Restaurants Reinvented: Putting Growth Back on the Menu

Qu

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.

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Episodes

AI Insights Unleashed: Best Sound Bites of 2023
Mar 23 2024
AI Insights Unleashed: Best Sound Bites of 2023
This is the first of a short 3-part series with top 2023 sound bites that are resonating deeply in 2024: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data, and Platforms. This first episode delves into one of the year's most talked-about subjects: Artificial Intelligence (AI). The guests paint a hopeful picture of technology as a tool for enhancement, efficiency and automation--rather than displacement.Join Jen as she is accompanied by industry luminaries: Phil Crawford, former CTO at CKE; Darien Bates CEO of Fourtop Solutions; Richard Shank, Sr. Principal & VP of Innovation at Technomics; and Bobby Yazdani, the visionary Founder of Cota Capital.Moments to Listen for:How artificial intelligence can transform restaurant operations and enhance customer service.Using AI to manage inventory and customize dining experiences.Insights into AI's capacity to streamline tasks and predict trends.Voice ordering with reporting and analytics. And the biggest emphasis of the episode is that technology is built to support, not replace, human efforts.Related EpisodesAI Inside & Outside the Four Walls – Phil Crawford, CKEThe State of Foodservice Technology - Richard Shank, Technomics The Future of Data Starts Here – Darien Bates, FourTopInvesting in the Future of Restaurants - Bobby Yazdani, Cota CapitalRelated Assets: Finally, an App that Saves Your Store Managers Time & Money2024 State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual BrandsCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
Investing in the Future of Restaurants
Nov 11 2023
Investing in the Future of Restaurants
Get ready for a blockbuster episode that's been cooking up for years! We've got the incredible Bobby Yazdani, the mastermind behind Cota Capital and lead investor in Qu, joining the party on Restaurants Reinvented with Jen Kern.Jen and Bobby take a  ride through the thrilling intersection of restaurant tech and investment, following Bobby's epic journey from Tehran to the tech capital of Silicon Valley and Oracle. Bobby delves into his investment playbook, sharing the criteria and principles that guide him, learned from over 200+ investments from Uber to Google and Dropbox. They unravel the maze of the restaurant tech ecosystem, from its complexities and emotional connections to the innovation opportunities available today.Hear Bobby wax poetic about leaning into the future of restaurants by building a stable, scalable platform company and culture committed to innovating on behalf of the industry. Moments to listen for:Conditions needed to build a successful platform company; expectations and timelines.The Cognitive Age - today's new new market cycle.The innovation playground created by the constant "tug of war" between customer expectations and operational efficiency.The importance of abstract thinking in technology to turn complexity into simplification.What it means to be a responsible financial and morale steward in the restaurant tech market.We talk Pizza! Bobby's love for pizza and the simplicity of it.Related Episodes:The Big POS ReframeHere’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of QuRelated Assets: What is a Unified Commerce Platform and Why Does it Matter?Why 2023 is the “Year of Efficiency” for RestaurantsConnect with Bobby on LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
The Big POS Reframe
Aug 19 2023
The Big POS Reframe
In the latest episode of Restaurants Reinvented, Jen Kern dives deep into the current frazzled, tenuous state of POS and tackles head-first the broad misconception that “POS is Dead.” Jen clarifies market confusion by clearly stating that POS isn’t dead but is instead going through a massive transformation and evolution. POS is no longer the main dish, it’s the side dish.POS is neither Hero nor Zero.Jen articulates the current evolution of POS as simply one of many order channels stemming off a data-driven and unified foundational platform. At Qu, this is what we call the Unified Commerce Platform. Moments to listen for:Why POS has become an old habit in the restaurant industryHow POS has evolved from Main Dish to Side DishWhy it's critical we cease saying "POS is Dead" and instead ask "How should my POS evolve to best serve my employees and guest needs in the future?"How to reset your framing of POS so you and your employees can embrace it once again, for what it is now todayWhat's a Data-First Commerce Platform got to do with it? Related Episodes:What Does it Mean to Go “Beyond POS” – Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 3 of 3)How to Get Closer to Your Customer & What Does POS Have to Do with It? – Solomon ChoiShe’s a Game Changer – Kelly MacPhersonRelated Articles: 10 Components of a Unified Commerce Platform The Big POS Reframe POS is Dead, Right?Connect with Jen on LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
She's a Game Changer - Kelly MacPherson
Jun 10 2023
She's a Game Changer - Kelly MacPherson
