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News Briefs

  • 3/6/2023

    Bear Robotics Announces the Launch of Its Robot Servi Plus

    bear robotics servi plus

    Bear Robotics, a Silicon Valley-based innovator of hospitality robots, announces the launch of its new robot, Servi Plus, a service industry game-changer featuring increased capacity, enhanced user experience features, and the smoothest suspension engineering in the industry for transporting liquids and traversing ramps.

    With an expanded 88 lb (40kg) payload and a 16+ dish capacity, Servi Plus is the heavy-duty answer to hospitality workflow automation. The latest addition to Bear Robotics’ renowned Servi lineup, Servi Plus is a bigger solution for alleviating repetitive work like running orders and bussing dishes so that team members may stay on the floor and focus on creating exceptional guest experiences.

    In addition to its strong carrying capacity, Servi Plus features industry-leading suspension for liquid delivery, allowing it to traverse a variety of flooring, thresholds, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ramps. This new product has the ability to carry four oversized serving trays or bus tubs and is adjustable for custom tray configurations.

    Servi Plus also includes an array of visual and user experience enhancements, such as a full perimeter of responsive LED lighting for visibility and communication and a dot display matrix for custom messaging.

    “This addition to our product line is something our entire company is very proud to launch,” says Juan Higueros, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bear Robotics. “It is a testament to our team’s ability to collaborate with our partners and support them by bringing products to market that immediately fit their operational needs.”

    With the release of Servi Plus, Bear Robotics is setting a new standard in the hospitality space. This new product allows for seamless service across many verticals. Whether it’s a restaurant, hotel, senior living community, sports arena, ghost kitchen, or family entertainment concept, Servi Plus is equipped to provide a superior collaborative robot service for operators, employees, and customers.

  • 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. 

     

  • 3/6/2023

    OTA Insight Launches Rate Insight+

    logo, company name

    OTA Insight, a provider of cloud-based hospitality business intelligence, announced the launch of Rate Insight+, a solution that gives hoteliers a complete view of their competitive landscape by combining hotel and short-term rental data in a single platform. The new short-term rental data will be available as an upgrade to the core Rate Insight product.

    Rate Insight+ offers hoteliers a comprehensive view of competitive short-term rental and hotel pricing in their specific market, providing crucial data to enable better pricing decisions based on demand, occupancy, and rates in their market. With the addition of short-term rental data, Rate Insight+ also saves time and effort by providing a single source of truth - hoteliers now have both the hotel and short-term rental data they need, in one simple and easy-to-use tool.

    As the short-term rental industry continues to rapidly grow, professionalize, and increase market share, hoteliers face a host of new challenges.  Short-term rentals are now a mainstream competitor to hotels: 46% of those who paid for lodging in 2021 stayed in a short-term rental at least once. Potential guests compare factors including price, value, and experience offered by both short-term rentals and hotels when booking rooms. But until now, hoteliers have not had a solution to truly understand this new short-term rental competitor, leading to a major blindspot across their competitive landscape.

    "With the majority of booking sites offering both hotel and short-term rental accommodation, market convergence is accelerating, and traveler habits are changing," said Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of OTA Insight. "Our Data Science team has surfaced some powerful insights to help hoteliers understand the impact of short-term rental properties in their market on their commercial strategy. We're excited to introduce Rate Insight+, the first solution of its kind in the industry. Rate Insight+ enables hoteliers to take a comprehensive approach to analyze their market, understand the impact of short-term rental supply, and gain a competitive advantage."

    For over ten years, tens of thousands of hoteliers have relied on OTA Insight to provide real-time, high-quality market data to capture demand at the optimal price. The winner of Hotel Tech Report's Rate Shopping and Marketing Intelligence category for three consecutive years, OTA Insight is a proven innovator. The new Rate Insight+ will help hoteliers gain a much richer view of their markets, enabling them to price with confidence in the face of an ever-changing competitive landscape.

  • 3/6/2023

    Extended Stay America Selects HotelKey for Its Central Reservation System

    HotelKey, a cloud-based hospitality platform, added its Central Reservation System (CRS) to an already existing portfolio of HotelKey products in use at Extended Stay America (ESA). ESA has worked with HotelKey for its Property Management System (PMS) since 2018, and for the HotelKey Call Center Module (Find & Reserve) since 2020. HotelKey’s next-generation cloud-based CRS product includes direct connectivity to leading OTAs and GDS systems, an easy-to-use Call Center module, integration with Channel Managers, and seamless integration with the HotelKey PMS.

    HotelKey Co-Founder and President, Aditya Thyagarajan, said, “We are excited to further expand our relationship with Extend Stay America. ESA has an unwavering commitment to innovation and adoption of next gen solutions. The new agreement is not only further validation of that commitment, but also brings HotelKey one step closer to our vision - helping enterprises across the hotel industry implement full-stack solutions that support owners and franchisees and hotel managers to effectively manage their properties from anywhere.”

    John Laplante, Chief Information Officer at Extended Stay America, said, “We are pleased to continue working with HotelKey, with the addition of its CRS product.” He concluded, “HotelKey has helped enable innovation of our tech platforms and further provides strategic value to our business.”

    The addition of the HotelKey CRS brings ESA even deeper, more comprehensive operational benefits from a suite of integrated software solutions that are helping more than 4,000 hotels worldwide to  streamline operations and costs. HotelKey and ESA will work closely together to implement the CRS system across its portfolio of hotels with the goal of converting all hotels by the end of 2023.

  • 3/5/2023

    Paytronix Mobile Experience Builder Simplifies Mobile App Management

    Paytronix, a provider of guest engagement for restaurants, transforms the management of mobile apps with Paytronix Mobile Experience Builder. This new self-service tool enables brands of all sizes to publish content in real time to their mobile apps, something that had only been available to those that could invest heavily in custom mobile app development.

    “Restaurants and convenience stores must meet guests where they are, and more than ever they are on their mobile devices,” said Paytronix CEO Andrew Robbins. “Many of our clients need to communicate in real time with personalized information, but simply don’t have the budget or need to build a custom app.”

    Today, more restaurant orders come in digitally than through any other channel, and the primary digital tool for many is now the mobile device. This means that every restaurant and convenience store, no matter the size, must have a mobile strategy that includes real-time messaging and functionality for a truly engaging experience. The new dynamic designer puts marketers in control of branding and the guest experience with the ability to publish real-time updates and limited-time offers (LTOs), without the need for a fully custom build.

    “This is the tool we never knew we needed until we had it. It’s made it faster and easier to update messages, images, and offerings in real-time,” said Reed Daniels of Red’s Savoy Pizza. “We want to lead in technology. Getting a fully functioning app with online ordering, gift cards, and loyalty, all integrated, is well beyond the budget for a brand of our size. The only way we can do that is with a partner such as Paytronix.”

    Making App Personalization Faster, Easier, and Cheaper

    Paytronix Mobile Experience Builder enables marketers to create hyper-personalized messages and promotions by using advanced segmentation. It also provides access to geofencing tools, enabling the delivery of store-specific promotions and messages.

    WATCH: A video of Mobile Experience Builder

    In short, it eliminates the need for costly third-party designers and developers and modernizes the management of branded mobile apps with real-time updates that save time, money, and energy on app maintenance. It also ensures that guests have access to up-to-date information, including announcements and LTOs.

    Paytronix Mobile Experience Builder is available today with a Paytronix mobile app. For more information, see us at MURTEC booth 401, visit https://www.paytronix.com/solutions/mobile-experiences/, or call 617-649-3300, ext. 5.

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