guestXM – by Black Box Intelligence


We’ve been helping restaurants serve up better guest experiences and growth across all their locations for over 25 years.

We make it happen with unrivaled restaurant market and workforce data intelligence. Or, as we like to call it, digestible insights. Since 1995, we’ve gathered and shared data with over 300 of the world’s most successful restaurant brands. Today, the GuestXM network, born out of Black Box Intelligence, gives the most rounded and recent view of the local, regional, and national trends that affect every part of restaurant operations.

GuestXM tracks and analyzes over 250 metrics covering 99% of US DMAs. It includes data from 2.4 million employees, over 50 million guest reviews, 80,000 restaurant units, and $153 billion in annual sales across 6 segments. These include fast casual, quick service, family dining, casual, upscale casual, and fine dining.

  1. Safe, trusted, and transparent

    We’ve always taken the handling of data seriously. It’s why BBI is the most trusted source of restaurant industry data. Today, GuestXM shares the same principles. We’re responsible for all the data we collect and ensure our whole community understands how, where, and when we use it.

  2. Insights are more delicious when shared

    As former restaurant industry executives our founders understood this more than most. GuestXM helps teams gain and circulate BBI insights across the organization. From finance and marketing through to HR, in addition to national, regional, and local managers. No expensive data lakes; no messy integrations. Just empowered team members using digestible insights to drive growth.

  3. A big appetite for data

    No one else has greater coverage of restaurant financial, workforce, and guest industry data and insights than GuestXM. Powered by the Black Box Intelligence Network, we enable teams to view micro and macro market trends, compare regional performance, and access benchmark data by sector and competitor.

  4. Feast on industry expertise

    Leveraging decades of restaurant industry experience, our expert network analysts supply industry operators and board members with the tools and know-how for interpreting and responding to market trends. With a deeper understanding, organizations can feel more confident and move forward with corporate strategies.

Powered by Black Box Network

History of Black Box Intelligence

  1. 1995

    First restaurant workforce benchmarks

    Founders Wally and Joni Doolin agree to share and benchmark workforce metrics critical to their success with a group of restaurant executives from leading restaurant chains.

  2. 2009

    Workforce and financial data come together

    People Report and Black Box Financial Intelligence Emerge as TDn2K: Transforming Data into Knowledge for Restaurant & Hospitality Industries.

  3. 2013

    Black Box Intelligence guest data

    Black Box launches company-specific and industry-wide sentiment monitoring. For the first time, teams can assess how well they’re executing their brand promise compared to other restaurants within their segment.

  4. 2021

    Black Box Intelligence acquired by Diversis Capital

    People Report becomes Workforce Intelligence to round out the Black Box Intelligence Platform that includes Financial Intelligence, Guest Intelligence, Consumer Intelligence, and Supplier Intelligence.

    MillerPulse acquired

    Acquisition gives BBI the largest and most powerful dataset, representing 72,000 restaurant units and $153 Billion in annual revenue.

  5. 2022

    AreTheyHappy acquired

    Acquisition enables BBI organizations to better respond to guest feedback with tools to monitor online reviews, manage social media and analyze customer feedback in one intuitive dashboard.

Meet the Team

  • David Cantu

    Chief Executive Officer

    David Cantu is a 30-year restaurant industry veteran and serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Black Box Intelligence™, the premiere performance benchmarking company for the hospitality industry.

    Prior to Black Box Intelligence, Cantu worked his way up in restaurant management with Outback Steakhouse and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, where he served as an Operating Partner in San Antonio, TX. In 1999, he co-founded HotSchedules, the industry’s leading workforce management solution.

    In his 21 years at HotSchedules, David served as Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Customer Officer, respectively. He facilitated multiple mergers and acquisitions fueling HotSchedules’ significant scale and market position with 6,000 restaurant brands managing 120,000 locations supported by 2.8 million hourly workers.

