News Briefs

  • 5/18/2023

    AHLA, IFBTA Announce Technology Partnership

    The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the International Food and Beverage Technology Association (IFBTA) today announced a new strategic partnership that will more closely align the two associations to benefit their respective members and advance technology within the hospitality and foodservice industries. 

    The partnership will enhance AHLA’s connectivity to food and beverage technology content and key industry suppliers while expanding IFBTA’s organizational reach by aligning it with America’s largest hotel association.

    The new agreement includes the following areas of collaboration:  

    • IFBTA and AHLA will become association partners, wherein IFBTA becomes an AHLA Association Member and AHLA becomes an IFBTA Association Member 
    • A representative from AHLA’s technology committee, HTNG, will serve as a member of the IFBTA Board of Directors
    • An IFBTA representative will serve as a member of AHLA’s Food & Beverage Committee and will also support and promote AHLA’s HTNG initiatives
    • IFBTA and AHLA will support relationships with key food and beverage thought leaders, innovators, and industry suppliers
    • IFBTA membership will be provided as an included benefit of AHLA membership, to include access to IFBTA resources, chapters, education, and events

    “Lodging and food and beverage are the cornerstones of hospitality, and this partnership brings together two of the most important associations in these areas,” said AHLA Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Carey. “The technology education capabilities and global F&B reach IFBTA brings to AHLA will be valuable assets to our association and its members.”

    “Although food and beverage technology has long been at the intersection of the hospitality and foodservice industries, they have often been split between those operating hotels and those operating foodservice establishments,” said Rob Grimes, CEO of the IFBTA. “The partnership between the IFBTA and AHLA further solidifies the crossover and allows those from each industry to gather and share information with their professional counterparts. We are excited to support AHLA by providing additional networking, resources and educational opportunities to their membership.”

    The agreement announced today is one in a series of recent AHLA partnerships that are enabling the organization to better serve its members and the hotel industry. Other examples include:

    • AHLA’s partnership with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Americas
    • AHLA’s partnership with Questex to produce the industry-leading technology and operations trade show, The Hospitality Show
    • AHLA’s 10-year agreement with HFTP to produce the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI)
    • AHLA’s partnership with the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) to grow the hotel and hospitality industry workforce
  • 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.

  • 5/18/2023

    NRA Show News: LG Debuts CLOi ServeBot

    lg robot

    LG Business Solutions USA will debut the new innovative LG CLOi ServeBot (model LDLTR30) restaurant-focused service robot at the National Restaurant Association Show 2023 in Chicago May 20-23. 

    Restauranteurs visiting the LG booth 6875 will be able to learn about the upgraded CLOi ServeBot making it even easier for restaurant owners to improve staff efficiency, safely deliver large amounts of food and dishes at once and provide patrons a futuristic experience that encourages repeat visits and word-of-mouth promotion via social media. 

    Operating up to 11 hours on a single charge, the new CLOi ServeBot offers impressive customization options to meet the needs of various restaurant types. Customer-facing enhancements are primarily achieved through the 10.1-inch, 1200x800 full-color touchscreen, which can display menus, specials, videos, “last call” messages or a friendly digital robot face.

    By increasing shelf size, adding a fourth shelf and making the shelves removable and adjustable with 2.8 inches of vertical movement, the new CLOi ServeBot increases total carrying capacity by 33 percent and ensures capability to fit items of any size. 

    At the end of its “shift”, or when power is low, the CLOi ServeBot can automatically return to the optional charging stand, which provides a full charge in just 3.5 hours, versus 4.5 hours from a 120V wall outlet. 

    In addition to the new robot, LG is debuting two display products at the show –  the new 21.5-inch Outdoor Order Confirmation Display (model 22XE1J) that provides drive-through users with real-time order confirmation. The IP56-rated display can be mounted in horizontal or vertical orientation and automatically adjusts brightness based on ambient lighting, up to a maximum of 1,500 nits. It can be used in virtually any environment and is rated for temperatures from -30 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius. 

