7 March, 2017
8 March, 2017
9 March, 2017

Registration Open




MURTEC® UNIVERSITY: Small Sessions. Big Results.
Round 1 / Operators Only / Pre-Registration Required

Segment #1

Cloud Intensive: How to Leverage Cloud Technologies in Today's Multi-Unit Restaurant Enterprise

Workshop Leader:  Victor Wolters, Enterprise Cloud Strategist, Perficient

In this interactive session, a cloud strategist will help attendees zero in on real business problems and how to solve them with cloud-based initiatives. Victor Wolters, enterprise cloud strategist for Perficient, will guide attendees through understanding what battles they are fighting on a daily basis and map out innovative strategies to everyday challenges. Attendees will benefit from the opportunity to ask questions about specific issues and stumbling blocks and getting Victor’s 30+ years’ experience, in addition to hearing what challenges their industry peers are facing. Victor will help attendees identify opportunities to improve operations but also create new opportunity.



Segment #2

Getting Franchisees Onboard with Tech

Workshop Leader:  Patrick Coty, Director, IT / Infrastructure & Security, KFC Corporation

KFC’s beloved Colonel Harland Sanders was a foodservice visionary, but didn’t have technology in mind when he drew up those earliest franchise agreements. Working with franchises that are running 50+ different Point of Sale systems can cause many pain points, so establishing consistent technology standards across a brand is vital to consistent service and customer experiences. With 25+ years’ experience with KFC, Patrick Coty, Director of IT, will offer best practices for how to get system-wide buy-in from long-term and new franchisees for new digital and tech initiatives. Coty will provide attendees with a roadmap for how to maintain consistent cross-franchise technology standards as well how to get systems tailored to foster franchise-wide adoption.



Segment #3

Making the Most of the Data You Have: Leveraging Your SQL Server Reporting Services

Workshop Leader:  Ted Stathakis, Director, Business Intelligence, Del Taco

Are you tired of users constantly coming to you for data?  Would like to be able to quickly and easily enable your users to go get the data themselves?  Do you simply not have the budget/executive buy-in to purchase a BI solution? If so, then this is the session for you! Perfect for both SQL novices as well as seasoned users, the session will include a quick overview of SQL Server Reporting Services, some dashboards, reporting examples, and a look at new features/functionality including KPIs and mobile reporting.

What you’ll learn:

See how to make reports, dashboards and KPIs pop while shortening development time and easing maintenance efforts.

Explore Shared Data Sets to find out how to reduce data discrepancies and improve performance.

Discover how to leverage the power of Linked Reports to reduce the number of reports needed and to streamline report publication.

Learn how to use a custom report, based on the ReportServer database transaction log table, to see which reports are actually being used and use that report to determine a smart strategy for which reports to migrate to a new 2016 installation.    



Segment #4



Workshop Leaders:

Prakash Karamchandani, Co-Owner, Balance Grille

Jim Steinberg, Director of Enterprise Partnerships, LoyaltyPlant

In a mobile era, it is increasingly obvious that using a mobile channel as a tool to communicate with guests can be the digital advantage that gives a company that competitive edge. Have you dabbled in mobile but been dissatisfied with the results? Are you wondering what can a restaurant actually achieve with its own mobile app? If you have these questions, this session will provide you with the answers! Listen and learn as restaurant executives with vast experience in mobile will share tips and tricks on every important part of planning to launch a dynamic, engaging and SUCCESSFUL mobile app for your guests.


Networking Break


MURTEC® UNIVERSITY: Small Sessions. Big Results. Round 2 / Operators Only / Pre-Registration Required

Segment #5

Designing for Data Analytics: From Data Lakes to Warehouses

Workshop Leaders:

Michael Verdesca, Executive Vice President & CIO, Focus Brands

Stevie Liang, Vice President, Digital Engineering & Services, Focus Brands

Data: everyone’s got it, but not everyone knows what to do with it. In this MURTEC University session, Michael Verdesca EVP & CIO of Focus Brands will share insights into his team’s success with leveraging data and analytics to drive incredible company growth. Joined by Stevie Liang Vice President – Digital Engineering & Services, the Focus Brands executives will help attendees devise their own game plan for structuring and building out a data/analytics team. They will also discuss the differences and importance of both data lakes (uncurated data) and data warehouses and how the two are complementary. Find out vital steps to structure your own organization’s data and what results you can expect to get.



