily pay helps attract workers. Skelton shared how Dine supports workers via pay-at-table and tablets with payment swiping capabilities. Reedy shared how Kava focuses on general managers, with the firm conviction that retaining exceptional GMs ensures high-performing locations.

Exclusive! RTN's Interactive Tool: Off-Prem Customer Journey. Restaurant Technology Network Co-Founder Angela Diffly sat down with Tom Seeker, CIO, Earl Enterprises, and Robert Peterson, Area VP, New Business North America, Oracle Food and Beverage, to reveal an exclusive first-look release of RTN's latest interactive tool to help restaurant operators navigate a multitude of off-prem options, complete with pros, cons, best practices and recommendations for each. Seeker and Peterson were instrumental in developing the tool, and presented highlights of The Off-Prem Customer Journey, which is organized into Discovery & Decision, Production, and Fulfillment, offering industry-leading guidance and best practices for every category of restaurant.

Robotics session at MES 2023

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto: When Robots & Delivery Make Sense. Skip Kimpel, Principal Consultant, ConStrata Consulting, welcomed Tadeh Ghazalian, Owner, Dialog Cafe, and Andrew Simmons, CEO, Mamma Ramona's, for an exploration of AI-driven delivery and the ROI of robotics. Both Ghazalian and Simmons have tapped next-gen tech to solve the industry’s most elusive challenges. Ghazalian noted that Dialog’s use of Serve Robotics for delivery is integrated with Postmates/UberEats, and helps him address the cost of labor in West Hollywood, where the minimum wage is the highest in the U.S. Simmons noted, "We added a server robot. Not to replace, but to help run up to eight seatings of food to the table. Initially, the servers were anti-robots, now they embrace it. Everyone eats at the same time and tables can be bussed so much faster."

PDQ’s Secret Ingredient to Better Results. Jake Berkowitz, VP of Enterprise, Revel, sat down with Eric Knott, Chief Operating Officer, PDQ Restaurants, to share details on how it implemented a new flexible POS platform that enabled them to better engage with customers, improve speed of service and drive operational improvements.

Breakthrough awards MES 2023

MURTEC Breakthrough Awards. HT’s senior editor - restaurants, Anna Wolfe, and Milbre Dorn, Account Manager, Fortinet, presented our 2023 Breakthrough Awards to: Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, Potbelly Sandwich Works, and Mamma Ramona’s. (Executives from the three winners will participate in our Day 3 IT Leadership session.)

MOD pizza at MES 2023

People, Purpose & Possibility: MODern Values. HT’s VP and Publisher Abby Lorden sat down with Robert Notte, VP of Technology, MOD Pizza, to share how MOD provides opportunity and fosters a culture of belonging. MOD’s social impact strategy focuses on opportunity, stability, mobility and advocacy, and the brand partners with non-profits to help find, recruit, train, and hire individuals facing barriers such as developmental and intellectual disabilities, homelessness, or a record of incarceration.

Think Different MES 2023

Think Different: Ideation & Workshop. Wade Allen, EVP, Strategic Growth, Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, and Kevin Bentley, Head of Technology, North America, Jollibee Foods, led a truly exceptional collaborative ideation session. Attendees broke up into small groups to brainstorm new ways of approaching industry challenges. 

A diversity of perspective and divergent thinking were strongly encouraged. In fact, the only rule was, you couldn’t say “No.” Instead, attendees were asked to respond to their colleagues’ ideas with “Yes, and…”

The ideation framework included: 

  • Identifying what’s “broken” in the restaurant industry
  • Addressing what processes need to be fixed
  • Describing what the new solution looks like
  • Deciding how an idea can be nurtured into action

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