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Rising Star is Driven by the Customer Experience

Cynthia Hollen, CEO and Co-founder of On My Way Commerce, received the Top Women in Restaurant Technology - Rising Star Award at MURTEC.
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Cynthia Hollen
Cynthia Hollen, CEO and Co-founder of On My Way Commerce, received the Top Women in Restaurant Technology - Rising Star Award at MURTEC.

Cynthia Hollen, CEO and co-founder of OnMyWay Commerce, received Hospitality Technology’s Top Women in Restaurant Technology - Rising Star Award at MURTEC in Las Vegas.

Hollen was among 15 women recognized for their accomplishments.  Hospitality Technology's Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards, sponsored by  Paerpay, are now in their seventh year. 

Receiving the award, she says, “gives me encouragement for credibility that we can press on to enable change. With this award, I hope to have additional platforms to drive growth and change for the marketing technology segment that I love. It’s my passion area and in conjunction with my love for the restaurant industry, I want to see marketers take the reins to build the experiences their guests are already enjoying from other sectors."

From Retail to Restaurant Tech

After a career in retail technology, Hollen moved over to restaurant tech in 2020 “when the pandemic hit and dine-in services everywhere took a prolonged hiatus,” she explains. “To avoid shutting their doors, restaurants had no choice but to pivot to digital strategies that supported mobile ordering for curbside pickup. The rise of ghost kitchens also relied on virtual ordering systems, and demand for toilet paper and other household items pushed convenience stores to follow suit. Having spent my entire career in retail tech, I knew we were about to enter a new frontier of e-commerce, so I took everything I’d learned in 20 years of building immersive shopping experiences and applied it to the food and essential items that we buy everyday.” OnMyWay Commerce was born.  It's a marketplace that operates on any equipped vehicle's dashboard display. Another impressive accomplishment: On My Way Commerce was a semi-finalist in RTN's Start-Up Alley at MURTEC 2023.

In both the retail and restaurant tech sectors, Hollen has “always been passionate about making the consumer experience as convenient as possible. “The key to this is meeting consumers where they are — and for many Americans, that’s often in the car,” Hollen explains. “The automotive industry has spent decades developing vehicles that connect with the world around us, but retailers and restaurants have generally lacked the tools to respond, leaving untapped potential to improve the in-car consumer experience. We developed OnMyWay Commerce to bridge these gaps in communication and service, and I believe our concept will fuel a rapid growth of in-car commerce over the next five years.”

The Impact of Mentorship

Before a career in retail technology, Hollen interned at a newspaper and found herself surrounded by “incredible mentors who opened my eyes to my own potential” in business and leadership.  One of her mentors encouraged her to pivot away from journalism and pursue an MBA at The Wharton School.  “The advice she and so many others passed to me helped to set the foundation of my career, and I embrace every opportunity I can to pass that mentorship and support to those who follow behind me,” Hollen recalls.

Reflecting on her accomplishments to date, Hollen recalls the early days of her career when founded an e-commerce consulting company. “It was a time when startups were rare and women founders were even rarer,  but against all odds I came out on the other side with a successful exit and a network of colleagues that I still hold close,” she says. “I’m incredibly proud of that work. Now that I’m once again building a startup from zero, I find myself reflecting more on those early entrepreneurial days and using that experience as a roadmap to navigating new career obstacles today.

More Personalized Experiences

Looking ahead, Hollen sees technology fostering a new wave of restaurant and foodservice opportunities that give customers more control of the food they eat and their overall dining experience.  “The fine dining restaurants that would sneer at to-go orders five years ago are now boxing fillets for customers to eat from the comfort of their couches. Takeout is no longer limited to pizza and French fries; it’s for any restaurant that wants to provide their customers with a custom dining experience, and technology is the catalyst to making it discoverable, profitable and convenient.”

On Receiving the Rising Star Award

"Grabbing the public’s attention with a sexy first-of-its-kind tech concept is easy. It’s earning the attention and respect of your industry peers that’s difficult, so I’m incredibly humbled by this award. It’s an honor to receive this level of recognition so soon into my restaurant technology career, and it’s especially validating to know that our unique concept for in-car commerce is compelling to the industry leaders that have watched this space evolve over decades. I thank Hospitality Technology and the team at MURTEC for shining a light on this work and look forward to many years of growth ahead," Hollen said.

About the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards

After a call for nominations, Top Women in Restaurant Technology Award winners were chosen by Hospitality Technology magazine and members of its Research Advisory Board. The winners were announced and honored during an awards program on March 8 at the 28th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), in Las Vegas. Nominations for the 2024 awards will open in mid-October.

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