The intersection of food service and technology

NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show will share breakthroughs in data and analytics, digital experiences and the overall direction of food and beverage retail
Sheryll Poe
NRF Contributor

There’s one simple fact about business today: Technology is running the show, especially for those operating within the retail food service sector.

At NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show, the Food Service Technology Pavilion and Stage will showcase ideas, systems and solutions specifically geared toward retail professionals in the food and beverage sectors.

Located in the Expo on level one, the Food Service Technology Pavilion is where food service retailers and technology connect. The latest innovations will be on display, including point-of-sale and back-office systems, digital signage and menu boards, loyalty and data, online ordering and other innovations to help accelerate business.

Meanwhile, on the Food Service Technology Stage, industry leaders will share curated content focused on topics important to food and beverage retailers. With 11 sessions over three days, a range of experts will cover everything from data and analytics, digital experiences and the direction of food technology.

Here’s a sampling of sessions to give you a taste of what’s in store:

On Sunday, Rob Grimes, founder and CEO of the Food and Beverage Technology Association, kicks off the Food Service Technology Stage programming with an overview of “The state of food tech” and how to tell which technology investments are worth the time, resources and money.

NRF 2023

Did you miss us in NYC? Take a look at our NRF 2023: Retail's Big Show event recap.

Later in the day, members of the Microsoft Restaurant CIO Council including Bruce Hoffmeister, chief information officer of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and Chipotle Mexican Grill VP, Corporate Systems Colin McGuire will tackle the ins and outs of digital transformation, from equipping the back-of-the-house to enhancing the customer experience, in “Where is restaurant technology headed in the next five years?

Along the same theme, celebrity chef Robert Irvine will sit down for a fireside chat on Monday to talk about blending digital and in-person experiences to better serve customers in the restaurants of the future. He will be joined by Marybeth Pearce, executive director, restaurant and hospitality technology at Comcast Business, Emma Powers, executive director, marketing at Comcast Business Services, and Russ Richardson, executive director at MachineQ.

For grocery retailers, three sessions will cover challenges in the fresh sector and how technology can alleviate those obstacles. On Sunday, Albertsons Companies GVP, Technology and Engineering Maria Latushkin, and Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of Afresh Technologies, will make the case for why all teams must work together to drive profit and meet customer demand in “The risks of operating in silos in fresh: How to unify operations, merchandising, IT and ecommerce.”

Restaurant tech sector pioneer Kelly MacPherson of Union Square Hospitality Group will share best practices on how to leverage analytics to craft optimal employee and guest experiences in Tuesday’s “Demystifying data: Profitability, people and the power of analytics” session.

Similarly, an executive from Pollo Campero will describe how the fast-casual restaurant chain is using location data to evaluate more than 30,000 intersections in the U.S. to create a strategic expansion plan and open 200 U.S. locations in the next 5 years.

Time is the most precious commodity in the hospitality and restaurant sector, and Aramark’s Digital Experience Director James Boushka will talk about “Five reasons automation will save your restaurant.

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