Keith Parnell

Attracting customers and growing your retail business requires a clear strategy and the right execution. That’s where I come in. I specialize in crafting data-driven digital strategies that get results for retail businesses like yours.

Data-Driven Decisions: Forget guesswork. I leverage data insights to identify the most effective digital channels and tactics to reach your target audience.

Focus on ROI: Your hard-earned dollars deserve a return. My strategies prioritize activities that deliver measurable results and steer clear of dead ends.

Cutting Through the Digital Clutter: The digital landscape is complex, but I simplify it for you. I translate complex strategies into actionable steps that are easy to implement and manage.

Essentially, I unclutter the digital world for small businesses.

With over 30 years of experience in marketing and technology, I have a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by retail businesses. I’m passionate about helping you leverage the power of digital to achieve sustainable growth.

CIO / CMO Case Study

Digital Strategist in Norfolk Daily Responsibilities

Keith works in the day-to-day as a Data-Driven Digital Strategist helping B2B, B2C, SaaS, eCommerce companies grow through 8-figure+ revenue.

Keith serves as Chief Information & Chief Marketing Officer for Ghent Eats LLC overseeing digital efforts for the GE brands, including three multi-million-dollar restaurants in Norfolk Virginia — Cogans Pizza Ghent, Cogans Pizza North, and Hank’s Filling Station — and the new Craft on Colley.

Education & Speaking

Keith has advanced education in business, information systems, and software engineering from Christopher Newport University and Kansas State University, and has had the privilege to speak to and teach MBA students at The College of William & Mary Mason School of Business and Old Dominion University Strome College of Business, and to professionals at Alpha College of Real Estate on multiple occasions.

Giving Back to The Community

Keith has served as the Virginia Governor’s Appointed Commissioner to the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (Hampton Roads Transit’s Governing Board), has served on the Board of Directors for Transit Management Company, on the International Board of Directors for Cosmopolitan International, on the Board of Managers of the Cosmopolitan Club of Norfolk Virginia, and on the Board of Directors for Hampton Roads Public Transportation Alliance.

Days Gone By …

Keith was Chief Executive Officer & Strategy Chief of JASE Group LLC, an innovative Creative Advertising & Technology Agency, a company he founded in 1997 and successfully sold in 2018, and a company that guided many clients through million-dollar growth increments.

Keith Parnell, Digital Marketing Consultant in Norfolk
Keith Parnell, Digital Marketing Consultant in Norfolk

Chief Information Officer / Chief Marketing Officer Case Study

How Ghent Eats Used Technology and Marketing to Drive Restaurant Success

The Challenge

Ghent Eats, a restaurant group encompassing Cogans Pizza Ghent, Cogans Pizza North, Craft on Colley, and Hank’s Filling Station, faced a common dilemma – managing and marketing four distinct restaurant brands under one umbrella. Disconnected data, inconsistent branding, and limited online presence hindered their ability to reach a wider audience and maximize profits.

Enter the Changemaker

That’s where I, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) / Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), stepped in. Recognizing the power of technology and strategic marketing and its merged power and effectiveness, I embarked on a mission to unify Ghent Eats’ brand efforts and propel each restaurant to new heights.

The Solution: My Leadership in Action

I recognized that disjointed data was a major barrier to growth. To address this, I spearheaded the implementation of a centralized data management system. This system acted as a single source of truth, connecting all Ghent Eats restaurants in real-time. Here’s how it transformed operations:

  • Customer Insights: Gone were the days of siloed data. This system provided a holistic view of customer preferences across all locations. I used this data to identify top-selling dishes, understand buying habits, and tailor future menus to maximize customer satisfaction.
  • Inventory Optimization: Real-time inventory tracking across all restaurants allowed for proactive management. This eliminated overstocking and potential waste, while ensuring popular items remained readily available.
  • Sales Trend Analysis: By analyzing sales data across locations and timeframes, I identified peak hours, popular menu items, and even seasonal trends. This empowered me to create targeted promotions and make data-driven decisions for maximum profitability.
Unified Marketing for a Stronger Brand

