Category Archives: Restaurants

People – Top Ten Women in Restaurants

From Hospitality Tech MURTECH awards 2020 – By Anna Wolfe, Senior Editor – Restaurants – 05/15/2020

A billion-dollar digital channel, the most successful limited-time offer in a brand’s history, and a platform that empowers restaurants to take charge of their businesses online: These are just three noteworthy accomplishments from the winners of Hospitality Technology’s 2020 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Awards.

Sponsored by Tillster, the awards were presented at MURTEC in Las Vegas on March 10, and recognize women who are making their mark in a male-dominated industry. In the coming weeks we will be profiling each of the 10 honorees in-depth on Here is a preview of this year’s class of honorees.


Nicole West

Nicole West


As Vice President, Digital Strategy and Product at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Nicole West has driven some of the company’s most innovative initiatives including Chipotle’s award-winning app and website, and the addition of digital make lines at most restaurants. By providing a dedicated make line for digital orders, Chipotle has increased order accuracy, effi-ciency and speed. Digital make lines have also increased the employee experience by making it easier and more en-joyable to fulfill digital orders. Her dedication to creating a seamless customer experience has helped Chipotle win in the digital space, which was a $1.4 billion business in 2019.

Susan Carroll-Boser

Susan Carroll-Boser


Susan Carroll-Boser started her career with White Castle in 1994 as a systems administrator. Now, as the vice president of technology,  she’s responsible for the company’s technology strategy, leading the tech shared services, IT and informa-tion services departments.With a constant drive to find solutions, she has led the development of internal and external apps, and introduced AI into White Castle’s technology infrastructure. Developing the technologies and the people to support them are at the heart of her role at White Castle. “As a 99-year old family-owned business,” she says, “the one constant in all our progress remains taking something complex and getting it to elegant — easy to use, easy to understand and representative of our vision, to feed the souls of craver generations everywhere.”

Malia Alley



Malia Alley
From 2017-2019, Malia Alley, Senior Manager — Digital, Taco Bell, successfully led the national rollout of upgraded network infrastructure to more than 6,500 U.S. Taco Bell locations. Network up-grades have stabilized restaurant systems, provided faster bandwidth for in-restaurant applications, accelerated use of customer Wi-Fi and helped grow digital sales of off-premise mobile and delivery orders, as well as growing in-store digi-tal sales from kiosks. Alley now leads the technology teams that will support the brand’s one-on-one customer market-ing platforms and is leading the launch of loyalty.

Richelle Anderson

Richelle Anderson

Richelle Anderson, OneDine’s Chief Operating Officer, has cut customer onboarding from as long as eight weeks to as short as two weeks, improving customer satisfaction and company growth. Anderson says she is most interested in how operators are using data to evaluate and respond to customer habits for the purpose of improving the guest experience. “The combination of gathering and acting on data to better serve customers while giving them more control in ordering and payment processing is the technology I am most excited about because it creates a win for operators, servers and guests,” she says.

Sharon Evans



Sharon Evans

As an executive program manager at Dine Brands Global, Sharon Evans manages the execution of Dine Brands’ most innovative and disruptive programs related to cloud integrations, mi-croservices and restaurant technology transformation. Evans is driving Dine Brands to think “smarter” about program implementation. She’s a key part of usher-ing in Dine Brand’s next generational technology pro-grams. And h covering point of sale, cloud integrations, and guest data activation. Her programs have stayed under-budget and on-schedule.

Sarah Kabakoff

Sarah Kabakoff

As Director of Enterprise Solutions at Toast, Sarah Kabakoff has established herself as an expert in digital strategies, customer data analytics, restaurant operations, and point of sale. For the past three years, she has been designing tech-driven solutions to support the restaurant enterprise and assisting customers. Kabakoff has played a significant role in closing thousands of deals. She’s helped operators solve challenges with their digital experience, helped engineer restaurant menus to provide speed, and helped to enable a cashless model.

Leslie Leaf

Leslie Leaf

As Chief Customer Officer at Revel Systems, Leslie Leaf drives client and partner success. By identifying the right people, processes and technologies, Leaf has helped Revel see real benefits by reducing the company’s call volume. Prior to bringing Revel’s customer support in-house, Revel had more than 300 outsourced agents who received 8 calls per day, but only resolved 3 tickets. Fast-forward 24 months, Revel is at 77 agents who answer 20 calls and resolve 15 tickets per day. As a result, Revel has achieved 750% improvement on ticket KPIs and 150% improvement on call volume KPIs, all with 25% of the headcount.

