News Briefs

  • 10/8/2023

    Chuck E. Cheese Plans 5-Day Promotion for Loyalty Members

    CEC Five nights of fun logo

    Chuck E. Cheese  announces "Five Nights of Fun," an exclusive week-long deal fest designed to celebrate and reward Loyalty Members. Starting Oct. 9, this event will feature daily deals and a chance to win the grand prize of the first-ever Chuck E. Cheese nighttime late-over kids' Halloween party. 

    From October 9 through, Friday, October 13, during Chuck E. Cheese Halloween Boo-Tacular, the brand is rolling out the purple carpet for Loyalty Reward Members by offering a series of unique deals every night of the week. Each day, Reward Members will receive a one-day-only surprise offer such as free e-tickets, game-play deals, and more. 

    As the grand finale of "Five Nights of Fun," some Chuck E. Cheese Reward Members will get a chance to win the ultimate party of a lifetime by hosting their own private "late-over" kids-only party. The Chuck E. Cheese Big Night of Halloween Fun party will be on October 27 from 8pm until midnight for up to 10 kids. This unforgettable experience will include pizza, drinks, playtime for the entire party, slimy-fun Boo-Tacular Halloween treats and, of course, an appearance by Chuck E. Cheese himself and maybe even a special appearance by everyone's favorite purple guy, Mr. Munch.

    To enter to win The Chuck E. Cheese Big Night of Halloween Fun party giveaway, simply join Chuck E. Cheese Rewards for free by downloading the app.

  • 10/4/2023

    Chipotle Tests Digital Make Line

    Chipotle digital make line and employee

    Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing an automated digital makeline in collaboration with Hyphen, a foodservice platform designed to help restaurant owners, operators, and budding chefs move their business forward by automating kitchen operations. Bowls and salads are created by an automated system that moves the entrées through the bottom makeline where ingredients for the order are dispensed automatically. In tandem, a Chipotle team member can leverage the top makeline to create burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and kid's meals for the same digital order.

    How It Works

    1. Digital orders would be placed via the Chipotle app,, or third-party platforms.  
    2. If the order included a bowl or salad, those entrées would be routed to Hyphen's automated system. The bowl traverses along the bottom makeline and positions itself under the specified ingredient container. The intelligent dispensers dynamically portion each ingredient into the bowl. If the order included burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or kid's meals, a Chipotle team member would use the top of the same makeline to create those entrées.
    3. The completed bowl or salad would be raised from the bottom makeline and revealed at the end of the makeline through an opening in the countertop. A Chipotle team member would place a lid on the entrée and add any final items such as chips, side salsas, or guacamole to the order.
    4. Completed orders would be placed in their designated pick-up area: in-restaurant pickup shelves, walk-up window, or Chipotlane.

    Employee & Guest Experience

    Approximately 65% of all Chipotle digital orders are bowls or salads, so the cobotic digital makeline has the potential to free up more time for employees to service the front makeline and deliver exceptional hospitality, while simultaneously increasing capacity for digital orders during peak periods.

    The new digital makeline could also help enhance digital order accuracy, improving the guest experience.

    "Chipotle's new digital makeline built by Hyphen embodies our commitment to leveraging robotics to unlock the human potential of our workforce, ensuring an elevated dining experience for our guests," said Curt Garner, Chief Customer and Technology Officer. "Our goal is to have the automated digital makeline be the centerpiece of all our restaurants' digital kitchens." 

    Chipotle's Investment in Hyphen

    Chipotle invested in Hyphen 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 also invested in Vebu, a product development company that works with food industry leaders to co-create intelligent automation and technology solutions. Earlier this year, Chipotle and Vebu unveiled the Autocado, an avocado processing cobotic prototype that cuts, cores, and peels avocados before they are hand mashed to create the restaurant's famous guacamole. 


    image courtesy of Chipotle

  • 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.

  • 10/6/2023

    Blackbird Lab Raises $24M for Blockchain-Based Restaurant Loyalty

    loyalty buttons

    Blackbird Labs, a hospitality technology company whose platform helps restaurants directly connect and reward their guests, as well as incentivize these customers to return, has raised a $24 Million Series A round.