    Also new is the 27-inch LG Kiosk, (model 27KC3PK-C) which allows restaurants to offer customers a self-service ordering station. Its 1080p HD screen ensures consistent excellent image quality and legibility, while the tabletop design enables simple placement and installation. It includes a QR Code reader, integrated credit card/chip reader and receipt printer, so orders can be completed in one place. 

     

  • 5/18/2023

    NRA Show News: New Coca-Cola Flex Dispenser Offers 40+ Drink Choices

    Coca Cola Flex

    Coca-Cola will showcase  Coca-Cola Flex  powered by Freestyle, a new beverage dispenser that offers an enhanced guest experience while reducing operational complexity.

    With more than 40 beverage choices available in the same footprint as standard 6-valve fountain dispensers, Coca-Cola Flex combines the benefits of traditional fountain dispensers with the innovation and variety offered by Coca-Cola Freestyle. The next-generation dispenser is debuting at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show on May 19 in Chicago.

    With its sleek design, user-friendly interface, cutting-edge technology and over 40 beverage choices, Coca-Cola Flex creates an exciting beverage-pouring experience for foodservice guests. In addition to providing a simple installation and maintenance for operators, features of the front-of-house dispenser include:

    •  PurePour™ Technology: Coca-Cola Flex uses carefully crafted recipes with micro-dosing pumps and proprietary PurePour™ technology to dispense the proper ingredients at the point of pour. The result is quality, fresh beverages from every pour.
    • New Design: The new dispenser boasts a 15” HD touchscreen display for smoother navigation and an engaging consumer experience.
    • Improved Crew Operations: Using and maintaining the Flex is easier with a new user-friendly interface, easier access to inventory alerts, quicker diagnostics and improved ergonomics. The small, eco-friendly SmartPAK cartridges are easy to change and take up less space than the traditional bag-in-box syrup. 
  • 5/18/2023

    NRA Show News: Revel Systems, IPORT Join Forces

    logo

    Revel Systems announced a partnership with IPORT to offer its best-in-class products to restaurants and retailers. IPORT's stands and enclosures for Apple iPads streamline networking, charging, tablet protection, and presentation.

    IPORT, a manufacturer, designs products such as Connect Pro to enhance the functionality of iPads for businesses. Connect Pro is an all-in-one system for holding, charging, and protecting iPads on table-tops or walls.  Check them out in National Restaurant Association booth 438. 

    The manufacturer’s table-side enclosure provides an optimized mobile solution for restaurants and retailers seeking to take orders directly from customers wherever they are.

    IPORT enclosures and stands will be offered as a new line of Revel Premium Stands.

     

  • 5/18/2023

    NRA Show News: Samsung, GRUBBRR and Robert Irvine to Showcase New Collaboration

    Robert Irvine with Grubbrr kiosk
     

    Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and GRUBBRR, a provider of self-ordering technologies, will be at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show along with GRUBBRR’s newest partner and investor, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and TV host Robert Irvine.

    Together, GRUBBRR and Chef Irvine will showcase Samsung’s display technologies, highlighting its various use cases throughout the restaurant industry. GRUBBRR’s solutions help power Samsung’s suite of restaurant technology.

    Robert Irvine partnered with GRUBBRR in March, joining as both an investor and brand ambassador. Together they are tackling challenges plaguing the restaurant industry, including labor shortages and rising food costs, and helping restaurant owners navigate the future of technology.

    GRUBBRR’s self-ordering technologies have demonstrated an immediate impact on businesses by increasing revenue with upselling technology, decreasing operating costs by streamlining efficiency and reducing the dependency on labor, and improving the overall customer experience by expediting average transaction time, eliminating order inaccuracies, and implementing loyalty integrations.

    “For years, one of the biggest issues for restaurants has been labor, whether it’s no labor or poor labor,” said Robert Irvine. “Self-ordering technologies are eliminating inefficiencies in the industry, while simultaneously solving the labor challenge plaguing so many owners and operators. You can see the future of restaurants. The technology is here, now it’s time to adapt and get to work.”

     

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