News Briefs

  • 7/24/2023

    Taco Bell Exec to Lead Cracker Barrel

    The Board of Directors of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. announced Julie Felss Masino will succeed Sandra B. Cochran as the Cracker Barrel's next President and Chief Executive Officer.

    Masino most recently served as President, International of Taco Bell, overseeing the expansion of the division to more than 1,000 restaurants in 32 countries, and before that led the $11 billion US Taco Bell business, where she and her teams launched numerous culinary, technology, and business model innovations during eight consecutive quarters of positive comp growth. 

    The company's current President and Chief Executive Officer, Sandra Cochran, said, "Julie brings a wealth of experience and an innovative spirit to Cracker Barrel and Maple Street. I look forward to seeing her and the team build on our legacy and carve new paths for growth as they leverage and continue our investments in technology, loyalty, and the employee and guest experience. It has been a privilege to lead this brand for the last 12  years and I am happy to be able to transfer my role to someone as capable and accomplished as Julie."

    Masino spent the last five and a half years at Taco Bell, during which time she led franchise partners and teams to open over 800 new units in the US and around the globe. The bulk of her career was spent in a variety of leadership roles at Starbucks Coffee Company, including serving as the CMO of Starbucks' China business as well as Vice President, Strategy Americas and EMEA; Vice President, Global Beverage; and Vice President, Global Merchandise and Packaged Food. She began her professional career in corporate positions at a variety of retail companies, including Godiva Chocolatier, Coach, J. Crew, and Macy's, and has meaningful public and private company board experience.

    Masino will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer-elect on August 7, and will work with  Cochran through the end of October on a transition of duties. On November 1,  Masino will become the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer and will be appointed to the Company's Board of Directors.  At that time, Ms. Cochran will become the Executive Chair of the Board through September 2024, and the Board's current independent Chair, William McCarten, will assume the role of Lead Independent Director.

  • 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.

  • 7/24/2023

    Grubhub Relaunches its Loyalty Subscription Program

    Grubhub is doubling down on savings, rewards and unique experiences for diners with the relaunch of Grubhub+, its loyalty subscription program that gives members access to unlimited $0 delivery fees on eligible restaurant and convenience orders over $12.

    New benefits available on eligible orders by members include lower service fees and a 5% credit back on pickup orders. Members will still receive unlimited $0 delivery fees on orders over $12, donation matching on Grubhub+ orders and member-only offers from restaurant and convenience partners. With these new benefits, members can get an additional average monthly savings of 20%.

    Coming soon, members will receive additional benefits that will help them celebrate some of life's most joyful moments, including milestone rewards, month-long member savings and new Grubhub+ offers including the Fuel Rewards program at Shell. Through this new collaboration, Grubhub+ members will receive Gold Status in the Fuel Rewards program at Shell, saving them 5 cents per gallon on every fill-up when they sign up or link to their Fuel Rewards account.

    In addition to Grubhub's new Fuel Rewards offer, Grubhub works with  Amazon Prime, Bank of America and Lyft to provide Grubhub+ to offer additional value to their customers — bringing more benefits to their existing membership programs. 

  • 7/24/2023

    ClientScan Launches an AI Facial Recognition Solution for the Hospitality Sector

    clientscan logo

    ClientScan, a specialist face detection and recognition company, has launched a complete end-to-end artificial intelligence system that takes customer service to the next level by enabling front-of-house staff to deliver a personalized customer service by blending the digital and physical worlds.

    In today’s digital world, we all expect that we can enter a hotel, club, restaurant, or airport lounge and check-in digitally - without needing any human intervention. While this model is quick and convenient and provides a frictionless service, for the VIP guest or when providing a luxury customer experience, winning the hearts and minds of guests is increasingly about getting inside their hearts and minds. Therefore, personalization is the key. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. (PWC)

    With ClientScan installed, when a customer enters, a real-time alert is sent to staff, informing them that the customer has entered enabling front-of-house staff to offer a personalized greeting. The alert with the client intelligence can be delivered to all relevant services such as Customer Relations, Restaurants, Bar, Valet parking, and Spa as the customer enters together with key information such as allergies, favorite drink, spa treatment etc. ClientScan recognizes customers in less than one[1]tenth of a second and with an accuracy rate of over 99%.

