Education Sessions Schedule

Building Your Post-Pandemic Restaurant Tech Stack

What technology investments are crucial to the future of your restaurant, which ones should be back-burnered, and which ones should be ignored completely? Hear from these restaurant tech experts as they provide guidance and lessons learned to get your tech stack solid as we move into a post-pandemic world.


Monday, July 12, 2021


10:30am - 11:15am


Panhandle Culinary Theater, sponsored by Coca-Cola


Pankaj Patra, Brinker International
Dawn Gillis, Freebirds World Burritos
Michael Atkinson, Bailiwick Ventures, Inc.


Pankaj Patra

Pankaj Patra

Pankaj Patra serves as senior vice president and chief information officer at Brinker International, Inc., one of the world’s leading casual dining companies and home of Chili’s  Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy. 

Pankaj oversees information technology and data security for Brinker and its brands, which are known leaders of technology and convenience for the casual dining industry. Being a technologist at heart, he and his team focus on the balance between business and tech needs, while implementing solutions to improve the Team Member and Guest experience and drive key results.

Pankaj is a longtime BrinkerHead and has served in multiple information technology leadership roles to help transform Brinker into a leader in restaurant technology. While his proudest moment is taking on his current role leading technology, he will always remember starting his IT days in a small closet developing software.

Pankaj officially joined the Brinker family in 2012, but has a much longer history of about two decades working with the company through his previous consultant role with Cognizant Technology Solutions. His work has always been focused on the restaurant and hospitality industry including time with On the Border as senior manager of enterprise development.

Pankaj and his wife have one son and the rest of his family resides in India, so he leverages technology to call them on the way to work every day. In his spare time, you can find him watching any sport – he loves them all! He has also tried his hand at being coach for his son’s soccer team.

Pankaj earned his undergraduate degree from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela and went on to attain his MBA from Southern Methodist University. He is a member of the Dallas chapter of the International Food and Beverage Technology Association.

Dawn Gillis

Dawn joined Freebirds at the beginning of 2021 as CTO.  She is leading the company through their digital growth strategy which includes a completely new technology stack. Previously, Dawn was the CTO for Torchy’s Tacos. Dawn led Torchy’s through an unprecedented time in our recent human history. During this time, the Torchy's technology team rapidly organized to support a shift in the business to 100% order/delivery-pickup which was a significant increase from normal operation of only 30%. They added curbside service, not previously offered, which was enabled by the deployment of handheld POS devices and an upgrade to online ordering

Michael Atkinson

Michael L. Atkinson is a restaurant technology investor, entrepreneur and strategic advisor to foodservice brands, investors, investment banks and technology innovators. As a former restaurant operator and chain CFO, Michael has a unique perspective on emerging technologies transforming the restaurant industry, including automation and AI, robotics, dark kitchens and voice technology.
Michael’s portfolio includes,,,, and, a pioneering voice + AI software company based in Dallas, Texas.