News Briefs

  • 3/20/2024

    IRIS Launches New Mobile Ordering Features to Unlock Upsell and Revenue Potential

    IRIS new product

    IRIS, a provider of digital ordering for the hospitality industry, announces a suite of new features which are now available across its mobile ordering platform. Each one has been developed to positively impact operational efficiency and revenue for operators at the back end, whilst at the same time enhancing the guest experience to encourage orders and loyalty at the front end.

    New UI for Back End

    Operators running multiple sites and outlets face a time-consuming challenge: creating, updating, and maintaining menus and guest directory items, to ensure content is always up-to-date and accurate. This complexity extends across individual venues, departments, and even group-wide operations. Recognizing the need for a more efficient approach, IRIS has upgraded the functionality and UI within the back end of its app to enable operators to now update menu and guest directory items simply and efficiently.

    Now users can create or amend a section (i.e. breakfast), category (i.e. pastries), and item (i.e. croissant) in just one convenient page. Even better, once an item has been created, it is now easier and quicker for operators to add modifiers or hide/display the item as and when required.

    The same approach applies for guest directory items. For example, local services or attractions which can also be uploaded and modified centrally.

    For both F&B and guest directory, operators have the option to upload more images to not only save time but enhance guest appeal, overcoming the challenge often presented by language barriers. Many operators report guests find images more compelling and are more likely to respond by placing an order, compared to text listings. Adopting a more image-led approach to menu displays, whether for F&B or directory items, is key to delivering increasing orders and spend as well as boosting profit margins.

    The new functionality will enable operators to take a more dynamic, flexible approach to managing their menus, introducing seasonal menus or daily specials, and maximizing popular items at key times. This is in addition to highlighting items as popular, recommended by the Chef or as a special to enhance the guest’s experience, so they can enjoy more variety and choice according to their own preferences.

    It will also be supported by a reporting function to deliver greater visibility on what items are selling when and by which outlet, so operators can take a more informed approach to managing future menus and F&B and guest directory strategies.

    Re-order and upselling

    In addition to an enhanced back-end functionality, the two new re-order and upsell features have also been launched to deliver a more frictionless and personalized dining experience for guests that also delivers more orders and revenue for operators.

    Via the new “Order Again” button, guests can quickly and easily reinstate all the items from a previous order back into their cart for a quick, fuss-free and complete re-order that saves time and can be completed quickly, without the need to wait for a member of staff or run the risk of mistakes.  

    Likewise, the “Related Items Categories” feature has also been built with the same ethos of equipping and enabling operators with the functionality to reduce pressure on staff and maximize each and every revenue opportunity. Operators can now include additional suggestions for nominated menu items. For example, a choice of red wines or side dishes to accompany a steak, so that guests can see at a glance how best to complement and enhance their meal and, critically for operators, increase their order size.

    These features can also include discount codes along with allergen aspects eg dairy free, for complete transparency to again enhance the guest experience and build trust.

    Martin Daniel Voštiar, B&F Coordinator, W Barcelona, comments: “It is the functionality of the new UI that holds the strongest appeal. In particular the Guest Directory and Food & Beverage buttons. They make the process much more intuitive and easy to understand how the individual parts interact with each other, which has made implementing it across our operations and our team simple and straightforward.”

    David Molofsky, Product Manager at IRIS, adds: “Mobile tech has become an essential tool in hospitality, fueled by surging guest demand for mobile-first experiences. Operators must now deliver a dynamic, engaging experience that offers choice, convenience, and exceptional service – all while ensuring their mobile ordering solutions are agile, optimize operations, and unlock upsell and revenue potential.

    “Many clients report that whilst room rates and occupancy rates are approaching peak levels, there is now pressure on other departments to increase revenue and average guest spend to drive profitability across the board. F&B is an incredibly important revenue stream for operators, so ensuring it is working at its full potential is critical. The new range of features have been designed to enable operators to realize their revenue ambitions beyond room rates - and are already delivering impressive results!”

  • 3/20/2024

    Newport Hospitality Group Successfully Transitions 22 Properties to STS Cloud Sales and Catering Solution

    Newport Hospitality Group and STS

    Newport Hospitality Group (NHG), a premier hotel development and management company, has enhanced its long-time partnership with by transitioning its portfolio of hotels to the cutting-edge  STS Cloud platform. Successfully upgrading 22 properties to the cloud-based version of STS will make it easier for the group to manage multiple properties from a single platform and provide a unified view to streamline processes, improve service quality, and ultimately increase revenue.

    The move to STS Cloud will bring about a range of benefits to Newport Hospitality Group, from improved operational efficiency and sales management to enhanced decision-making capabilities, increased productivity, and cost savings. Additionally, the cloud-based nature of STS Cloud means access from anywhere at any time on any device. This flexibility can significantly enhance the productivity of Newport Hospitality Group's staff, as they can access necessary information and perform tasks even when they are away from their desks. Furthermore, as a cloud-based solution, STS Cloud eliminates the need for hardware and software maintenance. 

    The ease of the transition to the cloud has allowed Newport to focus on delivering unparalleled excellence to their guests while benefiting from the extended features of the sales and catering tool. Newport Hospitality Group's Corporate Director of Sales Development, Cynde Pritchard, praised the team's hands-on approach: "STS Cloud emerged as the ideal solution for Newport Hospitality's portfolio of top-rated hotel brands. Rick and the STS team have been incredibly responsive and hands-on throughout the transition process. They've worked closely with each manager,  making custom adjustments to meet Newport Hospitality's specific needs. Our ongoing partnership with them is a true testament to the trust and strong working relationship we’ve built over the years, and we  look forward to many more years of success to come."

    STS Cloud's experienced support, affordability, and advanced functionality were key factors in Newport Hospitality Group's decision to elevate its long-term partnership with the hospitality technology company. Ryan Hamilton, Co-Founder of, emphasized that STS Cloud offers hotels all the most desirable features without the high price tags associated with systems of this caliber. "Our platform is as affordable as it is exceptional," he said. "From managing group sales and event bookings to tracking customer preferences and generating detailed reports, STS Cloud provides an all-in-one solution for hoteliers — at a fraction of the cost. The seamless multi-property transition to our cloud solution for Newport Hospitality Group demonstrates the effectiveness of integrating powerful technologies to drive operational excellence and meet the evolving needs of hoteliers."

  • 3/20/2024

    MGM Resorts Incentivizes Employees to Conserve Water

    logo, company name

    MGM Resorts International has partnered with the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to incentivize residential water conservation for its more than 50,000 employees in Southern Nevada. Through a $500,000 grant to the SNWA Water Efficiency Improvement Fund, MGM Resorts employees will earn additional rebates when they take advantage of existing SNWA water savings programs that target residential water conservation.

    "In light of my pledge to the CEO Water Mandate and commitments to water stewardship in the community, I'm proud to announce a half-million-dollar grant that will educate and empower our employees to make a meaningful impact on water conservation," said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts. "We're committed to understanding and addressing local water challenges, and this initiative reflects our dedication to community involvement and water sustainability."

    The program will educate employees on and enhance existing SNWA incentives for the Water Smart Landscapes Rebate, the Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate and the Smart Leak Detector Rebate. It will also provide employees who request them with a water conservation retrofit kit that reduces indoor water use, making incentives available to apartment dwellers and non-homeowners. Launching on World Water Day, a video training course assigned to all Southern Nevada employees will outline the severity of the area's water crisis, the areas in which MGM Resorts is helping and amplify the existing incentives programs provided by the SNWA.


    Sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food wasteAccording to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions. 

    In its Global Water Policy, MGM Resorts commits to investing in water saving measures and encouraging its stakeholders, including employees, to conserve water at work and home.

    "MGM Resorts continues to demonstrate its commitment to water efficiency within its resort operations, saving billions of gallons over the past decade," said John Entsminger, SNWA General Manager. "As the largest employer in Southern Nevada, MGM Resorts is taking meaningful action through this grant to encourage more of its employees to participate in effective water conservation programs that enhance the long-term sustainability of our community."

