News Briefs

  • 12/3/2023

    Huddle House Names Blain Shortreed Brand President

     Huddle House announced Blain Shortreed as Brand President. Shortreed is a career restaurant professional with more than 30 years of experience leading top brands. As Huddle House Brand President, he will oversee company operations, the franchise system, marketing, and culinary innovation.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Blain to the Ascent Hospitality Management Senior Executive Team as he assumes leadership of the Huddle House system," said James O'Reilly, Chief Executive Officer for Ascent Hospitality Management. "He brings extensive restaurant operations and finance experience that will be incredibly valuable to the brand. He's demonstrated throughout his career the ability to grow brands and will be vital as we continue to expand and evolve our organization."

    Industry Vet on the Move

    Shortreed's career is characterized by a rich and multifaceted background spanning finance and operations with a wealth of experience. Shortreed has navigated through various progressive leadership roles in these critical domains. Prior to joining Huddle House, Shortreed served as Chief Executive Officer for Long John Silver's, the  quick-service seafood chain with nearly 600 restaurants, where he built a team to deliver on legacy brands' turnaround strategy. He initially joined the company as its COO before taking on the Chief Executive Officer role.

    Prior to Long John Silver's, Shortreed served as Pizza Hut's Vice President of Operations, responsible for the operations of more than 5,000 domestic corporate and franchise-owned locations. He successfully rebuilt the Middle East Pizza Hut team, fostering brand growth, establishing over 100 restaurants, and achieving remarkable increases in customer traffic, sales, and profits. He also served as Vice President of Operations for Yum! Restaurants Canada, where he oversaw operations for the company and franchised KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell locations.

    For more information about Huddle House, visit

  • 12/1/2023

    RBR Data Services Ranks NCR Voyix The World’s Largest POS Software Provider

    NCR Voyix  logo

    NCR Voyix Corp.  continued its position as the world’s largest supplier of point of sale (POS) software in RBR Data Services’ Global POS Software 2023 study.

    NCR Voyix is recognized as the number one global POS software supplier in both total and new restaurant installations, as well as in the Grocery+ category of retail. 

    NCR Voyix, previously known as NCR Corporation, has held the top global supplier position in the study by RBR Data Services, a division of Datos Insights, since the first edition was published in 2016. 

    The Global POS Software 2023 study is based on an analysis of projects with more than 1,000 POS installations worldwide by more than 125 industry suppliers and encompassing nearly nine million POS installations. The report includes commentary and insights into eight segments across grocery, general merchandise and hospitality industries in 48 individual country markets and across six regions. 

    For more information on NCR’s Voyix, visit

  • 12/3/2023

    ConverseNow's Voice AI Assistants Redefine The Restaurant Industry with Outstanding Milestones and Growth

    conversenow logo

    ConverseNow, a voice AI technology platform for restaurants, gives a unique insight into a series of achievements and milestones that signify its success in  the restaurant tech industry.

    Live in restaurants across 46 of the 50 states, ConverseNow's Voice AI technology is seamlessly integrated into restaurants' business models and is discretely enhancing the customer experience with high-level rates of success.

    ConverseNow has developed its business through partnerships with technologies such as ItsaCheckmate and OLO and has continued to push the performance of AI by launching custom Large Language Models (LLMs) from Open AI and Google that are trained using brand-specific datasets, added Rahul Aggarwal, COO, and Product Officer of ConverseNow. 

    ConverseNow's key milestones and achievements over the past 24 months include:

    ●      Over 12 Million Orders Processed: ConverseNow's Voice AI assistants are processing 500,000 successful orders each month, showcasing the widespread adoption and trust of the technology in the restaurant industry.

    ●      Surpassed $10 Million in Monthly Order Value: Sales growth has skyrocketed with an $10.8 million in order value processed per month, marking a 93% increase since 2021.

    ●      22% Increase in AI Accuracy: ConverseNow has achieved a remarkable 22% increase in overall AI accuracy since last year, ensuring seamless interactions between customers and the AI assistants.

    ●      63% Labor Hours Reallocation: The technology has allowed restaurants to reallocate 63% labor hours into processing more orders, driving faster service, reduced wait times, and an increase in order accuracy and value.

    ●      Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score: ConverseNow introduced CSAT scoring in April 2023 and has consistently achieved an average Order CSAT of 4.37, highlighting the high level of customer satisfaction.

    ●      400% Upsell Success Rate Increase: The upsell percentage growth has seen a 400% increase, with a current 16% upsell success rate achieved, boosting restaurant revenues significantly.

    ●      Strategic Integration Partnerships: While integration partner numbers remained stable, ConverseNow has established critical partnerships with Google, OpenAI, Deepgram, Microsoft, and several leading enterprise POS providers.

