News Briefs

  • 12/7/2023

    Strawberry Migrates Their 100th Hotel onto Mews Hospitality Cloud

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    Mews has reached a significant milestone in the successful rollout of its Property Management System (PMS) across all Strawberry Hotels (formerly Nordic Choice Hotels). The largest hotel group in the Nordic region, with over 225 hotels and 18,000 employees, chose to migrate to Mews because of the platform's flexibility, scalability, and security.

    Mews Hospitality Cloud has now been deployed in over 100 properties within the group. The rollout is across all brands and hotel types, including Comfort Hotels, Quality Hotel, Clarion Hotel, Clarion Collection Hotel and standalone hotels across the portfolio.

    “We’ve always had innovation at our core, and it’s clear to us that modern hotel technology is the key to leading the industry in terms of guest experience, efficiency and revenue opportunities,” said Eirik Bogsnes, Executive Vice President at Strawberry. “Mews is the perfect solution to build a tech stack around, and we’re delighted with how it’s already helped to transform our operations over the last year.”

    The hotels now using Mews include properties in the Nordic Hotel Resorts chain as well as the Kämp Collection Hotels. Adoption has been smooth, with the help of a bespoke ‘Train the Trainer’ program that allows Mews experts within Strawberry to train fellow employees for even faster onboarding.

    “The best technology is empowering to its user,” said Kari Anna Fiskvik, Vice President Technology at Strawberry. “Mews empowers our teams to work smarter, and spend more time with their guests, while at the same time giving guests the power to define their own stay experience.”

    Mews Marketplace, with its easy connection to over 900 integrations, is also vital to the hotel group. Numerous brands sit within Strawberry, and each has different requirements when building its tech stack. Mews allows each brand to connect to exactly what they need and build directly to the Mews Open API whenever necessary. Strawberry has selected the full range of features available, including Mews Operations, Mews Multi-Property, Mews Guest Journey and Mews Payments.

    “We love working with Strawberry because they push us to keep innovating and improving,” said Matthijs Welle, CEO of Mews. “An industry-leading organization like Strawberry embracing digital transformation motivates us to continue transforming the hospitality industry. Our partnership shows how big brands can use cloud technology to be flexible, scalable and innovative.”

  • 12/7/2023

    SoundHound AI to Acquire SYNQ3 to Expand Its AI Customer Service Solutions and Create the Largest Voice AI Provider for Restaurants

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    SoundHound AI, Inc., a provider of voice artificial intelligence, announced a definitive merger agreement to acquire SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions, a leading provider of voice AI and other technology solutions to the restaurant industry.

    The deal will make SoundHound the preeminent U.S. provider of voice AI for restaurants, significantly extending its market reach by an order of magnitude to over 10,000 signed locations and accelerating the deployment of leading-edge generative AI capabilities to the industry. SYNQ3 will add large brands spanning drive thru, fast casual, casual segments, and convenience stores to SoundHound’s fast growing customer base – bringing the total to more than 25 national and multinational chains.

    The highly complementary businesses will match nearly two decades of SoundHound AI innovation with decades of SYNQ3 industry expertise and established relationships. The SYNQ3 team brings deep restaurant sales, product, and customer service experience with an increasing focus on AI. Seasoned executive talent like CEO and Co-Founder Steve Bigari, a former McDonald’s operator, will strengthen SoundHound AI’s leadership as the company moves to rapidly roll out its best-in-class proprietary AI solutions to restaurants across the U.S. and beyond.

    Other immediate business benefits include:

    • Over 100,000 restaurant locations in the combined pipeline, and over 10,000 signed
    • A broad suite of AI products to offer SYNQ3’s established customer base additional value added services, including Dynamic Interaction, Smart Answering, and Employee Assist
    • Revenue synergies with SoundHound’s existing restaurant business
    • Enhanced AI models using data from over 50 million interactions to strengthen product performance
    • Omnichannel voice and conversational AI offerings that allow restaurants to engage across multiple touchpoints
    • An acceleration of SoundHound’s monetization strategy via voice-enabled food and drink ordering in millions of cars, TVs, and IoT devices

    “In joining forces, SoundHound AI and SYNQ3 will be the go-to standard for cutting-edge voice and conversational AI solutions for the restaurant industry,” said Keyvan Mohajer, CEO and Co-Founder of SoundHound AI. “Restaurant operators are turning to technology en masse, and voice AI is now playing a key role in helping them drive sales, reduce costs, and alleviate the burden of increasing demand on their employees.”

    “SoundHound AI and SYNQ3 will provide our restaurant partners with a formidable voice solution that we believe significantly surpasses the competition,” said Steve Bigari, CEO and Co-Founder of SYNQ3. “Our businesses are highly complementary, with both AI and industry expertise at the core of who we are. Together, we plan to capitalize on those synergies to provide best-in-class AI ordering methodologies backed by the largest library of restaurant AI orders in the world. This will power a rapid acceleration of our growth!”

    SoundHound is expected to pay a total consideration of $25 million. Over the next three years, based on certain revenue targets being achieved, up to $4 million of additional consideration could be realized. The aggregate consideration payable to stockholders of SYNQ3 consists of approximately 20% in cash and approximately 80% in shares of SoundHound’s Class A common stock. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Additional details will be provided on SoundHound’s fourth quarter 2023 earnings conference call.

