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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. 

  • 2/14/2023

    The WorkNomads Lab Hotel Selects INTELITY for Mobile Guest Experience

    The WorkNomads Lab Hotel guestroom

    INTELITY®, a provider of guest experience and staff operations platform, announced today a new deal with The WorkNomads Lab Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria. The newly opened, mixed-use hotel will implement INTELITY’s mobile offerings, including a branded mobile app, mobile check-in, mobile key, and GEMS®, Guest Experience Management System — INTELITY’s suite of staff-facing tools.

    Located in Bulgaria’s capital city, The WorkNomads Lab Hotel is the country’s largest coliving hotel and features a mix of both hotel rooms, and flexible coliving and coworking spaces well-appointed for living and working in a post-pandemic world. With onsite offerings, including communal kitchens, office areas, a bar and restaurant, rooftop amenities, and a laundry room, The WorkNomads Lab Hotel is ideal for younger guests and remote workers looking for a modern approach to work, travel, and beyond.

    “Today’s younger, digital-savvy guests crave a personalized and seamless experience,” said Katrien Meire, Founder and Executive Director at WorkNomads. “With the INTELITY platform, we are able to not only achieve this, but also get guests checked into their rooms as conveniently as possible. This allows our team members to serve guests in other ways and provide the flexible, modern experience our guests expect in their daily lives and at The WorkNomads Lab Hotel.”

    With a branded mobile app powered by the INTELITY platform, contactless service and digital amenities will be available to The WorkNomads Lab Hotel’s guests, as well as longer-term residents and workers, throughout their stay. By downloading the property’s app, guests can enjoy the convenience of using their mobile devices to check-in, check-out, place in-room dining orders, and make service requests. The branded app also allows guests to bypass the front desk and access their room key directly from their mobile phone. Additionally, INTELITY’s back-of-house workflow management system, GEMS, automates guest requests and work orders, streamlines services, and delivers business insights to the management team.

    “We are very pleased to welcome The WorkNomads Lab Hotel to the INTELITY family of properties,” said Robert Stevenson, CEO of INTELITY. “The INTELITY platform is well adapted to hotel, mixed-use, and residential use cases, and we’ve seen increasing utilization in new areas matching the global shifts in flexible working and travel. Katrien and her team’s vision for WorkNomads is moving the dial when it comes to providing a modern work-travel experience, and, by adding the INTELITY platform, we couldn’t be more excited to help them elevate this experience even further.”

  • 2/14/2023

    Unified Office Receives Patent for its Concierge Portal Offering for the Hospitality Industry

    unified office logo

    Unified Office, Inc., a managed services provider offering highly reliable, cloud-based, business communications services, IoT services, and business analytics, announced that the US Patent Office has issued them a U.S. Design Patent for its Unified Office Concierge Services offering, an in-room, tablet-based, portal and Telephone System with Customized Advertising Functionalities for the hospitality industry.  This patent covers the technology used in Unified Office’s business communications platform for the hospitality industry that enables hotel operators to return passive revenue generation to their hotel rooms. This platform helps hotels to operate more efficiently, while improving the overall guest experience. This is the fourth patent awarded to Unified Office for innovative offerings that run on top of its patented High Quality Reliable ProtocolTM (HQRPTM) network platform.

    Unified Office’s Concierge Services offering serves as an in-room communications portal that provides capabilities for sponsored advertisements and the opportunity for hotels to create passive revenue generation from local businesses such as local tourist venues, spas, gyms, and local restaurant establishments.  Hotels can advertise their own “in hotel” services in addition to that. The Unified Office Concierge platform also helps hotel staff work more effectively by routing guest service requests to the nearest hotel staff member best suited to service their needs. Hotel rooms can once again serve as meaningful profit centers.

    “Hotel facility operators are experiencing very rapid and dynamic changes in their businesses,” said Ray Pasquale, Founder & CEO of Unified Office. “Our concierge services platform takes functionality far beyond the ordering of services requested from guests.  We designed it in response to the common needs of the hospitality industry, first to improve their overall communications services and then to help them with their operational productivity, bringing their customer experience to new levels while simultaneously expanding opportunities for increasing revenues.”

