Charting a path that spans the domains of retail, e-commerce, and hospitality, Karl Goodhew’s story is a reflection of the remarkable possibilities that technology, innovation, and a relentless drive for change can create. From leading software engineering at Macy’s Inc., a $17 billion-dollar, Fortune 500 multi-brand retailer, to joining BurgerFi as Chief Technology Officer, Goodhew’s journey is a mosaic of diverse skills, profound curiosity, and a steadfast determination to challenge the status quo. In this article, we explore the fascinating insights derived from this episode of Restrocast by Ashish Tulsian featuring Karl Goodhew, offering a glimpse into the captivating transformation of a retail tech leader into a visionary figure in the world of fast-casual dining.
Karl Goodhew is the Chief Technology Officer at BurgerFi, one of the nation’s fastest-growing premium fast-casual concepts, QSR’s 2020 Breakout Brand of the Year, and recently voted USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Top Better-Burger Chain for 2021. Goodhew leads the technology strategy and execution at BurgerFi, where he oversees the digital platforms, loyalty program, online ordering capabilities, and store systems that deliver a seamless guest experience and drive business growth.
Goodhew has a background in software engineering and product development, with more than 15 years of experience at various large retailers and start-ups. Prior to joining BurgerFi, Goodhew served as Director of Software Engineering at Macy’s, Inc. He was responsible for launching Market by Macy’s, leading the cloud transformation for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, and building a diverse team of engineers focused on store selling and operations. He has also held positions at Home Depot, YellowPepper, which was acquired by Visa in 2020, and JCPenney, where he was responsible for all aspects of the 5-star-rated consumer mobile apps.
Goodhew has a passion for technology and innovation and a vision for transforming the fast-casual dining industry. He is always looking for new ways to leverage technology to create value for customers, employees, and shareholders. He believes that technology can enable BurgerFi to offer high-quality, sustainable, and delicious burgers at an affordable price while also reducing waste, improving efficiency, and enhancing customer loyalty. Goodhew is a data-driven decision-maker who ensures alignment with all teams while challenging the status quo.
Here are the top 5 fascinating insights derived from the episode of Restrocast between Ashish Tulsian and Karl Goodhew, revealing his remarkable journey, passions, and visionary outlook for the future of the fast-casual dining industry.
- Technology as a Value Creator: Goodhew has used technology to create value and solve problems in various industries, such as retail, e-commerce, and hospitality. He has enhanced the customer experience, driven business growth, and improved operational efficiency with technology. He has also created innovative solutions, such as Market by Macy’s and BurgerFi’s digital platforms.
- Innovation as a Change Agent: Goodhew has shown a drive for change and a vision for transforming the industries he works in. He has challenged the status quo and sought new ways to create value. He has also embraced change as an opportunity to learn new skills, explore new markets, and adapt to new situations. He has switched from one industry to another, or from one role to another, with passion and courage.
- Diversity as a Source of Inspiration: Goodhew has a background in software engineering and product development, but he also has interests in business strategy, customer service, and sustainability. He has worked in various large retailers and start-ups, where he has learned from different cultures, teams, and challenges. He has also collaborated with different stakeholders. These diverse skills and experiences have enabled him to have a holistic view of problems and solutions. They have also helped him generate groundbreaking ideas that combine technology, innovation, and change.
- Self-Learning as a Key to Success: Goodhew has learned how to code by himself and has little in the way of formal training in coding. Yet, he has led teams of formally trained coders and delivered high-quality software products for some of the biggest retail brands throughout his career and continues to do so. He has shown that learning by doing is a powerful way to master technology. He has also proven that learning by doing can help one to acquire new skills, overcome challenges, and achieve goals.
- Best in Breed vs. All-in-One Tech Solutions: Goodhew shared his view on choosing the right tech stack, highlighting the trade-offs between best-in-breed and all-in-one solutions. He said best-in-breed solutions offer the best performance and functionality, but they also result in a complex tech stack. All-in-one solutions offer everything in one package, but they also compromise on quality and features. He said the decision depends on factors such as budget, time, resources, willingness, and business focus.
Karl Goodhew’s journey from a retail tech leader to his foray into the fast-casual dining industry demonstrates how technology, innovation, and a drive for change can create remarkable value. His story inspires aspiring leaders and innovators, showing them that diverse skills can combine to generate groundbreaking solutions. As Karl advances his vision of transforming the burger industry, the broader landscape of digital innovation stands ready for exciting, disruptive opportunities.