    Blackbird was founded in 2022 by Ben Leventhal, co-founder of Eater and Resy.

    The new funding will help Blackbird scale operations as it meets an ever growing need from leading restaurants across the country for an all new solution that will help them drive customer loyalty and create new revenue streams.

    The round was led by a16z, with participation from Amex Ventures and Bolt by QED, as well as the company's previous seed investors like Union Square Ventures, Shine, Variant, plus restaurant groups: Quality Branded, Rustic Canyon Family, Souvla and Brooks Reitz.

    In just a few short months, Blackbird has struck a chord with over 80 restaurants in the industry, with 22 restaurants already live. This set includes New York restaurants like: Anton's, Corner Bar, Crown Shy, Di An Di, Ensenada, Ernesto's, estela, Fish Cheeks, Freeman's, Francie, gertrude's, Hanoi House, Joseph Leonard, Momofuku, Nami Nori, Principe, Overstory, and SAGA; Jon & Vinny's (LA), Souvla (San Francisco), Daytrip (Oakland), Little Jack's Tavern (Charleston), The Daily (Charleston), Melfi's (Charleston), Razza Pizza (Jersey City). 


    How it Works 

    With Blackbird's advanced platform, restaurants can seamlessly gather insights, including their diners' likes and dislikes, where they prefer to sit, and how many times they've visited the establishment. As today's dining landscape becomes increasingly fragmented, with little direct connectivity between guests and restaurants, Blackbird's technology helps restaurants get to really know their patrons. Operators can consistently surprise and delight their customers, while giving them the special feeling that they are very important and appreciated regulars, sparking increased and ongoing loyalty to the restaurant.

    For diners, Blackbird is also incredibly easy to use. When customers arrive at a restaurant, they simply tap their phone on a Blackbird NFC reader and enter their phone number to create their membership. From there they start leveling up their regular status with each subsequent tap-in, thus unlocking benefits and insider perks like surprise off menu items and even a direct SMS concierge. They also earn $FLY, Blackbird's non-transferable native token, which opens up a world of possibility. Diners can use their $FLY to power up for specific items they might want or they can also use them for membership rewards with a specific restaurant. Blackbird users also don't need to have a pre-existing web3 wallet. The company works with Privy to provide embedded wallets, so users who simply sign in with their phone number get a self-custodial wallet for use. Users are able to manage their memberships, view $FLY balance, monitor recent activity and message restaurants all through the Blackbird app.

    "Web3 enables a powerful, new way for restaurants and guests to connect, making each dining experience unique and more meaningful," said Arianna Simpson, General Partner at a16z crypto. "...With just a few taps, diners can unlock new loyalty programs that only web3 technology can provide."

    With its new funding, Blackbird also has plans to rapidly expand its offering into new markets, as it continues to roll out new features like: $FLY Redemption, which empowers consumers to use their accumulated $FLY points to "power up" and redeem perks either in the moment or in a future planned visit at participating Blackbird restaurants. The company will also be introducing an all-new referral program, giving diners the ability to text their friend a link to become members at a specific restaurant, where they will gain access to an entirely new and exclusive slate of offerings. Diners will also be able to opt into global data sharing, where restaurants will gain visibility into their full dining history and any associated insights, in exchange for providing more $FLY on regular dining activity like tap-ins.

    "Blackbird offers a compelling new platform with the potential to evolve how restaurants deliver on loyalty and supercharge the insights they need to thrive," said Matt Sueoka, Global Head of Amex Ventures. "We are thrilled to back Blackbird as they explore how to leverage web3 technology to positively transform the dining experience for consumers and the restaurant industry."

    For more information on Blackbird,  visit

  • 10/8/2023

    Popmenu Partners with OpenTable to Streamline Menu Management

    colored cogs hands on a table

    Popmenu and OpenTable  announce a new partnership that makes it easier than ever for restaurants to tackle one of their most time-consuming headaches: uploading, editing, and managing digital menus. Live in the U.S. and Canada today, the partnership will roll out in the UK in early 2024.