    Other notable water-related actions by MGM Resorts:

    • First gaming company and Las Vegas-based company to endorse the CEO Water Mandate
    • Nearly 14 billion gallons of water saved between 2007 and 2022 due to conservation efforts
    • More than 200,000 square feet of grass replaced with desert friendly landscaping
    • Saved 70 million gallons of consumptive water use through HVAC optimization in 2023
    • Made the 2022 CDP A List for water security

    MGM Resorts is focused on creating a more environmentally sustainable future, recognizing that climate change presents significant risks and opportunities to business, people and the planet. The Company has adopted a culture of innovation to reduce emissions and continues to take bold steps towards climate leadership in the industry. Additional information on MGM Resorts' environmental and sustainability efforts can be found HERE.

  • 3/20/2024

    Shake Shack Hires Papa John's CEO

    logo, company name

    Shake Shack Inc. has appointed Rob Lynch to the role of Chief Executive Officer and board member, effective May 20. Lynch currently serves as President and CEO of Papa John’s International, Inc. and under his leadership, the company has achieved record global system-wide sales. Lynch will succeed Randy Garutti who will continue as CEO through May 20, which will also be his final day serving on the board, before transitioning to an advisor through the end of this year.

    “Rob’s appointment as CEO marks the beginning of our next chapter of growth as we seek to further elevate Shake Shack as a leading global brand,” said Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Rob’s deep leadership experience with several well-established global brands will serve us well in executing on our long-term strategic priorities as we enter the next phase of our company’s growth. Rob’s leadership style is also a wonderful fit to advance Shake Shack’s culture of Enlightened Hospitality, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the team.”

    "I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Randy for the exceptional impact, leadership and dedication he has brought to Shake Shack since its inception as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park to what it has become today – a beloved brand with over 520 restaurants across the world. Randy’s commitment to this brand for over 20 years, including during this time of transition, will be an enduring part of Shake Shack’s success story.”

    Industry Vet with QSR Experience

    Lynch is a highly-experienced restaurant operator. Under his leadership of Papa John’s global system-wide sales topped$5 billion across approximately 5,900 units. Lynch was President of Arby’s with more than 3,400 restaurants across eight countries, where he led operations, marketing, culinary, development and digital transformation, resulting in strong global system-wide sales growth and corporate profitability.  Lynch previously served as Arby’s Brand President and Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to joining Arby’s,   Lynch served as Vice President of Marketing at Taco Bell. He has over 25 years combined experience in the QSR and consumer packaged goods industries and has also held senior roles at HJ Heinz Company and Procter & Gamble.

  • 3/19/2024

    A&W Restaurants Signs On With PAR Technology’s Data Central

    digital handshake

    ParTech, Inc. (PAR), announces that A&W Restaurants, Inc. has chosen PAR Data Central’s  for Enterprise Reporting and Analytics.

    In a move that highlights A&W's commitment to technological advancement and operational excellence, the chain known for its signature root beer and classic American fare has embraced PAR Data Central's powerful reporting engine. This transformative collaboration underscores A&W's dedication to leveraging cutting-edge solutions to drive growth and innovation across its organization.

    “A&W has grown to need an extra layer of insights across the organization that is maintenance-free, reliable, accurate, and fast,” said Brett Allan, Senior Director of IT and Analytics at A&W Restaurants. “PAR Data Central's Enterprise Reporting & Analytics module allows us to get a high-level picture for our Restaurant Support Center to understand what factors are driving the business.”

    This milestone also highlights A&W's role as a valued customer of both PAR Brink POS  and PAR Data Central, illustrating their embrace of the Operator Cloud concept. By seamlessly integrating these solutions, A&W maximizes operational efficiency and gains actionable insights into key metrics, setting a new standard for excellence in the industry.

    Betsy Schmandt, President and Chief Operating Officer of A&W Restaurants, expressed her enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, "With Data Central, we are equipped to unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation based on robust, data-driven insights. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to providing our teams with the most advanced tools available in the industry."

    With PAR Data Central, A&W Restaurants is poised to drive informed decision-making, optimize operations, and enhance customer experiences, solidifying their position as a leader in the restaurant industry.

