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News Briefs

  • 5/15/2023

    San Francisco Hotel Simplifies Budgeting with Updated Accounting and Forecasting Solutions

    Hotel Nikko in San Francisco

    Business at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco is booming, especially since the property secured a spot on Forbes’ 2022 list of the 13 best hotels in San Francisco. With travelers’ eyes fixed on the luxury boutique hotel in Union Square, the hotel’s management team began looking for new financial management tools capable of delivering macro and micro analysis of numerous data sets and assisting with planning for future investments into the property. PVNG enterprise accounting and Targetvue budgeting and forecasting solutions from Aptech fit the bill for their ability to affordably give operators the insight, flexibility and control they desired.

    “When we began searching for technology to replace our previous solution, we wanted tools that could drill down into every account and help provide context behind our performance,” said Vincent Rafanan, Hotel Nikko San Francisco chief financial officer. “Budgeting and forecasting was a top priority. Previously, we relied on a standalone system to oversee these processes. Once we met with Aptech, we immediately saw how easy it was to connect Targetvue to the cloud and to PVNG, then share information seamlessly between the two systems. Today, our team is easily comparing and contrasting any scenario from month to month. These tools have been invaluable for digging into last year’s reporting and preparing forecasts for the year to come.”

    Targetvue is designed to provide “one version of the truth” throughout an organization. By providing variance analytics, data visualization and version control, this tool helps hotels meet future growth goals by utilizing a single, centrally maintained set of database models. By adopting this user-friendly software, hotels can eliminate the need to correct and recombine multiple spreadsheets for consolidating and reporting.

    PVNG elevates hoteliers’ ability to monitor their success. The tool features Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Statistics, Financials, and Bank Reconciliation modules and seamless web browser navigation allowing hotels to upload their accounting data remotely. PVNG can be deployed as a hosted service and also offers OCR invoice processing, a myriad of payment options, drill-down capabilities in financial statements and reports, and the ability to handle single or multi-property accounting.

    “We are thrilled to partner with the Hotel Nikko San Francisco and are delighted at the success they are having with Targetvue and PVNG,” said Jill Wilder, Vice President at Aptech. “Luxury hotels like the Hotel Nikko frequently add new services and amenities. This, combined with the wide range of offerings the hotel provides, makes accounting, budgeting, and forecasting all the more complex. PVNG streamlines common daily procedures, while Targetvue eliminates the need to manage budgets across multiple spreadsheets, preserving a single view of a hotel’s true operating potential across the entire organization. These capabilities are helping hotels of any size maintain success and momentum, heedless of the size of their aspirations.”


    The 531-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco is known for its high-end Japanese-inspired decor, a wide array of amenities, and attention to detail. Located at Union Square's gateway, it is surrounded by retail stores, boutiques, and various restaurants. The property is convenient to San Francisco’s Theater District and is renowned for its 10,000-square-foot health club, the Anzu restaurant, and a glass-enclosed swimming pool.

  • 5/10/2023

    Wendy's Pilots Google Cloud's Generative AI

    Wendys global next gen drivethru

    Wendy's and Google Cloud announced an expanded partnership to pilot an artificial intelligence (AI) solution, Wendy's FreshAI. The technology has the potential to transform Wendy's drive-thru food ordering experience with Google Cloud's generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.

    Demand for Drive-Thru

    With 75 to 80 percent of Wendy's customers choosing the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel, delivering a seamless ordering experience using AI automation can be difficult due to the complexities of menu options, special requests, and ambient noise. For example, because customers can fully customize their orders and food is prepared when ordered at Wendy's, this presents billions of possible order combinations available on the Wendy's menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders. Google Cloud's generative AI capabilities can now bring a new automated ordering experience to the drive-thru that is intended to enhance the experience that customers, employees and franchisees expect from Wendy's. As HT reported last month, one Wendy's franchise, Wenspoke, is expanding its use of AI in the drive-thrus.

    "Wendy's introduced the first modern pick-up window in the industry more than 50 years ago, and we're thrilled to continue our work with Google Cloud to bring a new wave of innovation to the drive-thru experience," said Todd Penegor, President and CEO of the Dublin, Ohio-based QSR. "Google Cloud's generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers, and allows our employees to continue focusing on making great food and building relationships with fans that keep them coming back time and again."

