News Briefs

  • 3/21/2024

    Wendy's Teams up With DoorDash, Wing to Pilot Drone Delivery

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    Starting today, customers of the Christiansburg, Va., Wendy's will be able to order select items for drone delivery on the DoorDash marketplace.

    DoorDash and Wing today announced the launch of their drone delivery partnership in the U.S., starting in Christiansburg, Va. Wendy’s is the pilot’s first restaurant partner — through the DoorDash marketplace and have them delivered via drone. This follows the drone delivery pilot program that DoorDash and Wing launched in Australia in 2022 and has since expanded to three locations in Queensland with over 60 participating merchants, marking the first time that Wing integrated its drone delivery service within another marketplace.

    “We are excited to expand our partnership with Wing in the U.S. to integrate drone delivery into DoorDash’s ecosystem,” said Harrison Shih, Senior Director of DoorDash Labs. “At DoorDash, we are committed to advancing last-mile logistics by building a multi-modal delivery platform that serves all sides of our marketplace. We’re optimistic about the value drone delivery will bring to our platform as we work to offer more efficient, sustainable, and convenient delivery options for consumers.”

    “Expanding our partnership with DoorDash and launching in the U.S. is a direct result of the success we’ve seen from our initial collaboration in Australia, where Wing has served tens of thousands of customers via the DoorDash app for over a year now,” said Cosimo Leipold, Head of Partnerships, at Wing. “Wing has now made over 350,000 deliveries across three countries and looking ahead we are focused on providing a fast, affordable and safe service to our partners so they can better serve their customers. This moment continues our meaningful expansion of this service in the U.S. and advances our shared goal to better the last-mile delivery ecosystem.”

    Beginning today, when DoorDash customers with an eligible address in Christiansburg, Va, place a qualifying order in the DoorDash app from the Wendy’s located at 2355 N. Franklin Street, they will see the option to have their meal delivered by drone on the checkout page. Once they select drone delivery and place their order, it will be prepared and packaged at the Wendy’s location and delivered via a Wing drone, typically in 30 minutes or less.

    Through this partnership, DoorDash aims to provide access to an innovative delivery solution for consumers and merchants, complementary to traditional Dasher-fulfilled orders. The new offering provides a quick and sustainable delivery option for small, short-distanced orders while creating the potential for incremental order growth across the platform. The pilot will initially be available in Christiansburg with plans to explore other cities in the U.S. later this year.

    The drone delivery partnership with Wing was born out of DoorDash Labs, DoorDash’s robotics and automation arm. DoorDash sees automation as a means to develop the right platform solution to satisfy consumer demand, while improving efficiencies within the platform.

    Learn more about Wing’s operations and our U.S. pilot program on the Wing blog.

  • 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."

  • 3/21/2024

    D-EDGE Acquires LoungeUp, a Hospitality CRM

    D-edge and LoungeUp executives

    D-EDGE, a leader in hospitality technology, is thrilled to announce its acquisition of LoungeUp, a premier Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform for the hospitality sector. This strategic move will further simplify the hospitality technology scene.

    This acquisition marks a significant step towards providing the hospitality industry with a comprehensive and integrated suite of solutions covering every touchpoint of the hotel guest journey —from the initial search for accommodations through their full stay to converting guests into repeat visitors. The combined D-EDGE & LoungeUp solution meets the urgent needs of today's hotels: ensuring a consistent and superior guest experience, boosting revenue and profitability, while streamlining operations. Enabling hotels to continuously collect data and use it to enhance and personalise the experience means their overall performance improves.

    The acquisition of LoungeUp aligns perfectly with D-EDGE's mission to simplify hospitality through innovation. “LoungeUp fills up D-EDGE's technology suite by providing hoteliers with a comprehensive and seamless toolkit. By integrating LoungeUp's advanced CRM capabilities with D-EDGE's Central Reservation System (CRS), we are setting a new standard for a unified and easy-to-use one-stop-shop solution. This holistic approach addresses the complete technological needs of hotels, groups, and chains in both distribution and operations. This move is one additional reason for hotels to make D-EDGE their preferred choice," says Pierre-Charles Grob, CEO of D-EDGE.

