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National Restaurant Association - The new way to woo guests? Tech.

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The new way to woo guests? Tech.

Corey Kline, chairman of the NRA’ Information Technology Study Group, shares his thoughts on engaging guests through technology. The group meets April 21 through 24 in Miami.

Q. What are you most excited about for the upcoming meeting?

A. I really like the focus that we have for this meeting: architectures for guest engagement. A lot of things could be part of a restaurant’s technology plan, depending on the type of guest experience you’re trying to create. The question is: What are the right pieces for your restaurant?

At this meeting, we’ll explore technology from all angles. That includes physical infrastructure in our facilities, strategies for social platforms, loyalty programs, and systems such as point of sale.

Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing IT professionals in the restaurant industry?

A. We have more technology systems, functionality, and processes than ever before. The real trick is figuring out how they should work together -- and which ones to use. There are so many options. You can’t do it all, and you wouldn’t want to.

Q. How is the IT study group meeting different from other conferences?

A. The unique thing about the IT study group is that the intimate setting provides a lot of opportunities to share and discuss ideas. I get to spend time hearing what people have done, hearing whether it worked out, and asking questions during sessions and after-hours. There’s not another event that provides me with that.

Every week, I talk with people I’ve met through this group. It’s made me more successful, and it benefits me professionally and personally, and the organization.

In addition to the IT study group, NRA’s Restaurant Innovation Summit brings together restaurant professionals from marketing, finance, supply chain, and IT to learn about new technology. People who aren’t making the Innovation Summit a priority are totally missing the boat. Noodles & Company has definitely benefited from it.

Learn more about the IT Executive Study Group meeting.

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