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News Briefs

  • 10/22/2023

    Primanti Bros. to Provide No-Fee Tips, On-Demand Pay

    payday

    Pittsburgh-based restaurant, Primanti Bros.  has partnered with  Instant Financial, to provide employees with real-time, instant access to wages and tips, immediately following their shifts.

    As the restaurant industry continues to evolve amid today's uncertain economic and labor landscape, many organizations are adopting new technologies to address changing employee expectations, with enhanced benefit offerings playing a central role.

    With no fees incurred by Primanti's employees, the Instant Pay and Instant Tips solutions will give workers more control over how and when they receive their earned wages.

    Providing early access to earned wages is one way that many hotels and restaurants are helping smooth out cash flow issues that employees may face. With Instant Pay and Tips, Primanti Bros. is answering employee demand for optionality in how they get paid.

    "We're always looking for ways to enhance the benefits we offer current employees, while also making ourselves an employer of choice for job seekers," said Will Bowker, Chief Restaurant Officer at Primanti's. "Instant Financial is the ideal earned wage access and electronic tips provider for us, because their flexible fee-free model is the best solution for our employees, which in turn helps with hiring and retention."

    This new partnership comes at a time when economic challenges have employers across the country looking for ways to help their workers bridge the gap between paydays.  A 2022 study from Instant Financial found that 79% of working Americans would be interested in applying for a job that pays them the same day they work, a 30% increase compared to 2018.

  • 9/14/2023

    Domino's Updates Rewards Program

    Dominos Rewards Updated

    Domino's Pizza Inc. introduces its new and improved loyalty program. 

    Domino's Rewards offers loyalty members even more opportunities to earn and redeem points across its corporate and franchise store locations. Domino's enhanced rewards program allows customers to:

    • Earn points for less
      • Loyalty members will now earn 10 points on every order of $5 or more
    • Redeem points for even more menu items – and earn free Domino's after just two orders
      • Members can redeem a variety of points for more menu items:
        • 20 points: A free dipping cup, a 16-piece order of Parmesan Bread Bites or a 20 oz. drink
        • 40 points: An order of Bread Twists or Stuffed Cheesy Bread
        • 60 points: A medium, two-topping pizza; pasta; Oven-Baked Sandwich; or a 3-piece order of Chocolate Lava Crunch Cakes
    • Earn more rewards
      • Loyalty perks are now even better, as members will have exclusive access to member-only deals, special discounts and opportunities to earn bonus points!

    "We are thrilled to give the brand's loyal customers additional ways to earn free Domino's items more often," said Mark Messing, Domino's vice president of digital experience and loyalty. "At a time when most brands are scaling back their loyalty programs and making it more difficult to earn and redeem points, Domino's is doing the opposite. We want to make it easier to reward our customers and give them more options so they can get rewarded faster."

    Marketing a LTO 

    From now until Oct. 22, 2023, rewards members can take advantage of a limited time offer to redeem 20 points for a free order of Domino's new Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread, which is normally a 40-point redemption, in celebration of the product's recent launch. 

  • 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, Chipotle.com, 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

  • 10/22/2023

    Orders.co Introduces AI-Powered Platform to Accelerate Restaurants’ Online Growth

    AI

    Orders.co, an all-in-one order management platform for restaurants,  introduced new AI-powered solutions that empower restaurant operators to better manage and scale their online ordering and delivery operations.

    Orders.co’s AI technology leverages advanced large language models to automate time-consuming processes, reduce manual tasks, and improve efficiency for restaurant operators. Designed with the needs of independent restaurants, growing chains, and digital brand operators, the new solutions promise to streamline operations and power efficient scale across platforms.

    Its AI-powered website builder enables restaurants to establish fully customized ordering websites, instantly generating a ready-to-deploy menu and virtual storefront. Any restaurant brand operator or franchisee can stand up its online presence in seconds, for free.

    Once activated within the Orders.co platform, the site can then be connected to the various integrated technologies and platforms a restaurant uses to power its end-to-end order and delivery management experience. With Orders.co, restaurants can transition from concept to fully operational online in just days.

    Additional new AI-powered platform solutions include:

    • Personalized Marketing and Loyalty Programs
      • Behavioral-based email and SMS campaigns, optimized based on customer ordering patterns.
    • Guest Feedback and Recovery
      • Automated post-checkout feedback system drives public positive reviews.
    • Local Business SEO
      • Real-time updates and maintenance of business listing information across all connected platforms.
    • Seamless Menu Integration
      • The platform syncs menus across order sources, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

    The company offers direct integration with more than 30 POS platforms and national and local delivery apps including Delivery.com, GrubHub, and UberEats, among others. Partnerships with third-party delivery management platforms like Cartwheel enable in-house or outsourced delivery, with the ability to tap into the nation’s largest delivery fleets.

     

  • 10/22/2023

    Iced Tea Franchise to Use Revel Systems at 350 Locations

    HTeaO

    Iced tea franchise HTeaO will implement Revel at 270 new locations, adding to the 80 HTeaO locations already live on Revel's platform.

    "We are very excited to leverage the success we've had with Revel as we look to streamline operations and deliver a memorable customer experience at 270 additional locations," said Brad Williamson, Executive Vice President of HTeaO.

    Inventory Management Matters

    A key capability for HTeaO is the retail inventory management available through the system's back end. Operators are able to quickly access critical data on inventory for one, multiple, or all locations through a single, centralized dashboard. This capability enables smarter decision-making based on data-backed insights for the brand.

