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Casual Dining Tech Vet Michael Furlow Is Denny’s New CIO

'Having spent my career in the restaurant industry, I have always admired Denny’s for its ability to evolve and adapt to best serve customers both in the U.S. and around the world,' said Furlow.

Denny’s hiring of Michael Furlow as SVP of information technology/Chief Information Officer this week represents a shift in how casual dining establishments are getting more serious about the challenges related to online-to-offline marketing, social media, on-demand delivery, and omnichannel in general.

He succeeds Alex Lewis, who was promoted from the CIO perch he held for eight years at Denny’s to manage strategic analytics. Furlow’s experience in tech within the casual dining and quick serve restaurant spaces goes back three decades and includes executive roles at 7-Eleven, Dunkin’ Brands, Brinker International (owner ofChili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurant chains), and most recently, Red Robin.

Denny’s was one of the first restaurant chains to sign on to Google My Business’s update that lets its clients promote itemized menus for its locations within Google Maps and searches. The GMB change takes the friction out of having to leave Google Maps, wait for an outside menu site to load, and then have to return to the main app for directions and other details such as reviews, directions, and hours.

Add in the use of mobile ordering and loyalty, plus the competition from on-demand food delivery services, and the management of restaurants’ technology becomes more crucial than ever, noted Denny’s CEO John Miller in touting Furlow coming on board.

“Technology is critical to restaurants today and Michael will be a welcome and instrumental member of our team as we continue to develop new ways of leveraging technology to better serve our guests,” Miller said in a statement. “We look forward to having Michael’s deep knowledge of the restaurant industry coupled with his expertise in strategic technology development added to our capabilities. Michael’s track record in building solid, organized IT teams makes him an ideal fit for the role and we are excited to welcome him to the team.”

Denny’s has over 1,700 locations, most of them in U.S.

“Having spent my career in the restaurant industry, I have always admired Denny’s for its ability to evolve and adapt to best serve customers both in the U.S. and around the world,” Furlow said. “I’m thrilled to join the dynamic team of leaders at the company and look forward to leveraging technology to help support the company’s strategic objectives.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.