News Briefs

  • 2/12/2024

    Small Luxury Hotels of the World Selects Mews as a Preferred PMS Partner

    MEWS logo and SLH logo

    Mews is now a preferred PMS partner for Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH).

    SLH is a collection of over 560 luxury boutique hotels spanning 90 countries around the globe. Although the collection is bound together by a shared spirit and high service standards, each property provides a unique, intimate guest experience in a beautiful and characterful space.

    “We selected Mews as a preferred PMS partner due to its guest-centric platform and innovative approach,” said Richard Hyde, Chief Operating Officer, Small Luxury Hotels of the World. “By incorporating automation and streamlining processes, hotels can reduce administrative burdens during stays, enabling guests and staff to fully immerse themselves in their surroundings.”

    With over 1,000 free-to-connect integrations, each hotel can build a tech stack best suited to its operational needs.

    SLH guests can book accommodation at any SLH property via their central website, facilitated by the SynXis booking engine, so it is essential that Mews has a robust and reliable two-way connection in place. This is one of the many integrations that are easily accessible through the Mews Marketplace.

    “We are delighted to be working with Small Luxury Hotels of the World to bring unforgettable experiences to guests,” said Richard Valtr, Mews Founder. “This incredible community of hotels and hoteliers embodies the type of hospitality we try to champion: immersive, unique, and truly remarkable.”

  • 2/12/2024

    El Pollo Loco's New CEO

    El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc.  has appointed Elizabeth (“Liz”) Williams as the new Chief Executive Officer and as a member of its Board of Directors, effective March 11.

    Williams will succeed Maria Hollandsworth, who has served as the company’s interim Chief Executive Officer since November 3. Hollandsworth has been appointed as President of El Pollo Loco and will also continue to serve as  Chief Operating Officer.

    Most recently, Williams served as the CEO of Outfox Hospitality, parent company of Foxtrot, a high-growth modern café and convenience store, and Dom’s Kitchen and Market. Prior to Foxtrot, she led innovative brands like Drybar and Hart House, a vegan quick-service chain.

    Williams has extensive restaurant experience working closely with franchise partners to accelerate growth. She spent ten years with Yum! Brands and Taco Bell between 2010 and 2020, holding various leadership positions including CFO and President of Taco Bell International. During her tenure, she was responsible for the brand strategy, growth, and performance of the international business across 30 countries, and drove notable operational improvements along with sales and profit growth.

    “We are excited to welcome Liz Williams as our new Chief Executive Officer,” said William Floyd, Chairman of the El Pollo Loco Board. “Throughout her career, Liz has demonstrated her ability to accelerate growth in food and beverage brands while simultaneously improving financial performance. We believe she has the skills and experience necessary to lead El Pollo Loco as we capitalize on the significant opportunity ahead of us.”

    Floyd continued, “We would also like to express our deep appreciation to Maria for her leadership as Interim Chief Executive Officer over the past three months. We are excited to benefit from her continued leadership as she helps craft and execute on our strategic vision as President and Chief Operating Officer of El Pollo Loco.”

  • 2/12/2024

    PAR Technology’s Punchh Recognizes Trailblazers in Customer Loyalty

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    ParTech, Inc. announces the winners of the fifth annual PAR Punchh Customer Awards. These awards recognize outstanding achievements in customer loyalty, offers, engagement, and convenience within the restaurant and convenience store industries.

    Sean Thompson, VP of IT at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, receives the Punchh Voice of the Customer Advocate of the Year award for his pivotal role in sharing valuable customer insights within the Punchh community, contributing to the growth of Freddy's loyal customer base across their 500+ locations. This year's Digital Innovator award goes to Condado Tacos for their effective implementation of the "Buds with Benefits" reward program and targeted Challenge campaigns, resulting in a remarkable 44% retention rate and enhanced customer engagement.

    As Rookie of the Year, Goodcents strategically elevated their position by implementing the PAR Punchh-powered Goodcents Rewards Refreshed loyalty program. Leveraging Punchh's Loyalty Strategy services, Goodcents not only achieved impressive customization, data utilization, and direct communication capabilities through their app but also signaled a strategic move to scale operations and enhance customer engagement. RaceTrac earns the C-Store Champion title for its innovative RaceTrac Rewards loyalty program, which saw a 46% year-over-year increase in loyalty transactions and a 76% year-over-year rise in loyalty revenue in 2023, underscoring its commitment to enhancing customer experiences and driving member engagement.