Krystle Mobayeni

Krystle Mobayeni


Krystle Mobayeni spent 12 years working as a digital designer at some of New York’s top agencies. She noticed that existing technology fell short of restaurant needs. Oftentimes, technology drove a wedge between the restaurant and the guest − and nobody was looking out for the best interest of the restaurant. She changed all of that when she launched BentoBox in 2013. With her rad skills in design and technology, she created a hub for restaurants to engage with the customers through a singular place: their website. BentoBox is used by more than 5,000 restaurants worldwide.

Catherine Tabor

Catherine Tabor


Catherine Tabor is the Founder and CEO of Sparkfly, an offer management platform that helps restaurant marketers improve customer acquisition and loyalty programs by connecting real-time consumer behavior with online and in-store sales. She has worked with more than 65 retail and QSR brands, powering more than 10,000 locations with more than 100 million transactions. Tabor believes she’s solved how restaurants can transform their legacy POS systems and investments into an asset that powers digital and in-store marketing programs.

Felicia White

Felicia White


Felicia White, Senior Director of Train-ing and Development at Church’s Chicken, led the most successful limited-time offer rollout in years, resulting in double-digit increases in sales and transactions. Church’s Chicken was able to achieve a 90% increase in training completions at the unit level, while closing a persistent knowledge gap between corporate stores and franchise locations. Church’s Chicken improved communication with team members and doubled engagement with their restaurant app. The program was so successful, Church’s Chicken is planning to launch it again.

5 Key Learnings from Panera’s Digital Transformation Blaine Hurst

Originally published on LinkedIn on November 8, 2018
Blaine Hurst Panera Kiosk Digital Transformation
Blaine Hurst
Chief Executive Officer & President
Panera Bread

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lisa Su and Jon Fortt last week for CNBC’s Productivity@Work event to talk about C-level perspectives on technology. So I thought I’d share more broadly some of our key learnings on digital transformation.

In 2011, we began the “Panera 2.0” digital transformation initiative with a single focus – to improve the guest experience – launching nationwide in 2014. With more than $100 million invested in technology and operations, we redesigned how cafes and kitchens operate, created the systems and technology infrastructure to support multiple digital ordering channels including web, catering, mobile apps and in-store kiosks. Digital sales in 2018 are expected to reach $2 billion and account for a third of system-wide sales. What we learned in the process:

#1 Start with what matters.

Seems like common sense, but far too uncommon. We often don’t focus on the real objective of the digital initiative – the customer journey, whether internal or external. It’s not about the technology (unless you are a tech company), but rather the stated or unstated need of the customer. Technology, for technology’s sake, is irrelevant. You must develop a deep understanding of the business need. Far too often, digital transformation becomes about the “gee whiz” factor, not the real mission, not what matters.

#2 Time really matters.

Don’t boil the ocean. Architect the solution, but deliver it in iterative steps. I’ve seen way too initiatives fail because a technologist attempting to drive business change, wants to get the platforms perfect before delivering anything meaningful for the business.  Take the time to architect the future, but “chunk up” the work so that the business sees value along the way. Otherwise, major change projects lose business sponsorship, funding, and inertia sets in.

#3 Bring an elevated experience from Day 1.

Every iteration released to the customer must add value for the customer or the target of the technology. And the iteration must add enough value to the customer to be worth their time to learn to use it. Whiz-bang cool stuff won’t matter unless it makes a difference for the customer. But most critically, it must work. Technology availability, speed and performance, functional value – all should be a goal of each and every iteration leading to the final solution.

#4 A focused, unbridled team wins every time.

Committees, working on a strategic initiative, rarely accomplish a difficult mission. Select a full-time team with the requisite skills to accomplish the mission and set them loose. Don’t be overly prescriptive of the process. It you have to tell them how to do things, you have the wrong team. Engage with them in the thinking, challenge them to deliver the ultimate mission, hold high standards, keep the team as small as possible and make sure that every member of the team is focused on delivering the mission, not representing their department. I have rarely seen anything else work.

#5 Expect the unbelievers.

