News Briefs

  • 2/25/2024

    Virgin Voyages Powers Fastest Internet at Sea with Industry-First Integrated MEO-LEO Service from SES

    back of a virgin voyages cruise ship

    Virgin Voyages will deploy a new level of “Pretty Fly for a Wi-Fi" connected experiences for thousands of its “sailors” (passengers) across its fleet; becoming the first cruise line to deploy SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink PRO service.

    Combining Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite coverage, the SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink PRO service will provide unmatched connectivity of up to 1.5Gbps per ship, enabling Virgin Voyages’ sailors to enjoy exclusive passenger experiences.

    The seamlessly integrated high-performance connectivity service with no data consumption limitations will power Virgin Voyages’ high-end cruise offering of tech-savvy cabins, beautiful spas, and designer suites, plus award-winning entertainment, which all require superior connectivity. Launched in 2021, Virgin Voyages offers adult-only voyages on ships inspired by boutique hotels, sailing to 100+ ports globally.

    With unlimited Wi-Fi access across multiple devices, passengers can share their cruise experiences live and in real-time via social media and video calls, while enjoying the incredible connected experiences that Virgin Voyages offers. In addition to meeting and exceeding guests’ expectations, the unmatched connectivity delivered by SES Cruise mPOWERED + Starlink PRO service will maintain cutting-edge operation levels for its crew across the fleet.

    “For cruise operators, being able to constantly innovate and unlock new, superior guest experiences for passengers is essential to stay ahead of the curve,” said Simon Maher, Senior Vice President, Cruise at SES. “State-of-the-art connectivity is at the heart of this. This is why we expanded our offering to create a fully integrated end-to-end service that uses multiple orbits, from Geostationary to Medium and Low Earth, to optimise bandwidth and meet the needs of both passengers and crew, wherever in the world they are sailing. By doing so, we are proud to deliver this new level of enhanced operational efficiency coupled with the ultimate connectivity guest experience.”

    “Our exclusively adult cruise experiences are underpinned by unmatched levels of connectivity at sea that mirror those available on land, so we are excited to partner with SES to offer our guests and crew this level of connectivity, which is unlike any other in the market,” said Steven Worling, Senior Director of Infrastructure & Security at Virgin Voyages.

  • 2/25/2024

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe Rewards Financial Literacy

    tropical smoothie app game

    Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc.,  announced a new rewards program with Tropical Smoothie Cafe, to bring financial literacy game Greenlight Level Up  to more families for free.  Starting today, families can download the Greenlight app and play a selection of Level Up challenges with no Greenlight subscription required, while earning fun rewards for a limited time.

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe is the first brand to reward kids and teens for completing Level Up challenges in the Greenlight app. The program is designed to motivate kids to improve their financial knowledge and skills by rewarding them with a free 12-ounce kids smoothiewhen they or their referred friends complete 10 Level Up challenges in a learning quest.

    93% of teens believe they need financial knowledge and skills to achieve their life goals, and 97% of parents agree.  Still, only 35 states require a personal finance course for students, and teens score an average of 64% on the National Financial Literacy Test, showing a clear gap in financial education that is accessible and effective. Parents also rank personal finance as the #1 most difficult life skill to teach their children with 81% saying they wish they had more financial education tools and resources.

    Greenlight Level Up is an in-app financial literacy game with a curriculum to empower young people with money skills and confidence. Built by academic and game design experts, Level Up challenges are packed with bite-sized videos, quizzes, and minigames that keep kids and teens engaged.

    “Our collaboration with Greenlight aligns with our mission to Inspire Better  and help all kids shine bright. As the first brand providing rewards that are integrated into the Greenlight Level Up game, we look forward to the opportunity to reward hard working kids with a free 12 oz. kids smoothie,” said Deborah von Kutzleben, CMO of Tropical Smoothie Café, LLC. “Tropical Smoothie Cafe hopes to enhance Greenlight’s mission to improve financial education among kids by offering an incentive to learn about money.”

    Families can download the Greenlight app  to start playing a selection of Level Up challenges for free and earn rewards. The full suite of Level Up challenges are also available for free through Greenlight’s partner programs with banks, credit unions, and employers. 

  • 2/21/2024

    Caribou Coffee Selects Toast

    cappucino in a cup

    Caribou Coffee will implement Toast Enterprise Solutions across 500 initial coffeehouse locations in the United States. 

    In addition to Toast point-of-sale (POS) terminals, Caribou Coffee will use Toast Payments, Kitchen Display Systems (KDS), and Multi-Location Management.

    Expansion on the Horizon

    Caribou Coffee has made significant progress in its retail expansion plan through company-owned development as well as its previously announced franchise program. To help support the brand’s growing coffeehouse footprint, Caribou Coffee sought a modern technology partner with a robust, scalable POS solution that would be easy to use for all stakeholders including company and franchisee operators and team members. Focused on maximizing speed of service while maintaining an enhanced guest and team experience, Caribou Coffee also wanted to ensure availability of key features to support guests like the ability to modify active orders and offer flexible payment options. 

    “Caribou Coffee was founded over 30 years ago with a vision to bring personal service into the coffeehouse space. That commitment to our guest and team member experience guides us today as we announce this exciting partnership. Toast proved to be the ideal strategic technology partner for our brand as we introduce tools that will ensure we can bring our coffeehouse experience to more guests than ever before,” said Scott Kennedy, Chief Financial Officer at Caribou Coffee. “Toast took the time to understand our business and clearly demonstrate that they can support our team members and guests with their easy to use, easy to manage platform.” 

    Part of Panera Brands, Caribou Coffee has 333 company-owned, 140 non-traditional and 338 franchise locations in 11 countries.