    Pilot Near HQ

    In June, Wendy's plans to launch its first pilot of Google Cloud's AI technology in a Columbus, Ohio-area, Company-operated restaurant, using those learnings to inform future expansions to more Wendy's drive-thrus. The pilot will include new generative AI offerings, such as Vertex AI and more, to have conversations with customers, the ability to understand made-to-order requests and generate responses to frequently asked questions. 

    This will all be powered by Google's foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy's menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the Point of Sale system. By leveraging generative AI, Wendy's seeks to take the complexity out of the ordering process so employees can focus on serving up fast, fresh-made, quality food and exceptional service.

    Today's update builds upon Google Cloud's and Wendy's long standing partnership to enhance the Wendy's restaurant experience. Since 2021, Wendy's has leveraged Google Cloud's data analytics, AI, machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud tools to make it faster, easier, and more convenient for customers to access the brand.

  • 4/24/2023

    Denny's Launches Series of National Wellness, Mental Health Summits

    Dennys exterior of diner

    As part of a national effort to raise awareness and offer expert insights, Denny's is kicking off a series of summits focused on how companies and individuals can better manage and improve their mental health and wellness.

    The first summit is taking place on April 22 at the HPAC Theater in Spartanburg, S.C. The summit will be free to the public and attendees can participate in-person or virtually.

    "Denny's has always been committed to feeding people's bodies, minds, and souls, and this summit series perfectly aligns with our holistic approach to wellness," said Kelli Valade, CEO of Denny's. "The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the topics of mental health and personal well-being front and center. Now is the time to think about how we can bring our whole selves to all facets of our lives, including the workplace."

    The summit keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, Senior Vice President for Global Health and Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College. Dawes will discuss the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward to achieving a healthier society. Other nationally recognized panelists include:  

    • Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, a surgeon, clinician, educator, and researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and Senior Fellow in Global Health Equity at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute
    • Dr. Monique May, a board-certified and licensed family physician best known as the "Physician in the Kitchen"
    • Dr. Bennie L. Harris, Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate
    • Sharon Lykins, Denny's Vice President of Product Innovation

    "Mental health and wellness significantly impact the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities across the Upstate region and beyond," said USC Upstate Chancellor, Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. "We are thrilled to join forces with a global leader like Denny's to address one of the most critical public health issues of our time."

    Journalist Roland S. Martin will moderate two panels, "Mindful Eating," which will address the connection between food and wellness, and "Wellness at the Workplace," which focuses on mental health at work.

    A second mental health summit will be offered on October 10 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • 5/15/2023

    Withe Secures $1.1M USD in Pre-Seed Funding

    withe logo

    Today, Withe, the on-demand video interview and virtual hiring event platform that aims to solve volume hiring challenges for enterprise hospitality staffing and recruiting teams, announced the close of its $1.1M USD pre-seed round, led by San Francisco-based Focal. Withe’s SaaS platform is designed for enterprises that hire hundreds to thousands of people at the same time, such as staffing and recruiting teams in the tourism and hospitality industry. With the funds, the company is planning on further expanding its technical team and building its roadmap, alongside its first enterprise customer, Fortune 1000 industry leader, Trueblue, as a design partner.

    “Today, it simply takes too long to get qualified candidates in front of great companies. What we’ve created in Withe is a platform that benefits both recruiters and candidates by providing them with an on-demand and seamless experience,” said Daniel Shalinsky, CEO and co-founder of Withe. “This funding will propel the next phase of Withe by enabling us to continue to hire the right people while we expand further into new markets,” said Shalinsky.

    Withe reduces interview time by 82%, providing enterprise hiring teams with seamless scheduling and better utilization of their most valuable resource: time. Industry leaders who rely on Withe for virtual hiring fairs experience notable decreases in time-to-hire and improved efficiencies across the board.

