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  • 3/26/2023

    Banyan Investment Group Rebrands as Satori Collective

    Satori logo

    Officials of the former Banyan Investment Group announced that the firm is rebranding as Satori Collective, an investment management firm focusing primarily on hotel property investment. Additionally, the company has spun off its property management platform to become Aperture Hotels, an independent, third-party hotel management company. Moving forward, Satori and Aperture will work independently of one another.

    “Satori is a Buddhist term meaning ‘awakening and deep understanding,’ which is how our team approaches commercial real estate investment,” said Andy Chopra, co-founder and managing partner, Satori. “With more than 140 years of combined investment experience in virtually all markets and segments, our team has an unparalleled understanding of both the environment and the marketplace. We realized that our true, core business is real estate investment, so we have renewed and doubled our focus on raising and deploying capital in pursuit of consistent, risk adjusted returns while allowing our former management platform to stand on its own and pursue additional third-party management business opportunities.”

    Satori focuses on investment into select-service, upper select-service extended-stay and lifestyle hotel properties. The company concentrates on investment in growth corridors located in top MSAs across the United States which have established hotel demand generators such as tourism, corporate group travel, state capitals, Power Five conference universities, healthcare, heavy manufacturing and military.

    “We have a rigorous underwriting process and employ conservative leverage structures to ensure a higher probability of investment success,” Chopra added. “Over the past decade, we’ve evolved into an institutional quality firm. Our investment edge is our resilience and the depth of our operational expertise combined with a sophisticated understanding of asset management, deal structuring, capital markets and economic cycles. We’ve assembled a best-in-class team focused on driving investment returns without compromising our core values of transparency, integrity, humility and resiliency.”

    “Since our original founding 14 years ago, we have made 24 hotel investments utilizing four investment vehicles totaling $477 million in assets under management, and we look forward to improving upon our successful track record in the coming years,” said Rakesh Chauhan, co-founder and managing partner, Satori. “Our investments feature the standard hallmarks of being in growing submarkets with substantial drivers of commercial real estate demand. We view investments through the lens of risk adjusted returns and focus on properties which offer value add potential while still providing current cash flow with room for growth.”

  • 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. 

     

  • 3/26/2023

    Banyan Tree Management Relaunches as Aperture Hotels

    aperture hotels logo

    Officials of the former Banyan Tree Management today announced that the company has relaunched as Aperture Hotels. The new company will continue to provide hotel management services but with an eye on expanding its third-party management portfolio and possible management company M&A.

    “Historically, we have been seen almost exclusively as an extension of Banyan Investment Group, providing services only for their portfolio,” said Charles Oswald, president and CEO, Aperture Hotels. “The truth of the matter, however, is that we actively and eagerly provide third-party operating services for all hotel owners, and we feel relaunching as a stand-alone entity helps clarify that. We’ve assembled a senior team that has collective experience operating over 400 hotels in every chain scale, from select-service to premium lifestyle, and we look forward to deploying that experience to help more owners achieve superior guest experience, team member engagement and improved bottom lines.”

    Aperture currently operates more than 2,000 rooms across 15 hotels and resorts. The company’s diverse portfolio is comprised of branded and independent properties in urban, suburban and leisure destination markets throughout the United States. With 500-plus employees across its portfolio, Aperture has experience operating all the major brands, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, Choice and Wyndham.

    “Aperture is a one-stop solution for owners seeking services for the entire ownership cycle, from pre-opening through eventual sale,” Oswald added. “Our veteran team has provided these services through multiple economic cycles, from industry highs to industry lows. We have a proven record of value enhancement through portfolio-wide gains in market share, outperforming Gross Operating Profit margins, quick property turnarounds and engaged team members, producing outsized returns for our partners and investors. With a bright outlook for hotels ahead, we look forward to growing with the industry.”

  • 3/26/2023

    ItsaCheckmate Acquires Open Tender, a First-Party Ordering Platform For Restaurants

    Itsacheckmate logo teaser

    ItsaCheckmate, the center of a restaurant’s digital ordering business, announces the acquisition of Open Tender, a first-party digital ordering and guest engagement platform that provides highly customizable and engaging designs for branded websites, mobile apps, and kiosks.