    Revel provides an open API to help brands adapt to the demands of consumers and an ever-changing marketplace. HTeaO uses Revel's open API to integrate solutions for loyalty, online ordering and gift cards, contributing to the seamless experience loyal patrons have come to appreciate.

    The Fort Worth, Texas-based brand will also utilize Revel Advantage, Revel's integrated in-house payment processing solution that provides a complete POS and payments offering.

    HTeaO is a franchise concept that deals primarily in iced tea. The brand has more than 80 locations open and has sold over 400 franchises for future development. HTeaO is a unique franchise concept that has perfected a simplistic business model, dealing primarily in iced tea. With all natural ingredients, the brand has created its own supply chain, to ensure each store receives all essential products, and helps keep costs low. Striving for precise consistency, each store is equipped with its own proprietary water plant, creating pure and consistent tasting water.

    HTeaO values being there for franchisees, beginning with a franchise partner orientation, an initial site evaluation, and demographic research to determine a viable location. HTeaO is involved with the architectural plans, permits, construction, and certificate of occupancy. After training and the store is up and running, HTeaO continues to offer support to owners through providing access to a mentor, utilizing marketing efforts, and aiding with promotions and philanthropic activities.

  • 10/22/2023

    Lutron Electronics Introduces Cloud-Connected Lighting and Shading Solution for Hotels

    myRoom XC dashboard on a tablet

    Lutron Electronics, a provider of smart lighting and shading, introduced the Lutron hospitality solution, featuring myRoom XC, an enhanced guestroom system. The cloud-connected hospitality solution allows integrated management of all areas of the property – guestrooms, public areas, event spaces, and private residences – via a single dashboard.

    The launch of the myRoom XC system elevates lighting as a business amenity and demonstrates Lutron’s ongoing commitment to innovation and support in the hospitality industry. In 2015, Lutron introduced its myRoom guestroom system for personalized control of lights, shades, and temperature.  As a key part of the new Lutron hospitality solution, the enhanced myRoom XC system ushers in a comprehensive approach to guestroom control with one connected platform. This platform helps to simplify operations, improve staff efficiency, eliminate downtime, and create a curated guest experience that elevates your brand.

    Cloud connectivity streamlines the operations process

    When implemented with Lutron’s cloud-connected systems for public spaces and private residences, the myRoom XC system for guestrooms ensures a single, cloud-connected platform for the whole hotel. The centralized dashboard provides secure sign-on from smart devices. This allows the operations and facilities staff to make changes from anywhere via the software, freeing up the hotel staff to focus on guests.

    The new Lutron hospitality solution offers a wide range of operational advantages —

    • Cloud-connected and future proof – System updates are pushed automatically to ensure the Lutron hospitality solution offers enhanced value over time. Download the latest software with no on-site server required.
    • System alerts – Minimize downtime and offer 24/7 peace of mind. Key personnel are immediately alerted to system issues so they can log in remotely and quickly resolve the problem.
    • Flexible Support: Remote or Onsite – Lutron service and support is engineered for your property lifecycle. Cloud-connected systems facilitate remote support whenever and wherever you need us.
    • Energy use and occupancy reporting – Reach energy and sustainability goals without impacting the guest experience. Energy-use and occupancy reports from the connected dashboard give your team the data they need to make short- and long-term system adjustments at any time.
    • Simple to upgrade – For properties with an installed myRoom system, myRoom XC upgrades are as simple as replacing the processor, upgrading software, and reprogramming. Installed control hardware stays the same.

    …And design benefits

    • Tremendous system flexibility – Design with the control system and fixtures of your choice for properties that reflect your unique brand statement, aesthetics, and personality.
    • Templating feature – Lighting designers save time on site, and projects are completed easier with the new templating feature. Program a room once, and the software can replicate settings to all similar room types. The feature also allows facility teams to easily adjust all rooms of the same type at once.
    • Intuitive app Tailored to the needs of specifiers, designers, and hotel staff, the Lutron app is key to lighting flexibility and personalization in the hotel’s public spaces. Log in to make operational adjustments, or to personalize light settings for a special event or customer request without affecting system presets.

    “The Lutron system is excellent, very versatile, and reliable. Our guests like it since it is easy to understand. They don’t need instructions because it’s simple and intuitive,” said Freddy Helfon, General Director of Grupo Inmobiliario ALhel (owner, The Ritz Carlton, Mexico City).

    A globally consistent, brand-elevating experience

    The Lutron hospitality solution delivers cloud-connected monitoring and control, connecting the entire property throughout your global portfolio.

    • Ensure a consistent brand image – control lights and shades throughout the property with Lutron solutions tailored to the needs of each space while maintaining a consistent guest experience.
    • Create and promote customized event experiences with lighting and scenes adapted to your client’s taste, agenda, and personal request.
    • Bring your guestroom vision to life with the myRoom XC system – choose keypad styles that can be used worldwide and personalized through engraving in local languages or universal symbols.
    • Lutron’s global service and 24/7 technical support work tirelessly to ensure your design vision comes to life and to troubleshoot issues after installation.

    "The new Lutron hospitality solution leverages cutting-edge technology to connect the entire building under unparalleled cloud-based lighting management. Centralized on one comprehensive dashboard, it empowers hotel proprietors and management teams with real-time, round-the-clock access to Lutron control systems, ensuring adaptability, personalization, and sustainability for the property's evolving needs," said Ana Maria Huertas-Iragorri, Lutron Global Hospitality Sales Director.

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