Change is hard. Even the person sponsoring the change will get cold feet and second guess the mission. To deliver transformative change, you must be willing to step out, take a risk, be wrong (and fix it fast). I often say, if you really want to be a leader of transformational change, you must be willing to get fired. If you are afraid to be wrong to or make a mistake, you cannot lead transformation of any scale. Perseverance is an essential characteristic of a transformation leader. Courage is crucial.

Finally, run the race with joy. 

Transformational change requires a leader that runs the race with joy. Digital transformation is real work, hard work. Somedays it’s rewarding. But many days it’s just hard. Joy is a choice. Transformational leaders must share the joy of accomplishment along the journey.

Restaurant News – Global Payments Acquires SICOM

Global Payments to Acquire SICOM Systems, a Leading Provider of Enterprise Technology Solutions to Restaurants

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN), a leading worldwide provider of payment technology and software solutions, announced today an agreement to acquire SICOM Systems, Inc. from LLR Partners. SICOM provides enterprise, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solutions and other technologies to quick service and fast casual restaurants, as well as food service management providers, worldwide.

“The acquisition of SICOM aligns perfectly with our software-driven payments strategy and establishes Global Payments as a leader in one of the largest addressable markets we serve today”

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“The acquisition of SICOM aligns perfectly with our software-driven payments strategy and establishes Global Payments as a leader in one of the largest addressable markets we serve today,” said Jeff Sloan, Global Payments’ Chief Executive Officer. “SICOM’s technologies are highly complementary to our existing Xenial solutions, with the combination providing Global Payments’ market-leading technology solutions across the entirety of the restaurant vertical market. The transaction also allows us to expand our owned software solutions into food service management, a large addressable market globally with attractive fundamentals, while further accelerating our business mix toward technology enablement.”

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Global Payments will acquire SICOM in a cash transaction valued at approximately $415 million. Global Payments will finance the acquisition with its existing credit facility and cash on hand. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018. Global Payments expects the transaction to have an immaterial impact on 2018 financial results.

About Global Payments

Global Payments Inc. (NYSE: GPN) is a leading worldwide provider of payment technology and software solutions delivering innovative services to our customers globally. Our technologies, services and employee expertise enable us to provide a broad range of solutions that allow our customers to accept all payment types and operate their businesses more efficiently across a variety of distribution channels in many markets around the world.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with approximately 11,000 employees worldwide, Global Payments is a member of the S&P 500 with customers and partners in 31 countries throughout North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Brazil. For more information about Global Payments, our Service. Driven. Commerce brand and our technologies, please visit

About SICOM Systems, Inc.

SICOM Systems, Inc. is a leading best-of-breed provider of end-to-end technologies and services for quick service and fast casual restaurants, as well as food service management companies. The company offers front-of-house, middle-of-house and back-of-house solutions that are helping leading restaurant brands around the globe streamline their operations. Founded in 1987, SICOM is headquartered in Lansdale, Pa. and can be found online at

About LLR Partners

LLR Partners is a lower middle market private equity firm committed to creating long-term value by growing our portfolio companies. LLR invests in select industries, with a focus on technology and services businesses. Founded in 1999 and with more than $3.5 billion raised across five funds, LLR is a flexible provider of capital for growth, recapitalizations and buyouts. For more information about LLR and advice for scaling growth companies, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

Investors are cautioned that some of the statements we use in this release contain forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the “safe-harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not historical facts, including revenue, earnings estimates and management’s expectations regarding future events and developments, statements about the benefits of the proposed acquisition of SICOM including future financing and operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties.

Important factors that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those anticipated by such forward-looking statements include our ability to safeguard our data; increased competition from larger companies and non-traditional competitors, our ability to update our services in a timely manner; our ability to maintain Visa and MasterCard registration and financial institution sponsorship; our reliance on financial institutions to provide clearing services in connection with our settlement activities; our potential failure to comply with card network requirements; potential systems interruptions or failures; software defects or undetected errors; increased attrition of merchants, referral partners or independent sales organizations; our ability to increase our share of existing markets and expand into new markets; a decline in the use of cards for payment generally; unanticipated increases in chargeback liability; increases in credit card network fees; change in laws, regulations or network rules or interpretations thereof; foreign currency exchange and interest rate risks; political, economic and regulatory changes in the foreign countries in which we operate; future performance, integration and conversion of acquired operations, including without limitation difficulties and delays in integrating or fully realizing cost savings and other benefits of our acquisitions at all or within the expected time period; fully realizing anticipated annual interest expense savings from refinancing our corporate debt facilities; our loss of key personnel and other risk factors presented in Item 1- Risk Factors of our Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and any subsequent SEC filings, which we advise you to review.

