Hi all. One of the more important shows in restaurant technology is MURTEC. I got in too late on the first day to take advantage of the workshops, but I understand they were time well spent for those who got to attend.
The welcome reception at the Chateau night club was great. There was a lot of energy and it was nice to be outside a stuffy hotel banquet rooms and onto a rooftop club. It is always great to reconnect with peers and partners.
Thursday morning sessions were overall all good. My first was Payment & Innovation Security. It was not necessarily very “innovative,” but gave a great overview of the history of payments and the security/ risks of each. Since it was interactive to an extent, we got the hear the long-held frustration of the attendees regarding payment liability and the limited accountability of the card brands.
Second session I attended was a Power Panel of Bloomin Brands, Starbucks, and Taco Bell. They were discussing Guest experience and removing friction. Integration points were the topic de jour. It is vital to ensure smooth information flow and 360 degree visibility. It is also critical to stay agile and make sure you are prepared to constantly update your technology channels.
Abby Lorden introduced the keynote, but first did a dynamic poll about where the restaurant IT folks are focusing their dollars and energy.
The opening keynote was “Acheving a Higher Level of Geek,” by the founder of Geek Squad, Robert Stephens (@rstephens). He is a self-professed college drop out who makes things up as he goes. He states that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the original Bat Man series as his models of modern business. He explained why, but I can’t type that fast. He told some fun stories about being a start up that’s got bought by Best Buy. “Everything is branding,” he says. Talking about how they counter-sued the “jock” governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger because the California Highway Patrol thought the black and white Geek Squad VW Beetles looked too much like police cars, How they got Eric Estrada, from Chips to put our a video introducing the defense. Well, he actually never did that, but it was a good dream.
After hotel food lunch I got to lead a couple of show floor tours. One for analytics and enterprise management solutions and another for accounting, labor and back office solutions. It was a great way to visit almost 20 booths and time them for 3 minutes each while they give their elevator speech. It was trade show speed dating. I liked it.
After the tours I saw John Miller from Caliburger talk about AI and robots in the restaurant space. I want to party with this guy. He seems like an R&D geek with a built in restaurant playground. He has burger flipping robots, facial order and payment kiosks, and 50 other innovative products for the space. Very cool.
Immediately following, Jim Melvin gave a great talk on how blockchain will be used in the food services industry. Not necessarily as a cryptocurrency enabler, but for audit trails in supply chain, royalty payments, and employee theft mitigation. I will now be making sure my next POS RFP has a few questions on enabling blockchain.
Was so proud to see my buddy Tamy Duplantis receive recognition as a top woman in restaurant technology... it’s about time!
we spent a bit more time on the show floor for a network reception and then hit my second favorite restaurant in the universe, Beauty & Essex. Second only to Beauty & Essex in NYC... wow!
Friday morning was spent mostly on the show floor. I have an RFP underway and needed to visit some of the vendors.
Overall, great show. It is a show I have been attending since 2006 and still find it incredibly valuable.