Segment #6

Mobile-focused Omni-channel Strategies to Transform Customer Experience

Workshop Leaders:

Scott Langdoc, Vice President, BRP

David Naumann, Vice President, Marketing, BRP

Mobile devices have become ubiquitous, dramatically changing consumers’ habits. The proliferation of tablets and mobile phones has created new opportunities to enhance customer service by enabling servers to offer faster order taking and hence, faster customer service. This MURTEC University session will explore the key retail trends that are shaping consumer expectations in the restaurant industry and how restaurants are changing to enhance the guest experience. Participants in this session will gain valuable insights that will help shape their mobile strategies and roadmap. During this workshop, participants will discuss the key components of developing and delivering an impactful mobile strategy including:

* Decide when to build a mobile application vs. optimizing your website for mobile

* Understand how to empower employees and enhance guest interactions with mobile devices

* Understand what operational impacts of your mobile strategy will have on your organization

* Identify the future impact of mobile devices and mobile payments



Segment #7

Selecting Innovation Partners

Workshop Leaders:

Allen Eskelin, CEO, Peak Portfolio

Brian Christensen, Vice President, Peak Portfolio

To be truly innovative, requires a unique way of looking at problems and the solution providers one hopes will solve them. When it comes to selecting technology to take restaurants from laggard to innovator, there is even more to consider in order to find solutions that go beyond the standard. In this session, Peak Portfolio CEO, Allen Eskelin and Vice President, Brian Christenson, will share their expertise on how any size company can overcome the challenges inherent in vendor selection to find and choose innovation partners.  Attendees will learn: How to manage a vendor selection process while evaluating a supplier’s ability to innovate and integrate; How to overcome the challenge of selecting something that isn’t quite created yet; The importance of identifying the experience operators hope to create before selecting a technology partner. This interactive session will also afford attendees time to share specific challenges they face in vendor selection, providing an opportunity for group discussion and problem solving. Attendees will leave this session with actionable advice on how to make the right technology supplier choices when the focus is on innovation. 



Segment #8


De-Risk Your Rollout

Workshop Leaders:

Todd Michaud, Industry Analyst, Connect Ventures (Former VP of IT, Focus Brands & Director of IT, Dunkin' Brands)

Brian Pearson, CIO, Stacked Restaurants LLC

Dave Weinand, CEO/Co-founder, Connect Ventures

In this interactive session, find out how industry experts have navigated the often frustrating experience of tech false-starts and learn how to sidestep common pitfalls. Through real-life examples and best practice sharing, a panel of industry leaders, including industry consultant Todd Michaud, formerly VP of IT for Focus Brands & Director of IT for Dunkin' Brands, will offer insights across a range of restaurants’ top areas of consternation such as security, integration, data, loyalty and POS continuity. Through a blend of moderated panel discussion and small group sharing, attendees will discover how to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of a rapid, secure, high-performing technology rollout.


Welcome Cocktail Reception

Exhibit Hall Open


Back to Top


Registration Open

Exhibit Hall Open


Networking Breakfast


Opening Comments

Abigail A. Lorden, Brand Director, Hospitality Technology


Opening Keynote Address

The Exhilaration and Chaos of Innovation: How Curiosity Can Drive Experience

Keynote Speaker:  Adam Steltzner, Team Leader & Chief Engineer EDL, NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity

Adam Steltzner will boldly go where no NASA engineer has gone before – MURTEC – to share with the restaurant industry’s technology leaders how they too can and should “shoot for the stars.” Steltzner will share the thrilling story of how technology and collaboration came together to enable the landing of the Rover Curiosity on Mars. Through personal experiences, he will illustrate lessons that can be applied in order to drive innovation while under intense pressure. Through his rare blend of engaging story-telling and humorous introspection, Steltzner will advise attendees on how to overcome uncertainty and have the courage to move forward to devise solutions even when you don’t have a guarantee of success. Steltzner’s extraterrestrial endeavors have given him a unique perspective to impart advice to executives, as he will encourage them to remember that leadership is not about dominating and how meaningful innovation has the potential to change the world.   


Editorial Welcome Remarks

Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology


Keynote Networking Coffee Break


General Session

CIO SHIFT: From Tech Administrator to Tech Consumer

Speaker:  John Lukas, CIO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Current technology trends are forcing a major shift for the technology leadership at leading brands. Prevalent technology of the past decades has forced CIOs to focus on technology selection, implementation and support. This focus put a major emphasis on technology budgeting and administration. In this session, John Lukas, CIO of Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, will discuss how a CIO's maximum value in this paradigm is the ability to recognize and bridge information between different departments in new ways. Lukas will share his thoughts on how to provide the most value to all groups as a technology innovation leader and to begin to leave behind old notions of value through budgeting or infrastructure and how CIO needs to stand for Chief Innovation Officer.


