BlueCart's very own Mukta Joglekar was recently awarded Hospitality Technology's Rising Star Award for Women in Foodservice Tech at their MURTEC event in Las Vegas, Arizona. The event shed light on the progress and impact of women in food and restaurant tech, specifically on their journey so far, their modern-day successes, and how they're laying the groundwork for the next generation of women in food tech. Mukta took the stage to provide some context to how she got where she is today, and what she internalized along the way to become the successful business women that we are honored to work with every day.
1. Name someone who has inspired you and why.
My family has always been a source of inspiration for me, through their work, conduct and existence. I would like to mention my 2 grandmothers however as the biggest sources of inspiration. Both of my grandmothers were professors in a teaching college where they trained teachers and professors. They had a command over multiple languages. They excelled in their fields, while taking care of their families all along. When they retired, they founded a school for underprivileged children. They never knew to rest. They were ambitious,determined and visionary. I marvel at how they did it all decades ago, at a time and in a society where majority of women couldn’t even finish their primary education, let alone dream about having a career. I find them and their work tremendously inspiring. I hope their work keeps guiding me in all my endeavors.
2. What excites you most about foodservice technology?
What excites me most about technology in the foodservice industry is the pace at which it's moving. Restaurants are going from zero technology solutions to evaluating dozens and dozens of products and services. I see a very bright future for food service technology companies, especially those who can withstand the early emergence of this industry. All of the rising kitchen tech solutions are emerging as platforms designed to communicate with each other, which is extremely exciting as it means more efficiency and more productivity for all. I would love to see foodservice technology evolving to solve bigger problems in the world like cutting down food waste and channeling food to solve world hunger issue.
3. What do you think has had the greatest impact on the industry in recent years?
I think the greatest impact has been emergence of technology to cater to every problem the restaurants have, be it front of the house, back of the house, from reservations to menu costing to inventory to ordering. The pace at which the food service industry is embracing these solutions only means good news for the industry. Technology has also impacted the industry through social media. It's helped for a greater outreach to the customer base as well.Technology has not only enabled industry operations to be more efficient, it's also opened up channels for communication between the industry and their customers.
4. Customer experience is a top strategic driver for technology. What do you see shifting in the way customers expect restaurants to interact with them and what do innovators need to do to keep up with this?
Restaurant customers nowadays are armed with infinite knowledge about any given restaurant. It's so easy to access reviews and ratings that people come into restaurants with very specific expectations. I don't find myself walking into any restaurant without looking them up and seeing what they serve so that I know what to expect and plenty of time setting my expectations just to what I read. I think The best thing for restaurants to do is to arm themselves with the information that customers are finding online to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to customer experience.
5. Improving efficiency is always a top concern for restaurant operators. This year it was displaced according to our survey by customer experience, but it’s still a top priority. What would you say is a key for technology to help enable efficiency and productivity?
In today's world Information is power. The more you know the more you can infer from it. The more observations you make about your own business, greater are the chances of your improving efficiency and productivity. So it would be helpful for food service industry to employ technology to plough through their data and generate analytics and reports.
Now for technology to be easily adapted, it should be designed keeping in mind who the end user is. Being from technical background I can say from my experience, that not all engineers have a knack of looking at a software from the end user’s eyes. Some of us tend to focus on the functional aspects of a solution more than how the end user perceives it. Focusing on the user perception is the key for effective usage of the solution. A lot of users are lost to non-intuitive designs which could lead to tougher learning curve or losing interest in newer technology altogether and going back to their old ways. so creating a simple and easy to use platform is imperative for enabling efficiency and productivity
6. I’ve been told by women who juggle career, life, family etc. that “you can have it all, but not at the same time.” How do you respond to that?
It’s very early in my career and I would say that I have only been juggling career, life and family for 2 years now. So, I may not be the best person to comment on this. But the journey so far has been amazing. I have had to work late to solve urgent issues, jump on fixing bugs and maintenance issues at unexpected hours or weekends sometimes keeping me away from my family and at the same time have also faced personal or family issues that have kept me away from my work. I have been extremely lucky to have an amazing team that supports me and understands me both at work and at home! So I think it's just about supporting each other always. I hope that my capacity evolves with every passing day to continue juggling work, life and family because I am not ready to give any of it up.
7. What advice would you offer to young girls looking to enter technology fields?
Jump right in! Again I am too young to give any advice through my wisdom, but I’ll say what I myself need a reminder of. Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Don't be shy to Share your ideas and thoughts with your team, because collaboration is the key. Set out time to learn newer technologies and tools that improve your efficiency and aid professional growth.