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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Steve Bigari

Chairman and CEO


Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Founded: 2007

Industry: Restaurant Technology

The impetus for Steve Bigari’s successful SYNQ3 business happened 20 years ago in the McDonald’s drive-thru line.

Bigari had just opened his 12th McDonald’s in Colorado, and he set up four computers in a back room to establish a call center to accelerate takeout orders. Shortly after, Bigari set the world record for processing drive-thru orders — serving 374 vehicles in one hour, or one car every 9-10 seconds.

Other restaurateurs took notice, and eventually SYNQ3 was born. SYNQ3 synchronizes people, process and technology to enhance ordering, improve guest experiences and increase restaurant sales and profits. SYNQ3 works with more than 30 top restaurant brands servicing thousands of locations nationwide. SYNQ3 continues to refine and change restaurant services and technology — including artificial intelligence and automated speech recognition.

“Disruptive innovation is in my blood,” Bigari said. “It always has been. In this, the blessing is also the curse as I can’t seem to ever be completely satisfied with things the way they are. In that way, at least for me, ‘satisfaction’ can lead to complacency. As such, pursuing perfection is essential to staying on top. The great news is that balance can be gained by taking short breaks along the journey to celebrate accomplishments and only then moving on to the next mountain to climb.”

Over the next five years, Bigari’s company intends to bring voice automation in drive-thru to the masses. “Within the next five years, restaurant guests throughout the world will be able to order from anywhere, through any channel they desire — be it voice, text, chat, online, mobile or in-car commerce. And should they choose, restaurant guests will be recognized, offered the opportunity to reorder from their frequent orders and pay via their preferred method both safely and instantly.” SYNQ3 said as more restaurants and customers embrace these technology advances, customer satisfaction will increase, lines will decrease and restaurateurs will see rising revenue.

Bigari is one of only a small number of people to be inducted into the lifetime Fellowship of the Ashoka Fellows — an honor only bestowed upon top-tier innovators worldwide for their focus not just on profit, but on community. Bigari is listed in the top 5% of restaurant consultants for the Gerson Lehrman Group. He worked for 20 years as a McDonald’s operations leader and the innovation chairman, aiding the company in massive technological and process advancements that led to 141 months of positive comparable sales.

As a national speaker and author of “The Box You Got: Transforming the World You Live In,” Bigari is a thought leader in technology innovations and business solutions for restaurants and others. He has spoken at dozens of restaurant leadership conferences and meetings, the U.S. Treasury, the FDIC, the United States Air Force Space Command and other prestigious groups. Bigari was featured in Business Insider as one of the restaurant industry’s most influential Tech Power Players responsible for redefining how restaurants operate. In recognition of his charitable spirit, Bigari is the only two-time recipient of the McDonald’s Ronald Award — an honor rewarding lifetime achievement in selfless community service.

Bigari has worked with some of the most prestigious restaurant businesses in the world, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Noodles & Company, MOD Pizza, Applebees and others. His company, SYNQ3, has processed billions in restaurant takeout transactions since its inception in 2007

“The best expression of leadership comes from serving the people in your life — your employees, friends and family,” Bigari said. “I serve my team by being present for them, listening to their ideas and removing the barriers to their success.”

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steve Says

“I serve my team by being present for them, listening to their ideas and removing the barriers to their success.”


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