  • 2/22/2024

    Hooters Deepens Partnership with PAR

    Hooters exterior

    Hooters of America LLC, the franchisor behind the iconic Hooters and Hoots Wings brands, selected PAR Brink POS and PAR Data Central to enhance its operational efficiency and order accuracy for an improved table service experience in 367 Hooters restaurants across 36 states and 18 countries. 

    As an existing customer of PAR’s loyalty solution, PAR Punchh, Hooters sought to expand its existing tech stack with a proven partner. Together, the three best-in-class solutions continue improving operations and enable Hooters’s restaurants to better serve their guests. 

    • PAR Punchh engages and retains guests, supporting Hooters’s goal to drive diners’ lifetime loyalty.

    • PAR Brink POS offers Hooters a configurable, easy-to-use and scalable POS. 

    • PAR Data Central’s Inventory Module offers Hooters a single source of truth for all its data to help elevate table service by improving inventory accuracy, reducing food waste and lowering food costs. 

    "The Hooters team has loved working with PAR because its technology matches our company vision and where we believe the restaurant industry is heading," said Jeff Caplan, CIO of Hooters. "Simplifying our operations with one provider for point of sale, restaurant back office and loyalty has also been a game-changer, streamlining our relationships and saving us valuable time. Most importantly, the sense of partnership with PAR is unparalleled — every engagement feels like a true collaboration, with their team bringing invaluable restaurant experience to the table. Culturally, it's a perfect fit; their values and beliefs mirror our own, making every interaction meaningful and productive." 

    Hooters showcases the adaptability of PAR's products for various restaurant formats, including enterprise-level establishments with a strong emphasis on table service. By offering a comprehensive solution tailored to the distinctive demands of such concepts, PAR remains a trusted partner in the hospitality technology landscape. 

    For more information about PAR Technology and its partnerships, please visit

  • 2/21/2024

    Survey Reveals Strong Interest, Intent for AI Adoption Among Restaurant Operators

    laptop displaying AI

    A promising 71.6% of restaurant operators plan to adopt AI soon, with nearly 94% acknowledging its necessity to remain competitive in the evolving landscape of food service, according to a survey by, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) -powered phone answering platform built for restaurants and hospitality partners,  announced the results of its recent survey of restaurant professionals which demonstrated that the industry has a strong interest in leveraging AI to address challenges and unlock opportunities within their businesses. The survey, which gathered insights from restaurant owners, general managers, and C-suite executives, sheds light on the industry's readiness to embrace AI technology in the face of mounting challenges such as rising costs and operational complexities.

    The survey, which targeted those 25 years of age and older in the United States, showed that a significant portion of the respondents - 54%- expressed optimism about the positive impact of AI on restaurants. Despite this optimism, less than one-third of operators currently utilize AI in their operations, indicating an untapped potential for technological integration within the industry.

    "Restaurant industry professionals are increasingly recognizing the transformative potential of AI technology and the overwhelming sentiment in favor of AI adoption underscores its importance for enhancing operational efficiency, reducing costs and providing great customer experiences," said Alex Sambvani, founder and CEO of "Running a restaurant isn't for the faint of heart. It takes guts to get up and running and a lot of business know-how to thrive. AI is the tool that can help businesses grow and it is clearly here to stay."

    Improving the Overall CX

    Nearly half of respondents (46%) believe AI can improve the overall guest experience.

    In addition, respondents acknowledged AI's potential to address various challenges faced by the restaurant industry, such as staffing issues, service quality management, and rising costs. And, as the restaurant industry navigates the complexities of a post-pandemic world, AI emerged as a potential solution to drive issues that greatly impacted this industry during the last four years– from operational efficiencies, cost controls, and competitive differentiation.

    The survey results underscore the need for tailored AI solutions that address the unique challenges faced by restaurant operators, while also providing guidance for overcoming barriers to adoption.

    "As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, the integration of AI is a crucial and pivotal point of this progression. With a significant number of operators signaling their intention to incorporate this transformative technology, we are excited for the future of the hospitality industry," added Sambvani. "Embracing AI signifies a shift towards customer-centricity, where innovative solutions can cater to each and every customer – from automated interactions, seamless reservations, instant inquiries, and beyond – all converging to place the customer firmly at the heart of the restaurant experience."'s "AI in the Restaurant Industry; How Businesses Are Embracing AI Technology" is available here.

  • 2/21/2024

    Cloudbeds Partners with Amadeus iHotelier

    merger handshake deal

    Cloudbeds a provider of hospitality management software, announced a strategic partnership with Amadeus, a  provider of advanced technology solutions for the travel industry.

    This collaboration marks a significant milestone for both companies, bringing together Cloudbeds’ award-winning hospitality platform and Amadeus iHotelier's cutting-edge technology to enhance distribution capabilities for hotels worldwide.

    Key highlights of the partnership include:

    • Seamless Integration: The integration of Cloudbeds' robust property management system (PMS) with Amadeus iHotelier's state-of-the-art central reservation system (CRS) will provide hoteliers with a seamless and efficient solution to manage reservations, streamline operations, and maximize revenue.
    • Enhanced Distribution Channels: The partnership will expand the reach of hotels by leveraging Amadeus' extensive global distribution network, allowing properties using Cloudbeds to connect with a broader audience and attract more bookings.


    Adam Harris, CEO of Cloudbeds, said, “Our mission has always been to empower hoteliers with seamless solutions designed to drive more revenue and better guest experiences. This partnership with Amadeus iHotelier brings unparalleled value to our customers to help them succeed in today’s competitive market.”

    Javier Campo, VP of Partnerships, said, “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Cloudbeds to elevate the hotelier’s experience. Our seamless integration between Cloudbeds and Amadeus iHotelier will add value to the customer’s process in managing and processing bookings. Our shared commitment to excellence makes us excited about the journey ahead. Here’s to a successful collaboration.”


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