News Briefs

  • 3/14/2023

    Unlock Protocol Integrates with Stakes to Bring Membership-Based Restaurant Experiences to Life

    Unlock

    Unlock Protocol, the NFT-based protocol enabling creators and brands to form direct relationships with their communities online, has integrated with Stakes, the customer loyalty platform for hospitality businesses. Together, Unlock and Stakes are making it possible for restaurants to sell memberships to their best customers, unlocking perks like last-minute reservations, premium tables, access to secret menu items, special events like wine tastings, cooking classes, performances and more.

    How it Works

    Customers purchase a membership to their favorite restaurant using crypto or a credit card, and customers mint an NFT that either goes directly to their wallet or is custodied by Stakes. When the customer books a reservation, the system automatically recognizes them and unlocks the perks of their membership. When they arrive at the restaurant, the staff can tell it's a member reservation and they can provide a premium table, free drinks or desserts or the infinite other possibilities this infrastructure provides. Additionally, the membership NFTs provide a touchpoint for restaurants to reach out and engage their best customers by inviting them to special events, to vote on holiday menus, and offer just about any other perks imaginable.

    This integration will unlock future capabilities like menu voting, exclusive tastings, referral bonuses and more. Using Stakes, restaurants can boost the lifetime value of their customers by providing them a unique experience that keeps them invested in the brand and coming back.

     

  • 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. 

     

  • 3/14/2023

    Zipline Unveils Autonomous Delivery

    sweetgreen mobile app

    Zipline unveiled its new platform that provides autonomous delivery directly to homes in cities and suburbs. The company’s next generation home delivery platform is practically silent, and is expected to deliver up to 7 times as fast as traditional automobile delivery, completing 10-mile deliveries in about 10 minutes.

    Zipline has spent the last several years building and fine tuning its next generation technology, Platform 2 (P2), to provide an optimal customer experience at scale. Zipline’s drones, or Zips, fly more than 300 feet above the ground. When the Zip arrives at its destination, it hovers safely and quietly at that altitude, while its fully autonomous delivery droid maneuvers down a tether, steers to the correct location, and gently drops off its package to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home. This is all made possible through major innovations in aircraft and propeller design.

    Several businesses across the healthcare and restaurant sectors have already signed on to use Zipline’s new home delivery service. Sweetgreen is partnering with Zipline to further its mission of connecting people to real food in the U.S., while moving a step closer to its pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2027. By ordering through Zipline's marketplace, Sweetgreen customers can get their orders using 97% less energy than traditional automotive methods.

    “The future of delivery is faster, more sustainable and creates broader access, all of which provides improved value for our customers,” said Jonathan Neman, Co-Founder and CEO of Sweetgreen. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with Zipline to complement our delivery strategy. Zipline’s sustainable technology and ability to reach customers quickly, with a great delivery experience, will help us give our customers what they want, when they want it.”

    Michigan Medicine will use Zipline’s new service to more than double the number of prescriptions it fills each year through its in-house pharmacy. Intermountain Health will use it to deliver prescriptions to patients’ homes in the Salt Lake City metro area. MultiCare Health System plans to use the new platform to expedite diagnostics and deliver prescriptions and medical devices.

    Zipline’s end-to-end solution seamlessly integrates with a business’s current operations. That includes its dual-use docking and charging hardware, software that easily works with third-party inventory management and ordering systems, and mobile app.

  • 3/14/2023

    3Sixty Diversifies Supply Network Through Hotelbeds Partnership

    woman on her phone in a hotel room

    3Sixty, an online accommodation booking and management tool for business and relocation travel, has announced its partnership with Hotelbeds, the B2B TravelTech company. 

    A direct API between 3Sixty and Hotelbeds will unlock access for 3Sixty clients to over 300,000 hotels in more than 195 countries worldwide. The integration marks a significant diversification of the 3Sixty network, which already comprises one million ‘alternative accommodation’ options such as serviced apartments and aparthotels. 

    Hotelbeds is a global leader in the TravelTech space, connecting and empowering companies like 3Sixty by facilitating bridges in the rapidly evolving travel ecosystem. 3Sixty will now access Hotelbeds' global portfolio of hotels, joining the company’s strong network of 71,000 travel distributors across 150 global source markets.