I understood that a strong brand identity was key to attracting and retaining customers. Here’s how I fostered a cohesive brand for Ghent Eats while preserving individual personalities:

    • Cohesive Brand Identity: I spearheaded the creation of a unified brand image for Ghent Eats, encompassing logos, color schemes, and messaging. This established a strong, recognizable presence in the market.
    • Unique Restaurant Voices: However, I recognized the importance of each restaurant’s distinct character. Within the Ghent Eats brand umbrella, I ensured each location retained its unique voice through targeted social media content and website design elements that reflected their individual personalities.
Digital Domination: A Seamless Customer Journey

My commitment to a robust digital presence brought Ghent Eats to the forefront of customer minds. Here’s how I transformed their online experience:

    • User-Friendly Websites: I championed the development of user-friendly websites for both Ghent Eats ( and each individual restaurant. These websites showcased each location’s unique offerings, ambiance, and menus, attracting new customers and driving traffic to their specific pages.
    • Mobile Optimization: Understanding the shift to mobile browsing, I ensured all websites were optimized for mobile devices, allowing customers to easily access menus, order online, and make reservations on the go.
    • Online Ordering: Recognizing the growing demand for convenience, I further implemented and grew online ordering capabilities across all Ghent Eats restaurants. This streamlined the ordering process, increased customer satisfaction, and boosted revenue.

By implementing these strategies, I not only strengthened the Ghent Eats brand but also empowered each restaurant to thrive in a competitive market.

The Results: Measurable Success

My vision for a data-driven, digitally connected Ghent Eats translated into undeniable success. Here’s a closer look at the quantifiable impact:

Soaring Sales Despite Challenges

In the face of the challenging Covid-19 pandemic, Ghent Eats experienced a surge in sales across all restaurants compared to other community activities. Revenue remained better than stable, a testament to the effectiveness of my strategies. This highlights my ability to navigate difficult circumstances and drive growth even in a disrupted market.

Explosive Online Engagement

My focus on a robust digital presence paid off. Social media engagement and SEO rankings for all Ghent Eats restaurants skyrocketed by over 30%. This translated to a larger, more engaged online community, fostering brand loyalty and driving new customers through the doors.

Streamlined Operations, Boosted Efficiency

By leveraging data insights, I helped optimize operations across all locations. This resulted in a significant reduction in waste, improved inventory management, and optimized staff scheduling. These improvements directly translated to YoY increases in operational efficiency, boosting profitability, and allowing Ghent Eats to reinvest in further growth.

Beyond the numbers, my leadership fostered a culture of data-driven decision-making within Ghent Eats. This empowered employees to take responsibility and contribute to the continued success of the restaurant group.

My Expertise, Their Success: A Blueprint for Your Restaurant’s Growth

Ghent Eats’ transformation is a powerful testament to the transformative power of technology and marketing, wielded with strategic expertise. It’s not just a success story – it’s a blueprint for your restaurant’s future.

Here’s what Ghent Eats’ journey reveals:

The Need for a Unified Approach

Disjointed data and inconsistent marketing efforts hinder growth. My leadership brought a unified vision to Ghent Eats, allowing them to leverage their collective strengths and maximize impact.

Data-Driven Decision Making

In today’s competitive landscape, data is king. My ability to harness the power of data analytics empowered Ghent Eats to understand their customers, optimize operations, and make informed decisions that drove success.

The Power of a Strong Digital Presence

Customers increasingly turn to online platforms to discover and connect with restaurants. My leadership ensured Ghent Eats had a robust digital presence, attracting new customers and streamlining the customer journey.

My experience at Ghent Eats is more than just a single case study. It’s a demonstration of a replicable framework that can be applied to restaurants of all sizes and specialties.

Ready to Replicate this Success Story?

Are you a restaurant owner looking to take your business to the next level? Contact me or visit to learn how proven strategies, led by a visionary CIO / CMO, can unlock your restaurant’s full potential.