Trend Report: MURTEC 2023 Rewind!
What's the Vibe? Genzennial Sentiment Panel
Dishing on everything from restaurant apps to delivery preferences, kiosks vs. real people, the promise — and potential pitfalls — of robotics, new definitions of loyalty, and more, our Genzennial panel was a MURTEC first and a true highlight of the conference.
With a firm belief that the future of the restaurant industry will be shaped by a new generation of guests — with new expectations, depends, and energy — Angela Diffly, co-founder of RTN, sat down with students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas to get the lowdown on what they want when it comes to technology-enabled experiences, both in the workplace and when making decisions on where and how to devour their favorite meal.
Check out the session video (above), where our student panelists share an array of insights, including:
- GenZ prefers to discover restaurants on TikTok and other social media.
- like free food and other offers, which can be an incentive for downloading a restaurant’s app.
- When it comes to using a kiosk versus ordering from a person, it may depend on how busy the restaurant is and how well the customer know the brand’s menu.
- They prefer e-wallet — they’d rather not carry cash or debit cards — even though they may be tempted to spend more money.
- And much more!
Thank you to our student panelists:
- Ariana Zarate, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
- Ira De Jesus, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
- Delaney Cloma, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
- Dominique Hlavac, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
- Jessica Kang, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
- Wanjin Li, Student, UNLV Hospitality College
Firechat: Maximum Automation: Next-Level Robotics
During this session (which you can watch, above), Benson Tsai, former SpaceX engineer and current CEO & Co-Founder of Stellar Pizza, told HT editor-in-chief Robert Firpo-Cappiello the story of how he developed, built, and launched a mobile “pizza robot” that’s been taking Los Angeles by storm.
"At first I wanted to develop a Boba vending machine. But then I realized the biggest market for Boba is actually in the United States, and that wasn't a big enough market. Pizza, on the other hand, is beloved around the world. In fact, it was the only American food allowed in my Taiwanese home. For me it symbolizes joy and America. So, it just made sense to pivot to pizza."
"I've developed a newfound respect for restauranteurs and entrepreneurs. You work so hard. The saying goes: 'It’s not rocket science' but as an actual rocket scientist, I think building a restaurant is harder than rocket science. I can rely on the laws of physics, but customers don’t always do what you want them to do!"
Keynote: Digital Transformers Take the Stage
During the opening session on Day 2 of MURTEC (check out the video, above), Justin Falciola, Chief Insights & Technology Officer, Papa Johns; Wade Allen, SVP and Chief Digital Officer, Brinker International; and Vadim Parizher, VP of Technology, Taco Bell joined on stage to talk about everything from robotics to labor challenges to what the future might hold for each of their brands. Here are a couple quick quotes from that session!
- "We're at a juncture as a restaurant industry where it’s never been easier to do the wrong thing. In marketing tech, ordering tech, tipping, rating, survey, the experience you have when you call in when your order was late or you need to change something, all of those experiences tend to be disconnected departmentally and strategically. Regardless of how amazing your tech is, the ability to do things wrong is a challenge for all of us." -- Justin Falciola
- "COVID gave us the opportunity to press the envelope with drones, robots in front and back of house, and delivering food, and ghost kitchens, etc. I think all these things have a place. We decided to either fail fast or succeed quickly. We found that the horizon was a lot longer than we anticipated for many technologies. So we went back to see what was really driving profitability, sales, guest experience and team member experience. We’re getting everything to work perfectly so we can move forward with confidence." -- Wade Allen
- "The most important people in our business are our team members. But there is a labor shortage. Technology is, in some ways, an answer to the labor shortage. Automation can help with the most mundane tasks. It could also help us open earlier or open later. It could help take orders, prepare food, serve customers, etc." -- Vadim Parizher
The Metaverse 101
We want each and every one of you to bottle the energy of this cool session — a Day 1 breakout — and take it home! Panelists Kevin Seo, Chief Megaphone, Food Fighters Universe/Bored and Hungry, and Skip Kimpel, Principal of Independent & SMB Consulting, ConStrata Technology Consulting, brought energy and imagination to this new and exciting topic. Check out the video of the session, above. Highlights include:
- The metaverse is not a new concept. The first VR machine was created in 1956 and simulated riding a bicycle. The term “metaverse” was coined in 1992.
- Global shipments for AR/VR devices by 2024 will be 76.7 million. Meta Reality Labs has so far invested $10 billion trying to standardize the use of metaverse. By 2024 the projected value of the metaverse will be $800 billion.
- If you don’t think the metaverse matters for our industry ask yourself: Why are major restaurant players like Wendy’s, Chipotle, McDonalds, Burger King, Panera, Hooters, Yum! Brands, Chik-fil-a, Inspire, Wing Stop and Bojangles buying real estate and creating experiences in the metaverse? They’ve done the research and they know that it’s worth their time and money.
- The metaverse is just another channel for marketing to guests. It’s a new type of marketplace. Gen Z and Gen Alpha (age 12 and under) are consuming information in new ways and brands need to advertise to them, where they are.
- Kevin Seo’s Food Fighters Universe brand put together a game in Roblox where gamers could farm potatoes. Marketing campaigns might impact up to 100k individuals. Social media campaigns might impact a million. But Food Fighters' Roblox campaign meant 4 million people saw the brand.
POS Software Trends: A Buyer's Guide
During this session (which you can watch, above), panelists Joe Tenczar, CIO, Restaurant CIOs, and Brian Pearson, CTO, Mendocino Farms, discussed POS needs vs wants vs wish list; critical considerations such as costs (e.g., cloud-based POS vs server-based), a flexible API for current and future integrations, and new demands such as mobile guest experience, tablets at table, and more.
“There’s a very clear delineation between legacy solutions — an enhanced cash register — and today’s cloud-based solutions, which enable future thinking,” Brian Pearson, CTO, Mendocino Farms.
The POS has truly evolved to do so much more than its original concept.