News Briefs

  • 12/6/2023

    McDonald's New Concept Focuses on Beverages, Snacks

    cosmc sign

    McDonald’s is opening the first CosMc’s location  in Bolingbrook, Illinois, this month – with 10 locations to be opened in the next year.  

    CosMc’s will have “a uniquely seamless digital and drive-thru experience” with ”dynamic menu boards and cashless payment devices to breeze through the ordering and payment process, allowing for guided exploration and customization along the way,” according to a company statement. Drive-thru pickup windows are assigned once the order is ready. 

    Demand for Drive-Thru

    Drive-thru traffic rose 30 percent from 2019 to 2022, according to a report from the food service research firm Technomic and reportd by the New York Times. 

    Brands including Chipotle, Shake Shack and Sweetgreen are among the fast-casual brands expanding their drive-thrus as consumers shy away delivery and fees and instead opt to pickup their off-prem orders.  

    CosMc’s menu features specialty lemonades and teas,  blended beverages and cold coffee – think Sour Cherry Energy Slush, Tropical Spiceade and S’mores Cold Brew. Customizations are available and include popping boba, flavor syrups, energy or Vitamin C shots, and  more.

    The food menu includes  Spicy Queso Sandwich, Savory Hash Brown Bites and Pretzel Bites served with dipping sauces. On the sweet side, there's a Blueberry Lemon Cookie Sundae and Caramel Fudge Brownies, to name a few. And there will be a few of the McDonald’s classics on the menu.

    Visit or follow CosMc’s on Instagram, TikTok and X.




  • 12/6/2023

    Rock N Roll Sushi Hires New CEO, VP of Operations

    Rock N Roll Sushi  has made two major additions to its executive lineup with Craig LeMieux joining as the new CEO and Terri Jessen coming aboard as Vice President of Operations. 
    LeMieux succeeds CEO Chris Kramolis, who has served in the role since October 2020, and will stay on with the Tampa-based companyas Chief Development Officer to focus on franchise development and real estate.
    “It's been a great 3-year run as CEO of Rock n Roll Sushi, but it's time for someone else to grab the baton and run,” said Kramolis. “I'm excited to hand it off to my long-time friend and business partner, Craig LeMieux. He has a long list of accomplishments and accolades and I'm sure his tenure in this new role will only add more.”
    A current stockholder in Rock N Roll Sushi, LeMieux is a partner both in a multi-unit franchisee group and in the Area Representative territories of Arizona and Central Florida.
    Before joining Rock N Roll Sushi, LeMieux was Area Developer/Multi-Unit Franchisee for Tropical Smoothie Café. He opened the brand’s first Michigan location in 2004, grew the region into its second largest market and was twice awarded “Area Developer of the Year.” LeMieux currently owns franchise locations for Pet Supplies Plus and Mayweather Boxing + Fitness.
    As the new Vice President of Operations, Jessen will be leading a team of five people, overseeing the franchise business consultant program as well as the culinary and procurement/supply chain departments. She and her team will work closely with the Rock N Roll Sushi franchisees across the country to ensure strong unit-level operations with the ultimate goal of increasing sales and franchisee profitability.
    Jessen brings two decades of restaurant industry experience to her new role, and is currently part of a multi-unit franchisee group for Rock N Roll Sushi in Arizona and Florida, as well as a partner in the Area Representative group for Arizona and part of Florida.
    Like LeMieux, Jessen was a successful multi-unit franchisee for Tropical Smoothie Café from 2004 to 2013, owning and operating multiple locations in Florida. She and her husband earned the brand’s Franchisee Rookie of the Year Award in 2005. For her demonstrated expertise and elite performance, Jessen was named Area Developer of the Year twice, in 2013 and 2018. 
    Rock N Roll Sushi has more than 50 locations in the Southeast.
  • 12/6/2023

    Spark by Hilton Leverages Think Simplicity at Germantown, D.C. Location

    Think Simplicity Logo

    Think Simplicity, a cloud communication technology provider of all-inclusive voice and chat solutions for the hospitality industry, announced today Spark by Hilton™ will utilize the company’s communication platform at its Germantown Washington, D.C. North location.

    Spark offers modern hospitality at a budget-friendly price. The brand brings to the metropolitan DC market a fresh, practical, and comfortable alternative for travelers seeking a convenient and high-quality stay. The Germantown property will be the second Spark by Hilton to debut in less than a year after Hilton announced the new hotel brand. It is the first in the Washington Region and the next in what Hilton has announced as a pipeline of more than 400 expansion opportunities in various stages of development around the country.

