Michael Chachula, CIO of Fat Brands brings the heat to the third episode of our  CTO/CIO Trailblazer series.  With a background in the tech, finance, and hospitality industries, Michael exemplifies well-rounded expertise that’s critical to running tech for a 16-brand restaurant portfolio. 

Michael and Jen cover all the hot topics in restaurant tech, from how the mega brand organizes its technology teams to the new digital dance necessary in the post pandemic world.

Guest-At-A-Glance

🍽 Name: Michael Chacula, CIO, Fat Brands 

🍽️ Noteworthy: Michael has had many diverse roles, including SVP at HSBC Bank, Head of Portfolio Mgmt at Novartis, and an Executive at Dine Brands where he launched in-car ordering for IHOP. 

Key Insights

🌶️ The guest experience is now a dance, not a show. Restaurants need to make a conscious effort to improve order accuracy and avoid defection by training customers on how to effectively use all the available ordering channels. “Doing things like using your mobile app to set up prompts throughout the the ordering process to confirm each decision the customer is making.”

🌶️ Building a solid, future proof tech foundation.  “It’s about making this foundation a living organism that allows you to nurture, grow, and replace pieces without having to bring down the entire system. It can’t take a whole village to maintain it. It must be agile and nimble and allow your restaurant to pivot quickly. Limping along until we get there is the challenge for all brands.”

🌶️ Tips for restaurant CIO’s. According to Michael, the top five objectives CIO’s should be focusing on are technology, data, security, digital, and internal controls. “Finding a balance between those five things and knowing how much of your budget should go into each one at a given time is the magic sauce to running a successful brand.” 

🌶️ Looking beyond best of breed vs. all in one. With all of the technology and platforms available, is the debate between best of breed vs. all in one too narrow? “The question is, do you go for best of breed when you’re looking at a pure brand or are you looking at a mix? Are you only rolling out certain technologies or a multi-cloud? I think we have to think about this a little bit broader — you need to have the right fit for your brand, that’s what best of breed is.”

🌶️ Why work life balance is important. In the fast paced, never slowing world of the restaurant industry, it can be hard to strike an appropriate work life balance. “If you want to be successful, you need to have a deep, rich support network personally and professionally. Don’t give up your soul to achieve your dream.” 

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

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