#NRAShow Session: CIOs and Technology

Panelists:

Dan Cunningham - SVP of Information for Einstein Bagels

Jeremy Gibeault - Senior Manager of Information Systems for Firehouse Subs

Ed Beck - CIO and VP Technology for the National Restaurant Association

Caleb Mitzvotai - Senior Manager of Innovation and Technology for Panda Restaurant Group

What's the biggest technology challenge you're facing?

DC: PCI compliance 3.0 is our biggest challenge this year. Given what happened with Target this year, all of us are facing audits and really need to think through our process and systems around credit card compliance. 

JG: Getting franchisees to buy in on technology decisions in the face of minimum wage hikes and cost spikes. This means they don't want to shift budgets to technology. We're competing for budget just like any other department is.

CM: Beyond PCI compliance, it's the risk of losing 20% of our sales if there is a breach. According to the FBI, it's not a matter of "if you'll get breached" but "when you'll get breached". We're thinking of end to end anonymization of credit cards.

What's driving change in technology?

DC: 100% end users and consumers driving change. Things like mobile ordering and online ordering are now table steaks for casual and fast casual brands.

JG: Our desire to compete and win dining occasions from other brands makes us evaluate how technology can help us do that

CM: Bridging the gap between marketing and IT is also a big theme for us, and part of what is driving change.

Key takeaway is that technology is a high priority in restaurant organizations simply as a way to keep up with consumers, but also as a way to build better relationships across departments.