    Selected for its scalability, reliability, and affordability, Think Simplicity worked with the hotel operations team to ensure the new property was outfitted with the latest in cloud communication technology. Charges are provided in a fixed monthly invoice that is easy to understand for on-property and above-property managers. In addition to cost savings, the Spark by Hilton Germantown Washington, DC North relies on Think Simplicity for its ongoing innovative software updates and 24/7/365 support. 

    Patrick Keenan, assistant vice president and director of hotel performance support, Spark by Hilton, said: “Deciding on a communication system for our newest property was made easy by the Think Simplicity team. We understand the importance of partnering with a communication company that can provide our hotels with the latest technology via software upgrades, but also the service and support we need as we open our newest location.”

    Joseph De Ciantis, co-founder of Think Simplicity, said: “We are proud to welcome this exciting and fresh hotel brand to our list of clients. We provide the highest quality hardware, software, service, and support, and we look forward to being a part of Hilton’s bold focus in the premium economy segment.”

  • 12/6/2023

    Cloud5 Communications Partners With PureHD to Provide Hotels New Guestroom Entertainment Option

    logo, company name

    Cloud5 Communications, a provider of IT solutions and services for more than 5,000 hotels across the Americas, announced its partnership with PureHD, a provider of digital, high-definition, interactive streaming solutions for the hospitality industry. Through this partnership, Cloud5 will now offer in-room entertainment, on-demand streaming, and free-to-guest television in addition to its HSIA and telecommunications solutions.

    This partnership combines PureHD’s full range of entertainment options with Cloud5’s best-in-class support and logistics capabilities, so customers get cutting-edge technology backed by the 5-star-rated service that’s become a hallmark of Cloud5. Additionally, as hotel businesses increasingly search for ways to consolidate their IT footprint, Cloud5’s new “triple-play” capability – Internet, Voice, and TV – will allow them to engage with a single provider across many of their technology needs.

    “By partnering with PureHD, we can provide Cloud5 customers enhanced value and an opportunity to streamline their IT infrastructure and support,” said David Heckaman, Vice President of Product Development at Cloud5 Communications. “With its range of hotel purpose-built solutions, PureHD serves as a natural extension of the Cloud5 brand, and we look forward to passing on the benefits of this partnership to hoteliers across the industry.”

    Headquartered in Sudbury, Massachusetts, PureHD is trusted to serve the HD TV and interactive streaming needs of many of the major hotel brands and is deployed in more than 750 properties throughout the U.S. and Canada.

    “Cloud5 and PureHD share a dedication to superior service and cutting-edge technology that’s designed specifically for the modern hotel and the modern guest,” said Thomas Pullen, CEO at PureHD. “We are thrilled to work together to empower hotels with the TV and entertainment options that today’s guests want.”

    This partnership also supports a larger pivot for Cloud5 as it expands to support the full hotel technology stack. This includes Cloud5’s new Managed Services division that’s designed to support all the technology-related components of a successful hotel operation.