    ●      National Presence: ConverseNow's technology has expanded into about 1800+ stores in 46 out of 50 states.

    ●      Diverse Service Offering: ConverseNow offers a variety of service offerings, catering to the unique needs of different restaurant chains.

    ConverseNow is enabling restaurant owners and industry leaders to explore the benefits of integrating Voice AI technology into their establishments and join the growing number of satisfied partners that deliver AI-based customer experiences daily.

    To learn more about ConverseNow's Voice AI, please visit


  • 12/3/2023

    Travelport Investors Commit $570 Million in New Equity Financing to Bolster Capital Structure and Accelerate Long-Term Growth and Innovation

    travelport logo

    Travelport Worldwide Limited (“Travelport” or the “Company”), a global technology company that powers travel bookings for hundreds of thousands of travel suppliers worldwide, announced that a group of its existing equity holders and lenders have agreed to invest $570 million of new equity financing into the Company. The new financing will give Travelport a robust capital structure, enable further investment into Travelport’s technology platforms and pave the way for other innovations to deliver new and exceptional ways for the travel industry to serve customers.

    The new investment in Travelport is being made pursuant to an agreement that will significantly deleverage and strengthen the Company’s balance sheet (the “Transaction”). Following completion of the Transaction, Travelport will have a new ownership structure composed of Travelport’s existing equity and credit investors, including Elliott Investment Management, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Canyon Partners, Siris Capital and other leading institutional investors. These investors will remain well positioned to provide strategic counsel and support to the Company’s management.

    “This investment demonstrates our investors’ support for Travelport and will advance our mission to reinvent a better future for the travel industry,” said Greg Webb, Chief Executive Officer of Travelport. “With this new investment, Travelport will have a strong balance sheet with the least amount of debt amongst its peers, which we believe will put the Company in an even better position for long-term, profitable growth. Most importantly, this Transaction will further strengthen our operating business and accelerate our investments in Travelport+ and other initiatives that make us the most innovative and agile partner to all our customers. We thank our investors for their significant vote of confidence in Travelport.”

    In the last year, Travelport has undertaken several successful strategic investments and initiatives to enhance the technology, products and services it provides to customers. These include the acquisition of Deem, a leading corporate travel management platform, as well as the upgrade of over 85% of the Company’s agency customers to Travelport+. The Transaction will enable further investment in customer offerings, including accelerating new developments in Travelport+, such as support for a wide range of carrier NDC offerings and the Content Curation Layer, the Company’s groundbreaking, machine learning powered search engine that normalizes and personalizes all sources of travel content.

    The Transaction, which is subject to obtaining requisite consents and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the year.

  • 12/3/2023

    Sonny's BBQ Leverages 2023 Insights to Fuel Growth in 2024

    Sonnys BBQ Apopka Florida

    Sonny's BBQ Chief Operating Officer Billy Brewer and Chief Brand Officer Peter Frey share their key learnings from 2023 that have positioned the brand to remain top of its class through an enhanced guest experience, training and development for team members, strengthening foundational operations, and delivery on quality and value.

    Priorities Result in Strong Year-End

    Sonny's BBQ has made meaningful progress and remained competitive despite industry-wide struggles to drive in-store traffic since the pandemic. As guest preferences continue to shift towards more off-premise dining options, Sonny's BBQ prioritized the delivery of an improved curbside experience through geo-location tracking and an enhanced online presentation, among other efforts.

    "As we experienced in 2023, technological advancements are guaranteed to revolutionize the restaurant experience," says Peter Frey, Sonny's BBQ's Chief Brand Officer. "We'll continue to seek smart ways to integrate digital innovations to reduce operational friction, enhance ordering efficiency, personalize dining preferences, and elevate overall customer satisfaction."

    Sonny's BBQ has kept a laser focus on their guests, and has used the insight gained from their guests to drive decisions within the company. Specifically, Sonny's BBQ has been following the changes in guest preferences that have stemmed from larger economic shifts. As the economy has influenced guest behavior and tendencies this past year, Sonny's BBQ remained agile and flexible in their management and strategies. While quality remained the top priority, leadership honed in on value propositions that resonated with consumers and supported increased sales and store traffic.

    "We have continued to be open to change and ready for challenges. Between staffing and continued supply chain volatility, we have to look for new ways to operate effectively," explained Billy Brewer, Chief Operating Officer at Sonny's BBQ. "Next year, we will work on simplifying and streamlining our current service model to help adapt to the changing staffing environment. We will continue to look for multiple sources for all products. We have learned over the last few years you must have plan b and c ready in regard to the supply chain."

