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Why Brinker International Is Embracing Technology

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Enhancing operations

Improving sales at a restaurant can take many forms. The focus is to have maximum impact on the dishes served to customer satisfaction. Chili’s underwent a kitchen equipment upgrade, which, according to management, is intended to result in labor savings and a faster and higher quality food, which will result in improved customer satisfaction. Most importantly, the company stated that this equipment upgrade will provide the flexibility to develop new menus.

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Embracing technology

Brinker International (EAT) is embracing technology with its Ziosk tablet at Chili’s for customer ordering. Chili’s is one of the few restaurants that has embraced customer-facing technology. This device enables a customer to touch the screen to place an order, access entertainment, or pay the check without the need for a server. If customers embrace this device, Chili’s may not need as many servers, which will be an opportunity to save some labor costs.

The company plans to launch a loyalty program in 2015 that will be used along with Ziosk. Ziosk is a very small dent in the universe of bridging a gap between businesses and customers using technology. Eventually, Brinker’s goal is to connect with a customer on a more personalized basis.

Brinker has upgraded its POS (point of sales) used at restaurants and back office systems to improve operational efficiency. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) recently enabled an employee training program that uses technology to allow its employees to view training materials on demand.

Panera Bread (PNRA) is testing an ordering system to reduce customer wait time. Starbucks (SBUX) has the most successful loyalty programs. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) holds about 3% of SBUX.

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