    It’s no secret that today’s market is competitive when it comes to hiring the best talent swiftly. With post-pandemic recovery efforts and the North American spring and summer tourism season upon us, hospitality brands are looking to fill hundreds, sometimes thousands, of positions at the same time—more rapidly than ever. Withe is confident that its platform will be turnkey for the industry’s volume hiring needs in 2023 and beyond. 

  • 5/15/2023

    NRA NEWS 2023: Craftable and Square Celebrate One Year of Partnership, Streamline Restaurant Operations and Reduce Costs

    craftable logo

    Craftable, a profit management platform, celebrates one year of partnership with Square, the technology company that makes commerce and financial services easy and accessible. Craftable and its partners Square, Paytronix and 7Shifts will be hosting an activation at this year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) Conference at McCormick Place (2301 S King Dr) in Chicago, IL on May 21st from 3-5 PM at Square’s booth, #5821.

    Last May, Craftable and Square announced a collaboration to provide hospitality operators with full visibility into their operations, connecting purchases with sales data and labor in real-time with Craftable's Foodager, Bevager and Analytics platforms.

    To showcase the results of the integration, Craftable and Square recently teamed up to unveil a case study titled “How Square + Craftable helped NYC’s brewery-gastropub manage operating costs.” Utilizing the easy-to-use Square for Restaurants platform, Torch & Crown’s team, led under the direction of entrepreneurs Joe Correia and John Dantzler, was able to efficiently take orders, make menu changes on the fly and keep orders moving through the kitchen. 

    After using Square’s seamlessly integrated platform to run their operations, they decreased time spent on invoices by 6 hours and increased touchless payments by 40%. By leveraging Craftable’s integration with Square, they reduced food costs by over 5% and reduced beverage costs by a whopping 12%.

    “We are proud to serve the hospitality industry alongside Square, a trusted leader in restaurant technology,” said Samuel Zats, co-founder and CEO of Craftable. “Our tech platforms seek to empower operators within the industry with the financial and business operations data to optimize business practices, allow teams to run more efficiently, and implement strategic tactics to support immediate and long-term growth.” 

    Craftable will be debuting its happy hour style activation at the NRA Conference, notably the largest gathering of food service professionals in the Western hemisphere. During the activation, attendees will enjoy an open bar while learning about how the four leaders in hospitality tech–Craftable, Square, Paytronix and 7Shifts–work seamlessly to improve efficiency, streamline operations and provide the data and insights for restaurant and bar operators to improve their bottom lines.

  • 5/15/2023

    MD7 Partners with LNG Electric to Power EV Adoption for 13,000+ Hotels and Apartment Complexes

    lng teaser logo

    EV charging provider LNG Electric has announced it is partnering with design firm MD7 to place Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) EV charging stations at over 13,000 hotels and 40+ multi-family communities across the country. The planned installations will make LNG Electric one of the top 3 owner-operators of EV charging stations in the United States.

    Beginning this month with a Level 2 charger installation, LNG Electric's 13,000 chargers will be rolled out over the next five to six years. LNG Electric aims to create a charging network covering 10%-15% of the US hospitality market to tackle range anxiety by making chargers more widely available. And with a growing demand for reduced charge times nationwide, LNG Electric is also moving to meet the need to reduce nationwide charge times by installing more Level 3 charging stations as part of its planned network.

    The partnership is the first step LNG Electric is taking to remove one of the primary barriers to EV entry for many: a lack of infrastructure. As they provide power to as many communities as possible, LNG Electric and MD7 hope to make EV charging more widely available and a viable transportation method for hotel guests and apartment renters.

    "MD7 is the best at installing connected infrastructure like EV charging stations," said Taylor Weaver, CEO of LNG Electric. "Their willingness to help us even the playing field and provide charging stations for people at every income level shows just how committed they are to our mission. We want to power the EV grid, no matter where you are."

    "We're excited to partner with LNG Electric to provide first-class EV charging technology to apartment complexes and hotels, furthering our commitment to environmental sustainability," said Michael Fraunces, President of MD7. "We support their mission to provide affordable EV grid access to more people than ever before, and we can't wait for what's next."

    The first deployments will be at Marriot and Hilton brand hotels in Ohio, Florida and Illinois.

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