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Our Founders & the Beginning of Black Box Intelligence™
Our Founders & the Beginning of Black Box Intelligence™

Black Box Intelligence™, founded in 1995 by Joni Thomas Doolin and a group of restaurant HR executives, is the premier provider of human capital, financial, guest, and consumer intelligence for the restaurant industry.

In 1995, People Report™ founder Joni Thomas Doolin and a group of restaurant human resource executives from five leading restaurant chains agreed to share, and more importantly, to benchmark the key human resource statistics and workforce metrics that are critical to success and profitability. Joni knew that in a growing and competitive industry, restaurant leaders would need a reliable way to keep up. Subsequently, Joni and her team devised the survey that became the foundation for the People Report membership. Today, Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) is the premier provider of human capital intelligence for the restaurant industry. With a complete suite of monthly, quarterly, and annual solutions, we track staffing levels, demographics, and turnover and provide compensation analysis for our 200+ client companies.

Wally Doolin joined the mission in 2009 with a vision to deliver all the same insights Workforce Intelligence provided HR professionals for the operations and financial side of a restaurant business. This vision soon became Financial Intelligence with metrics covering revenue, expense, and consumer data. Like Workforce Intelligence, Financial Intelligence is a subscription-based product where we provide weekly interactive reports with drill-down capability including industry benchmarks based on the latest operational results. Financial Intelligence currently reports on 72,000 restaurant units in six unique segments and reflects $153 billion in annual sales revenue.

In 2013, Joni & Wally knew it was time to think bigger and integrate the voice of the guest. To keep up with the fast-paced environment of online communication in our culture, we developed Guest Intelligence, the restaurant industry’s first location-based social media listening tool to combine traditional social reputation management tools with operations, sales, and competitive data analysis.

The three products came together under the same umbrella, now Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) in 2013. In 2019, Black Box introduced a fourth core platform, Consumer Intelligence™, a product that tracks consumer behavior driven by transactions from 20 million credit and debit cards.

Our clients have discovered that when they view their brand from these perspectives – human capital performance, financial capital performance, and brand experience – they can uncover powerful insight into the health and wealth of their business. Our goal is to be a catalyst for our member companies to balance people and profits and make the best business decisions resulting in best-in-class performance results.

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