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. 


  • 3/28/2023

    Aussie Entertainment Platform solution Surreal Launches in the UK

    surreal event calendar digital platform

    Surreal, a global live entertainment operating system for the hospitality industry, is launching in the UK with a strategic partnership with the NTIA and a strong base of first clients. Founded in Australia, Surreal facilitates over 48,000 events annually (including in the UK) and pays £12M to entertainers annually through its proprietary software platform. Surreal's mission is to make going to live experiences as important as eating, drinking and exercise. The team of 18, like everyone else, experienced a world without live experiences during the pandemic. That deprivation motivated them to build a platform that makes organizing sustainable and profitable live entertainment as easy as possible.

    Surreal has raised over AUD 5.5M from VCs and strategic investors, including RampersandInvestibleAlberts Impact Capital (The family office behind AC/DC), Unified Music GroupUntitled Group and the founders of Linktree. They are currently expanding globally in preparation for their Series A raise. Surreal has added to its existing UK-based sales and operations team as part of its expansion plans.

    Surreal has partnered with the Night Time Industry Association to help grow the amount of live entertainment in the UK. The partnership centers around helping both venues and artists discover each other and manage their live entertainment in a more streamlined manner. Through Surreal, both venues and artists have a platform to grow their businesses through live entertainment. This growth is critical to the sustainability of the live entertainment industry.

    According to Statista, the UK live entertainment industry generates GBP 1.1bn annually to the UK economy with an audience size of 29.8m. Surreal, however, believes there is a much richer cultural engagement and enrichment contribution. The Surreal platform is, therefore, not solely about live music but all live entertainment be it comedy, quiz nights, plays and performances across every town and city in the UK. 

    "We're very excited to work with some of the industry's leading operators. The hospitality industry understands how technology can unlock growth," said Jeremiah Siemianow, CEO and co-founder of Surreal. "However, not many businesses have traditionally thought about how their entertainment, arguably one of the biggest footfall drivers, can be automated, leveraged and maximised via technology. The UK has one of the richest and most diverse live entertainment sectors. We want to make collaborating easier for artists, venues, agents and everyone in the ecosystem. Our customers understand the value of live entertainment for their venues and communities. Surreal allows them to leverage technology to take their entertainment to the next level. 

    Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, adds: "We have continued to champion new talent and the important role that businesses play in creating a platform for new talent to refine their craft. Our partnership with Surreal is the first step in supporting new music and talent coming into our industry by creating a seamless technology platform which has been hugely successful overseas and will similarly support UK-wide talent to bridge the talent pipeline gaps generated by the recent crises."

    Surreal has been working with existing UK operators for the last twelve months. Clients who are benefiting from Surreal's technology include Metropolitan Pub Company, Eclectic Clubs and BarsDirty BonesEast London Pub CompanyVauxhall Comedy Club and Boxpark

    Ben McLauglin, COO of Boxpark, said, "We're excited to be partnering with Surreal across our BOXPARK and BOXHALL estate to bring all of our entertainment scheduling and invoicing into one place. The flexibility and simplicity of Surreal add another level to our business, allowing our team greater visibility of bookings and a streamlining of our payment processes ensuring more robust programming and saving valuable time for both the events teams and the artists. Our business is rapidly expanding, and Surreal will allow us to scale easily, ensuring our talent pool grows with us."

    Built by a world-class team consisting of Facebook, Eventbrite, Etsy and DICE alums, Surreal is an entertainment booking system built for speed and optimisation. On average, it saves general managers 338 hours a year.

    Surreal's central platform improves cross-team collaboration, automates daily tasks across operations, marketing and finance and collates entertainment data to integrate into your tech stack. From comedy to quizzes to live music and everything in between, Surreal is an all-encompassing entertainment booking and management platform that allows venues to create better experiences. Surreal also has a unique approach to others in the market - it works alongside agents rather than replacing them. 

    Jeremiah summarises: "Our system is built for collaboration to achieve the best outcome and return on entertainment for the venues and entertainers." 

  • 3/28/2023

    Palladium Hotel Group and Juyo Analytics Partner on Hospitality Data Platform

    juyo analytics logo

    Palladium Hotel Group, a Spanish hotel brandand Juyo Analytics, a provider of hotel analytics and business intelligence solutions, announced that Palladium Hotel Group will start using Juyo’s new Data Platform technology across its organization. This new Juyo product helps large hotel chains and asset management organizations with a hotel portfolio to get more value out of their data.

    The Juyo Analytics Data Platform will enable hotel companies to gain breakthrough insights and drive their profitability. This includes analytics to help better manage distribution costs, as well as to monitor and maximize the output from their sales and marketing budgetsWithin the Juyo Data Platform, after ingestion of data, Net RevPAR is determined at reservation level and enhanced beyond just the elementary level of deducting acquisition costs, such as commission. Additional layers, including total revenue contribution, marketing costs, and even commercial payroll by geography, will create a deeper understanding of which bookings contribute the most to the bottom-line. Better understanding profitability by customer is a key objective which the Juyo Data Platform helps to achieve.

    Thanks to Juyo’s Artificial Intelligence engine, aptly named Kassandra, Palladium Hotel Group will be able to interpret their data beyond levels otherwise available. For example, how Cancellation Propensity across many dimensions influences the performance of a hotel. Kassandra also automatically aggregates duplicated company and agency profiles across the entire group for easier analysis, saving hotel commercial teams valuable time.

    Palladium Hotel Group’s implementation of this platform is in line with the hotel group’s enthusiasm to innovate and incorporate cutting-edge tools that help to transform the business. From a global perspective and with a clear commitment to a better understanding and management of data, in recent years, the company has implemented innovative new methodologies to improve its processes and services, both at an operational level and in terms of sales and marketing actions. Thus, the group is ensuring it is efficient and agile when achieving objectives from a brand, business and customer experience perspective.

