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Breakout Session / Tuesday / March 21, 2023 / 10:45 AM

Automation: What Is It Good For?

When it comes to restaurant automation, the options are endless and can range from something as simple as using point-of-sale technology and analytics to make smarter decisions to deploying higher-tech platforms like burger- or salad-making robots. This session explores customer-facing automation, such as QR codes, cloud-based POS systems, and delivery and takeout options as well as technologies to enhance the back-of-house, such as kitchen displays automated inventory management and robotic kitchens.


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.
Bennett Maxwell | Founder | Dirty Dough
An experienced salesman, Bennett Maxwell has been making use of this skill since his days of selling candy bars in elementary school. Sharing his sales and business expertise, Bennett is a member of the Forbes Business Council and Apex Executives. He’s also traded in his elementary school candy bar business for something slightly bigger — Bennett is currently lowering business barriers and raising mental health awareness through his cookie-selling franchise, Dirty Dough. He stands for authenticity and self acceptance, encouraging others to come as they are. You might even say that from a business perspective, Bennett is one tough cookie.
Desi Saran | Founder & CEO | Sweetberry
Desi Saran is the Founder and CEO of Sweetberry, a National Healthy Fast Casual Chain specializing in Acai Bowls, Poke Bowls, Smoothies, and Wraps. Sweetberry has been recognized by and as 2020's hottest startup fast casuals, 2019 Franchises of the Future, and 2020 Top 100 Movers & Shakers. Desi has an expertise in restaurant software and technology and has spoken on topics involving ghost kitchens, POS Inttegrations, and third party delivery.

Jason Valentine | Chief Strategy Officer | Botrista Technology
Having worked in the industry for more than 25 years, Jason Valentine has experienced every aspect of the restaurant industry. In the summer of 2022, Jason joined Botrista Technology as Chief Strategy Officer. Most recently, he was the President of Zoup! Eatery and exited after completing a successful acquisition plan. Jason has a deep understanding of the restaurant industry from the perspective of both franchisee and franchisor, and his experiences are now being applied to help brands implement DrinkBots, which enables brands to add craft beverages to their menu without operational complexities. Botrista DrinkBots automate the portioning, dispensing and mixing process using algorithmic dispensing to deliver a fresh and consistently blended drink in under 20 seconds.
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