News Briefs

  • 11/12/2023

    Chipotle Founder to Launch Automated Restaurant

    a close up of a robot

    Chipotle Mexican Grill founder Steve Ells is planning to launch tech-centric, meat-free restaurant brand.

    Accoring to reports, Kernel will open its first location in New York City next year, and as many as 12 in the next two years. The fast-casual concept leans heavily into automation; three employees will work alongside robots to serve up meat-free options, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

    Sustainability in Mind

    Ells designed Kernel to require fewer resources to run. He kicked in $10 million of his own cash to start Kernel, and raised $36 million from investors, according to the WSJ. Ells has tapped Stephen Goldstein, a longtime food delivery industry executive, to serve as president of the company, reported Fox Business.

    At MURTEC Executive Summit, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop's Stratis Morfogen and Mamma Ramona's Founder Andrew Simmons shared how they've leaned into automation and robotics to power their restaurant concepts. Brooklyn Dumpling Shop and Mamma Ramona's both received the MURTEC Breakthrough Award last month.  

    Ells said that Kernel will invest its efficiency savings into higher salaries and better benefits for its staff. 

  • 11/12/2023

    Bites, 7shifts Partner to Improve Employee Training

    handshake partnership

    Bites, a player in learning management and employee communications, and 7shifts announced a new partnership that will enable restaurants everywhere to create and distribute training materials for their front line employees.

    Bites is a platform for large and small restaurant chains, which must continually train new employees due to their high employee turnover rates. The tool, which works on any platform, enables the creation of reusable, trackable training videos with engagement tools designed to reinforce the messaging in the training videos.

    Hagai Horovitz, Chief of Innovation and Partnerships, said Bites' tools "reduce onboarding time by 67% and allow every employee across the chain to receive consistent, branded training. Ultimately, this ensures that employees across the chain are given the same level of training, leading to a consistent customer experience at every location.”

    Dave Ganton, VP of Partnerships for 7shifts, added, “We’ve partnered with Bites to provide our customers with a robust and approachable training experience that’s easily consumable by employees while being highly customizable and flexible for operators.” 

    With Bites, restaurant management teams can use social-media-styled video creation tools to produce authentic, professional-grade training content geared toward today’s employees. Videos can be enhanced using the same tools found on leading social media platforms, including visual effects, music, and GIFs. The tool also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to improve video production, produce complete micro-learning units based on the video content, and translate into over 150 languages. 

    Existing 7shifts customers can reach out to their account manager and request a Bites workspace. The two platforms are synced together, making it easy for restaurants to create compelling, reusable training content.


  • 11/12/2023

    Apaleo Achieves SOC 2 Type 2 Certification, Elevating Enterprise Readiness and Security Standards

    apaleo logo

    Apaleo, an API-first open hospitality platform, achieved SOC 2 (Service Organisation Control) Type 2 certification, marking a significant milestone in its commitment to security.

    SOC 2 was developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), designed to verify the security, confidentiality and privacy of customer data held by service organizations. SOC 2 certification is important for businesses that rely on third-party service providers to handle sensitive data, including financial information, customer records and intellectual property.

    Apaleo's attainment of SOC 2 Type 2 certification is essential to its global expansion as it enables Apaleo to meet the stringent security requirements of multinational enterprise-level customers. The certification also enables Apaleo to serve customers with operations in multiple regions such as Europe, the Middle East or the US. 

    Apaleo has now obtained two types of SOC 2 certification. SOC 2 Type 1 certification provides a snapshot of the service provider's security controls at a specific point in time. SOC 2 Type 2 is a type of certification that provides a more in-depth assessment of the service provider's security controls and their effectiveness over a period of time. 

    SOC 2 certification has become more essential as companies increasingly rely on cloud-based services and third-party providers. The certification addresses the growing need for compliance in the face of data hacks and security breaches, providing Apaleo customers with assurance that there are adequate controls in place to protect their data. 

    Built on a MACH architecture, Apaleo is the API-first open property management platform for hotel and serviced apartment groups, empowering accommodation providers to create the ultimate digital experience for guests and staff. Apaleo’s clients currently operate 1,000 hotels and serviced apartment buildings in 24 countries, accounting for 50,000 rooms. 