    Palladium Hotel Group began implementing the Juyo Data Platform this March 2023.

    Vassilis Syropoulos, Founder and CEO of Juyo Analytics said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Palladium Hotel Group on this innovative project. Palladium Hotel Group is leading in the Revenue Management discipline in Europe in terms of vision 

    and the Spanish hotel company will soon be reaping the benefits of next-curve insights. The Juyo Data Platform will enable us to bring our data processing, enhancement capabilities and expertise to large hotel groups and asset management companies who are using their own visualization front-end.

    These companies tend to operate an organization beyond just hotels and generally struggle with unorganized data coming from multiple internal or external systems structured in different ways. Sharing standardized and enriched data from the Juyo Data Platform to third party visualization tools such as PowerBI or Tableau will allow these clients to aggregate data across the board.

    We are grateful for the support and trust of Palladium Hotel Group and for being able to work on such a game-changer for the hospitality industry.”

    “At Palladium Hotel Group, we have a well-defined vision for our revenue strategy. We have been working hard to develop a strong revenue strategy and the next step will be transforming our revenue scope to Profitability Vision. We chose the product and team at Juyo because of their deep understanding of our industry and their forward-thinking approach to solving challenges. We are always searching for ways to improve profitability and partnering with Juyo is the perfect opportunity to continue on that path.” said Diego Fernandez Perez de Ponga, Corporate Senior Director of Revenue Management at Palladium Hotel Group.

  • 3/28/2023

    Sertifi Releases Hospitality Survey, Discovering New Ways the Hospitality Industry Can Automate Processes

    sertifi logo

    Sertifi, developers of a complete agreements platform designed for hospitality and travel companies, partnered with Women Leading Travel & Hospitality to survey more than 100 hotels, venues, and travel advisors and evaluate how they’re finalizing agreements and payments for events and group travel.

    The survey, conducted by NAPCO Research, identified several opportunities to make processes more efficient and secure. For example:

    • Nearly 50% of respondents are getting back scanned contracts with handwritten signatures.
    • 57% of respondents are conducting credit card authorizations manually.
    • Over 50% of respondents claim there’s a substantial opportunity to create more mobile and global friendly experiences.

    “With continued staff shortages and a higher demand for convenience from customers, now’s the time to fully embrace technology in event and group travel bookings,” said Nick Stojka, co-founder of Sertifi. “Digital solutions can quickly automate tasks and make it easier to share information securely.”

    The use of manual steps in agreements varies by segment with hotels having the biggest opportunity to increase efficiencies. For example, only 58% of hotel respondents stated they receive an e-signature or digital signature through a secure platform – the lowest response rate of the four segments, with tourism at 81%, events at 72%, and travel at 60%.

    Hotel and travel respondents can also streamline their payment processes, which should be a top target considering the importance of keeping customers’ payment information secure. Approximately one third of hotel and travel respondents stated that customers still provide their credit card information via fax, mail, email, or phone.

    “We’re excited to partner with Sertifi and shed light on ways to increase efficiency and security beyond today’s status quo,” said Nathan Safran, vice president of research at NAPCO Media. “There’s no shortage of ways hospitality businesses can create better experiences not just for themselves but for their customers.”

    To read the full report, click here.

  • 3/28/2023

    IDeaS Launches Automated Configuration Feature for G3 RMS

    buildings with digital icon overlay

    IDeaS, a SAS company and a provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, announced the launch of Automated Configuration for its G3 revenue management system (RMS), decreasing the initial configuration of G3 from weeks to as little as one day, depending on client needs and requirements.

    By leveraging data science, IDeaS delivers a feature to help its clients realize returns on their technology investment almost immediately. Clients will save time by reducing the amount of manual setup and training required, gain confidence in system settings and decisions by replacing guesswork with optimal settings based on science, and achieve a faster ROI with a system that delivers revenue-enhancing decisions from day one.

    Automated Configuration for G3 RMS completes the following modules to ensure confidence in a property’s system settings and outputs:  

    • Rooms configuration — Automatically groups room types that have similar pricing and demand into room classes to maximize room performance with optimal pricing decisions, Last Room Value, and overbooking controls.
    • Market segment and rate codes — Assigns guest behavior-based attributes to market segments and combines rate codes of similar behaviors to create forecast groups that drive superior optimization and better revenue performance.
    • Pricing configuration Defines the pricing strategy for a property’s primary product and ensures G3 RMS produces optimal data-driven pricing. G3 picks room types and suggests floor and ceiling price points for each room class.
    • Rate shopping configuration — Determines the optimal competitive configuration, including which competitors’ prices impact pricing decisions and which channels and competitor information is shown in G3. This data allows hoteliers to take full advantage of market data to inform their own pricing and auto-assign competitive room types to similarly priced room classes.

    Christian Boerger, vice president of revenue strategy Oxford Collection, said: “We implemented G3 RMS at 17 hotels, and IDeaS’ new automated configuration process has been fantastic. This has been our fastest implementation; the amount of time and effort saved is mind-blowing.”

    Marci Garcia, CRME, director of revenue strategies – Revenue Matters, working with The Guest House at Graceland, said: “Automated configuration for G3 RMS allows us to capture more revenue right away, with minimal ramp-up time. It’s like having another revenue manager on the team, analyzing the data 24/7.”

    Jason Barnett, product manager, IDeaS, said: “Our development team continually works to make our system more efficient and easier to use. This innovation and commitment to our client success initiatives set IDeaS apart from our competition. We will continue to listen to our customers to provide intuitive solutions that streamline their processes and ensures a path to decrease time to value.”

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