    Unified Office’s Concierge Services Platform integrates with leading hotel management and messaging services such as Opera, Synergy, and Kipsu to provide full customer visit, bookings, and preference details with each incoming call, along with other productivity tools. Hotel staff can answer and transfer calls from any device, from any location. They can also easily change their messages on hold, voicemail, and text messages, and add customized work flows dynamically whenever they choose. Managers can also use Unified Office’s analytics to create an at-a-glance view of customer service responsiveness in real-time for pending guest requests for housekeeping, front desk, room service, concierge services, and other guest services.

    Summary of Benefits:

    • Integration with leading hotel customer management software.
    • Centralized operations portal to remotely view, configure and manage communications services, including dialing schemes, messaging, and workflows.
    • No more dropped or clipped calls, busy signals, placing customers on hold, or sending them to voicemail.
    • The ability to customize communications work flows that reflect operational needs.
    • Uniformity of services enables staff to easily bring their offices home with them or wherever they happen to be throughout the facilities on any given day.
    • A hybrid, on-premise and cloud-based solution that enables the highest quality VoIP offering available with the most reliable and resilient service platform.
    • Business continuity that eliminates downtime by finding and fixing problems in most cases before the customer becomes aware of them.
    • Superior customer service, 24X7, provided by Unified Office.
    • Rapid installation of services without interrupting their business.
    • Real-time analytics for customer service training, coaching, and other types of operational performance assessments.
    • Cost savings from eliminating outdated systems, expensive legacy PBXs, and the need for costly legacy T1 lines and MPLS circuits.
    • A single end-to-end managed service solution provided by one vendor means one call gets it all done with one partner.

    “We are gratified to receive this fourth patent from the U.S. Patent Office, said Ray Pasquale, Founder & CEO of Unified Office. “This further strengthens Unified Office’s position as an innovator and proven technology leader in the marketplace. Our innovations are designed to help customers improve operations, generate higher levels of customer satisfaction, increase customer retention, and in many cases, increase revenues and profitability.”

    Unified Office’s first two patents were for its highly reliable, secure, High Quality Reliable ProtocolTM (HQRP™) transmission network platform, the foundation of Unified Office’s Total Connect Now managed services platform. Unified Office’s HQRP™ platform solves the quality and reliability problems inherent with Cloud-based VoIP/UC offerings. It’s third patent was for its Visual Performance Suite, which provides advanced business analytics for a real-time view of changes in operational performance levels and other actionable intelligence.

  • 2/14/2023

    RoomRaccoon Integrates with Epos Now to Enhance Payment Processes for Independent Hotels

    roomraccoon and eposnow logos

    RoomRaccoon, an all-in-one Hotel Management System, has announced a new integration with point-of-sale (POS) system, Epos Now. The two-way integration allows hotels to unify revenue streams in one central location, streamline payment processing and enhance the guest experience.

    Integrating a hotel management system with POS technology allows hotels to accurately track guests’ payments throughout their stay. Now, with the joint effort of RoomRaccoon and Epos Now, hotels can easily process charges from anywhere on the property – from the restaurant to the spa – and give guests the freedom to settle their total when it’s time to check out.

    The integration provides seamless communication between RoomRaccoon and Epos Now and generates coherent invoices for all the services offered at an establishment in real-time. Now, hotels can easily process orders from the Epos Now platform and automatically add the charge to the guest’s invoice in the RoomRaccoon PMS, making invoicing errors and billing inaccuracy a thing of the past.

    Ryan Heaphy, Head of Strategic Partnerships EMEA at Epos Now, shares: “We're really excited about launching our partnership with RoomRaccoon. The connection is hugely beneficial as it allows our hotel customers to provide a seamless guest experience, unifying all purchases into one simple bill at checkout.” 

    RoomRaccoon’s Head of Partnerships, Steven Reffin, shared: “RoomRaccoon is excited to welcome Epos Now to our growing marketplace. In addition to streamlining payment processes, the integration reduces data fragmentation and maintains accurate and holistic insights to give hoteliers a better sense of their property's performance. The integration also helps reduce time wasted operating a complex tech stack so that your staff can get back to what they do best – putting the guest first.”

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