    Passionate about innovation and client success, he oversaw the customer advisory councils and chaired the annual Spark user conference where valuable feedback was provided to guide product roadmaps for HotSchedules’ portfolio of products. He departed HotSchedules in 2019 after overseeing the acquisition and merger of HotSchedules and Fourth Enterprises by Marlin Equity Partners.

    David currently lives in Austin, TX with his wife Danielle and 3 children, Cadie, Giana, and Luca. He enjoys hiking, boating, grilling, and watching his kids play competitive sports.

    David Cantu portrait
  • Mary Hamill

    Chief Revenue Officer

    Commercial Team

    Mary loves leading customer success and account management teams to foster customer retention and expansion of solutions within the customer portfolio. She is passionate about the hospitality industry and recognizes how difficult it is to simply get a cheeseburger served or a pizza delivered to a guest.

    Mary has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry in leading IT, HR, and Training teams. Additionally, she spent several years with a software company that specialized in providing back office solutions and business intelligence to the industry.

    In March of 2017 Mary co-founded the Women’s Initiative & Networking Group (WING) at her prior company to proactively improve work for women in technology and to support women’s growth and development in their professional and personal lives. She has been instrumental in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and hopes to continue this at BBI.

    Mary Hamill portrait
  • Stephanie Kingery

    Chief Financial Officer


    Stephanie Kingery joins BBI with over 25 years of accounting and finance experience primarily focused in the Greater Atlanta area. The majority of her experience sits in technology companies from startup to global market leaders. She began her career at Intelligent Systems Corporation, a unique publicly traded technology/venture capital company, where she spent 10 years gaining exposure to a large variety of startups and venture investments in technology, software, and services.

    Subsequent to Intelligent Systems, she spent time at EDI, Software and Telecom companies where she focused on SEC reporting, accounting process improvement, major system implementations/conversions alongside streamlining and instituting management budgeting and reporting. Prior to joining BBI, she spent the last 6 years at private equity-backed growth stage software companies as VP, Corporate Controller and CFO driving acquisition integration, FP&A, reporting and internal system convergence and team building.

    Stephanie holds her CPA in the state of Georgia and earned her degree in Accounting from Georgia State University in 1996 where she was a Panther student-athlete on the indoor volleyball team. She is married to Jeff and they have two sons, Raury (17) and Finn (12). The family enjoys traveling, cosplay, and hiking with their 2 Great Pyrenees, Bear and Saffy. Stephanie also continues to coach beach volleyball to high school and middle school athletes.

    Stephanie Kingery portrait
  • Gene Sohn

    Chief Technology Officer

    Information Technology

    Gene comes to GuestXM having led distributed product and engineering teams in both early stage and mature company cultures. He has been a founder in several startup ventures that all achieved positive outcomes, including an IPO, and multiple acquisitions by public companies. Of particular interest to Blackbox, Gene has deep experience building technology in database and reporting technology, text analytics, NLP and sentiment analysis.

    Gene lives in North Potomac, MD outside of Washington, D.C. with his wife Amy. They have two college-age daughters, Anna and Katherine. Gene enjoys podcasts, biking, running, guitar, coding, investing, watching k-dramas with Amy, indulging in his daughters' interests (e-sports, k-pop), reading good books, and learning something new every day.

    While new to the restaurant industry, Gene loves eating out and is particularly excited about participating in a business he can actually explain to his non-techie friends!

    Gene Sohn portrait
  • Alan Smith

    Chief Operating Officer


    Alan Smith is a senior executive experienced in building and leading successful operations and customer-facing teams. A proven industry expert with over 20 years delivering SaaS solutions for top companies in the food industry following 15 years of experience in foodservice operations, he drives a team with a passionate focus on personal development and customer-obsessed values.

    Previously Alan enabled rapid growth at ArrowStream Software as the Chief Customer Officer leading technical integration, implementation, master data management and customer success and account management groups and works directly with top industry customers. At iTradeNetwork, a division of Roper Industries, Alan held positions as Vice President of Solutions Consulting, Vice President of Data Operations, and Senior roles in Product Management, Master Data Management and Customer Success.

