Theresa Schaefer, EVP, Product & Design at Olo, was recognized as a Top Women in Restaurant Technology Innovator at MURTEC.
Almost seven years ago, Schaefer joined Olo and was the product manager behind the initial launch of Olo Rails and Olo Dispatch, “two groundbreaking solutions when they debuted and significantly differentiate us in the digital ordering space to this day,” she says.
“It was exciting to get the opportunity to really roll up my sleeves and build something from the ground-up," Schaefer says. "Since then, it has been rewarding to help Olo grow our product management and design team from two people to a team of over 45 professionals.”
Olo's Dispatch product allows restaurant brands to unlock the convenience of delivery for orders generated directly through their own websites and apps. Rails makes it easy for restaurant brands to publish and control their menus, prices and location information on participating third-party delivery marketplaces.
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Before joining Olo, Schaefer spent several years working at Amazon in the B2C and B2B space where she honed her tech skills, building software solutions for digital commerce, supply chain and transportation. Looking to remain in digital commerce and move out of retail, she saw a job listing for Olo on LinkedIn. “The elegant simplicity of the company name and logo caught my eye and compelled me to click one level deeper to learn more about the company,” Schaefer explains. “Following my initial meeting with the team at Olo, I knew I could relate to the company and its work helping restaurant brands with their digital transformation.
“I’m proud of my career trajectory here and the contributions Olo has made to the restaurant industry.”
Using Digital Tools to Build Community
Schaefer, who grew up in a very large family, says she’s always been drawn to things that bring us together, that build community.” Food and restaurants are a perfect illustration of that,” she says. ”Even better, we have the technology today to not only bring people together at the table on- and off-premise, but we can also elevate the dining experience through innovations that provide more convenience and personalization.”
In the future, Schaefer sees restaurant technology continuing to make the entire experience simpler and more enjoyable for staff and customers alike. "If you’re a patron, it means being able to scan a QR code to access a menu and order at the speed you desire. If you’re a manager or host, it could mean having the more rote tasks handled digitally so that you have more time to meaningfully interact with guests. All of this can include digital ordering, delivery and curbside... Technology can be used in so many ways to help restaurants run a smarter and more profitable business, and I think there are a lot of exciting developments to come," she says.
Schaefer was one of 10 women recognized in HT’s sixth annual Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards, sponsored by Tillster, the global leader in powering online ordering and delivery solutions for restaurant brands.
“I’m honored to receive this recognition and applaud Hospitality Technology for celebrating female leaders in the restaurant technology field. The restaurant industry as a whole remains male-dominated, so we must take the opportunity to celebrate women in this space. I can’t underscore enough how many females are raising families, working high-stress jobs, go out of their way to volunteer, AND are successful in all areas,” she says. ”We juggle so much, and we should be proud to sing one another’s praises, and learn from each other.”
HT will profile each of the winners in the coming weeks and in the summer issue of Hospitality Technology.
Editor's note: This article was updated 5/3/22. Her title was product manager, not project manager.