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MURTEC Executive Summit: IT Leaders Share Their Best

Dine Brands, Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Sandwiches and Starbucks’ IT executives shared their key IT achievements and key takeaways for restaurants of all sizes.
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MURTEC Executive Summit closed out with bang – a panel discussion featuring IT leaders from some of the industry’s hottest brands. 

Justin Skelton, CIO, Dine Brands, gave attendees the inside scoop on its loyalty program launch at IHOP;  Flavio Diomede, Starbucks, shared what is brewing in New York City and how the chain is working to make partners feel valued, resulting in lower turnover.  Kevin Bentley, VP of Technology & Automation at Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Sandwiches, offered up his team building and leadership tips.

Here are a few of the actionable takeaways from this riveting panel discussion: 

Justin Skelton
Dine Brands' Justin Skelton says when rolling out new technology, don't underestimate the amount of time it takes to deploy.

Dine Brands’ Skelton on rolling out new guest-facing technology such as an inaugural loyalty program: “One of the things that we learned is that you've got to give it time. It takes a little bit of time for guests to adopt.  2. Don't underestimate the power of the servers to promote the program …They're your best sales people.  3. If you’re implementing a program like that, don't underestimate the amount of time it takes to deploy. 

Loyalty Programs Could Be the Ticket to Standing Out Among the Crowd

Kevin Bentley offers leadership tips
Kevin Bentley says to build a dependable team, invest time in getting to know them. It will pay off.

Papa Gino’s Bentley on smart tech investments:  “In my previous role I was at Inspire Brands where we had pretty much unlimited capital and resources. So we moved at a pace that was unimaginably fast. Coming to a smaller brand and having less resources and capital, I've really had to understand the business outcomes. That was a key contributor to what programs we actually implemented this year, and where we're going see the most value for an ROI on those investments.

"…One of the takeaways I came away with is really understanding your current tech stack and spending time on the key components of the tech stack that you need to take depth in. In today's environment, we talk a lot about how the POS system is becoming obsolete, but it is very much still the hub and spoke, and either the contributing or limiting factor on what you can do with the surrounding tech stack. And so I spend a lot of time really understanding the nuances of our POS system.

Bentley on the importance team building:  “Really invest in your people up front. Not their capabilities, but getting to know them. In order to move the needle, you have to really have a genuine connection with your team today. I think that is critical for team camaraderie, culture building, etc. But more importantly, when I ping you at midnight because there's a fire, are you going to be willing to respond?”  

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Flavio Starbucks Justin Skelton Dine Brands
Flavio Diomede, left, says focusing on Objectives and Key Results helps simplifies tech rollouts.

Starbucks’ Diomede on moving with agility:  "One of the problems that we face in an organization like (Starbucks) is that there's a lot of people to bring along.  One is to build a culture of ownership. We trust our people to do the right thing, and we give them very well-defined outcomes, and so we optimize for the outcome, not for the delivery.

It's easy for us to say, ‘I want this done.’ Instead, we try to say, ‘How about we get this result?’ We've adopted this idea and it’s not even new:  the idea of the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and can apply to any team size. People tend to rise to that level of expectations.

“If we remove the things that cause us to waste time or appear to be way, way faster, and that is doable, [then do it.] It doesn't matter what size your team is, focus on [eliminating] the waste.”

More MURTEC Executive Summit Content

The IT Leadership Panel was one of more than a dozen amazing thought leaders speaking at MURTEC Executive Summit, November 2-4 in Napa, California.  

Other sessions included: 

More MURTEC Executive Summit coverage is available here. Be sure to check back as more stories, videos and photos are being added here on an ongoing basis. 

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