    The software is approved by Microsoft, and can be run on any standard Microsoft Windows PC that has access to one or many webcams. ClientScan is easy to install, with just a few clicks from the Microsoft App Store.

    “ClientScan is one of the world’s first AI-driven facial recognition systems breaking new ground to innovate Customer Service,” said Laura Bedborough, Head of Business Development and co-founder of ClientScan. “Providing a personalized tailored experience differentiates a brand from its competitors and makes customers feel more valued, inspiring greater brand loyalty. Our solution represents a comprehensive and custom development of a Convolution Neural Network to ensure exceptional speed and accuracy whilst maintaining high levels of security.”

    Focusing on providing exceptional customer experiences, brands can build lasting relationships with their customers and ensure their retention and long-term success. According to a McKinsey report, 76% of consumers say they're more likely to purchase from brands that personalize the experience and 80% of companies report seeing an uplift since implementing personalization technology. (Econsultancy)

    The ClientScan end-to-end solution can be used on its own or be integrated into existing membership systems and is available now for the hospitality industry. Further product evolution, such as real-time centralized reporting, is in the product roadmap and will be launched in H2-2023.

  • 7/24/2023

    Wildfire Systems Launches RevenueEngine to Drive Monetization of Generative AI-Powered Offerings

    Wildfire Systems Logo

    Wildfire Systems Inc., an innovative technology platform that powers reward programs, shopping companions, and content monetization launched RevenueEngine, the industry’s first solution for monetizing ecommerce transactions driven by generative AI-powered applications, plugins, and products. 

    As the AI economy accelerates, companies and startups are increasingly leveraging generative AI to create innovative applications that promise to transform industries - including retail, travel/hospitality, financial services, healthcare, and more. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the generative AI industry may grow from $40 billion in 2022 to $1.3 trillion by 2032. 

    However, many companies lack a clear monetization strategy for their AI applications which prevents them from tapping into this market opportunity. Wildfire’s platform solves this problem, transforming new AI applications into revenue-generating products. 

    “In dorm rooms, garages, and offices around the world, people are using AI to build innovative products and services, however, monetizing that content still remains a challenge, and that’s where we come in,” said Jordan Glazier, CEO, Wildfire Systems. “RevenueEngine is uniquely positioned to be the foundational layer which enables innovators to easily earn revenue from the services and generated content they are creating.” 

    RevenueEngine turns AI-created product recommendations from general and specialized chatbots, predictive text, or other software that generates or enhances content into monetized, revenue-driving ecommerce links to nearly 60,000 online merchant programs around the world. Whenever products are mentioned in generated content, RevenueEngine transforms those product mentions into monetizable links so that creators can earn a share of purchases made through those links. 

    Rather than generating content itself, RevenueEngine provides the AI infrastructure layer for monetization that can be used by anyone developing LLMs, or building products on top of them. For example:

    • Publishers using AI to generate an article about “must-have” products for a new baby  can leverage RevenueEngine to automatically populate the article with monetized links directly to the products mentioned in the article. When readers clicked the links and made purchases, publishers earn a share of the sale

    • A financial services company using AI to generate personalized product recommendations based on past spending habits can tap into RevenueEngine to automatically link recommended products to the retailers selling those items online. When users click the links and make purchases, the financial services company earns a share of the sale.

    TravelArrow, an all-in-one travel assistant that helps consumers get the best deal on their next vacation, partnered with Wildfire in 2022 to power their MilesBack feature which allows their customers to automatically earn miles or cashback when they shop online. As the company began to develop ForgeMyTrip to provide AI-generated trip itineraries, they again turned to Wildfire.

    “Wildfire was integral to making our MilesBack feature a success, enabling us to substantially improve the customer experience we deliver- so we knew they’d be key to the success of ForgeMyTrip as well,” said Jaideep Patil, Co-founder, TravelArrow. “It makes sense to provide users with convenient links to learn more about AI recommended points of interest, book travel, and more. With RevenueEngine, the links are monetized and generate revenue nearly effortlessly for us. Integrating was quick and easy, taking less than a day because of the simplicity and efficiency of the Wildfire API.”

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