Join our special guest Kelly MacPherson, from the mega-James Beard award winning Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG). More than a trailblazer, she's been a Game Changer for her entire career.  Kelly shares her remarkable journey in hospitality and retail, from configuring her first POS network to becoming one of the early female CTOs -- and she continues to revolutionize how restaurants operate.Despite plans for retirement, she canceled them to join USHG and lead their Technology and Supply Chain division, driven by the brand's core pillars of "Enlightened Hospitality," a term coined by their famous founder, Danny Meyer. Moments to listen for:Kelly’s mission to change how we deliver Reporting & Analytics.Her quest to use data for powerful storytelling.Building exceptional Employee-First Experiences with a mobile-first strategy.The Connected Restaurant. What it is and how USHG is delivering it.The timeless tech question: Best in Class or All-in-One Solutions?Importance of partnerships and open collaboration among tech companies.The journey to CTO and what convinced Kelly to come out of retirement.The path to achieving “Enlightened Hospitality,” and how USHG does it.Related Episodes:    The Future of Data Starts Here – Darien Bates        AI Inside & Outside the Four Walls – Phil Crawford, CKE     Here’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of QuRelated Assets:     Article: How Software Architecture Impacts Restaurant Performance     White Paper: What is a Unified Commerce Platform? Connect with Kelly on LinkedInSetting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality, by Danny Meyer Check out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
The Future of Data Starts Here - Darien Bates, co-founder, Fourtop Solutions
Jan 21 2023
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 LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
Mastering the Digital Dance - Michael Chachula, CIO of Fat Brands
Dec 4 2022
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 Related Episodes: Trailblazin’ CTO Completes Full Tech Refresh in Under 1 Year – Dawn Gillis, Freebirds Burn it Down & Fail Forward Fast – Justin Keenen, Hart HouseHere’s What Innovation Looks Like – Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)Connect with Michael on LinkedInLearn more about FAT BrandsCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
What Does it Mean to Go "Beyond POS" with Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 3 of 3)
Sep 24 2022
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 ResourcesMaking Technology Invisible in the Restaurant – Amir Hudda CEO of Qu (part 1)Connect with Amir on LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
Here’s What Innovation Looks Like - Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 2 of 3)
Sep 17 2022
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 burdenYou 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 PandemicWhile 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 ResourcesMaking Technology Invisible in the Restaurant – Amir Hudda CEO of Qu (part 1)Notify: App that Saves Franchisees Time & MoneyHow Edge Computing is Revolutionizing Restaurant TechConnect with Amir on LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands
Making Technology Invisible in Your Restaurant with Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 1 of 3)
Sep 10 2022
Making Technology Invisible in Your Restaurant with Amir Hudda, CEO of Qu (Part 1 of 3)
In this 3-part mini-series, Jen interviews the CEO of Qu, Amir Hudda. We reflect on the past 2 years of sweeping industry changes and how we can collectively innovate to create a more sustainable and profitable future for restaurants. Technology is just one piece of that puzzle, but a larger one than ever before. Jen and Amir explore the historically tense relationship between restaurants & technology - and how to make it less “friction-filled” -  in this short and educational segment.Quotable Highlights: Margins, not people, have challenged the industry when it comes to adopting the best foundational technology The recent pace of change (and pandemic) forced many large restaurants chains to bolt new technology onto old legacy architectural foundations, creating more friction with operator and guest experiencesThe goal is: How do we make technology invisible in the restaurant? Frictionless experiences are not the best goal - LESS FRICTION is the more attainable goal. The pendulum swung too far for operators - from one tech provider to many - hoping we can get back to fewer moving parts for the restaurants to have to deal with. The pandemic created too many different tech stacks in the larger enterprise restaurant chains.The pace of tech adoption has been slower in our industry, but when it does happen with enterprise-level brands, it is very well thought out and planned. Innovation is essential, but we have to innovate collectively as an industry. We cannot have a meaningful impact if the innovation is not a collective effort. Not just one company or person here and there, all of us need to focus on innovation to move the industry forward more sustainably. Focusing on your #1 asset - People - is how you can have the biggest impact.  Related Episodes:One Lean Mean Restaurant Machine - Peter Wiley of Rapid Fired Pizza & Hot Head BurritosDelivering the Digital Restaurant - Meredith Sandland & Carl OrsbourneThe New Way to Do Employee Training - Rachel Nemeth, OpusResources: The Path Forward for Enterprise Restaurants - a Unified Commerce Platform. Connect with Amir on LinkedInCheck out Qu's Annual State of Digital for Enterprise QSR & Fast Casual Brands