    Martin Reichenbach, CEO of Apaleo said: "Our attainment of SOC 2 Type 2 certification underscores our commitment to safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring the highest standards of security for our customers. This milestone not only allows us to serve enterprise-level clients such as citizenM Hotels across different regions,, but also signifies our readiness to excel in the global market where stringent data regulations prevail. As an API-driven company, we take pride in delivering on our promise of data protection and compliance, ensuring our customers can trust that their information is in safe hands."


  • 11/12/2023

    Noodles & Company Hiring for New CEO

    Noodles logo

    Noodles & Company announced that board member Drew Madsen to serve as interim CEO effective immediately as it launches a search for a new permanent CEO. Madsen’s appointment follows the decision by the board to transition to new leadership, resulting in Dave Boennighausen’s departure as the company's CEO.

    Madsen brings a wealth of experience in the restaurant industry to the role of interim CEO. In his recent operating roles, Madsen was President and Chief Operating Officer at some of the most successful and well-respected businesses in the restaurant industry. Most recently, he was President of Panera Bread. During his tenure at Panera,   Madsen led the company to industry leadership in clean food, digital sales, and home delivery, combined with significantly improved operations execution and aggressive cost reduction.

    Madsen’s professional experience prior to Panera includes 15 years at Darden.  

  • 11/12/2023

    Scott Lawton Named CEO of Uncle Julio's

    Uncle Julio's Restaurant Group has named Scott Lawton as CEO and RJ Thomas as President and Chief Operating Officer.

    Lawton is a seasoned restaurant executive with more than 20 years of leadership and operational experience. In 2011, he co-founded bartaco, a coastally-inspired restaurant serving upscale street food with 29 locations in 13 states. Last year, bartaco received the MURTEC Breakthrough Award for its “on-demand hospitality” model.

    He subsequently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Barteca until its sale to Del Frisco's Restaurant Group in 2018. Lawton re-joined bartaco as CEO after the company was acquired by L Catterton, and he will continue in this role in addition to assuming the responsibilities of CEO of Uncle Julio's. Prior to joining Barteca in 2007, Lawton served as the Chief Operating Officer of Big Time Restaurant Group from 2000 to 2006.

    "Uncle Julio's commitment to authentic, one-of-kind dining experiences has created an incredibly loyal following and I'm honored to assume the role of CEO," said Lawton. "The company's legacy and culture built around attention to detail in every part of the dining experience will continue to serve as the foundation for Uncle Julio's during this next phase of growth. Bringing a deep commitment to brand building and innovation, I'm excited to leverage my experience at bartaco to create a truly memorable experience for every guest who walks into our restaurants. In partnership with RJ and the entire team, I look forward to leading Uncle Julio's in this next chapter."

    Thomas brings more than 20 years of restaurant industry leadership experience to Uncle Julio's. Most recently, he served as President and COO of King's Seafood Company, overseeing the operations for all 24 locations. In this role, Thomas implemented several new restaurant concepts, including a new steakhouse restaurant, which generated $13 million of sales in its first year, and reconceptualized the "Water Grill" brand, which opened six new locations and generated $100 million in revenue.

    Uncle Julio's was acquired by L Catterton, a leading consumer-focused investment firm, in October 2017.

  • 11/12/2023

    Ruby Slipper Promotes Lakeisha Britten to Regional Director of Operations

    Ruby Slipper logo
    A Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group leader since 2018, Lakeisha Britten has been promoted to Regional Director of Operations. 
    “Throughout her career with us, Lakeisha has been a strong role model,” Ruby Slipper CEO Elizabeth McGee said. “She exemplifies all the Ruby cultural DNA characteristics of being Neighborly, Gracious, Optimistic, Genuine and Adaptable.” 
    Britten joined the company as an Assistant General Manager for the Baton Rouge location and was promoted to General Manager in less than a year. Based on her commitment to team development, consistent delivery of sales growth and strong profitability, she was promoted to District Manager in July 2021 – providing oversight and support to the Old Metairie and Baton Rouge, La., locations.   
    Longtime NOLA Regional Director of Operations Jason Synakiewicz is relocating to continue his career in Denver, Colo.
    Ruby Slipper is a unique concept specializing in all-day “boozy brunch,” with award-winning cocktails and mimosas, as well as sweet and savory breakfast and lunch options. Born from the undeniable spirit and soul of New Orleans, it’s a place where the good times roll all day, every day.
    The original Ruby Slipper Café opened in New Orleans over 14 years ago and has since expanded with locations across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 
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