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From the editor: Restaurants seize opportunities in tech

From the editor: Restaurants seize opportunities in tech

Sarah E. Lockyer

With tens of thousands of foodservice executives, restaurateurs, chefs, managers and suppliers getting ready to attend the NRA Show, now is a good time to open eyes and ears to changes and opportunities in the industry.

There is no better example of change — which brings both challenges and chances for success — than the restaurant technology space. New POS systems, data-driven and real-time inventory and supply chain software, new labor scheduling and training tools, customer-centric data capture and analysis, and mobile apps and payments are just a few of the areas rapidly revolutionizing how
restaurants do business.

In a recent conversation with a CEO at a sizable chain, it became clear that the confusion is real. The questions on his mind included whether to build a mobile app, how to integrate new transactional data with server performance, and how not to get caught up in “the next big thing.”

The NRA Show’s Tech Pavilion focuses on this new tech boom. Regardless of where your business is within the adoption curve, walking that section of the floor is invaluable.

Also imperative? Diving into the NRN special report, “The new tech boom.” We analyze the two most important areas of a restaurant business — the customer and operations — to bring to you the best examples of technology and digital products shifting business models. Case studies from industry-leading brands — Chili’s on tabletop tablets, Domino’s on online ordering, Starbucks on loyalty and Taco Bell on mobile apps and payment — will show you the rollouts of products from this top tier. A vendor guide helps restaurant businesses explore product and service offerings.  

Still, technology would not solve business challenges without people. Team members need to implement new tools, understand the digital environment and analyze the data. Taco Bell, for example, has a team debrief each morning to analyze social media activity. That can’t be done without people.

And how best to lead a team of people? Well, Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, offers some tips from her new book, “Dare to Serve.” Cheryl is a leader of a special sort, serving people first and understanding that the best and most engaged teams drive performance. Her leadership led Popeyes to a successful turnaround and cemented her place among top industry leaders. In fact, she has been nominated as NRN’s 2015 Norman Award winner for leadership, named after Norman Brinker and selected by former winners of the award. She will accept the award, and give a keynote presentation at this year’s MUFSO.

Technology and people, together, can change business challenges to business successes.

Sarah E. Lockyer, Editor-in-Chief
E-mail: [email protected]
Twitter: @slockyerNRN

TAGS: Technology
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