    Open Tender sets a new standard for branded private label digital ordering and guest loyalty, giving restaurants and chains unprecedented control over design and user experience, either with or without a developer. Open Tender is an open-source program built for the food service industry, supporting unique and highly customizable loyalty programs, while having the ability to go live in just a few days. This eliminates the need for restaurants to wait for weeks or months to onboard, deploy, or update inefficient and clunky solutions.

    As a market disruptor, this acquisition finally brings a meaningful choice and alternative to legacy first-party vendors. ItsaCheckmate’s established third-party ordering and management, combined with Open Tender’s first-party ordering and loyalty, is a superior solution for operators ranging from the largest enterprise chains to mid market operators who are seeking a customizable and integrated tech stack that doesn’t require painful long term contracts.

    “Since the beginning we have held that first-party and third-party channels are not an either-or conversation, but should work together to benefit restaurants,” said Vishal Agarwal, Founder and CEO of ItsaCheckmate. “With the acquisition of Open Tender, we have expanded our third-party ordering platform to include elegant, seamless and scalable first-party ordering and guest engagement products to help restaurant operators become truly proficient in omni-channel digital ordering. This solution now enables the customers to manage their first-party and third-party channels through a single login.”

    “We are excited to be moving to Open Tender’s first-party digital ordering and guest engagement to unify and synergize our tech stack with ItsaCheckmate,” said Neil Hershman, CEO and owner of 16 Handles. “As a NYC-based frozen yogurt and dessert franchise with over 35 locations and plans to expand coast to coast, we prioritize digital ordering and measure success by our loyalty retention, check size, and overall guest satisfaction. We have already begun testing the combined solution of ItsaCheckmate and Open Tender and can’t wait to roll out the seamless user experience to all of our customers and catering clients soon!”

    The combined Open Tender and ItsaCheckmate solution is immediately available to ItsaCheckmate’s 20,000+ existing customer locations. Additionally, new customers who are looking for alternatives to their existing digital solutions can apply to the program now. To learn more about Open Tender, visit https://opentender.io.

  • 3/26/2023

    Study Finds Only 1 in 5 Restaurant Guests Return Within 12 Months

    A recent analysis by DataDelivers of more than 50 million guests across multiple restaurant service formats showed only 1 in 5 customers return within one year. This finding further suggests that only 17% of first-time guests returned to that restaurant in the next 12 months.

    “Many brands focus on customer acquisition, yet retention is the key to ongoing success. The cost of continually bringing in new customers is so much higher than retaining existing ones, and our analysis shows there is tremendous opportunity to achieve higher returns and higher sales through better engagement to retain these guests,” explains Pat Riley, VP of Business Development at DataDelivers, LLC, a premier provider of data-driven tools and analytic services for the restaurant industry.

    DataDelivers’ team of data scientists analyzed information from credit card purchases and other key data points on millions of restaurant customers across the United States.

    For one regional burger brand that DataDelivers studied, the analysis revealed that out of 300,000 first-time guests, only 44,000 returned during a year, for a 14.6% retention rate, and only 7% returned with regularity and became engaged with the restaurant brand. Over time, this low retention rate could negatively impact the brand’s growth and expansion goals.

    Addressing the Retention Challenge

    For many operators, a single view of their customer from multiple data points is the first step to increased retention. A customer management platform (CMP) can consolidate POS data, loyalty, e-club, online orders, and other sources into one solution that can be managed from customized dashboards.

    Recently TGI Fridays™ implemented DataDelivers’ Customer Management Platform and this visibility of customer behaviors has given Fridays a detailed understanding of how best to target heavy and light users, new and lapsed guests, and other valuable customer segments.

    Another method to combat low retention numbers is through one-to-one marketing. In its analysis of the 50 million guests, DataDelivers demonstrated that those brands who used Guest Connect one-to-one marketing campaigns targeting those new guests doubled their retention rates to nearly 35% return rates for first time guests.

    The regional burger chain with an overall retention rate of 9.5% partnered with DataDelivers to leverage its proprietary Guest Connect program to create one-to-one campaigns. After 12 months, the brand’s retention increased to 24.6%.

    DataDelivers’ Guest Connect solution can help a brand understand cross-channel behaviors and establish a customer segmentation for optimizing marketing efforts. This insight-driven customer identification sets the stage for personalized marketing, tracking behavior triggers and understanding where growth opportunities can be found.

    “The numbers tell an undeniable story about diners and their behavior, and operators can use this information to better understand their restaurant, their customers and how to grow sales,” added Riley.

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