News Briefs

  • 4/10/2023

    SOCi, Punchh Launch Strategic Partnership for Localized Listings, Review Management

    integration

    SOCi and Punchh from PAR Technology, formed a strategic partnership that integrates SOCi's localized listings management and reviews solutions with Punchh's loyalty and engagement platform.

    The partnership between SOCi and Punchh allows SOCi users to consolidate their workflows across multiple platforms, while also ensuring their data health and accuracy. Specifically, the integration allows multi-location marketers to update their location data across all locations in SOCi (including name, address, phone number, hours of operation and other location information) which will then flow through to Punchh. Having such data in one place provides brands with meaningful insights, such as profile completeness and listing accuracy, which can be used to improve marketing strategy and location visibility.

    Tighter integrations with other operating systems are driving 29% of restaurants’ POS upgrades, according to HT's 2023 POS Software Trends report 

    Additionally, marketers will now be able to pull customer reviews that are left in the Punchh platform into the SOCi dashboard where they can be managed together with reviews across dozens of other networks like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and more. For multi-location businesses, being able to efficiently manage reviews across digital channels is crucial for improving your online presence and conversions. According to The State of Google Reviews, a SOCi research report, for every 25% of reviews responded to, conversion of Google profiles improves by 4.1%.  In fact 74% of customers surveyed say positive consumer reviews influence their restaurant selection, according to HT's 2022 Customer Engagement Technology Study.

  • 4/1/2023

    QSR Automations Recognized for Excellence in Customer Service

    QSR Automations customer service team

    QSR Automations earned recognition for excellence in customer service and support.

    At MURTEC, QSR Automations’ VP of Hardware Solutions and Support, Kathi Klein, received fHospitality Technology ’s 2023 Top Women in Technology Lifetime Achievement Award. 

    During her more than 30 years in the restaurant technology industry – half of those at QSR Automations–Klein has amassed incomparable knowledge in understanding and troubleshooting kitchen display, front-of-house, and the associated hardware and networking platforms needed to run them. 

    But what truly sets Klein apart is her natural ability to nurture relationships and foster talent, which has made her an effective leader in QSR Automations’ Support Services Team. During her long tenure at QSR Automations, Klein has built one of the industry’s strongest and most effective support teams. In fact, under Klein’s guidance, the team has received a 99 percent satisfaction rate from customers in 2021, and last year handled more than 16,000 inbound and outbound calls, which earned them a bronze award for Excellence in Customer Service from the 2022 Stevie Awards. 

    This was the third bronze Stevie award for the team, as last fall, Klein accepted two additional bronze awards from the Stevie Women in Business Awards on behalf of QSR Automations–one for excellence in customer service, and the other for growth. QSR Automations was selected for these honors from more than 1,500 nominations from around the world.

    “Just as our technology is the heart of a restaurant kitchen, our people are truly the heart of this business,” said Angela Leet, CEO of QSR Automations. “My colleagues are passionate about innovation both in and out of the office, and it’s immensely gratifying to see them recognized for these achievements.”

    QSR Automations, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., with offices in the United Kingdom, is a global industry leader in kitchen automation and guest management services.

  • 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.

  • 4/10/2023

    Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Partners with BlueStar

    Toshiba POS and employee serving gal coffee

    Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions is partnering with distributor BlueStar to promote awareness, drive demand, and deliver hardware solutions to new customers and potential partners. The partnership will expand Toshiba’s reach of its point-of-sale (POS) systems and self-checkout hardware products to BlueStar’s network across the United States and Canada.

    Toshiba’s innovative commerce solutions enhance customer engagement, reimagine the in-store experience, and accelerate digital transformation to advance the future of retail. 

    A recent study by Incisiv, and commissioned by Toshiba, reported that innovation is critical to the growth strategy of retailers. The study identified executing an inclusive store ecosystem as one of the six indicators of retail innovation. POS systems are part of those ecosystems and play a significant role in a retailer’s physical store strategy and influence the consumer experience. Toshiba’s array of POS offerings through BlueStar is curated to meet the unique needs of the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries.  

