News Briefs

  • 7/11/2023

    Oaky and Stayntouch Enhance Integration to Enable Automated Upselling for US and EU Hoteliers

    oaky and stayntouch logos

    Oaky, the hyper-personalized hotel upselling solution, is excited to announce its integration with Stayntouch, a leader in providing cloud-based hotel property management systems (PMS) and guest-centric technology. Building upon their successful one-way integration, Oaky and Stayntouch now release a robust two-way connection, letting hotels across the globe, and in the US market specifically, unlock more benefits of automated upselling, driving increased revenue and enhancing the guest experience.  

    By partnering up with Stayntouch, a prominent leader in the US hospitality market, known for its successful alliances with industry leaders like - Sage Hospitality, Pacifica Hotels, HEI Hotels & Resorts, and the iconic TWA Hotel - Oaky strengthens its presence in North America. For Stayntouch, a collaboration with Oaky means more exposure in the European market, where Oaky has established itself as a strong leader in hotel upselling. Together, Oaky and Stayntouch are poised to deliver innovative solutions that optimize revenue and enhance guest experiences.

    The two tech providers represent an ideal match, as their shared commitment to enhancing the guest experience is evident in their respective solutions. Oaky redefines the guest journey with its seamless and user-friendly upselling features, while Stayntouch pioneers operations technology with advanced automation, easy and intuitive design, and seamless connectivity. This synergy between Oaky and Stayntouch ensures that guests staying at innovative hotels can enjoy an exceptional experience as both companies work harmoniously to elevate the guest's journey to new heights.

    “We are thrilled to announce the integration of Oaky and Stayntouch, a game-changing collaboration that revolutionizes upselling and guest experiences for all innovative hoteliers,” said Clément Dénarié, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances at Oaky. “Working closely with Stayntouch, we have seamlessly combined our expertise to empower hotels with comprehensive upselling capabilities. By combining Oaky's leading upselling platform with the Stayntouch innovative PMS, we are taking revenue optimization and guest interactions to the next level.”

    Reid Webster, Stayntouch’s VP of Strategic Growth, comments, “We are very excited to be partnering with Oaky. Mobile flexibility is a key feature of our cloud PMS, allowing our clients to deliver convenient and personalized experiences to their guests from check-in to departure. Our seamless integration with Oaky greatly enhances our existing mobile upselling capability by allowing our clients to send highly targeted offers to their guests, while also boosting successful upsells among front-desk staff.”

    The integration between Oaky and Stayntouch marks an exciting chapter in the hospitality industry, as it brings together cutting-edge technologies and guest-centric approaches to elevate the guest experience to new heights. Guest-obsessed hotels can now look forward to an enhanced upselling process, increased revenue potential, and greater guest satisfaction.

  • 6/21/2023

    Shiji and IPORT Partner to Transform Hotel Restaurant Operations with All-in-One Tablet and Payment Device Solution

    Shiji teaser logo

    Shiji, a global hospitality technology innovator, has partnered with IPORT, an award-winning manufacturer known for enhancing the usability of iPads and iPhones, to introduce an all-in-one software solution for hotel restaurants. This collaboration will provide hoteliers with a seamless combination of a tablet and payment device to maximize their F&B operations.

    The integrated iOS and payment device solution simplifies guest service for hotel restaurant servers, providing them with an effortless tool to cater to their guests' needs. As a certified Apple partner, Shiji and IPORT guarantee exceptional performance and reliability. Hoteliers can choose from multiple device options, including iPad Pro, iPad Mini, and iPhone, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with their operations.

    “IPORT products are built around modularity and flexibility that empower our hospitality customers to do more with the iOS platform. We are thrilled to partner with a leading iPad and iPhone cloud PMS and POS platform provider like Shiji,” said Chris Lawson, Head of Partnerships, IPORT. “We look forward to innovating with Shiji in disrupting legacy, monolithic providers who have limited the industry from harnessing the power of iOS and mobility. The future is bright, and the possibilities are endless with IPORT, iOS, and Shiji.”

    "The partnership with IPORT is a significant milestone for Shiji in our commitment to provide innovative technology solutions for the hospitality industry," said Ryan King, Senior Vice President of Shiji in the Americas. "By combining our expertise with IPORT’s hardware solutions, we empower hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and deliver exceptional guest experiences. This collaboration represents another step forward in our dedication to driving success in the Americas, and globally."

