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Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards: QSR Automations’ Kathi Klein Presented with Lifetime Achievement Award

Klein was among the women recognized with the 2023 Restaurant Technology Awards at MURTEC 2023.
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Kathi Klein accepting lifetime achievement award
Kathi Klein, Vice President of Hardware Solutions & Support, QSR Automations Inc., received the Top Women in Restaurant Technology Lifetime Achievement Award at MURTEC 2023.

Kathi Klein, Vice President of Hardware Solutions & Support, QSR Automations Inc., in Louisville, Ky., received the 2023 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Lifetime Achievement Award at MURTEC 2023.

Klein 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.  

Klein decided early on in her career to pursue a career in restaurant technology. When a local business started its franchise operations, Klein was tasked with selecting and ultimately implementing a new POS and BOH reporting system.  “After that project, I knew restaurant technology would be my forever career.  I loved it and saw the immediate, positive impact restaurant technology could have on a business, and I was hooked,” Klein explained.  “From increasing operational efficiencies and profitability to ultimately improving the customer experience and satisfaction with our solutions, the possibilities just seemed endless.”

With 30 years under her belt, Klein, remains particularly passionate about support – as well as kitchen automation, kitchen display solutions and the integrations in between.  Earlier this year, the QSR Automations support team received a Stevie Award for its excellence.

"For me, it’s all about enhancing the customer experience through exceptional support, " Klein explained. "You can have the best systems and solutions, but when they don’t work smoothly, they can end up being more of a hindrance than a help. That’s just one reason, I am so passionate about support from every angle ... It is so important to keep developing and evolving tools and systems that will keep us at the top of our game."

In addition to her tech acumen, her coworkers say one of Klein’s superpowers is building and nurturing relationships – both with clients and with fellow employees. “She  understands that there is more to ‘support’ than just technical support and deftly coaches her team to not only problem solve for its clients but to build strong connections as well.” 

Paying it Forward to the Next Generation

When starting her restaurant technology career 30+ years ago, being mentored was “incredibly important,” she said.  "They provided me with guidance, support, and the insights needed to navigate the challenging work environment. They helped me understand different perspectives from their point of view and created a space for me to be seen for my potential and contribution without bias.” 

These days, Klein welcomes sharing her knowledge with all those starting out in the field, especially to the next generation of women in restaurant technology.  “Today, with the field being slightly more gender-balanced, mentorship of women by women is crucial. Helping them network with other women, find new opportunities, and enable them to build the confidence and skills necessary for success in a male-dominated field is wildly important. I welcome sharing my knowledge with all those starting out in the field.  Through thought-based leadership, empathy, and positive guidance, I strive to give back wherever possible.”

An Integrated Future

Looking to the future of restaurant technology, Klein sees flexibility, powered by best-of-breed integrations, as a big factor, giving operators the ability to be agile with their technology choices.

“It will be exciting to see who creates integrations with one another from this fragmented landscape of restaurant technology. We’ve been hearing lately from many of our customers that they would like the ability to select the tech solution that is best-of-breed for that specific need – and then complimenting that with another best-of-breed for that particular need…. I see integrations as a big factor in the future of restaurant technology.”

When she looks at her many accomplishments, she's most proud of the growth she's achieved and sharing it with others. "Whether it’s a customer or a colleague, sharing the knowledge I’ve gained over time with them makes me feel proud to be able to help.  Another proud moment includes watching the many employees I’ve mentored over the years go on to new and challenging roles with confidence. That has to be the ultimate reward throughout my career so far."

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.

Kathi Klein QSR Top Woman
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