  • 4/10/2023

    Partner Tech Introduces Ultra-Compact Touchscreen POS Terminal

    Partner Tech Cleo

    Partner Tech USA Inc, a global technology company and innovator of intelligent POS and self-service solutions, announces Cleo C10 and C14, anall-in-one POS terminal with a 10.1 or 14.1-inch touch display, built-in receipt printer, optional second display, and embedded peripherals for all the merchant’s preferred payment types. 

    Adding new features, functionalities, and modules to existing POS is a priority for 71% of respondents, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

    Cleo's base houses a POS computer and keeps the checkout counter clutter-free by hiding all cables in the base.  The base has a built-in thermal printer and optional embedded readers for magnetic stripe cards, EMV chip cards, and NFC contactless payments as well as a fingerprint sensor.  The main touch display with adjustable viewing angle attaches to the base and so does the second optional customer-facing display. Additional peripherals such as a handheld scanner, a separate payment terminal, or an additional signage display can be connected via the ports located at the back of the base.  Cleo is available for Windows 10/11, Android 12, and Linux Ubuntu. 

  • 4/10/2023

    Deloitte: Business Travel Begins to Take Off, But Full Recovery Experiences Further Delays

    Deloitte Logo

    Key takeaways

    • Corporate travel spend in the U.S. and Europe is projected to surpass half of 2019 levels in the first half of 2023 and rise to two-thirds by the end of the year. Full recovery following the pandemic appears likely by late 2024 or early 2025.
    • Live events are set to comprise a significant share of corporate travel, advancing from the fifth biggest driver of increased spend in 2022 to the top spot in 2023. More than half of travel managers in both the U.S. and Europe expect industry events to spur travel growth this year.
    • International trips will account for a larger portion of the recovery this year: The international share of travel costs for U.S. companies is expected to rise from 21% in 2022 to 33% in 2023.
      • Amid increased workplace flexibility and use of technology, travel for clients outweighs travel for team building and internal meetings.
      • Travel buyers are renegotiating contracts with suppliers and balancing lower expected trip volumes with higher rates for hotel rooms and airfare.
      • One-third of U.S. companies and 4 in 10 European companies say they need to reduce travel per employee by more than 20% to meet their 2030 sustainability targets.

    Why this matters

    Though leisure travel reached pre-pandemic levels, corporate travel has been slower to return. A variety of factors appear to impact the decision to travel for business including employee safety, client interest in meeting in person, the value of attending a conference, and whether virtual conferencing platforms can replace a trip. Although pandemic concerns and testing regulations generally waned in the second half of 2022, financial concerns seem to continue to create uncertainty for the sector. The third edition of Deloitte’s corporate travel study, “Navigating Toward a New Normal,” examines why and when employees are expected to travel for business, as well as the dynamics creating headwinds and opportunity for the sector.

    The study is based on a survey of 334 U.S.-based and European executives with travel budget oversight, fielded between Feb. 7 and Feb. 23, 2023.

    International travel and events account for much of expected growth in 2023

    While full recovery to 2019 levels appears possible by late 2024 or early 2025, accounting for inflation and lost gains would potentially leave the corporate travel market between 10% to 20% smaller than it was prior to the pandemic. Amid higher airfares and room rates, the number of trips is likely to lag even further behind. However, international trips and live events are set to account for much of expected growth in 2023.

    • Corporate travel spend across the U.S. and Europe is expected to rise to more than half (57%) of pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2023 and surge to 71% by the end of the year.
    • Most companies surveyed – 71% of U.S. companies and 68% of those in Europe – expect a full recovery in travel spend by the end of 2024.
    • U.S. respondents expect international trips to account for 33% of 2023 spend, up from 21% in 2022 and similar to 2019 levels.
    • The top reason reported for international trips involves connecting with clients and prospects: in the U.S., the main drivers are to connect with global industry colleagues at conferences and to build client relationships; in Europe, client project work, followed by sales meetings are the biggest reasons for trips beyond the continent.
    • While higher travel prices are the most significant factor deterring companies from travel, live events are poised to be the major driver of business travel demand, leapfrogging to the top reason for international travel from the U.S. in 2023, up from fifth in 2022.
    • With events top of mind, companies are adjusting their internal plans: Half report splitting larger gatherings into smaller, regional, virtually connected events, and 44% have adopted a hybrid approach. Further, 42% of those surveyed in the U.S. and 54% in Europe plan to integrate more clients into internal events.
    • A majority of companies surveyed (70%) strategically evaluate and weigh potential outcomes of business travel, such as revenue generation, alongside the side effects of cost, health risks and emissions.