    The tablet and payment device solution seamlessly integrates with multiple payment gateways, allowing hoteliers to choose the system that best suits their needs. By simplifying the payment process, it reduces operational complexities, minimizes errors, and saves valuable time and resources for hoteliers.

  • 6/24/2023

    Steak n Shake Adds New Way to Pay

    Steak n Shake exterior in Indy

    Steak n Shake will offer PopID Check In and PopPay on its self-ordering kiosks in select locations in the Orlando market, with plans to expand to more than 300 corporate locations. PopID Check In is an opt-in service that enables consumers to scan their face to automatically sign into their loyalty reward account and see their past orders, making the ordering process as convenient as possible. When a guest checks in with PopID, they also have the option to use PopPay to automatically complete their payment.

    “Our partnership with PopID is a key part of our effort to provide guests with a fast and seamless ordering experience," said Keith Correia, Chief Information Officer. "When using PopID Check In, a guest does not need to use their phone or take out their wallet as part of the ordering process. They will automatically be checked in for loyalty rewards, and they can choose to make an automated payment with PopPay. A guest can even see their past orders and quickly reorder their favorite menu items. Ordering at Steak n Shake has never been easier or more convenient.”

    In addition to enhancing the guest experience and improving order throughput, PopPay helps to reduce fraud and offers lower payment processing fees.

  • 7/11/2023

    Palmer Digital Group Adds Audio Enclosure Option for Digital Menu Board Customers

    digital menu board pdg

    Palmer Digital Group, a full-service supplier and installer of indoor and outdoor digital kiosks, now offers optional speaker-microphone enclosures for its entire range of outdoor digital menu board systems, covering single, double and triple-display solutions for its pedestal and canopy structures. The protective enclosures eliminate the need for a separate foundation to support QSR drive-thru audio systems, reducing costs and infrastructure while also simplifying cable management and menu board maintenance.

    Palmer Digital Group (PDG) innovated the design last year for its single-board solutions, becoming the first company to offer an optional speaker-mic enclosure design as part of a complete digital menu board structure. Now available for all structures, customers can request the option on an initial order or add the enclosure to the installed structure when needed. In-field upgrades require no special tools, with installations completed in less than one hour.

    The enclosures were developed after speaking with customers who wanted to further streamline their outdoor ordering systems in accordance with drive-thru modernization strategies. Customers can choose side-mount or under-mount configurations, with each option offering the same operational benefits to QSRs.

    To achieve this streamlined cable management, the speaker-mic-wire is fed into the pedestal from underneath and then run through PDG’s horizontal display support. From this point, the speaker-mic cable is fed into the enclosure, where the final connections are made. The side-mount speaker-mic enclosures have the added benefits of a 20-degree swivel, which allows installers to optimize the clarity of the speaker and mic, which most often comprise products from 3M (PAR), HME and/or Panasonic.

    Custom colors are available for all outdoor menu boards and enclosures to align with a customer’s brand. 


  • 7/11/2023

    Chipotle Adds Avocado-Processing Robot

    chipotle avocado robot

    Chipotle Mexican Grill  announced Autocado, an avocado processing cobotic prototype that cuts, cores, and peels avocados before they are hand mashed to create the restaurant’s guacamole. The prototype, developed in collaboration with Vebu, is currently being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center in Irvine, California. 

    How It Works 

    1. A team member loads Autocado with a full case of ripe avocados and selects the size setting. Autocado can hold up to 25 lbs. of avocados at once.
    2. One at a time, avocados are vertically oriented, then transferred to the processing device.
    3. The avocados are sliced in half. Their cores and skin are automatically removed, and the waste is discarded. 
    4. The fruit is safely collected in a stainless-steel bowl in the bottom of the device. 
    5. A team member removes the bowl of avocado fruit and moves it to the counter where they add additional ingredients and hand mash the avocados to make Chipotle’s signature guacamole. 

    Autocado’s Origin Story 

    Vebu worked closely with Certified Training Managers from Chipotle’s restaurants to analyze the company’s preparation process and identify tasks that are time consuming and less favorable among crew members. Chipotle currently has individuals dedicated to cutting, coring, and scooping avocados. On average, it takes approximately 50 minutes to make a batch of guacamole. 