    As a preferred menu management and publishing partner, Popmenu enables OpenTable customers to quickly import and build menus, and update them across multiple locations. Shared customers can edit menus via Popmenu or an integrated point of sale (POS) system and they will automatically update on OpenTable. The partnership saves operators time and resources, valuable commodities for restaurateurs: 55% of operators are adopting new technologies to meet market demands as they face an ongoing labor deficit and rising costs, according to Popmenu’s July-August 2023 industry survey.

    For restaurants, updated menus are critical for boosting placement in search engine results, and for diners, they play a key role in restaurant discovery. An August 2023 Popmenu study of 1,000 US consumers reveals the role online menus play in driving business: 55% said they are more likely to book a restaurant reservation on a third-party reservation site if they can see the restaurant’s menu on the site. Additionally, 97% of consumers think it’s important for restaurants to keep their menus updated on their websites and third-party sites.

    “Solving restaurants’ biggest challenges is our top priority, so it’s important our partners have access to tools that streamline every aspect of their business including menu management. Popmenu is a best-in-class restaurant software provider, and we look forward to bringing new solutions to restaurants of all sizes,” said Sagar Mehta, CTO of OpenTable.

    “OpenTable is a trusted resource for restaurants and communities worldwide,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu. “We’re excited to work with them to create greater efficiencies and revenue opportunities for operators—and better experiences for guests. Together, we’re delivering technologies that address major pain points for the industry while helping restaurants to grow.”  

    Popmenu is an innovator in restaurant technology, and in addition to menu management, its customers can take advantage of other growth opportunities through Popmenu’s AI-driven digital marketing, AI phone answering, online ordering, and more.   

  • 10/8/2023

    Instant Financial Adds Mobile App, Mobile Wallet for Earned Wage Access

    payroll calculator

    Instant Financial, a provider of earned wage access (EWA), electronic tips and paycard solutions, announced the first phase of upgrades to its comprehensive employee payments platform. This initial release of updates includes the launch of a new mobile app and the introduction of mobile wallet functionality for Apple, Google and Samsung Wallet, representing significant improvements to user experience, functionality, and security, and a wider range of options for employees to access their pay. 

    Debuting at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition on October 10, Instant’s new app represents a commitment to leading the charge in providing employees with financial freedom and wellness through instant access to wages, all without predatory fees. 

    Key highlights of the new app include:

    • Enhanced Performance and Intuitive Design: The new app has significantly boosted performance, improving the user experience (UX) and unveiling a sleek, intuitive user interface (UI). With a strong emphasis on material design, the app offers an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly environment.

    • Faster Access to Earned Wages: Employees now have access to their hard-earned wages in fewer clicks, aligning perfectly with Instant’s mission of providing fee-free, accessible pay options for all.

    • Upgraded Platform: New app architecture allows for faster feature development and implementation to adapt to changing needs of our valued clients and account holders.

    • Advanced Security Features: The app introduces cutting-edge biometric authentication options such as Face ID and fingerprint recognition, ensuring the utmost security for users.

    • Streamlined Onboarding: A simplified onboarding process ensures a seamless introduction to the platform, enabling employees to get started effortlessly.

    • Improved Job Search and Functionality: Users will enjoy an upgraded job search and function experience, making it easier to connect with their employer.

    “At Instant Financial, we are driven by the mission to create a win-win scenario for both employees and employers, and these new enhancements reflect that,” said Tal Clark, CEO at Instant. “These changes enable us to continue providing employers with an easy and efficient way to foster financial freedom and wellness for hard-working Americans, furthering economic stability, and their ability to plan for a secure future.” 

    This first phase of changes is part of Instant’s longer-term strategy to update its full employee pay platform, which will incorporate an upgrade to its back office administrative portal, with speed enhancements, enterprise reporting capabilities and a more intuitive user interface.

    For more information visit

  • Show MoreShow More
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds