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News Briefs

  • 2/9/2023

    Olo Expands Borderless Functionality for Accelerated Guest Checkout

    mobile payment

    Olo Inc. announced additional availability of Borderless functionality for all Olo Pay customers, unlocking the benefits of streamlined payment across a broader set of Olo’s network of 600 brands.

    Previously limited to Olo Pay customers using its white-label interface Serve, Borderless is now available to all Olo Pay customers including those with custom ordering websites and apps, enabling more brands access to increased revenue potential and actionable guest data. Borderless capabilities simplify the checkout process for guests by eliminating the need to remember a password or manually enter credit card information at every purchase. In addition to helping restaurants meaningfully increase basket conversion, guest retention, and visit frequency, Borderless enhances the guest experience and de-identifies guest data to inform high-level business decisions.

    Additional capabilities Olo launched include enhanced QR Code Ordering and Geolocation Partner Notifications. Furthering Olo’s on-premise dining offerings, new QR code ordering functionality allows guests to quickly and easily update their table number from their personal mobile device, providing the flexibility to dine where they’d like throughout their on-premise experience and bridging communication from guest to server. Restaurant customers using Geolocation Partner Notifications will now be able to see approaching and arrival notifications for guests on Expo, Olo’s tablet-based software solution focused on enhancing the front-of-house workflow in restaurants. This feature’s automation eliminates the need for multiple tablets and ensures food is prepared efficiently and on time, resulting in fresh food for guests.

  • 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. 

  • 2/9/2023

    The Pierside in Santa Monica Signs on with Sage Hospitality

    Pierside Santa Monica

    Sage Hospitality Group announced the recent addition of The Pierside Hotel  in Santa Monica, Calif., to the company’s portfolio of more than 110 hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues in 14 states. The Pierside joins the Sage Independent Hotel Collection, bringing the number of fully independent, lifestyle hotels that Sage operates to 18.

    “The Pierside Hotel is the 11th property added to our independent portfolio in less than two years, which certainly reaffirms our deep commitment to becoming America’s favorite lifestyle hospitality company by continuing to build our presence in the independent segment,” said Daniel del Olmo, president of hotels and restaurants for Sage Hospitality Group. 

    Following a multi-million-dollar reimagination as a premium lifestyle hotel, The Pierside officially opened its doors to guests in late January. Perfectly located at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue, just steps from the famed Santa Monica Pier, The Pierside is the closest to that iconic destination and the first hotel to open on Ocean Avenue in more than a decade. With 132 guestrooms and suites, The Pierside boasts sweeping ocean views; an inviting and laid-back atmosphere; The Boardshop, a full-service gear rental; beach butler services; and renowned artist Shepard Fairey’s largest mural in the Los Angeles area. The Surfing Fox, the property’s signature restaurant that will be operated by Sage Restaurant Concepts, anchors Pierside as a day-to-night dining destination. Inspired by an admiration for Santa Monica and its community, the restaurant will serve California-sourced spirits, beers and wines and an approachable but indulgent menu.

    To learn more about Sage Hospitality Group and its expanding portfolio of more than 110 hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and entertainment venues from coast to coast, visit www.sagehospitalitygroup.com. 

  • 2/9/2023

    fanz.io Launches Hospitality Commerce Platform

    handshake partnership

    Hospitality technology start-up Fanz has announced the release of their new hospitality-focused full-suite commerce platform consisting of digital products for marketing, payments, ordering, loyalty and guest feedback.

    Fanz enables hospitality companies to activate known guests with marketing and upsell campaigns based on a guestAI engine that improves the efficiency of payments, F&B operations, and loyalty/rewards programs by providing a single solution that can handle these processes seamlessly. With a single payment service, hotels, restaurants, and events can operate both their online booking system as well as process physical payments on location. The F&B e-commerce solution allows customers to upload digital menus and facilitates guest-initiated F&B ordering and payment from wherever they may be located on the property, such as in the bar, next to the pool, or ordering from their rooms. It also supports native loyalty, rewards, and guest feedback programs, which are seamlessly integrated into every guest payment.

    All of the guest data, gathered from PMS connectivity, F&B ordering, payment, loyalty, and feedback, is aggregated into Fanz's unique guestAI database (formerly known as CRM) to facilitate intelligent, automated guest communication and activation. 

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