60 episodes

Shining a light on the change-minded Restaurant Leaders behind our favorite brands. Get inspired with innovative brand building, guest engagement, and revenue-driving strategies. Join host Jen Kern, long-time CMO, as she dishes with leading restaurant pros who are elevating their game and careers by staying agile in the face of uncertainty to help their brands shine and prosper.

Restaurants Reinvented: Putting Growth Back on the Menu Qu

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 15 Ratings

Shining a light on the change-minded Restaurant Leaders behind our favorite brands. Get inspired with innovative brand building, guest engagement, and revenue-driving strategies. Join host Jen Kern, long-time CMO, as she dishes with leading restaurant pros who are elevating their game and careers by staying agile in the face of uncertainty to help their brands shine and prosper.

    The Future of Data Starts Here - Darien Bates, co-founder, Fourtop Solutions

    The Future of Data Starts Here - Darien Bates, co-founder, Fourtop Solutions

    If you’re wondering how to make sense of that ocean of data your restaurant is trying to wrangle, Darien has answers!
    Formerly the CTO at &Pizza, Darien’s new company, Fourtop Solutions, is all about helping restaurants organize and activate their data -- while encouraging humans to do the discovery of data and using technology to automate that discovery.


    Top Moments to Listen For: 
    Technology is not a pre-packaged meal, it’s a set of ingredients with overlapping capabilities and core componentsStart by centralizing your data, or you’ll constantly be back-trackingDashboards are where data goes to die - they don’t make good use of data - humans do“There are no bad systems, only bad architectures”Data is like water and you have an ocean that needs structures and flowsLet robots be robots (automation) and humans be human (discoverers)The value of POS has been largely overlooked; it needs to be a hub to pull in centralized data Hart House is using Fourtop Solutions to deploy its employee-first operations Technology is not a purpose -- it’s a tool to accomplish something; start with your business objectives and then find the right-fit systems to support that. The future of automation and ChatGPTRelated Episodes: 
    Burn it Down & Fail Forward Fast – Justin Keenen of Hart HouseMastering the Digital Dance – Michael Chachula, CIO, Fat BrandsHere’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of QuTrailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year – Dawn Gillis Freebirds World BurritoResources:
    “Dashboards is where data goes to die” by Darien BatesConnect with Darien on LinkedIn

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Mastering the Digital Dance - Michael Chachula, CIO of Fat Brands

    Mastering the Digital Dance - Michael Chachula, CIO of Fat Brands

    The CIO of FAT Brands, Michael Chachula, brings the heat to our CTO Trailblazer series talking about all things technology, customer experience, marketing hacks, and how the restaurant world evolved from a show to a dance post pandemic.
    Are you dancing with your customers? Or still operating a static show?

    Hot Takes: 
    Training your guests on effectively using all the available order channels is critical to improving order accuracy and avoiding defection. 5 Components of FAT Brands tech organization - Technology, Data, Security, Digital, and Tech Ops. Best of Breed, Distilled. (hint: it's a mutt). Best of Breed is what's best for you.Biggest barriers facing CIO/CTOs - security, talent pool, supply chainHottest trends - metaverse, bitcoinHow FAT is building a technology toolbox that's flexible,  future-proof and built on a solid foundation. Bolt-on is now glue-on. It's a living organism. The Vision (4 things) - Solid Foundation, Flexible Stack, Control of Data, Personalized Experiences.Don't give up your soul to pursue your dreams. Build a deep, rich network personally and professionally. Keep your people close, have fun at work, and include loved ones in your work travel!Michael's Advice - Listen and Love 3Related Episodes:
    Trailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year – Dawn Gillis, Freebirds

    Burn it Down & Fail Forward Fast – Justin Keenen, Hart House

    Here’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)

    Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

    Learn more about FAT Brands

    • 51 min
    Burn it Down and Fail Forward Fast - Justin Keenen CTO Hart House

    Burn it Down and Fail Forward Fast - Justin Keenen CTO Hart House

    Justin Keenen, CTO of Kevin Hart's plant-based QSR, Hart House is redefining the role of tech in restaurants with his burn-it-down, fail-forward mentality. Justin's willingness to embrace change in tech and use it to create a remarkable experience establishes him as a titan in the industry.

    Find out how Justin built his restaurant tech stack from the ground up to align with the Hart House brand vision.

    Key Moments to Listen For:
    Don't be afraid to burn it all down and start again. Fail forward. It's not legacy's fault that your restaurant tech hasn't been updated in 25 yearsDon't forget what you're running away from Tech is no longer optional in restaurants. It's a requirement Aligning tech with remarkability Best-of-breed vs all in onePutting your employees first 
    Related Resources
    Here’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)
    Trailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year – Dawn Gillis Freebirds World Burrito
    Who Comes First: The Employee or Guest? – Lauren Fernandez
    Listen Up … (to your employees) – LeBaron Meyers, NotMe Solutions
    Making Technology Invisible in the Restaurant – Amir Hudda CEO of Qu (Part 1 of 3)

    Connect with Justin on LinkedIn 

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Trailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year - Dawn Gillis Freebirds World Burrito

    Trailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year - Dawn Gillis Freebirds World Burrito

    Dawn Gillis, CTO of Freebirds World Burrito, kicks off our new CTO series and we couldn't find a better pioneer in our space. 
    In true trailblazin' in fashion, she joined the fast-casual concept and took the brand by storm, revamping the entire technology stack - including POS, KDS, Back of House, and Online ordering - in under a year.