Networking Luncheon featuring Topic Tables



New to the 2017 program, “MURTALKs” are concise presentations that deliver big insights. A variety of topics will be covered in these 20-minute stand-alone sessions.


Thinking Big with IT: Implementing Large-Scale Projects

Speaker:  Stephanie Nardini, Sr. Director, IT, Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems Inc.

In this MURTALK, Stephanie Nardini, senior director of IT Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, will describe the agony, ecstasy, risks and rewards of going all-in with a large-scale technology project. In 20 minutes, she will illustrate how to take a company-wide initiative from inception to successful implementation, all while navigating proprietary technology, vendor partners and multiple stakeholders. Nardini will use case study examples of projects that the fast-growing franchise has recently implemented to show how the bigger the undertaking – the bigger the benefits.



Got ROI? Gamification & Smart Digital CRM Strategies

Speaker:  Monica Minford, Director of Digital Marketing, HuHot Mongolian Grill

You want to know who your customers are. You want those customers to remain loyal and engaged. You want them to be brand ambassadors. Still can’t get buy-in for your social CRM technology initiatives? What if you could identify return on investment? Find out how HuHot Mongolian Grill did just that. In this 20-minute MURTALK, Monica Minford, Director of Digital Marketing, will detail the key components to HuHot’s wildly successful HuHot Heroes campaign that both increased their loyalty program membership and developed a method for tracking real-time ROI. Minford will identify key elements of a winning customer engagement strategy that proves there is value in promoting an experience and tying it to your loyalty program.



Disrupting the Status Quo in Franchise Tech

Speaker:  Kyle Welch, President, Chicago Scoops


Kyle Welch, president and co-founder of Chicago Scoops, the largest Coldstone Creamery franchisee domestically, wants to make innovation the new normal for franchises. In this MURTALK, Welch will share his passion and strategy for technology implementation and integration. From business intelligence to leveraging data and smart use of mobile apps – Welch will share best practices for exceeding customer expectations by focusing on how to provide service “better, cheaper and faster.” This fast-paced session will inspire attendees to embrace high-reward scenarios when it comes to technology – a plan which has helped Welch focus on the customer while enjoying fast growth.




Creating Serendipity in a Digital World

Speaker:  Tripp Sessions, Managing Partner, EX|OP|SOL

Serendipity:  The faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable and agreeable things not sought for. This MURTALK will highlight how restaurant operators must take advantage of all data that is available to them, plus how through technology and the smart use of data, restaurants can manufacture serendipity. Tripp Sessions, managing partner of EX|OP|SOL, an agency specializing in delivering digital and traditional technology solutions for restaurants and retail establishments, makes an entertaining case for how and why you should use data to create ecosystems of value for your customers.



Virtual Reality: Marketing Win To Operational Practicality


Will Riley, Vice President, Brand Management, Zaxby’s Franchising LLC

Josh Robinson, Executive Creative Director/Principal, My Friend's Nephew

Will Riley, VP Brand Management, Zaxby’s Franchising LLC., and Josh Robinson, Principal, My Friend’s Nephew will take you inside the launch of Zaxby’s college football tailgate tour. For those who dine with Zaxby’s regularly and those who live in markets where Zaxby’s is new, the team created a familiar space with all the things their fans loved about Zaxby’s – food, friends and flavor. Virtual reality gave the brand the ability to take fans inside the virtual doors of the restaurant. Once there they used the latest in 3D technology in an immersive, uninterrupted Zaxby’s experience. Zaxby’s struck an intentional balance of incorporating an exciting piece of technology with the goal of creating an immersive brand experience. Riley will also share some insights into how Zaxby’s is looking to further leverage VR in practical, operational ways.



Brave New IoT World: Leveraging IoT for Smarter Restaurants

Speaker:  Jessica Groopman, Independent Industry Analyst and IoT Advisor, Tractica

The fervor for interoperability is impacting both the guest-facing and operational aspects of restaurants and as the Internet of Things, sensors, and networked services pervade business processes. Restaurant operators and strategists often struggle not only to understand IoT, but where and how to apply it, never mind how to account for numerous other technological innovations shaping device interactions. Jessica Groopman, an independent industry analyst and IoT advisor, will discuss where IoT is today from both the enterprise and consumer sides, and a glimpse into what the future holds. From drones to blockchain to artificial intelligence, Groopman will offer a crash course in the most important emerging technologies restaurants should be watching.


Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent #1

Restaurant Tech Study 2017: Investment & Innovation


Abigail A. Lorden, Brand Director, Hospitality Technology

Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology

Gaurav Pant, Sr. Vice President, Research & Principal Analyst, EKN Research

Hospitality Technology with support from EKN Reseach, unveils findings from the 2017 Restaurant Technology Study. This year's report reveals IT priorities and innovation trends, plus insights into how tech spending compares across the industry. How will budgets change in the year ahead? What are the top areas for R&D? How are restaurants responding to emerging technology and where do they rank trends in customer engagement, mobility, IoT and other technologies? These findings and more will be presented with analysis from HT and EKN Research.


Concurrent #2

Hackers and Attack Anatomies

Speaker:  Ian Thomas, Business Operations Manager, Independent Security Evaluators

Attacks against restaurateurs and their technology vendors are facilitated by the current rapid adoption of embedded systems, cloud solutions, and web based platforms. These attacks often undermine the very monetization, scalability and user experience goals for which these systems were designed and deployed. As malicious hackers advance their techniques at a staggering pace, often rendering current defense tactics obsolete, so too must security practitioners obsess over deploying progressive techniques.  Presented by the elite organization of white hat hackers most widely known for being first to exploit the iPhone, this session will analyze the anatomies of real world attacks from other industries. It will extract lessons from these attack anatomies to provide a framework to account for these modern attackers, articulate industry context, and supply attendees with key takeaways, including immediately actionable guidance.


Concurrent #3

Restaurant of the Future

Moderator:  Barry Shufeld, Interim CIO, Marco's Franchising LLC


1) Brian Best, Director of Interactive Engagement, P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc.

2) Scott Ford, President, Goodcents Deli Fresh Subs

3) Derek Nettles, Director of IT, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts

4) Zerrick Pearson, Vice President, IT, FIVE GUYS Operations LLC

From the latest in payment options to automation, predictive analytics and even autonomous cars, a panel of IT innovators takes a look at what the future of restaurants “could be” in the future and not-so-distant future. Weaving in insight from industry research, the panelists will discuss emerging trends and how that has impacted competition between channels.


Networking Coffee Break


Editorial Advisory Board Meeting



Concurrent Workshops (Operators Only)

Workshops are one of the most popular session formats at MURTEC. These hands-on, peer-to-peer sessions offer an invaluable opportunity to brainstorm with fellow operators in intimate, small group settings. Through several rounds of discussion and sharing, each workshop covers hot technology topics and trends, customized to the specific market segment.

Workshop #1

Innovating with Tech in QSR/Fast Casual


G. Kevin Hines, Manager, Application Development, The Wendy's Company

Corey Kline, Vice President, IT, Noodles & Co.

Technology leaders for quick-service or fast casual restaurants won’t want to miss this workshop. Facilitated by a pair of restaurant executives, this workshop will feature moderated group discussions. Participants can choose from a variety of hot topics including: kiosks and mobile POS, beacons, EMV and P2PE, Internet of Things, guest Wi-Fi and more. This workshop will be interactive and casual, and will offer a great format to learn from and share with your peers.


Workshop #2 (Operators Only)

Innovating with Tech in Full-Service


Kevin McIntosh, Vice President, IT, Ignite Restaurant Group

Kathy Sy, Director, Information Technology, Grill Concepts

Full-service technology leaders won’t want to miss this workshop. Led by a team of restaurant executives, this workshop will feature moderated group discussion. Participants can choose from a variety of hot topics including: mobile ordering, payment security, EMV, table-top / tableside ordering, employee productivity, guest engagement and more! This workshop will be interactive and casual, and offer a great format to learn from and share with your peers.


Workshop #3 (Operators Only)

Innovating with Tech with Limited Budgets & Support


Sean Power, Director, Information Technology, Ford Restaurant Group

Jesse Shlachtman, IT Manager, China Grill Management

If you are an IT leader working with limited resources – perhaps just a handful of in-house staff members (or one!) and tight budgets – this is the workshop for you. If you’re a “Small IT Shop,” come participate in this workshop aimed at helping each other learn how to do more with less. Through a series of group discussions, you’ll share best practices for providing support to stores with limited resources, how to best work with outsourced technology, when to build vs. buy, and more.


Cocktail Reception


Back to Top


Registration Open

Exhibit Hall Open


Networking Breakfast


Opening Remarks

Abigail A. Lorden, Brand Director, Hospitality Technology



Digital Leadership: How to Succeed in a WiFi World

Keynote Speaker:  Eric Qualman, Entrepreneur, Technology and Digital Media Expert, Professor & Author

Leaders in the Exponential Age are made—not born. We are living in the golden age of data and disruption, and the key to winning in this golden age is grasping the behaviors that define successful leaders in this digital age. #1 Best-Selling Author, Erik Qualman, will share how embracing these habits will help you become more productive, reduce stress and drive success. Find out the top future trends and why they matter; five simple habits digital leaders practice; myths and realities of online restaurant reviews; the art of being Flawsome: failing fast, failing forward, failing better; and avoiding thru-put traps to produce output.


