Grab-and-Go Insights for Multi-Unit Restaurant Operators

The conference for multi-unit restaurants, MURTEC, concluded March 11th and established key trends for restaurant operators in 2020.

If you’re IT leadership at a multi-unit restaurant brand, and you missed MURTEC this year because of a travel ban, you’re in luck. Here are a few key take-aways from the week.

Also, keep an eye out for our blog post next week, revealing some of the major findings being announced in the 2020 Restaurant Technology Study (subscribe to our blog!).

Complying with CCPA gives operators one nice win

CCPA isn’t all bad. It’s likely all multi-unit brands fall within the requirements to comply with CCPA. It’s best practice to follow the requirements, even if compliance isn’t warranted at this time. But unlike GDPR, there is a silver lining to compliance. It allows you to monetize information if you give the right disclosure to your guests, and explain the value you’re deriving from the data.

There have been 25 breaches in restaurants in the last 3 years. The threat is real and CCPA is forcing businesses to know where all your information is living in order to comply. This exercise in good data management will help keep you and your guests safe.

Speaker — Odia Kagan of Fox Rothschild LLP

Consider creating a Restaurant Technology Stack Architect

A major trend in conversation topics at MURTEC was around creating a technology ecosystem through systems integrations. Josh Thurmer, Director of IT, at Cousins Subs shared his viewpoint on the values of a cloud-focused approach, prioritizing tools and solutions that can integrate to support a single source of truth. He recommends considering a Restaurant Technology Stack Architect, whether it’s an add-on role, or a committee. Having worked with restaurants for over 17 years, we can certainly get behind Thurmer’s passion and say that the benefits of standardization he listed are certainly legitimate:

  • Streamline support
  • Specialize staff
  • Lower cost of ownership
  • Healthy ecosystem

Pay attention to the start-ups — the tech solutions of now are your must-haves in 5 years

The products and solutions featured at MURTEC’s new Start-Up Alley were capitalizing on AI, machine learning and real-time data points. Hospitality Technology had 45 applications to select from in their first year promoting start-ups in the restaurant tech space. The founders and executives of these products all have a goal to re-invent the wheel in a way that pulls brands out of the status quo, applying tools that weren’t originally available when the problems were first addressed — such as AI. Thinking about our clients and their needs, we were drawn to a few in particular:

PathSpot hand hygiene management — Poor handwashing in restaurants is to blame for many of the food-borne illnesses. Created by a passionate biomedical engineer PathSpot checks for food-borne illness on hands in less than 2 seconds. Wash your hands, then put them under the device. Management is notified if there is a breach in contamination, and all data pushed to corporate level to look for trends in sanitation processes. Food safety becomes top of mind once again and they’ve proven significant improvements in handwashing compliance after deploying the devices in the stores.

Bbot Smart Ordering — Guests that don’t want to install a mobile app for a single visit can order, pay and tip from anywhere, anonymously. Bbot is a location-based ordering system that also cares for the needs of the restaurant operator, with features like high-volume mode.

Voltonix asset tracking and predictive maintenance — Think of all the equipment in your kitchen that could fail, and halt your sales. Rather than dispatching maintenance workers to diagnose a problem, Voltonix invented the proactive service call. Using deep learning AI, things like your pizza oven or griddle are monitored by the tech, to understand what failures look like. It predicts when things are going to fail before they fail.

And finally…

It’s completely appropriate to bump elbows

Okay, this is something we never expected to discover in Vegas. With the coronavirus fear spiking, we learned a few ways to greet each other — fist bumps, a small wave, bumping elbows, head nods, or just saying ‘hi’.

Because COVID-19 created so many travel bans for large brands (such as Starbucks), Hospitality Technology pulled some magic out of their hats to create digital on-demand content. Keep watch for videos and conference footage down the road.

Look for more insights coming out of MURTEC from us soon, including more grab-and-go insights and the reveal of the Restaurant Study findings!

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Keep Reading: Smartbridge Launches KitchIntel — Decision-Making Cooking Intelligence for Multi-Unit Restaurants

Originally published at on March 11, 2020.



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