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News Briefs

  • 4/8/2024

    Bite Raises $9M

    raising capital money bags

    Bite, a provider of kiosk solutions for fast-casual and quick-service restaurants, has secured $9 million in Series A funding. 

    Bite’s self-service kiosk software provides the ability to drive digital ordering at fast-casual and quick-serve restaurants.  Bite’s in-store ordering platform currently helps more than 1,100 restaurant locations improve labor efficiencies and leverage powerful personalization, resulting in check sizes growing by an average of 20%. Bite’s software is highly customizable, user-friendly, and seamlessly integrates into existing tech stacks, ensuring improved order accuracy, increased throughput, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

    “The restaurant industry is facing a very challenging environment, struggling to generate profits in the midst of an unprecedented labor shortage, rising minimum wages and cost inflation,” said Brandon Barton, CEO of Bite. “Bite’s self-service kiosk software gives restaurants the tools to succeed in this environment, by leveraging our technology for tasks that can be digitized and reallocating labor to higher priority responsibilities, including greeting guests, preparing food and managing the handoff of completed orders.” 

    Barton added: “Coupled with our use of AI to personalize the ordering experience, we are also able to help offset increasing labor costs by driving higher average checks per order."

    Personalized with AI  

    Bite will use the proceeds of this funding round to further fuel its growth, with a focus on enterprise restaurant brands, emerging fast casual brands and innovative c-stores. While many of its restaurant partners live with Bite in only a portion of their locations, Bite will invest in scaling its technology solutions with its existing partners, as well as onboarding new clients in its pipeline. The company will also continue to invest in its technology capabilities, including its patented artificial intelligence called Bite Lift, which analyzes each order in real time to offer personalized upsell recommendations, a key to driving higher average check sizes.

    The funding round was led by Staley Capital, with participation from Graham Partners, Food-X, One Way Ventures and Tamarisc Ventures. For more information about Bite,  visit www.getbite.com  

  • 9/14/2023

    Domino's Updates Rewards Program

    Dominos Rewards Updated

    Domino's Pizza Inc. introduces its new and improved loyalty program. 

    Domino's Rewards offers loyalty members even more opportunities to earn and redeem points across its corporate and franchise store locations. Domino's enhanced rewards program allows customers to:

    • Earn points for less
      • Loyalty members will now earn 10 points on every order of $5 or more
    • Redeem points for even more menu items – and earn free Domino's after just two orders
      • Members can redeem a variety of points for more menu items:
        • 20 points: A free dipping cup, a 16-piece order of Parmesan Bread Bites or a 20 oz. drink
        • 40 points: An order of Bread Twists or Stuffed Cheesy Bread
        • 60 points: A medium, two-topping pizza; pasta; Oven-Baked Sandwich; or a 3-piece order of Chocolate Lava Crunch Cakes
    • Earn more rewards
      • Loyalty perks are now even better, as members will have exclusive access to member-only deals, special discounts and opportunities to earn bonus points!

    "We are thrilled to give the brand's loyal customers additional ways to earn free Domino's items more often," said Mark Messing, Domino's vice president of digital experience and loyalty. "At a time when most brands are scaling back their loyalty programs and making it more difficult to earn and redeem points, Domino's is doing the opposite. We want to make it easier to reward our customers and give them more options so they can get rewarded faster."

    Marketing a LTO 

    From now until Oct. 22, 2023, rewards members can take advantage of a limited time offer to redeem 20 points for a free order of Domino's new Pepperoni Stuffed Cheesy Bread, which is normally a 40-point redemption, in celebration of the product's recent launch. 

  • 4/8/2024

    Orders.co Empowers Restaurants to Simplify Dispute Resolution, Recover Revenue

    chargeback

    Orders.co, an all-in-one order management platform for restaurants, unveiled its latest innovation, the AI Chargeback Assistant. This AI-powered tool empowers restaurant owners to manage chargeback disputes and reclaim lost revenue, with minimal time and effort.

    In today's digital landscape, where third-party delivery apps play a pivotal role in connecting restaurants with consumers, chargebacks have emerged as a significant challenge. These customer disputes can severely impact profitability, costing restaurants thousands of dollars annually in revenue loss and labor costs. Losses are compounded for enterprise restaurant operators managing multiple stores or franchise locations.

    Clap Back on Chargebacks

    Data from the Orders.co platform has revealed that over 70% of restaurants do not dispute chargebacks from third-party applications. The process is complex and tedious, and many restaurants have difficulty locating and properly disputing charges. What’s more, less than 20% of chargebacks that are disputed are ultimately refunded.

    “Before engaging the Chargeback Assistant, we had a hard time staying on top of chargebacks – the process is so complex, it’s nearly impossible to handle every dispute manually,” said Marianna Manoukian, owner of multiple It’s Boba Time franchise locations. “Orders.co has taken the hassle off our hands, helping us maintain margin on these orders and reclaim hundreds of dollars every month.”

    The AI Chargeback Assistant simplifies the dispute process by consolidating chargebacks into a single view, allowing restaurant owners to review and manage them seamlessly. Restaurants can also outsource the dispute management process to Orders.co as part of its end-to-end order management services.

    With a 90% success rate, the feature has proven highly effective. In February 2024, the Chargeback Assistant recovered an average of $400 for SMB restaurants and $1,500 for enterprise restaurants. The tool also provides significant time savings, freeing restaurant operators from navigating the time-consuming dispute process and reducing resolution timelines to within 7 days.