    Alan is an IPEC certified leadership coach, earned an MBA at West Texas A&M University, a BA in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in Value Centered Leadership at Benedictine University where he plans to further his understanding of the art and science of leadership without compromising values.

    Currently residing in Folsom California with his wife and co-worker of 22 years, Ann-Marie and his amazing Akita, Coconut who is the star of the family with over 1,000 followers on her Instagram account. The 3 of them can often be found exploring the area on their electric bikes (Coconut in her side car) or their convertible Beetle.

    Alan Smith portrait
  • Victor Fernandez

    Vice President

    Head of Insights and Knowledge

    Victor Fernandez is the company’s most senior analyst, having studied the restaurant industry for over seventeen years. He is responsible for creating and delivering insights, content, and products that provide restaurant companies the business intelligence they need to successfully run their businesses in an increasingly competitive landscape. Victor oversees the company’s surveys and research projects and is also responsible for helping guide product development. He is a frequent contributor to articles covering the restaurant industry as well as an experienced speaker at industry events.

    Victor holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He also has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City, Guatemala, his hometown.

    Prior to joining Black Box Intelligence, Victor worked as a research analyst for a consulting firm in Guatemala and along with his wife Antonella, started their own business catering to dog owners. Victor currently lives in Frisco, Texas, with his wife and two sons, Diego and Mateo. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and is passionate about anything relating to music.

    Victor Fernandez portrait
  • Melissa Doolin-Koehne

    Vice President of Business Development


    Melissa Doolin-Koehne is Vice President of Business Development for Black Box Intelligence, the restaurant’s leading resource for financial, workforce, and consumer benchmarks and insights. Melissa has been part of the Black Box Intelligence for close to 20 years and leads the business development team in identifying and securing new members to grow the Black Box Intelligence community. She uses her passion for the restaurant industry to help companies become best-in-class performers.

    Prior to joining Black Box Intelligence, Melissa worked for the National Restaurant Association. She now is an executive board member of the Texas Restaurant Association. Melissa also spent a year as head of development for Conscious Capitalism, Inc, a non-for-profit dedicated to elevating humanity through business.

    Melissa has a Bachelor's degree from Johnson & Wales University in Hotel & Restaurant Management. Born and raised in the restaurant industry, she is a foodie and service leader at heart and enjoys not only helping the clients of Black Box Intelligence; but overall supporting the restaurant industry as an industry of choice. When not working, her days are filled with her family, including her husband Douglas and her four daughters Anya, Ava, Sophia, and Maizi. They love to travel and every year pick a new state to explore with no reservations.

    Melissa Doolin-Koehne portrait
  • Tim Suh

    Vice President, Data Engineering


    Tim Suh is a Vice President of Data Engineering in charge of leading a small data team at BBI to deliver values and insights for our customers. A hands-on leader who has worked in both private and public sector, he has been successful in designing, building, and creating enterprise products and data solutions for startups and Fortune companies across different verticals. Before joining BBI, Tim worked for a couple of local startups in identity management and advertising space where he served as the Head of Data and Analytics to architect and manage data platforms, support technology initiatives, and develop overall data strategy. He has also served in other leadership roles throughout his career in management consulting, software engineering, and systems integration.

    Tim earned a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University Of Virginia and later, received a MS from George Mason University in Information Management Systems. To further pursue system thinking, he completed the coursework for the Ph.D program at George Washington University and hopes to keep pursuing other learning opportunities. Hanging out in Northern Virginia with his wife, Jennifer, and two teenage boys, Jeremy and Zachary, and our family dog, Piper, Tim enjoys working out and spending quality time with family and friends on weekends. He likes to read and catch up on technology while playing a game of ping pong, tennis, or basketball.

    Tim Suh portrait
  • Ted Hardy

    Head of Product

    Ted Hardy portrait
  • Peter Vermeulen

    Chief Architect

    Peter Vermeulen portrait


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