    Autocado’s Potential Impact
    The Vebu team is aiming to improve the device’s processing speeds, which could ultimately reduce guacamole prep time by 50%, allowing Chipotle employees to focus on serving guests and providing great hospitality. In restaurants across the U.S., Canada, and Europe this year, the company is expected to use approximately 4.5 million cases of avocados, equivalent to more than 100 million pounds of fruit. In support of Chipotle’s sustainability initiatives and waste reduction efforts, Autocado also aims to increase avocado fruit yield through precision processing, which could lead to millions of dollars in annual food cost savings if the cobot is successfully developed and deployed widely.

    “We are committed to exploring collaborative robotics to drive efficiencies and ease pain points for our employees,” said Curt Garner, Chief Customer and Technology Officer at Chipotle. “The intensive labor of cutting, coring, and scooping avocados could be relieved with Autocado, but we still maintain the essential culinary experience of hand mashing and hand preparing the guacamole to our exacting standards.” 

    Integration of AI and Machine Learning  

    Vebu is developing an artificial intelligence and machine learning stack to be connected to all its robotic solutions, where applicable. The goal is for future iterations of Autocado to use machine learning and sensor fusion to evaluate the quality of the avocados and quantify waste reduction as well as the efficiency of the cutting, coring, and peeling processes.

    Cultivate Next 

    Chipotle is investing in Vebu as part of Cultivate Next, the company’s $50 million venture fund that intends to make early-stage investments into strategically aligned companies that further its mission to Cultivate a Better World and help accelerate its aggressive growth plans. As a people-first company, Chipotle is seeking opportunities that will elevate the human experience for its teams as well as increase access and convenience for its guests. Investments may include innovations in farming and supply chain, advanced robotics, alternative proteins, and more.

    Through Cultivate Next, Chipotle has previously invested in Hyphen, a foodservice platform designed to help restaurant owners, operators, and budding chefs move their business forward by automating kitchen operations. Hyphen’s first product, The Makeline, is being tested as a system that uses advanced software and robotics to automate meal production for all digital orders under the counter while allowing staff to assemble in-house orders from the top of the counter.


    In addition to Autocado, Chipotle is currently testing Chippy, an autonomous kitchen assistant that integrates culinary traditions with artificial intelligence to make tortilla chips, in a Fountain Valley, Calif., restaurant. 

  • 7/11/2023

    Next Generation of Hapi Solves for Hotel Data Integrations at Scale

    hapi data integration aws

    Hapi, a platform for fast and cost-effective connectivity between technology systems, is excited to announce new infrastructure in partnership with AWS that is providing hotel companies access to critical guest and transactional data in revolutionary ways.

    Newly built in the Amazon AWS environment, the Hapi Data Platform can provide data from technology systems “at rest,” or in storage, that hotel companies can access quicker. Now, hotel brands can connect directly to a stream of data or consume the data on their terms. As part of its efforts, Hapi recently received the Travel and Hospitality ISV Partner Competency designation from AWS. 

    “Proving data at rest is the modern way of connecting companies to their data,” says Luis Segredo, founder and CEO at Hapi. “It enables companies to employ modern data strategies, like those provided by Snowflake or Salesforce Data Cloud, quickly and efficiently.  It’s a natural evolution of Hapi’s mission to make data actionable and accelerate innovation.”

    The Hapi Data Platform consumes event streams from the Hapi Integration Platform that has also been rebuilt from the ground up. This multimillion dollar investment builds upon the years of experience refining connectors and normalizers from disparate hotel technology systems. The new Integration Platform, also employing the latest technologies from AWS, is built to scale for hotel groups of any size.

    Finally, a new feature within Hapi Guest CRM, Hapi’s off the shelf hospitality CRM solution built on Salesforce, empowers front office teams to provide more personalized guest check-in experiences. Hapi Guest Focus serves front-desk agents with above-property guest profile and preference information in a side-by-side window within their current PMS interface.

    Today, leading hotel brands like Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Great Wolf Resorts, IHG and Sonesta Hotels & Resorts are relying on the Hapi Integration Platform to push and pull data from disparate Property Management Systems throughout their portfolio into one central data stream. Comprehensive APIs allow these hotel brands and more to learn more about their guests and the activity at the property level than they ever have before.

    “More open integrations among tech providers and better partnerships with large scale data warehouses have led to improved data models within some hospitality organizations,” says SriHari Thotapalli, Head of Hapi Data Platform. “To truly catch up with the innovation happening in other industries, hoteliers should partner with companies experienced in building platforms that unlock hospitality data.”

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