    Workplace flexibility and technology continue to shift the course of business travel

    Although pandemic concerns about travel generally declined among those surveyed, the ability to leverage technology in lieu of trips, ultimately reducing costs, continues to impact business travel’s growth trajectory. According to the survey, technology can support nearly every business need travel serves – to some degree. In addition, a future work from home rate is expected to be 3.2 times higher than before the pandemic. Together these factors will continue to impact how and when employees travel for work.

    • Business leaders are weighing the benefit of in-person interactions, as internal trainings and team meetings (44%) are rated the most replaceable by technology, compared to client rapport building (11%) and client acquisition (7%).
    • Two-thirds (67%) of respondents say their employees are traveling more to cities within driving distance of their location.
    • Trips to company headquarters by relocated employees are also on the rise, most of which (70%) are either completely or partially paid for by the company.
    • U.S. companies are increasingly incorporating non-hotel lodging, including private rentals, into their corporate travel policies. Nearly half (45%) of those surveyed have non-hotel lodging in their corporate booking tools, up from 9% last year, and 57% have agreements with specific branded apartment or home rental providers, up from 23% in 2022. Only 10% of U.S. companies surveyed do not reimburse for non-hotel accommodations, down from half (49%) in 2022.

    Key quote

    “As business travel continues its climb, higher airfare and hotel costs are likely slowing the increase in trips taken. As business leaders take a strategic view of their travel plans and the industry adapts to a new normal, live conferences and events in particular are proving they can offer effective opportunities to connect in person, especially as remote and hybrid work remain fixtures of the corporate world.”

    —     Eileen Crowley, vice chair, Deloitte & Touche LLP and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services attest leader

    Contract negotiations aim to right-size travel costs

    Companies likely garnered significant cost savings from not traveling during the pandemic. Now, after three years of reduced travel, higher airfare and room rates driven by inflation have many companies working to accommodate shifting expectations from their employees.

    • About half of respondents (51%) report employees’ expectations of luxury services such as first or business class airfares and upscale hotels, as well as the need for last-minute (45%) or flexible bookings (52%), are pushing costs higher.
    • When negotiating contracts with suppliers, about 1 in 5 (19%) companies say hotels are less accommodating on rates because they expect lower volume, and 11% report the same for airlines. 
    • Regionally, 63% of U.S. travel buyers surveyed report favorable airline pricing on positive volume expectations, compared to 54% of those in Europe.
    • Higher rates are having less of an impact on the number of trips taken: 45% of companies say they limit frequency to control costs, down from 72% in 2022. Instead, they focus on mitigating the cost per trip with cheaper lodging (59%) and lower-cost flights (56%).

    Sustainability drives some travel decisions

    Travel, in general, attracts attention as a significant contributor to carbon emissions. However, 49% of companies noted that choosing sustainable providers drives costs up. As a result, business leaders are forced to weigh the expense and environmental impact of trips.

    • One-third (33%) of U.S. companies and 40% of European companies surveyed say they need to reduce travel per employee by more than 20% by 2030 to meet sustainability targets.
    • To meet sustainability goals, 42% of those in the U.S. and 45% in Europe say they are in the process of implementing a structure to assign carbon-emission budgets to teams alongside financial budgets.
    • Travel suppliers’ sustainability efforts lead to engagement with travel buyers to varying degrees. Mandated use by survey respondents is low, however, about one-third consider factors like a hotel’s sustainability certifications and ratings (32%), an airline’s use of sustainable fuel (31%), or a car rental fleet’s availability of electric vehicles (27%) to calculate a trip’s carbon footprint.

    Key quote

    “The return of corporate travel continues to take a winding road as both business leaders and travel suppliers consider not just rising costs, but the necessity of certain in-person meetings amid the increasing use of technology to offset financial and environmental goals. Suppliers who take a long-term view of their relationships with travel buyers and communicate with them about their sustainability progress should be better poised to navigate ongoing shifts in travel priorities.”

    —     Mike Daher, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services non-attest leader

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