News Briefs

  • 2/6/2023

    Salad and Go Expands in Texas

    Salad and Go  salad and iced tea

    Up and coming QSR  Salad and Go  is expanding in Texas with three new locations opening in February in the Houston markets of Katy, Richmond and League City.

    The Katy store located opened February 1, the Richmond location at  is set to open February 17, and the League City store plans to open its doors on February 22. These new locations will mark the start of rapid brand expansion across the Greater Houston area.

    These suburbs were strategically selected as ideal markets for Salad and Go as some of the fastest growing communities in the region. Conveniently located in some of Houston's most popular suburbs, the new locations will provide fresh, high-quality meals with quick and easy convenience at an affordable price.

    As Salad and Go continues growing its national presence with a strong focus on Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada, the brand's expansive growth has it on a positive trajectory to provide fresh and affordable food to communities in more than 125 locations by the end of 2023. Houston is the next step in the brand's expansion across Texas with plans to open additional stores in the market throughout the new year.

    Salad and Go's chef-curated menu provides guests with food for any time of the day by offering a variety of delicious and healthy items including salads, wraps, breakfast burritos and soup as well as beverages including hand-crafted lemonades, teas and cold brew coffees.

    Salad and Go ensures each meal contains fresh, quality ingredients while keeping prices low by vertically integrating operations and distribution, and sourcing ingredients directly from high-quality local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. The brand's mission to make fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable for ALL extends beyond its stores and is demonstrated in the work the brand does to donate 4,000 meals every week to those in need, as well as in partnerships with nonprofits to support and fundraise for various worthy causes.

  • 1/9/2023

    Focus Brands Accelerates Dual Branded Locations

    Foucs Brand dual branded Jamba Juice and Auntie Annes

    Focus Brands says dual branding is the future of QSR, and the parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s, is leading the charge. Today, the Focus Brands portfolio boasts 175-plus open dual branded units with at least 65 more in various stages of development across the country. 

    Drive-Thru Convenience

    The Focus Brands portfolio brands have signed agreements to open more than 50 dual and tri-brand locations in the coming year, many of which include drive-thrus for added convenience as interest in dual branded franchise opportunities continues to surge.

    Flexible Store Formats

    Focus Brands is among the brands introducing new store formats, including Krystal, Jack-in-the-Box and Panera Bread, which opened its Panera To Go, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.  

    Focus Brands has long pioneered the concept of dual branding, predominately in malls and non-traditional locations with Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. Now, the company’s portfolio brands have found new opportunities with streetside dual branded units, which is paving the way for immense franchise growth. 

    “Dual branding is the future of our brands, especially on the specialty side of the business,” said Brian Krause, Chief Development Officer at Focus Brands. “There will always be a place in malls, but there is an immense amount of growth opportunity in streetside venues, and, by dual branding, there is more opportunity for enhanced revenue.”

    The company invested heavily in consumer research to identify how to create combinations of its iconic brands to resonate with consumers and meet them where they want to be met.

    Focus Brands has identified four dual-brand concepts:

    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon
    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon/Carvel
    • Auntie Anne’s/Jamba
    • Cinnabon/Carvel – Cinnabon Swirl. 

    While key consumer benefits vary by dual-brand combination, one consistent benefit has been convenience. Having these brands together in one location makes them far more accessible than they are individually. This convenience also creates opportunity for franchisees, as co-branding leads to an expansive menu that drives enhanced unit-level volume. 


  • 1/14/2023

    Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Invests in Tech Transformation

    Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is making its largest technological investment in brand history.

    Walk-On’s is implementing a systemwide aggregator to consolidate third party orders, partnering with Lunchbox to upgrade its online ordering platform and guest loyalty program, and introducing a partnership with Toast to level up its POS management system.

    71% say the ability to integrate with other systems is driving their POS purchase decisions, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

    Walk-On’s new loyalty program and app, designed by Lunchbox, are scheduled to launch in the first half of 2023 with an improved interface and back-end integration that will create a more seamless user experience for guests and operators alike. 

    Continuing with marked enhancements to the guest experience, Walk-On’s is also partnering with BOWEN to modernize the brand’s website presence and streamline the online ordering experience. 

    In addition to the upgraded Toast POS system, Walk-On’s is installing Toast Kitchen Display System, and rolling out Toast Go 2 mobile handheld POS devices for tableside and curbside use at current and future locations. 

    Walk-On’s will implement a phased rollout across all current locations throughout 2023 and begin immediate implementation at all new restaurants in their development pipeline. 

  • 2/8/2023

    New Hotel Tech Solution from P3 Books Interconnected Rooms

    P3 group room booking tool

    Hotel software solutions provider P3 allows guests to book interconnected hotel rooms online. This  new service is designed to enhance the guest journey for families and other groups, making it easier for them to guarantee their booking of interconnected rooms without the need to contact the hotel.  

    The P3 booking engine is able to identify and secure interconnected rooms in the hotel’s property management system at the time of booking, eliminating the risk of human error, and avoiding families or groups arriving at their destination to find that their rooms were not actually reserved in the desired configuration. This also removes the need for guests to either phone or email a hotel with a request for connecting rooms, which also reduces the work of hotel staff, who otherwise would have to manually complete the task for their guests. 

    Currently only a few very large major hotel groups, such as Hilton, facilitate booking interconnecting or adjoining rooms online within their own proprietary booking systems. P3 is an independent booking engine provider to offer this functionality to hotels of any size. The service can be integrated into Oracle Hospitality’s OPERA property management systems. 

    In other news, the Irish technology company recently released a housekeeping tool that allows staff to update and view live information on the status of each room. This tool is a mobile webpage that pulls out the changes made in OPERA to display a live report of whether a room is vacant, occupied, clean, out-of-order, etc. This dynamic tool is designed to help housekeeping staff better organize room cleanings, but can also be used by the maintenance team to get a report of rooms that need to be checked. Users can filter their view by floor, room status or housekeeping status according to their role.


  • 2/7/2023

    ID Platform Combats Refugee Trafficking

    human trafficking refugee

    UK tech company Zenoo has created a new ID verification platform which is free to use for agencies that are connecting accommodation hosts with Ukrainian refugees.

    Zenoo supplies digital onboarding and protection from financial crime for businesses but also has a significant not-for-profit wing. The latest not-for-profit  project is ensuring Ukrainian refugees are protected from trafficking gangs through its Freedom ID Check platform.

    Hotel Industry Launches Free Trafficking Prevention Training to Mark World Day Against Trafficking Persons

    While many accommodation agency websites set up in response to the war in Ukraine are grassroots initiatives created by developers with the best intentions, the lack of suitable ID verification has led to an influx of exploitative hosts registering.

    An investigation by the Observer revealed that the Home Office has been warned repeatedly by police that vulnerable occupants of hotels housing refugees, particularly children, would be targeted by criminal networks.

    Stuart Watkins, Zenoo CEO, said, "Times of mass migration as refugees flee war are prime territory for highly sophisticated criminal organizations to take advantage of vulnerable women and children. By verifying the identities of accommodation hosts we are reducing the risk of trafficking."

    Freedom ID Check uses the same technology leading financial institutions use to comply with anti-money laundering requirements and which border control agencies use to verify individuals. 

  • 2/6/2023

    Toast Teams Up with Google to Launch a New Ordering Channel

    Google food burgers

    Toast announced the Order with Google integration that allows restaurants using Toast Online Ordering to unlock a new channel for more orders. Order with Google is fully integrated with the Toast Point of Sale and is seamless for restaurant owners and guests alike.

    71% say the ability to integrate with other systems is driving their POS purchase decisions, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

    With millions of restaurant guests searching for restaurants online, this new collaboration with Order with Google allows Toast restaurants to activate an important new channel and drive awareness by tapping Google Search and Maps as an efficient ordering channel and marketing engine. Order with Google makes it simple for restaurant guests to search for the food they’re craving, connect with restaurants in the area, and pay ahead or on arrival.

    “We’re seeing a big trend where our guests want to order ahead through technology because of the simplicity, so we were excited to turn on the Toast Order with Google integration,” said Michael Lin, President of Sunright Corporation. “Tons of guests find us by searching ‘Bubble tea shops near me’ so it's great how seamless Order with Google is for our guests. All of the information they need is on one page and they can easily browse pictures and then order without being redirected to a new page.”

    Toast’s Order with Google Integration will also allow restaurants to:

    • Take control of takeout and delivery by unlocking new ordering channels: Now, Toast restaurants can sell to guests through three ordering channels: Toast Online Ordering, Toast Takeout App, and Order with Google. Toast empowers restaurants to grow their takeout and delivery businesses while protecting their bottom line from third-party commission fees.
    • Manage ordering channels easily with seamless integrations: Order with Google uses the same menus, hours, and quote times as Toast Online Ordering, so restaurants can customize their settings in one place. Their updates automatically flow through to Order with Google in real time. Plus, restaurants can easily toggle Order with Google on or off at any time, giving restaurants full control of all their ordering channels.
    • Offer a seamless guest experience: With one search, a guest can read reviews, see photos, order, and pay, all in one place. Order with Google supports the full range of off-premise needs from online ordering for takeout and delivery to handling payment ahead of time.
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