    Named Top International Customer, Taco Bell Romania achieved significant growth in loyalty app participation, leveraging their Taco Bell Rewards program to enhance customer experiences and drive increased engagement through digital and social media campaigns, resulting in consistent growth across various metrics in a market where Mexican cuisine is still an up-and-coming delight. The Campaign Hotshot award goes to Charleys Philly Steaks, whose strategic use of data analytics enabled them to tailor personalized messages and promotions, resulting in increased adoption, purchase frequency, and surpassing benchmarks for sign-ups, unique users, and average check size in 2023.

    Pancheros earns the Retention Rockstar title for their steadfast focus on loyalty, boasting a remarkable 47% retention rate in Q3 2023, surpassing fast-casual benchmarks, through integrated tactics promoting referral offers, digital ordering deals, and local cause campaigns, further highlighted by a significant referral sign-up rate and quarterly transaction growth. Last but not least, McAlister's secures the All Star title for their innovations such as the subscription Tea Pass and personalized automated journeys, driving an impressive 21% YoY growth in loyalty participation and 20% of transactions stemming from loyalty purchases in 2023. Their strategic approach, utilizing Punchh data pipeline and open APIs, ensures sustained guest retention and unparalleled customer satisfaction.

    Selected from PAR Punchh’s diverse customer base of over 275 brands, the winners demonstrated excellence in utilizing the PAR Punchh platform for customized loyalty program management, omnichannel engagement, digital campaigns, personalized offers, and more.

    “We are thrilled to celebrate the success of our clients who have embraced the PAR Punchh platform to enhance their customers' experiences,” said Savneet Singh, CEO of PAR Technology. “These brands have shown innovation and dedication in leveraging technology to drive loyalty program engagement, customer feedback, and overall business success.”

  • 2/11/2024

    Nékter Juice Bar Partners with Qu to Unify Ordering Channels

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    Nékter Juice Bar has selected Qu as its preferred POS partner for all the company’s locations, including more than 300 open or in development. 
    Nékter will standardize on Qu’s platform to holistically manage all order channels and unify guest, order and menu data. In addition, Nékter will leverage Qu Flex kiosks to improve guest service and labor efficiencies. Qu Flex serves as both a guest-facing kiosk and a traditional POS, allowing team members to quickly pivot between roles based on demand and labor availability. 
    “Growth is a huge step for any restaurant brand and it’s critical to manage it responsibly for long-term success,” said Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO of Nékter Juice Bar. “As we take our brand into the future, Qu’s omnichannel approach to simplifying the technology ecosystem is in perfect alignment with our goals.”
    Qu’s underlying cloud-native software platform provides a solution that allows Nékter franchisees to work more flexibly and generate additional sales opportunities while maintaining the brand standards that Nékter guests expect. Instead of a fragmented technology stack, Qu offers a unified omnichannel ordering universe for operators and guests. By seamlessly connecting the ordering, operations and brand functions, Qu delivers the real-time data needed to drive loyal, repeat customers and healthy revenues.  
    Qu’s versatile Flex kiosk offers POS capabilities with the same order and payment flow but adds the functionality of a kiosk without additional hardware and space costs. With smaller footprint stores that use staff for both cashiers and food prep, this solution is perfect for Nékter. Thanks to the Qu kiosk, franchisees will be able to shift their POS to a self-service order taker when staffing is tight or otherwise engaged. In addition, Nékter guests are empowered with the type of menu choices and customization that increases per ticket averages, increasing overall sales. 
  • 2/11/2024

    Wyndham Simplifies Group Travel, Brings Instant Booking to 5,600+ U.S. Hotels

    La Quinta exterior hotel view

    Group bookings across the industry's largest portfolio of economy and midscale hotels will soon take minutes—not days—thanks to Groups360 and the rapid rollout of over 5,600 Wyndham hotels to the GroupSync Marketplace.

    The shift is a welcome change not just for traditional travel planners (think meetings, weddings and events) but also travel managers, particularly those in infrastructure-centric fields like construction and logistics, whose crews need to spend weeks if not months on the job, often with as little as 24-hour's notice.

