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Breakout Session / Thursday / March 31, 2022 / 10:30 AM

Labor Shortages? AI to the Rescue!

Labor shortages got you down? Have no fear; AI is here. Learn which types of technology can help operators fill in unemployment gaps left on the front line, at the drive-thru and the back of house.


Dave Craig | Vice President, Human Resources | Fazoli’s
Dave Craig is Vice President, Human Resources for the 220-unit fast-casual Fazoli’s Italian Restaurant chain. A graduate of Ohio University, Dave has been in the restaurant industry for over 36 years, including 29 years with Fazoli’s, where he has helped guide and evolve the brand’s award-winning culture through five ownership changes. He has earned professional designations including Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Fraud Examiner. His HR Team has been recognized for innovation and excellence both regionally and nationally by The University of Kentucky, Coca Cola, Nation’s Restaurant News and The American Business Awards.
Phil Crawford | Chief Technology Officer | CKE Restaurants
Phil Crawford is currently the CTO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s which operates 4000+ QSR restaurants worldwide. Crawford leads CKE’s Digital and Technology functions and is responsible for building a technology-forward, data-driven company that exceeds consumers/ evolving expectations. Crawford has over 20 years of experience in C-Level Technology rolls. Previous he has served as Global Chief Technology Officer at Godiva Chocolatier, Inc. Prior to that, he served as Chief Information Officer/Head of Technology for Shake Shack, Inc. and Yard House Restaurants, Inc.
Sean Kennedy | President & CEO | Cowboy Chicken
As president and CEO, Sean Kennedy has been instrumental in establishing Cowboy Chicken as the premium fast casual restaurant brand that pioneered wood-fired rotisserie chicken. Sean has worked to refine the menu, build operational systems, grow system-wide sales and strengthen store financial performance. He launched Cowboy Chicken’s franchise program that helped to pave the way for today’s national expansion and has built a strong corporate team to support franchise development, real estate, construction, training, marketing and franchise support efforts. During his leadership, the brand has been included in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list every year since 2011 and in 2017 won the Emerging Chain of the Year award from Restaurant Business.

Rob Carpenter | CEO & Founder | Valyant AI
Rob Carpenter is the CEO and Founder of Valyant AI, the first Artificially Intelligent “Digital Employee” to work directly alongside employees in customer facing roles. Valyant’s AI “Holly” works in quick-serve-restaurants to greet customers at the drive-thru post, answer questions and take food orders. Rob has a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Enterprise Technology Management. He was named one of the top 25 most influential young professionals in Colorado by ColoradoBiz Magazine in 2013 and received the Denver Trailblazer award in 2016. Valyant AI was awarded the Modern Retail Awards’ Best In-Store Tech in 2019 and in 2020 received the ICX Association’s Best Emerging Technology award.
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