    The 3Sixty team has been growing and evolving its supply partnerships over the past year to provide clients with maximum choice and flexibility in booking accommodation. 3Sixty’s most prominent corporate clients book up to 100,000 nights per month through its proprietary platform. Offering more hotel rooms allows their employees to find a stay that suits their unique travel needs – particularly for shorter trips.

    3Sixty’s technology removes the need for travel buyers and guests to make exhausting back-and-forth comparisons of housing features, compliance, and pricing. A simple search shows the live availability of accommodation options, and searches can also automatically filter down those options to comply with a customer’s company travel policies. 3Sixty, which differentiates itself on its duty of care solutions, recently announced a new insurance offering.

    Carrie Hartman, Chief Revenue Officer at 3Sixty, said, "As market demand for business travel and relocation is rising, we're actively widening our supply network to meet increasing demand. Our partnership with Hotelbeds is an important step in this endeavor. 3Sixty will always champion alternative accommodations, but we also recognize that different travelers have different needs, and we want to cater to all of them."

    Robyn Joliat, Chief Technology Officer at 3Sixty, said, “Hotelbeds and 3Sixty are like-minded brands that are committed to innovating their technology, so it's been an exciting process to launch this integration together, and we’re delighted to be able to reveal it. Today’s traveler expects tech solutions to act as a one-stop shop for all their needs for a trip, from flights and accommodation to communication and insurance. Reflecting this, we will soon expand our partnership to offer the full suite of Hotelbeds travel services, such as car rentals and activities, to our 3Sixty guests to make use of.”

    Matt Ellis, Strategic Partnerships at Hotelbeds, said, “As we look to increase our footprint in new business segments, it’s important for Hotelbeds to align with partners that have the same vision and core values. We are delighted to be partnering with 3Sixty, a leading and respected name in the business housing and travel space. Pairing our global range of travel products with 3Sixty’s innovative platform will provide travelers with a wide spectrum of choice, supported by best-in-class technology.”

     

  • 3/14/2023

    Oxford Collection Partners with IDeaS to Increase Efficiency and Competitiveness

    Image of one of the Oxford Collection hotels

    IDeaS, a SAS company and a provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, announced today that Oregon-based Oxford Collection chose to adopt G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) across all its 17 U.S. hotels to deliver precise pricing and forecasting, manage operational resources more economically, and increase market share.

    Given its goals to increase efficiency, expand operations, and remain nimble in the face of competition from larger brands, Oxford Collection needed a more comprehensive, automated revenue management system that was free from the limitations of its previous rules-based system.

    After evaluating a series of providers, Oxford Collection discerned that IDeaS offered the most robust, functional solution and the highest level of support needed to take their operation to the next level. For an organization accustomed to the central management of its revenue strategy, Oxford Collection felt that a fully automated RMS was a necessity that could help increase the efficiencies of its small, hard-working team.

    • Automated decision empowerment: Having experienced the challenges of both a 100 percent manual system and a rules-based RMS, Oxford Collection decided it would benefit from the enhanced efficiency of the fully automated strategic pricing decisions provided by IDeaS G3 RMS (e.g., overbooking decision management, room-type pricing, etc.)
    • Enhance profitability: G3 RMS uses a unique, proven approach that automatically produces rate availability decisions that holistically work together with pricing to ensure the properties are accepting the most valuable business based on available demand.
    • Detailed revenue forecasting: Oxford wanted to bring its revenue performance to the next level with G3 RMS, which quickly provides highly detailed, granular automated forecasts that analyze data from various sources, leading to more effective decisions and higher revenue.

    Christian Boerger, vice president of revenue strategy, Oxford Collection, said: “In a certain way, working with IDeaS felt like coming home, knowing you’re in good hands. The automatic configuration tool has worked like a charm, not to mention the amount of time it has saved us. Apart from this, the level of attention provided as we go through the implementation process has been fantastic. I know the IDeaS Care team and their support is here to stay which is highly encouraging as we start this partnership.”

    Garth Peterson, area vice president of sales, IDeaS, said: “Adopting a centralized revenue management system that streamlines operational resources plays a crucial role in helping hoteliers stay competitive and agile. IDeaS is proud to partner with Oxford Collection to help their products achieve the highest yield based on the local conditions of their market.” 

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