Name: Pankaj Patra
New title: Chief digital and technology officer, Denny’s
Previous title: Senior vice president, chief information officer, Brinker International
Denny’s is hiring Pankaj Patra to lead digital and technological initiatives across its namesake restaurants and at recently acquired Keke’s Breakfast Cafe, the company announced Friday.
Patra will join Denny’s on Oct. 30. He will depart Brinker, where he spent more than a decade working in information technology and data security, according to the press release. He also, according to his LinkedIn profile, spent almost two years at On The Border Mexican Grill working in enterprise development.
Pankaj Patra’s restaurant resume:
- June 2020-Oct. 2023: Senior vice president, chief information officer, Brinker International
- 2017-2020: Vice president, information technology, Brinker International
- Jan. 2017- Aug. 2017: Senior director, enterprise systems, Brinker International
- 2015-2016: Director, enterprise data architecture, Brinker International
- 2012-2015: Director, BI and analytics, Brinker International
- 2010-2012: Senior manager, enterprise development, On The Border
- 2008-2010: Enterprise architect, Brinker International
What’s on Patra’s Plate?
Patra’s role, spanning both brands at Denny’s, is new and he will be responsible for “accelerating the company’s capabilities across all specialties within the Digital, Technology and Information functions.”
“Our restaurant teams and our guests rely on technology to enable a seamless experience, which makes the work that our IT team does absolutely critical,” said Kelli Valade, the chain’s CEO. Valade said the company’s technological foundation was solid, but that Patra will have room to innovate.
Over the past year, Denny’s has implemented significant changes to its customer-facing technology. In June the company added some gamified elements to its loyalty program in an effort to boost customer engagement with the brand. That addition followed about two months after the chain announced a partnership with Olo and Sparkfly to improve its data analysis and customer engagement processes. In March, the chain put together a promo for its menu changes that featured augmented reality and allowed customers to use their phones to take a tour of the menu, as Denny’s put it.
The diner chain has seen its share of leadership turnover this year. It terminated its president in August, named a new chief operating offier in May and appointed a new chief marketing officer in January.