    Through GroupSync, travel planners and managers can browse real-time rates and availability at participating hotels and directly book 10 to 50 rooms without needing to contact the hotel or engage in a traditional RFP—saving valuable time. Meeting space for events can also be booked at hotels when needed and where available.

    "We're always looking for new ways to make it simpler and easier for clients to do business with Wyndham. Whether it's a family reunion, a youth sports tournament or a three-month-long bridge repair project—GroupSync makes it simple for groups to find the right hotel at the right price and book on the spot," says Angie Gadwood, SVP Global Sales, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

    "Wyndham is one of the world's leading hospitality companies and their portfolio is unique in that it represents key property categories that expand GroupSync's Instant Booking inventory. In bringing their U.S. portfolio on board, we're able to deliver a broader, more robust, more inclusive offering—one that's better equipped to meet the needs of all travel planners and managers," says Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360.

    Wyndham's collaboration with Groups360 is the latest in a list of efforts to help its hotels tap into a multi-year, infrastructure-related travel boom and what it believes is a ~$3.3 billion revenue opportunity for franchisees. Last year, the Company expanded its Global Sales force by 25% and more recently, deployed new tools to help sellers better identify and capture infrastructure-related opportunities for franchisees.

    Groups360 and GroupSync are also a part of Wyndham's innovative Wyndham Business program which, through a suite of tools and resources, aims to help make business travel easier for all. The program caters to small and mid-size business owners, travel advisors, travel buyers, meeting planners and more—all while offering discounted rates and exclusive perks.

    The majority of Wyndham hotels in the U.S. are anticipated to be available for instant booking on GroupSync this week with the last remaining hotels expected to go live before end of month. To browse hotels, check-rates and availability, or complete a booking, visit

  • 2/11/2024

    Presto Raises $6M, Wins Appeal Against XAC

    voice ai soundwaves

    Presto Automation Inc., an AI and automation technology provider to the restaurant industry,  has closed a financing led by its existing investors, including Remus Capital, a fund controlled by the Company’s Chairman, Krishna K. Gupta, and other investors, involving the sale of $6.0 million of convertible subordinated notes. One of the existing investors is also exchanging 3.0 million shares of the Company’s common stock which was purchased on November 21, 2023 for $3.0 million of Notes. 

    “This capital injection is a strong signal of my commitment to Presto and its shareholders - we have tremendous belief in the Company’s prospects in its rapidly-growing market and our continuing efforts to enhance shareholder value,” said Gupta. 

    “On the commercial side, our Presto AI Voice product serving the drive-thru restaurant market is enjoying significant momentum. Over a period of 2 months, we have more than doubled our total number of live stores on the Presto Voice technology to 145 as of February 1, 2024, including 54 locations that use the most advanced version of our AI technology. Restaurant operators are embracing our solution in part due to the California $20/hour minimum wage mandate which is taking effect on April 1."

    In addition, Presto recently entered into an amendment to its Cooperation Agreement with Hi Auto Ltd., which supplies the AI technology used at 347 Checkers corporate and franchised locations. Commencing on May 1, 2024, the Company and Hi Auto will each be permitted to compete for the Checkers relationship, including franchised locations.

    Presto also announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Xavier Casanova, has resigned effective immediately. 

    In other news, on February 8,  Presto received a court order representing the favorable verdict received from the Singapore Court of Appeal in the final hearing of its case against XAC Automation Corp (5490.TWO) on January 16. The favorable verdict dismissed XAC’s appeal and upheld the award of $11.1 million previously made to the company adding an additional $32,000 award for costs associated with the appeal. XAC has no further recourse to set aside the award. Domesticating the award in Taiwan may take between several months to more than a year.

    The Notes are convertible into 36 million shares of common stock at an initial conversion price of $0.25 per share and carry an interest rate of 7.5% per annum on a pay-in-kind basis. The issuance of the Notes triggered antidilution adjustments associated with the Company’s previous financing rounds.

    The Company projects that the net proceeds from the offering, together with its other cash resources and projected revenue, are sufficient to sustain operations through the end of February 2024. The Company is required to raise at least an additional $6.0 million in gross proceeds on or before March 8, 2024 pursuant to the terms of the Forbearance Agreement it entered into with its lenders in order to receive additional forbearance.  

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