Dive Brief:

  • WOWorks, parent company of Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, has named Kyle Mark as its chief information officer.
  • In the newly created role, Mark will lead the company’s technology operations. Its new tech stack is currently being upgraded and is set to be complete by April. WOWorks is updating its operations, processes and guest loyalty program through partnerships with Qu POS, OLO, Punchh and WorldPay.
  • Mark, who recently served as director of operations at Qu, spent six months as a technology consultant at WOWorks in 2021. During this time the company began accelerating its tech-driven initiatives, such as Saladworks’ deployment of Chowbotics’ robot, Sally, to automate salad creation, and the expansion of its ghost kitchen footprint.

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Dive Insight:

As the acceleration of technology throughout the pandemic creates a greater need for integrated and streamlined restaurant operating systems, WOWorks’ new CIO role could help the company continue its rapid growth tear. 

The upgrades are comprehensive. Qu’s POS system integrates loyalty and online ordering and manages menus across all four brands. Olo’s Rails and Dispatch products will be used to manage third-party orders, integrate virtual brands and create branded delivery to hone direct relationships with guests. WOWorks is also adding Punchh’s loyalty technology, which integrates with both Qu and Olo, as well as WorldPay, which is built into the POS and allows for easier online payment processes.

“These new updates are easy to use and make restaurant operations simpler. Instead of juggling between multiple systems, we are paring down to the best technology systems,” CEO Kelly Roddy said in a statement. “By reducing the number of technology systems and upgrading the quality, this tech reboot will allow for stronger synergies between WOWorks brands in the form of co-branding, ghost kitchens and virtual brands.”

Customers are also clamoring for such systems such as digital payments and loyalty. A new IBM study revealed CIOs’ influence on business strategy and operations is growing and in the past two years, several restaurant and restaurant-adjacent companies have brought in new CIOs, including WaitrTeam Schostak Family RestaurantsSubwayPieology and Hooters.

Not only are these tech leaders tasked with streamlining increasingly complex and necessary systems, they can also help identify and implement technology to recruit and retain employees. Chipotle, for instance, is rolling out a new labor scheduling tool that makes the job more efficient for employees, CEO Brian Niccol said during the company’s recent Q4 earnings call.

For WoWorks, integration can create the benefit of scale to drive efficiencies and shared learnings across its four brands, which has driven a consolidation wave in the past two years.

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