    Dawn shares all her secrets and strategies for achieving the ambitious technology platform upgrade - as well as the early results she's achieved which are beyond impressive!
    Key Moments to Listen For:
    The process of replacing 25-year-old architecture and 10-yr old systems with new technology  Early results from the tech refresh with Qu > 98% decrease in training and labor hours; and 97% reduction in online ordering failures (lost transactions and sales)How to align your tech refresh with the brand valuesHow to sell your stakeholders on a new tech vision The most common barriers faced by restaurant CTOsWhy MACH mattersWhy being uncomfortable is a Good Thing! 
    Related Episodes:
    Here's What Innovation Looks Like (Part 2 of 3) - Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu

    What Does it Mean to Go “Beyond POS” – Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu

    Article: POS is Dead, Right?

    Connect with Dawn on LinkedIn 

    • 52 min
    What Does it Mean to Go "Beyond POS" with Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 3 of 3)

    What Does it Mean to Go "Beyond POS" with Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 3 of 3)

    In this 3rd and final part of our mini-series, Amir Hudda, the CEO of Qu discusses the evolution of POS technology in the restaurant industry and what it means to go “Beyond POS.”

    Today, it's possible to build a platform from the ground up that will last for the next 20 years. The challenge is eliminating the mindset of fear restaurant operators have toward new technology.  Find out how a strong foundation of trust between restaurant operators and tech providers helps restaurants embrace new technology. 

    Key Insights

    🎙️Beyond POS is: Uniforming the guest experience and driving operational efficiency by providing real data value. The data that flows in/from POS is more important than anything else for restaurant operators. Qu's system lets them make decisions in a quasi-real-time fashion allowing them to serve guests in-store and digitally in a more meaningful way.

    🎙️Out with the old. POS companies cannot survive by doing things the old way. Allowing restaurant brands to be more nimble and efficient in serving guests anytime anywhere and going beyond traditional ways of building technology is critical.

    🎙️A glance back.  As with most companies, navigating the pandemic was difficult for Qu. Amir feels fortunate to have investors who put trust in them to innovate and a team who collectively stepped up to make these technology advancements happen.

    “The investment we made in our people and our technology is here to stay and will add value to our brand partners and our customers for a very long time.”

    🎙️Looking forward.  "I'm excited to share everything we've built over the last 2 years. We've talked a lot about things like Notify and Edge Computing but there's a lot more to come and I'm looking forward to educating restaurants not only about what we created by why we created them." 

    Related Resources
    Making Technology Invisible in the Restaurant – Amir Hudda CEO of Qu (part 1)

    Connect with Amir on LinkedIn

    • 15 min
    Here’s What Innovation Looks Like - Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)

    Here’s What Innovation Looks Like - Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)

    In this 2nd part of our 3-part mini-series with Amir Hudda, the CEO of Qu, we discuss technology innovations that improve transaction speed, in-store redundancy, and uptime.  
    We dive into innovation areas like Edge Computing and how it helps reduce data loads (speed) when implemented on modern cloud architecture. We also discuss Voice Ordering and how Qu was "accidentally" led to integrate voice into our mobile reporting App, Notify.

    Bonus content: Learn how real-time POS data can drive pricing, promotion, and production optimization. 
    Key Insights

    🎙️Removing technology as a burden
    You cannot afford downtime as a restaurant. You need technology with real-time capabilities and no lag times for optimal guest experiences and team member efficiencies. 
    🎙️The Definition of Edge Computing
    Edge Computing brings data  closer to the point of purchase, with deeper computing power to the store level. Results: Improved speed and redundancy.
    🎙️Experiments with Voice Ordering
    Voice ordering had multiple hops to the cloud and created lags for guests. We needed redundancy and speed. This was the genesis for looking into edge computing.

    🎙️Doubling Down on Innovation During the Pandemic
    While many companies had layoff and less innovation, our investors asked us to innovate in a way that would help the restaurants come out stronger. Edge computing was integrated into our platform during this time.

    Related Resources
    Making Technology Invisible in the Restaurant – Amir Hudda CEO of Qu (part 1)
    Notify: App that Saves Franchisees Time & Money
    How Edge Computing is Revolutionizing Restaurant Tech

    Connect with Amir on LinkedIn

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

oliviabaker13 ,

Don’t miss it!

If you’re currently a restaurant leader or want to be in the future, then this podcast should be part of your weekly content diet. What makes this show a true standout is the quality of the guests, stories, and actionable strategies to level up your business. Jen finds leaders that truly care about being a positive force in the restaurant world, and shares insights that only an expert interviewer can unearth. Don’t miss it!

Kerry Fitz ,

This podcast is a must listen for all foodies.

As the founder of a fast casual brand Pure Grit BBQ, I am new to the restaurant scene and I learn something new with every episode. It’s a must listen for anyone curious or wanting to learn more about the intersection of tech and hospitality. Tech stack takes on new meeting once you dig in. Jen Kern is generous with her knowledge and Rolodex to highlight innovative brands making a difference in a storytelling easy to listen to podcast. I love it.

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