    Looking Towards the Future

    Leaders at Sonny's BBQ anticipate the hospitality and restaurant industry to feel the growing pressures of similar challenges as 2023, though the brand is positioned to adapt and grow. Flexibility will drive Sonny's BBQ's strategy in 2024, as they continue to prioritize the evolution in their customer experience through  improving and implementing new technology while focusing on consistency in their food and service. One key objective of the next year will be the development of a Sonny's BBQ mobile app, which will cater to off-premise dining preferences and enhance online ordering and pickup.

    In an effort to streamline operations, Sonny's BBQ will test a few different initiatives to make our service model more effective aimed at removing unnecessary steps and building in more checks and balances to ensure consistency and quality. As part of these efforts, Sonny's BBQ is testing new store prototypes with a smaller footprint that are designed to more efficiently address off-premise dining preferences and staff operations. On top of that, there will be a heightened focus on leadership development and training within each restaurant's community. This strategic priority aims to bring new opportunities to exceptional leaders including Pitmaster Academy, prospective franchising program, and effective technology implementation that increases knowledge, transparency and speed in communication.

    "We're focused on building a plan that excels in fundamental activities and strategies that are the foundation of our historical success," says Peter Frey, Chief Brand Officer for Sonny's BBQ. "Our priorities are to double down on providing outstanding service at every touchpoint and furthering our kindness initiatives in each local community that we serve."

    In 2024, Sonny's BBQ will heighten their focus on hyper-local community activations, kindness initiatives and local marketing efforts that will allow the brand to connect more directly with its guests, team members, and neighbors. With the appointment of Tara Boyle as the new Chief Kindness Officer, Sonny's BBQ will be expanding their kindness crew and introducing new initiatives meant specifically to build connection and education opportunities for youth in their communities.

  • 12/1/2023

    PAR Technology Recognized for Innovation in Restaurant Technology

    generic award trophy with gold stars

    ParTech, Inc. (PAR), a global restaurant technology company and provider of unified commerce solutions for enterprise restaurants, today announced that PAR Technology’s Punchh® and PAR Pay solutions have been recognized by MarTech Breakthrough, the Stevie® Awards, and The SaaS Awards.

    "Our solutions are helping restaurants increase loyalty while streamlining their payment processing operations,” said Savneet Singh, CEO of PAR Technology. “These awards show the power of deep integrations between our products, enabling exceptional experiences like Apple Wallet Loyalty. We remain committed to delivering holistic solutions that are better together and seamlessly integrate into the operator tech stack to deliver an unparalleled guest experience."

    PAR Punchh®, the loyalty, offers, and engagement platform for enterprise-level restaurants, and convenience stores, won MarTech Breakthrough’s Loyalty Marketing Innovation Award and was named a finalist for The SaaS Award’s “Best SaaS Product for Loyalty and Retention.” Additionally, the Stevie® Award named PAR Pay in its “Payments Solution” category in the 20th annual International Business Awards®.

    PAR Technology’s success is, in part, due to its leading innovation for loyalty and payments, PAR Pay’s Apple Wallet Loyalty. This feature streamlines enrollment, payment, and redemption using mobile wallets. It is compatible with PAR Punchh loyalty programs, eliminating the need for physical loyalty cards, a mobile app, or form fill. As a result, restaurants can increase participation, engagement, and repeat visits.

    The International Business Awards® named PAR Pay, a SaaS-based, EMV-enabled transaction processing solution for processing credit, debit and store value cards, one of the best solutions for processing and facilitating payments. This year's competition received over 3,700 nominations from organizations across various industries and scales, with winners selected based on the collective scores of more than 230 executives worldwide.

    Punchh’s recognition by MarTech Breakthrough for its data-driven, personalized marketing campaigns and seamless loyalty experiences highlights its innovative loyalty capabilities within the industry. The annual MarTech Breakthrough Awards program is now in its 6th year, recognizing the most innovative products, solutions, services and companies in the global Marketing, Ad and Sales Technology field.

    Lastly, The SaaS Awards also acknowledged Punchh's promising impact on loyalty and retention. Now celebrating its 8th year, The SaaS Awards continues to recognize and honor outstanding SaaS innovations from all around the world. Entries from hundreds of companies spanning North America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Australasia were received.

    These recent awards follow the recognition received in the first half of 2023 when PAR Technology was acknowledged with the Top Workplaces USA 2023 award. The company was recognized as a top workplace for innovation, leadership and work-life flexibility, and it was also named a top workplace in the technology industry.

    For more information about PAR Technology and its loyalty and payment solutions, visit

    About PAR Technology

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