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News Briefs

  • 10/25/2023

    Fast-Casual Chain Ramps Up North American Expansion

    handshake partnership

    Pepper Lunch, the Japan-born experiential fast-casual concept, with more than 500 locations in 15 countries,  announced a strategic partnership with Revel Systems.

    Revel Systems' cloud point of sale (POS) and complete business management platform will be deployed at 125 Pepper Lunch locations.

    The agreement comes hot on the heels of Pepper Lunch’s first domestic US development agreement, which will bring 10 units over the next five years to the Phoenix, Arizona, area. The remaining 115 units will be deployed as the brand continues to expand.

    “We needed more than simply a partner who could create a bespoke solution for our tech stack,” said Pepper Lunch CEO, Troy Hooper. “Revel Systems offered the kind of transformational flexibility and credibility that would enable us to scale for multi-location growth with efficiency and speed.”

    The partnership will reinforce Pepper Lunch’s ability to provide their guests with seamless dining experiences and meal options.

     

    • The Revel POS order management system orchestrates a streamlined and optimized process for both on and off-premises orders
    • Integrated loyalty programs
    • Real-time Data Analytics provides Pepper Lunch with actionable insights, fine-tuning operations and augmenting profitability.
    • Revel’s centralized control feature facilitates effortless management of multiple outlets for franchisees, ensuring brand consistency and operational excellence.

    Future-Ready

    • Pepper Lunch is transitioning to incorporate self-order kiosks, complemented by a human hospitality host to assist in the ordering journey. This hybrid approach aims to blend the efficiency of digital ordering with human interaction.
  • 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. 

  • 10/25/2023

    Webex by Cisco Announces AI-Powered Solutions to Empower Contact Center Agent Potential and Reduce Burnout

    logo, icon

    Stress and burnout are common in the workplace, and even more so within contact center employees. In fact, a study found agent turnover is twice that of any other profession and that burnout causes 50% of agent turnover within contact centers. This costs businesses with 100 agents $4.8M each year on average. To combat this, Webex by Cisco, a leading provider of collaboration and contact center technologies powering hybrid work and customer experience, today announced new AI-powered capabilities in Webex Contact Center. These new capabilities aim to help improve agent well-being and productivity, resulting in exceptional customer experiences.

    "At Webex, we are embracing agent wellness as a core value to contribute to a more compassionate, inclusive and progressive business culture," said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Security and Collaboration, Cisco. "Our commitment to nurturing the well-being of agents means that businesses can build a foundation for growth, empower innovation and provide exceptional experiences to their customers."

    Purpose-Built AI in Webex Contact Center Helps Agents and Customers
    For over two decades, Webex has provided contact center solutions that power the customer service function of some of the world's largest customer-centric brands. Within Webex Contact Center, new AI-powered capabilities that aim to improve agent well-being and productivity, while simultaneously improving customer experiences, will include: 

    • AI-powered agent burnout detection allows businesses to proactively address agent well-being by enabling automated breaks, such as a Thrive Reset, and real-time coaching after challenging customer interactions.
    • Suggested responses uses generative AI to automatically suggest responses to increase agent productivity when responding to customer inquiries on digital channels.
    • Conversation summaries and wrap-ups provide agents with a clear summarization of issues and resolutions already explored via self-service and a summary of the call or chat to both the agent and customer once it ends. Agent wrap ups automatically generate wrap up codes and actions following every customer interaction, eliminating an average of five minutes for the agent.
    • Coaching highlights generates a dashboard for supervisors showing highest and lowest customer-rated interactions. It then automatically summarizes the interactions with the best ratings and provides supervisors with coaching tips based on those findings to train fellow employees. Conversely, highlights from the lowest-rated interactions are captured to then coach lower-performing agents to foster improvement across the board.

    Introducing Webex Customer Experience Essentials
    Great customer experiences are essential for businesses of all sizes. As employees beyond the contact center become increasingly critical to resolve customer needs, organizations are challenged with how to connect these answer-holding employees to the customer experience journey. Also critical is ensuring every interaction is exceptional and personalized. To help solve this, Webex is introducing Webex Customer Experience Essentials to help employees throughout the organization deliver the best possible customer experience. Webex Customer Experience Essentials brings the core fundamental capabilities of the Webex Contact Center to Webex Calling users, enabling:

    • Employees outside the contact center to become specialized agents, leading to faster issue resolution and improved customer satisfaction (removing the potential need for a call back)
    • A better understanding of customer issues that need escalation outside of the contact center
    • A streamlined contextual engagement from back-office employees during issue escalation

    Webex Customer Experience Essentials is designed specifically for customer service-oriented industries and is available for purchase for Webex Calling users. 

    Integrating Thrive Reset to Empower Contact Center Agents and Reduce Burnout
    Webex is expanding its partnership with Thrive Global, the behavior-change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington, to bring Thrive Reset into the agent flow of work, reducing agent attrition and enabling greater agent productivity with Thrive Reset for Webex Contact Center.

    "We're excited to continue our longstanding partnership with Webex by Cisco to help combat agent burnout," said Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global Founder and CEO. "Contact center agents are on the front lines of the customer experience. And by integrating with Webex we're embedding well-being directly into the agent workflow, meeting them where they are to boost their health, well-being and productivity while also creating better and more empathetic customer experiences."

    Thrive Reset allows agents to break the cycle of cumulative stress and move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the rush of cortisol through the body. Thrive's library consists of hundreds of 60-second Reset videos— stretching, breathing, mindfulness and gratitude breaks along with calming visuals, awe-inspiring natural landscapes and the latest stress-relief techniques—each with a guided breathing bubble that helps users inhale, exhale and bring themselves back to center before their next customer interaction. Thrive Global's partnership with Universal Music Group to license Universal music for Thrive Reset makes them even more engaging, personalized and effective.