Keynote Networking Coffee Break


General Session

10-Minute Wins

Host:  Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology

Segment #1

Facing Overtime Rules with Automation & Accuracy

Speaker:  Douglas S. Davis, Information Systems Coordinator, Monical's Pizza Corporation

Revised overtime pay regulations, which are estimated to affect at least 4.2 million American workers, will increase the salary threshold for the overtime exemption from $455 a week ($23,600 annually) to $913 a week ($47,476 annually). Should proposed new overtime rules go into effect, many restaurants may be scrambling to figure out how to adjust salaries and schedules. Having an accurate calculation of hours worked per week will be very important as you seek to comply with these new regulations. In this 10-Minute Win segment, Douglas Davis, Information Systems Coordinator, will share how Monical Pizza Corporation has deployed a proprietary, unified system across its corporate locations to help automate the tracking and managing of employee’s hours, salaries and scheduling. Doug will share the process from inception to rollout as well as lessons learned along the way and the ultimate benefit to the overall organization.


Segment #2

How an App Designed for Immersive Experience Provides Rockstar Service

Speaker:  James Couey, Director of Information Technology, Rock & Brews

To position itself for fast growth in a competitive landscape, Rock & Brews is laser-focused on giving guests an immersive and frictionless experience. Director of IT James Couey will share how the company has given casual dining the rockstar treatment by enabling guests to control every step of their journey from waitlist transparency to in-store experience and post-meal communication with an app that is a true extension of the brand. Key to this is smart systems integration combined with proper testing of process and procedures to streamline workflow from back- to front-of-house ops. James will share details on the development of the Rock & Brews mobile app and how it has helped to continue the brand’s story while removing friction for both guests and employees.  


Segment #3

Early EMV Success in a Disparate POS Environment

Speaker:  Michael Pennington, Director of Information Technology, Togo's Eateries LLC

Naysayers take note – not all EMV stories are filled with woe! For those who are still struggling since the EMV Liability Shift, listen in to how one chain enjoyed success with an EMV rollout in the early days post Liability Shift. Learn from the steps taken to duplicate this “win” in your own business. Mike Pennington, Director of IT, Togo’s Eateries will share how his team seamlessly implemented EMV-compliance across 93 locations and plans to tackle the rest of the chain’s 244 locations in 2017. Hear how the company tested and adjusted to seamlessly implement EMV across a disparate POS landscape while creating best practices and standards to ensure that speed and service never suffers.


Segment #4

Unifying Data into Actionable Intelligence

Speaker:  Matthew Son, VP, Information Systems, Charley's Philly Steaks

Charley’s Philly Steaks had data - data everywhere, in fact.  But the data was not consistent and as Matthew Son, VP Information Systems will illustrate, they weren't able to make meaningful business decisions based on that data.  Son will share the story of how Charley’s Philly Steaks went about improving performance and communications by assessing its disconnected departmental data and merging everything into a unified schema with in-house data management solution.


General Session

First Annual Women in Foodservice Technology Awards

Host:  Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology

The Top Women in Foodservice Technology Awards will honor a diverse array of females in the foodservice technology industry, from both restaurants and technology suppliers, who are re-imagining how things are done in restaurants while demonstrating excellence in leadership, inventiveness and skill. 


MURTEC Closing Remarks

Abigail A. Lorden, Brand Director, Hospitality Technology


Top Women in Foodservice Technology Awards Luncheon

Host:  Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology


Panel #1 "Rising Stars"

1) Kristen House, Product Management Team Lead, Paytronix Systems Inc.

2) Stephanie Nardini, Sr. Director of IT, Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems

3) Mukta Joglekar, Sr. Engineer, BlueCart

Panel #2 "Innovators & Lifetime Achievement"

1) Stefania Mallett, CEO & Co-Founder, ezCater Inc.

2) Karen Bird, VP, Information Technology, Buffalo Wild Wings Int'l Inc.

3) Pat Darling, VP, Operations, Ctuit Software Inc.


The Top Women in Foodservice Technology awards will be presented live at MURTEC on March 9, 2017. The Top Women will be honored at this exclusive awards luncheon, taking place at the Rio in Las Vegas. This luncheon, taking place after the conclusion of MURTEC, requires advanced registration. It will be open to award winners, select guests, and members of the restaurant industry. If you register for MURTEC as an attendee, invitations to attend this luncheon will open in February and space will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis.


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