The 13th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), held March 12-14 in Las Vegas, provided restaurant operators intimate access to learn from and network with C-level executives from some of the industry's largest and most influential multi-unit restaurant companies.
Keynote speakers for this three-day, networking and educational event for restaurant IT executives included the CIO from Dunkin' Brands, the VP of IT from IHOP/Applebee's and the CIO from Quiznos Sub Sandwich Shop. Delivering the event's closing keynote address was industry visionary Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese restaurants. His latest venture is the interactive concept restaurant uWink.
The event opened with Dan Sheehan, CIO from Dunkin' Brands, delivering a compelling presentation on this year's theme, "Innovation Technology: Strategies and Solutions that Accelerate Business Growth." Frank Hood, CIO of Quiznos, delivered the day's closing keynote on "Optimizing Technology in the Corporate-Franchisee Partnership."
"Be business leaders first, technologists second," Hood advises his peers, acknowledging that the company's franchise operators are its killer app, an approach that has allowed Quiznos to achieve sustainable growth and maintain excellent franchisee relations.
Opening the second day of sessions was Patrick Piccininno, the vice president of information technology for IHOP and the recently-acquired Applebee's brand. Piccininno delivered an opening keynote address on the second day of sessions that discussed "Powerhouse Integration Strategies."
Bushnell closed the conference with high energy and compelling content, sharing not only his company's unique technology approach (which calls for touch screen terminals at every table) but also a look ahead at emerging technologies that will shape the future landscape of the food service industry.
The speaker roster was rounded out by a selection of industry experts and operators who came together to deliver sessions on such topics as: Payment Security and PCI Standards (Brinker, International), What's New In Wireless Solutions (Cara Operations, Ltd.), Building a Successful Loyalty Program (Cosi), and Business Intelligence for the Restaurant Industry (Wendy's International), among others.
The high-quality sessions are punctuated by ample networking opportunities on the golf course, over lunch or during cocktails. "I like that there are a limited number of vendors. At tradeshows I feel like I don't have time to spend with them. Here I don't feel rushed. I can spend time with someone if I'm interested," says Al Newman, director of training from Hungry Howie's Pizza and a 2008 MURTEC attendee.
MURTEC 2009 will take place March 9 - 11 at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A full agenda will be available online in late 2008 at www.htmagazine.com. Watch for updates in future issues of HT.