    Webex and Thrive Global will use insights from real-time AI technology built by Webex to offer agents an opportunity to reflect, recharge and break the cycle of cumulative stress. Once Webex's AI-based agent burnout analysis detects situations that lead to burnout, the agent is automatically set up for a break and served a 60-second Thrive Reset video to help them reset and relax before their next call. As a result, the next customer in line is handled by an agent who is recharged and better prepared to deliver great service, instead of one coming directly from a stressful experience.

    For one financial services customer, a 60-day trial of Webex's AI-based burnout analysis coupled with timely Thrive Reset breaks for agents saw strong results. This included 4x improvement in time spent handling customer inquiries and improved customer satisfaction scores from 4.8 to 4.9 (on a 1-5 scale). Learn more about bringing Thrive Reset for Webex Contact Center – which will be available in the first half of 2024 – to your team here.

    Availability
    The new Webex Contact Center capabilities are not yet generally available but are in various stages of development. Suggested replies is planned to be in beta by the end of 2023, agent burnout detection APIs is planned to be in beta in February 2024. The https://thriveglobal.com/products/thrive-for-webexhttps://thriveglobal.com/products/thrive-for-webexWebex Customer Experience Essentials package is planned to be generally available in the first half of 2024.

    Cisco's Approach to Responsible AI
    Cisco has leveraged AI with natural language, audio intelligence, video intelligence and analytics for years—all designed with attention to security, privacy and human rights built in from the start. Realizing AI's significant promise while adhering to standards for transparency, fairness, accountability, privacy, security and reliability is part of our ongoing mission at Cisco. This is the promise of Cisco's Responsible AI Framework, which applies to our AI offerings. The Webex Contact Center capabilities are secure and will align with Cisco's Responsible AI Framework.

  • 10/25/2023

    Knowland’s Market Segmentation Analysis Feature Now Available for Property-Level Hotel Sales Teams

    Knowland Market Segmentation Analysis feature on computer screen

    Knowland, a provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced an add-on feature explicitly designed to help on-property sales teams better understand and target the right group segments booking in their market. 

    Sales teams are often challenged to understand what groups have met in their competitive set. Knowland’s Market Segmentation feature delivers detailed insight into group business activities by market segment, allowing hotel sales teams to adjust sales efforts and amplify meeting and events business strategically. 

    • Strategically expand group business through data-driven insights – Knowland’s market segmentation feature was previously only available to above-property management. It became evident that on-property sales teams needed access to the same granular detail to pinpoint performance and determine the top market drivers of actualized group activity by account, market, brand, and competitive set. 
    • Compare specific competitive set data and booking share – Drop-down menus provide insight by comparing a hotel’s comp set to their own group booking data. The feature allows teams to drill down into specific market segments by industry and by account name to identify groups who have previously met in that market. This insight enables them to understand their booking share of specific market segments and, in turn, which groups to target. 
    • Adjust sales strategy and outperform the competition – Gaining insight into changing group market conditions and competitive intelligence directly impacts a hotel’s ability to stay ahead of the competition. By understanding why a property is being outperformed by the competition, sales leaders can take informed action to shift market share and specifically target those market segments booking in their competitive set. 

    Current Knowland customers receive complimentary access to the feature as part of their renewal agreement when executed prior to 12/31/2023 by reaching out to [email protected].  

    Jessica Carey, vice president of customer operations, Knowland, said: “This tool helps individual properties gain the insight they need to better understand market segments by industry type and group. Allowing sales teams to align strategies based on where group business is booking in their market informs account-based selling strategies and builds expertise in an industry segment such as Pharmaceuticals or BioTech. This insight is a game changer for sales teams at the property level. 

  • 10/25/2023

    RoomRaccoon Launches Website Builder for Hoteliers

    roomraccoon website builder

    RoomRaccoon, a cloud-based hotel management software for independent hotels, announced the launch of its enhanced Website Builder, a complete website design and development solution for hoteliers to enhance their online visibility and increase direct bookings.

    The enhanced feature offers hoteliers an all-in-one solution to create and manage unique and effective websites that convert visitors into paying guests. With hotel-tailored templates, the RoomRaccoon Website Builder requires no coding skills and only minimal technical and design experience, making it a game-changer in the hospitality industry.

    Key features of RoomRaccoon's Website Builder include:

    • Unique hotel-tailored templates: Choose from a selection of professionally designed templates that can be easily customized to reflect the unique personality and branding of each hotel.
    • Mobile responsiveness: RoomRaccoon's Website Builder automatically optimizes websites for mobile responsiveness, ensuring they look great on all devices.
    • Integrated Booking Engine: Integration with RoomRaccoon's powerful booking engine allows for direct reservations, reducing reliance on third-party booking platforms and increasing profitability.
    • SEO Optimization: SEO-friendly features, including automatic SSL certification, help websites rank higher in search results, attracting more organic traffic. 
    • Analytics and tracking: Track user traffic and engagement with easy integration of popular data tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, Hubspot, and The Hotels Network.
    • Secure and Reliable Hosting: RoomRaccoon provides secure hosting, ensuring fast loading times and peace of mind for both hoteliers and website visitors.

    Tymen van Dyl, the Founder and CEO of RoomRaccoon, shares, “As the digital landscape continues to evolve, independent hotels face a growing need to establish a robust online presence. A well-designed and functional website is a crucial asset in attracting and retaining guests. We are thrilled to provide our users with a solution that simplifies the process of creating compelling websites that boost direct bookings. Our goal is to empower hoteliers to grow their businesses, reduce their dependence on third-party booking platforms, and ultimately increase their revenue."

    RoomRaccoon’s Website Builder is now available to hoteliers worldwide. 

  • 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

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