  • 12/6/2023

    McDonald's New Concept Focuses on Beverages, Snacks

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    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.




  • 12/7/2023

    IDeaS Launches Resorts Revenue Council

    tropical hotel view

    IDeaS, a provider of revenue management software and services, announced the launch of the IDeaS’ Resorts Revenue Council, a dynamic in-person and virtual community where industry leaders, creative thinkers, and innovators from the resort and all-inclusive space will meet regularly to discuss key industry challenges and catalyze the evolution of a holistic approach to commercial management for resorts. 

    The Resorts Revenue Council held its inaugural summit in Mallorca, Spain, in September 2023. The focus of the two-day event delved into an area of hospitality that continues to grow, resorts, and all-inclusive properties, with discussions around the key opportunities required to expand successful profit optimization in this niche hospitality business. 

    The gathering resulted in the development of strategies and agreed-upon next steps to leverage data-driven insights, drive operational efficiency, and elevate profitability in the definition of a revenue management model for resorts. 

    Twenty-five industry leaders from 18 brands in seven countries convened in Mallorca to help shape the discussions around where future needs lie – whether in enhancements to what exists today or in the identification and development of required capabilities. 

    Russ Stanziale, chief sales and growth officer, IDeaS, said: “We are in a unique position at IDeaS to provide engaging opportunities where we can listen to our industry, identify the challenges they face, and develop solutions through practical applications. This inaugural meeting provided a forum at which a unique group of industry leaders had an unbridled discussion on how revenue management can help solve the challenges they face in areas for resorts, such as critical KPI’s, forecast allotments, appropriate demand data sources, and more.” 

    The group plans to meet on a quarterly basis with annual in-person meetings, with the next meeting scheduled as a virtual discussion in early January 2024. Those interested can request to join the Resorts Revenue Council community here

  • 12/7/2023

    accesso Partners with California Mountain Resorts Company to Create an Integrated Resort App Network

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    accesso Technology Group, a technology solutions provider for attractions and venues worldwide, announced a groundbreaking partnership with California Mountain Resorts Company (CMRC). This collaboration introduces an unparalleled skiing experience through the development and integration of five distinct mobile apps: the all-new Cali Pass, plus local mountain apps for four unique resort locations in California, USA: Bear Valley, Dodge Ridge, China Peak, and Mountain High. Through innovative marketing strategies and 3D GIS platforms, this partnership and app network offering is set to revolutionize the way users explore, engage, and enjoy skiing – both across California and around the world.

    “We’re thrilled to be working with California Mountain Resorts Company to introduce new industry-leading applications that deliver exceptional, personalized experiences to its guests," said Ben Mathews, accesso SVP of Enterprise Solutions. "This partnership marks a significant milestone for our team as we continue to revolutionize the guest experience for our ski partners and create unforgettable moments on the slopes.”

    Through this partnership, accesso’s guest experience management technology will power localized apps for four of CMRC’s unique mountain resorts and the all-new Cali Pass – which unites the user experience across the four resorts, as well as nineteen global “Powder Alliance” destinations within the global CMRC portfolio. The Cali Pass offers unlimited access to the four local mountains, as well as three-time-per-year access to the 19 global resorts. 

    Providing real-time updates on lift statuses, weather, and webcams, the Cali Pass facilitates informed decision-making for skiers as they plan out their day. Users can effortlessly manage their Cali Passes, track skiing statistics, and visualize mountains in 3D. The use of accesso’s guest experience management technology xfalso allows the app to foster social connections, allowing users to find friends, join private groups, and navigate base areas and villages for food, beverage locations, and event details with walking directions.

    The four local mountain apps will serve as versatile tools packed with insider information, tips, resort functionalities, and special benefits including local passes and entitlements. These hyper-local apps enrich the overall skiing experience by providing exclusive local passes, entitlements, and access to special benefits and convenience. Users also gain exclusive discounts, maximizing their visits by discovering the best tracks and identifying the least busy days for an efficient and enjoyable skiing adventure.

    Features of the integrated, multi-app network offering include:

    • 3D GIS maps for easy and intuitive mountain navigation;

    • Ski stat tracking to monitor and celebrate personal achievements;

    • Live updates on lift, trail, and activity statuses for optimal skiing experiences;

    • Real-time weather updates and snow forecasts;

    • Essential messaging, including dump alerts and mountain safety updates;

    • A custom guest experience that adjusts based on user preferences;

    • Webcams for live viewing of weather conditions and coverage in various areas;

    • In-app management of passes and entitlements; and,

    • Options to purchase tickets, rentals, and lessons directly within the app.

    “Our partnership with Accesso aligns with our commitment to delivering exceptional guest satisfaction and ensuring our mountains remain go-to destinations across the globe,” said John McColly, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the California Mountain Resort Company. “These five apps are filled with tools, tips, and insider tricks to make each guest’s visit even more special. Whether they’re partial to a single resort or exploring all our areas, guests can capture every exciting moment on the mountain and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

    To learn more, please visit:

  • 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.
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