    PAR Technology and A&W Restaurants come together to enhance customer experiences by seamlessly integrating PAR Brink POS and PAR Data Central. This "better together" approach exemplifies the effectiveness of PAR's unified commerce solutions, liberating businesses from system complexities, fostering innovation, and emphasizing PAR's commitment to customer success.

    Founded in 1919, A&W has more than than 900 locations in the U.S. and Asia.

  • 3/18/2024

    Fast Casual Brands Merge, Create BiteLabs

    three guys

    Hungry House a New York-based fast casual restaurant platform, is merging with MegaBite , based in Lima and Mexico City, a multi-brand platform bringing curated, chef-backed cuisine to market through various delivery channels and its own app. 

    Together, the two companies create an international, multi-brand fast casual player with 13 locations in three countries: USA, Mexico and Peru. With a combined annual revenue over $6M, the joint entity will double down on continued growth across the verticals of in-store retail, first-party delivery, and third-party delivery partnerships with UberEATS, GrubHub, DoorDash, and Rappi in Latin America.

     Both companies will continue to operate as vertically integrated players to maintain their mutually high levels of food quality and hospitality that are core to the brand of their new entity, BiteLabs

    Not a Ghost Kitchen

    "We believe that Hungry House and MegaBite, operating together, have the potential to be the most innovative, tech-enabled, multi-brand fast-casual restaurant group across the Americas. We'll continue to bring our vision of chef-backed fast casual restaurants with a dynamic in-store experience, and a robust native app, to diverse audiences passionate about great food. This will uplift choice for the consumer with groundbreaking, high-quality culinary brands developed in partnership with today's most exciting chefs and provide a range of choice for the consumer facilitated by algorithmically personalized options," says Pedro Neira, CEO of MegaBite and the newly created entity. "We are definitely not a ghost kitchen platform. Given that our customers can reach us with in-person eating in our restaurants, via pickup, through third-party apps, as well as online through our own native apps and websites, I would say our business model mirrors more that of Sweetgreen, CAVA, and Shake Shack. The only difference is that we are serving multiple brands in our locations and not just one."

    Hungry House provides the joint entity with expertise in business-to-business catering service, while MegaBite offers extensive expertise in data-driven, food delivery optimization across its multiple sales channels. The deal also creates exciting synergy with the talent of the combined C-Suite leading the next chapter of growth for the company. 

    The transaction solidifies Hungry House and MegaBite's momentum at a compelling time in the fast casual segment. Both companies have since 2021 been building in the same space. The joined companies will not build in the ghost kitchen space, but instead expand by building upon a multi-brand, in-store retail and multi-channel approach similar to that of Wonder, which recently secured an additional $100 in funding from Nestlé. The growth and expansion of Hungry House and MegaBite, and the current merger, have been facilitated by Wilshire Lane Capital, Carao Ventures, SNR VC, McK Hospitality, Alaya CapitalAmarena VC, and independent investors like Russ Rosenband, Atit Jariwala, and Andrew Balogh.

    This news builds on the growth of Hungry House's existing NYC footprint. The company recently launched a newly updated location in Manhattan on January 22. Previously Pure Grit BBQ (now a Hungry House portfolio brand), the new location stands for culinary collaboration, and brings together innovative, chef-inspired flavors through a single multi-brand culinary platform, available in person and online. The launch of the new restaurant, in the heart of Manhattan's Flatiron District, also featured a special announcement about Hungry House's upcoming partnership with chef and online personality Emily Fedner, of Food Lover's Diary, featuring an Eastern European-influenced dumpling menu, now available at both Hungry House locations in Manhattan & Brooklyn for pickup and delivery.

    Pictured from left:  Co-Founder and COO Andrew Corrigan, Co-Founder and CEO Pedro Neira, and Co-Founder and Head of Growth Solamon Cruz Estin, formerly of UberEats and DoorDash.

    About BiteLabs
    Moving forward, the company envisions continuing to launch tech-enabled, multi-brand fast-casual restaurants where guests can sit and eat onsite, order for pick-up or delivery via a native app and various third-party channels, and also locations that can serve the B2B markets with the same variety and quality that it serves the B2C market.

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