    Mathieu Pollet, CEO and co-founder of LoungeUp, concludes: “The entire LoungeUp team is thrilled about this new step, as we are confident it will significantly enhance the value we deliver to our common clients and speed up our development globally. We are simplifying hotel management by integrating operations through connected systems, automating tasks, and ultimately boosting the hotel's business—resulting in more bookings, increased booking value, and greater profitability. We believe that with LoungeUp integrated into the D-EDGE solution portfolio, hoteliers will require essentially two systems to ensure efficient operational and distribution management: D-EDGE and a Property Management System (PMS). This is a major change in the industry that suffers from a very fragmented IT environment.“

    There are no planned changes  in the current structure of either entity. The LoungeUp teams remain unchanged. Founders Mathieu Pollet and Lionel Tressens will lead the growth of the CRM/Guest Management divisions within the group.

    Clients of LoungeUp and D-EDGE will continue to receive the same level of support and service from their dedicated teams. This continuity will ensure a smooth transition and maintain the quality of service our clients are accustomed to.

  • 3/21/2024

    Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy Makes Finding a Vacation Home Easy with Generative AI

    homes & villas logo by marriott

    Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy is now testing a search with AI tool that will match travelers with the perfect home and destination based on a natural language search describing their desired vacation. This next gen search will take travelers' own preferences and offer a curated list of properties from the 140,000 available properties on the Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy platform.

    Travelers can include as little or as much detail as they'd like through this easily accessible and user-friendly search functionality, alleviating the stress that selecting a vacation property might otherwise present. A few sample searches include:

    • I want to travel to London, Paris or Vienna and stay in city center
    • Best A-frame home in the mountains with a fireplace and stunning view
    • I want to take a trip to California this summer where I can bring my dog
    • I'm looking for a private villa in Asia for six people with a butler
    • I need a beach front home in the Caribbean perfect for a bachelorette celebration

    The results will suggest destinations and identify specific properties that meet the criteria entered in the search bar or close alternatives that meet as many of the descriptors as possible. In addition, the results will include useful information such as weather and things to do at the location based on the criteria, such as hiking, sightseeing, or dining. Visitors to the site will have the option to use the new or traditional search functionality.

    "Using the latest technologies, our new AI search tool breaks new ground among vacation rental platforms by allowing travelers to search without a specific destination. Consumers can focus more on the experiences they are passionate about and the amenities on their 'must-have' list to reveal their next memorable travel adventure," said Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President, Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy. "With natural-language search, we're able to play matchmaker, helping travelers effortlessly discover the perfect but perhaps unexpected property and destination among our global collection of extraordinary homes available on the Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy platform."

    Whether travelers are yearning for a beach vacation or searching for an eclectic home overlooking a mountain range, Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy has premium and luxury vacation rentals that can inspire more travel experiences. By booking a home with Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, travelers unlock the power of the award-winning travel program, Marriott Bonvoy, to gain access to free stays at hotels and destinations around the world and incredible experiences with the people, places, and passions they love. Travelers can also take comfort that each home offered on the platform is fully vetted by Marriott, leveraging the company's trusted travel expertise with exceptional quality, safe and reliable hospitality.

    Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy's search with AI functionality is being tested initially as a part of the broader technology transformation at Marriott International to unlock value for customers with more seamless, personalized, and engaging ways to experience travel. It is expected to become widely available to all visitors first on the website and then on mobile in the coming weeks.  The search with AI tool was developed in collaboration with Publicis Sapient. For more information, please visit

  • 3/20/2024

    MGM Resorts Incentivizes Employees to Conserve Water

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    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

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    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.

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