How do restaurant operators leverage emerging technologies to tackle some of the biggest challenges that they are facing today? This was the key question that drove the tone and focus for the 14th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference) held March 9-11 in Las Vegas. This networking and educational event brought nearly 200 restaurant executives, consultants and technology vendors together for three days of peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and best practices.
Don Zimmerman, sr. vice president and CIO for Wendy's/Arby's Group kicked off the informational sessions with his day-one keynote address on how to leverage next-generation technology trends. Jonathan Bridges, VP of information technology and CIO for Chick-fil-A, Inc. shared his insights into innovation management by discussing the core elements of innovation success and the potential points of failure that can derail innovation initiatives. Additional sessions included a second-day keynote address on "Building a Foundation of Franchisee Innovation" with Sonic Drive-In's VP of brand Technology, Brad Sheriff, and "Conquering PCI" with the founder of PCI Knowledge Base, David Taylor.
The speaker roster was rounded out by a selection of industry experts and operators who presented sessions on such topics as: "Kiosk Installations: What Works and What Doesn't" (Jason's Deli, Jack in the Box, Inc.), "Online & Next-Gen Ordering" (Godfather's Pizza), and "POS Integration: Front-of-House Meets Back-of-House" (Island Restaurants, Whataburger, and Hooters), among others. In addition to the educational sessions, MURTEC featured multiple networking opportunities as well as a topic table luncheon.
"This was my first time at MURTEC and not once did I feel smothered by the vendors like I have at other shows," says Kevin Brown, IT manager, restaurant technologies for Catilina Restaurant Group. "The topics were right on, exactly what I needed for ideas and inspiration, not to mention all the networking I was able to do. That was a bonus."
"Each year at MURTEC, we work very hard to bring IT best practices to the restaurant industry. This year, however, it was critical that we delivered insights on how technology can help improve operations and cut costs," says Abigail A. Lorden, editor-in-chief at Hospitality Technology, and the architect for MURTEC's educational content. "The feedback we received from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, telling us that each session was dead-on for what they need to know right now. We're very grateful to the sponsorship community for helping us deliver this valuable information to the restaurant technology industry."