  • 12/6/2023

    Karisma Hotels & Resorts Partners with Salesforce and TELMEX

    representatives from salesforce, TELMEX, and KARISMA HOTELS & RESORTS
    Karisma Hotels & Resorts, a company in hospitality development, operation, and management, proudly announces a groundbreaking agreement with Salesforce, the world's largest company in customer relationship management (CRM) and AI, and TELMEX, the largest telecommunications and information technology solutions company in Mexico. This innovative alliance, marked by a symbolic contract signing ceremony on Dec. 5, 2023 at Margaritaville Island Reserve® Riviera Maya, signifies a significant step forward in technological advancement for the hospitality industry. 
    “Partnering with Salesforce and TELMEX is a momentous occasion for Karisma Hotels & Resorts,” says Esteban Velasquez, CEO Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “We embark on a journey to revolutionize the hospitality sector with our shared commitment to excellence and innovation. This investment by Karisma   will undoubtedly result in a seamless and personalized experience for our valued clients, setting new standards in the industry.”
    Salesforce, acknowledged as the leading company in CRM, artificial intelligence, and data cloud, contributes its Middleware expertise to the effort, while TELMEX, renowned for implementing technological solutions through Triara and Uninet, brings its proficiency as Mexico's foremost technology provider. Karisma Hotels & Resorts, a prominent force in the hospitality sector, complements the alliance with its extensive experience in hotel operations. The strategic agreement encompasses several cutting-edge technological projects that promise to redefine the landscape of hospitality services by streamlining customer relationship management and enhancing overall communication infrastructure.
    The key initiatives include the implementation of a hotel Middleware, serving as the technological communication channel for applications using MuleSoft, Salesforce's premier solution for API and application connectivity. Furthermore, the initiative introduces a unified Central Rate model, positioning Karisma Hotels & Resorts at the forefront of hotel administration and offerings. The partnership also involves the implementation of Salesforce's CRM for marketing, sales, and operations while also integrating the Salesforce Einstein solutions, the world’s first CRM artificial intelligence that delivers AI-created content across every sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT interaction at hyper-scale. The real-time data this integration provides will enable Karisma Hotels & Resorts to enhance customer engagement and adapt content dynamically within their Salesforce CRM, utilizing natural-language prompts and advanced AI capabilities to meet evolving customer information and needs seamlessly. 
    This partnership marks the beginning of a long-term relationship aimed at continuous improvement and innovation. The transformative projects will cover various companies within the Karisma Hotels & Resorts portfolio, including all managed and operated properties. The partnership promises a 360-degree approach, providing clients, members, and tourists with unique and personalized experiences from vacation planning to arrival.
    "TELMEX is proud to stand alongside Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Salesforce in this transformative partnership,” says Mauricio Alcocer Sola, Commercial Director and IT Solutions at TELMEX. “Together, we bring TELMEX extensive technological capabilities to the forefront, contributing to implementing cutting-edge solutions in the hospitality sector. This initiative reflects our collective commitment to advancing technology, and we are excited about its positive impact on the future of guest services and hotel management.”
    On Dec. 5th, the partners hosted a celebratory ceremony to mark the commencement of this agreement The night unfolded with a welcome cocktail reception and words from keynote speakers and culminated in TELMEX, Salesforce, and Karisma's symbolic signing of the partnership agreement. The guest list included key executives from the hotel management, tourism, and technology industries, ensuring a comprehensive representation of stakeholders. Notable attendees included Ing. Mauricio Alcocer Sola, Commercial Director, and IT Solutions at TELMEX; Lic. Eduardo Vergara, Salesforce Principal Enterprise Architect & Hospitality Advisor for Karisma and Lynx 9 executive, Belinda Vergara.
  • 12/6/2023

    WorkJam Launches Automated Attestation Module to Simplify Time and Attendance Tracking for Frontline Employees

    workjam logo

    WorkJam, a digital frontline,  announced the launch of an automated attestation module that streamlines compliance for companies with large hourly workforces. Employers will now be able to create specific questions within the WorkJam app that employees have to answer in order to comply with local labor laws. The attestation module simplifies time and attendance tracking for both frontline staff and employers, reducing errors while improving accountability, efficiency and transparency.

    “Our enterprise customers need a simple way to automatically enable employees to attest that they have received all their mandated meal and rest breaks throughout their workday,” said Steven Kramer, CEO of WorkJam. “We’re thrilled to offer this first-of-its-kind digital attestation module to help streamline compliance, recordkeeping and payroll for our partner companies and their frontline employees.”

    In certain states across the U.S. and in some other regions, hourly employees must confirm that they have taken the meal and rest breaks required by law in their area before clocking out at the end of their shift. WorkJam’s new attestation module simplifies compliance with these laws by ensuring each employee is automatically asked to attest that they have taken those breaks before punching out using the WorkJam app. The module enables employers to easily track break activity, so they can accurately report on compliance, foster accountability, and leverage time and attendance data for decision making.

    Enterprises can also use the new module to enhance compliance with other mandatory activities, such as prompting employees to attest that they feel healthy and fit to work before clocking in. In addition, the module enables employers to gather real-time data insights and foster two-way communication with frontline staff by prompting employees to respond to specific questions as they clock in or out, such as how their previous shift went. Designated administrators can easily set up questions within the WorkJam platform and configure them to be automatically presented to specific employee groups or teams in targeted locations. The digital module eliminates the need for manual and paper-based time and attendance tracking, ensuring accurate, timely verification processes that reduce administrative burdens and discrepancies and streamlining payroll processing and analytics.

    WorkJam is the leading digital frontline workplace enabling large enterprises to orchestrate their frontline workforces to improve productivity, engagement and retention. The solution is the only one on the market that offers modules for four key areas in a single app—scheduling, communications, task management and training. In 2023, WorkJam was named to the TIME100 Most Influential Companies list, which highlights companies making an extraordinary impact around the world.

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