Additional important factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those anticipated by our forward-looking statements or historical performance associated with the proposed acquisition of SICOM include the ability to meet closing conditions at all or on the expected terms and schedule, business disruption during the pendency of the acquisition or thereafter making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships, including the possibility that our announcement of the acquisition could disrupt SICOM’s relationships with financial institutions, customers, employees or other partners; and difficulties and delays in fully realizing benefits of the acquisition.

Our forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and should not be relied upon as representing our plans and expectations as of any subsequent date. We undertake no obligation to revise any of these statements to reflect future circumstances or the occurrence of unanticipated events.


Global Payments Inc.
Investor Contact:
Winnie Smith, 770-829-8478
Media Contact:
Kimberly Mann, 770-829-8755

ZIVELO Wins Two Awards at ICX Summit

ZIVELO Wins 2 Awards at ICX Summit for Achievement in Interactive Customer Experiences.

The #1 QSR mobile kiosk company receives two awards

Zivelo Wins Award Dallas, TX – June 13, 2018 – ZIVELO, the leader in interactive self-service kiosk and digital signage solutions in the QSR arena, has been appointed to receive two prestigious awards at the ICX Summit in Dallas on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The Elevate Awards honor the individuals and organizations that are pacesetters in using technology to elevate customer experience.

ZIVELO will receive Best ICX Deployment: Restaurant and Best ICX Deployment: Financial Services at this year’s ICX Association Elevate Awards for providing nearly 10,000 kiosks to one of the top three  QSR’s in North America, and for their groundbreaking virtual banking expert kiosks deployed at a top US-based financial institution.

ZIVELO produces award-winning, self-service kiosk and digital signage solutions for a portfolio of global companies. This includes the top three fast food chains in the nation, as well as top brands across the retail, banking, healthcare, restaurant, and hospitality industries. Their newly launched software product, OakOS, allows ZIVELO’s customers and third-party developers to rapidly build and deploy applications with the only developer kit designed for kiosks. Clients can now develop fully-functional applications within days, by using OakOS’ comprehensive web-based frameworks and SDK. Backed by ZIVELO’s network of support technicians, this comprehensive offering removes previous common barriers in the industry.


ZIVELO’s mission is to revolutionize the way brands use technology to interact with their consumers on-premise and in the physical world. Founded in 2008, ZIVELO has rapidly grown to become the leading self-service technology brand offering a sleek and sophisticated product design, intuitive user experience, and cutting-edge modular hardware solutions. In 2018, ZIVELO acquired Oak Labs, the creators of OakOS – the world’s first operating system for public computing experiences. Through the acquisition, ZIVELO now provides brands with an end-to-end solution for the roll-out of kiosks and digital signage. For more information, please visit

Hospitality Kiosks – What the Kiosk Can Do for Hotels and Restaurants

What The $1B Kiosk Industry Can Do For Hotels And Restaurants

News followup from

What The $1B Kiosk Industry Can Do For Hotels And Restaurants

Kiosks aren’t just for selling tickets or providing customers with another way to order a meal. They can personalize the guest experience too.

“Our take on it is that we’re all different,” Bite CPO Steven Truong has said. “Our recognition and learning algorithm allows us to give each guest a different experience — and cater to their personal needs.”

Bite is far from alone in its quest to capitalize on the demand for kiosks. Overall, the kiosk market is booming and is projected to reach $1 billion by 2021.

And, between 2013 and 2016, the size of the U.S. interactive kiosk industry market grew at an average of 10.36 percent from $533.37 million to $716.97 million, according to the PYMNTS Kiosk & Retail Report. Here are five segments for the kiosk market — and how they help businesses function more efficiently.

— Food self-service kiosks made up 16 percent of the percentage participation in relation to the total market. For instance, McDonald’s is on its way to making “wait time zero” a reality, with kiosks playing a big role. Early statistics have shown a 20 percent higher average ticket being placed at the self-service kiosk versus the counter. And Panera made news when it decided to start using touchscreen order kiosks to solve crippling bottlenecks in its stores. The bakery chain is rolling out the technology along with simplified kitchen displays. Subway, too, is hoping that new technology, including touchscreen kiosks, can save it from a three-year sales slump before it has to close more stores.