Digital & Technology Pathways

Date: Friday, July 31, 2020 from 12:00 – 1:00pm PT 
Moderator: Daniel Horgan
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Hear from Taco Bell leaders as they share their career journeys and offer their perspectives and wisdom on how to succeed in the digital, technology, and marketing fields.

About Birju 

Birju Amin has 20 years of experience in technology strategy, delivery, and portfolio & project management. In his current role as Sr. Director, Restaurant Technology, Birju leads technology (software & hardware) life-cycle management and support of all in-restaurant technology, which includes Point of Sale, Kitchen Systems, Payment Systems, and Back of House Systems. In his role, Birju is maturing the Project & Portfolio capabilities of the technology organization to meet the demands of Taco Bell’s fast-paced innovation culture.

Prior to Taco Bell, Birju spent 10 years in the Pharmaceutical industry and Technology Consulting focused on technology strategy and delivery. Birju received a Bachelor of Science in Information & Computer Science from University of California, Irvine and a Masters of Business Administration from the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. These days his 3-year old daughter and 20-month old son keep Birju and his wife plenty busy at home.

Fun Fact: Due to a lack of haircuts during quarantine, some would say Birju has begun to resemble John Stamos with his great head of hair!

About Rafik

Rafik is the VP Technology, responsible for leading Taco Bell customer-facing digital platforms (including: Web, Mobile Apps, Kiosks, On Demand Delivery, Digital Menu Boards and Loyalty).  Since joining Taco Bell in 2015, Rafik has led numerous initiatives to modernize the guest and restaurant experience.  Some of Rafik’s notable accomplishments include: opening our flagship Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas, leading the re-launch of our website and mobile apps, rolling out digital menu boards (interior and drive-thru) and the nationwide roll-out of self order kiosks.

Prior to Taco Bell, Rafik spent 15 years in various technology roles, including 8 years at Deloitte and Accenture, where he led IT strategy and implementation projects for Fortune 500 companies and 5 years at Mattel, where he led the Global Software Engineering function.  Most recently, prior to joining Taco Bell, Rafik was responsible for large technology programs at Amgen, a leading global biotech company.

Rafik graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Business Administration.  He currently resides in Trabuco Canyon, with his wife and two kids. In his spare time, Rafik enjoys traveling, golf, USC football and eating new and exotic foods.

About Steve

As Chief Technology Officer, Steve Plank leads the delivery of innovative solutions that enable industry-leading team member and customer experiences. Steve joined Taco Bell in 2015 leading the back-of-house transformation from a 20+ year legacy platform to the new eRestaurant platform. Over the years, he increased responsibilities, assuming the lead technology role in 2017.

Prior to Taco Bell, Steve had 18 years of technology and operations leadership experience, most recently as the Vice President of Technology Delivery for Allergan. He was accountable for overall technology strategy, applications, digital marketing services, and business intelligence.

He has a consulting and technology background as well as operational know-how with Fortune 500 Companies including Baxter, Amgen, and multiple others in a consulting capacity.

Steve graduated from Temple University with a degree in Computer Science and received his MBA from the University of Southern California. He is a Philly native and currently resides in Orange County, California with his wife and three kids. Steve enjoys jogging, watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.

About Zipporah

As a senior marketing executive at Yum! Brands, Zipporah (Zip) Allen has a passion for creating experiences that consumers will love and creating environments that bring out the best in people. As Vice President, Digital Experiences at Taco Bell, Zip’s responsibilities center around driving the customer experience through the brand’s digital channels – kiosk, app, web and delivery.

Prior to relocating to her native Southern California for her current role at Taco Bell, Zip was Chief Marketing Officer for Pizza Hut U.S., based in Dallas. She was responsible for driving brand relevance and business growth for Pizza Hut’s 7,500 U.S. locations. In that role, she overhauled the company’s pricing strategy to regain market share, orchestrated a multi-year sponsorship with the National Football League and launched the first ever rewards program to drive incremental visits to the brand. Prior to Pizza Hut, Zip held various global marketing and strategy roles at McDonald’s Corporation which included a three year stint in Australia.

Zip earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from USC, and her MBA in Marketing and Finance from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She lives in Southern California with her husband Jason and their two young children.  In her limited spare time she enjoys Pilates, HIIT workouts and reading.