    "Our goal at Orders.co is to empower restaurant operators with tools that drive profitability and efficiency," says Arsen Stepanyan, chief executive officer of Orders.co. “Chargebacks are especially detrimental to operators with multiple locations or franchises – these restaurants are leaving a lot of money on the table, and with the Chargeback Assistant, we’re empowering owners to take back their profits.”

    Integrated within Orders.co's end-to-end CRM system, the Chargeback Assistant consolidates third-party delivery orders and chargebacks, offering a seamless experience for restaurant owners. This feature is included within the Orders.co platform and is also available as a standalone service.

    For more information about Orders.co and its Chargeback Dispute Management feature, please visit the Dispute Management page at www.orders.co.

  • 4/8/2024

    Craveworthy Brands Adds Energy-As-A-Service

    Craveworthy Brands location

    Budderfly announced a corporate partnership with restaurant platform company Craveworthy Brands to drive down energy consumption at Cravewothy’s corporate and franchise-owned restaurants. 

    Craveworthy Brands owns, operates, and franchises multiple restaurant brands across the country, including Genghis Grill: where Budderfly’s Energy as a Service (EaaS) offering will first be rolled out to 21 corporate-owned restaurant locations and 11 franchise locations over time, generating an estimated 30 percent reduction in energy usage at each site. The cost-saving and sustainability outcomes stemming from this partnership will establish a new benchmark for sustainability across the approximately 200 other current and planned restaurant locations within the Craveworthy umbrella.

    Budderfly will install, monitor, and manage a combination of patented technologies and high-efficiency equipment including HVACs, LED lighting, refrigeration controls, water conservation systems such as smart valves, low-flow toilets, and foot pedal sinks, smart panels, sensors and more – at no upfront cost. Budderfly’s in-house expertise and growing tech-enabled capabilities will drive maximized and long-term positive outcomes for Craveworthy Brands restaurant locations over a 10-year period.

    “Craveworthy Brands is laser-focused on fostering growth and success for our brands and that can only be done when franchisees and operators are winning. They truly are the backbone of our own success,” said Gregg Majewski, CEO and founder of Craveworthy Brands and former CEO of Jimmy Johns. “Budderfly’s forward-thinking and outcome-driven business model is the innovative approach to sustainability that we’re looking for to ensure that we provide our franchisees with the support they need to operate out of tech-enabled facilities built to provide better returns for the brand, franchisees, and planet.”

    Budderfly’s holistic offering will improve the overall building environment, including air quality, functionality, aesthetics, and comfort for customers and employees. Budderfly also offers real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities so that restaurant operators can access valuable data about their energy consumption, monthly savings, and carbon footprint reduction.

    “Food service buildings, such as quick service and fast casual restaurants, are among the most energy-intensive commercial building types, subjecting franchise owners to sky-high electricity bills and a significant carbon footprint,” said Al Subbloie, chief executive officer and founder of Budderfly. “We're excited to expand our work shaping the energy future for the food service industry in partnership with Craveworthy Brands. The company shares in our commitment to support the millions of mid-market U.S. businesses that empower our economy and, now, can help enable a resilient and sustainable future.”

    This partnership adds to Budderfly’s robust portfolio of over 6,000 customer sites, including restaurant franchises, retail, healthcare, fitness centers, schools, and more. To learn more about Budderfly’s EaaS solutions, visit the website.

  • 4/8/2024

    LG Showcases High-End Technology Designed for the High Seas

    Outdoor LG television on a cruise ship

    LG Business Solutions USA is helping cruise operators imagine the experiences of tomorrow by demonstrating its broad line of cruise-ready TVs, digital signage and DVLED displays at Seatrade Cruise Global 2024 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. According to Jacob Benner, senior hospitality sales director at LG Business Solutions USA, LG is showcasing how its class-leading digital displays can create new opportunities for engagement, messaging and exciting guest experiences.

    “As the leading provider of in-room TVs for the hospitality industry, we are keenly aware of guest and owner expectations for technology-based entertainment and experiences,” Benner said. “Forward-thinking cruise operators can leverage the latest display technologies throughout a ship to differentiate their services while optimizing use of space and enhancing the overall guest experience through outdoor movie nights, personalized in-room entertainment and interactive touch screens.”

    Benner said the star attraction of LG’s booth is the DVLED Zone, centered around the sea-ready outdoor direct-view light-emitting diode display (model GNEB) that can be used for virtually any outdoor display need, including oversized screens to show movies or major sporting events.

    The industry-first LG technology’s marine-grade protective coatings, robust IP67 protection and corrosion-preventing design enable reliable performance and longevity, while the adjustable 6,000 nit brightness capability is designed to deliver stunning picture quality even in direct sunlight. The availability of two versions offering either 6.25mm or 8.33mm pixel pitches, combined with convenient front and rear maintenance access, makes it easy for operators and design professionals to optimize experiences and expenditures.

    Visitors can also sample the company’s Ultra Slim DVLED signage displays with pixel pitches as low as 1.5mm, ponder new creative opportunities made possible by the innovative Transparent Color LED Film that transforms glass surfaces into digital displays without impeding visibility, and view a 136-inch All-in-One DVLED display with the webOS™ smart platform, an embedded controller and speakers that make it ideal for atriums and other high-traffic areas.

    In the booth’s In-Cabin Zone, attendees interested in elevated stateroom experiences can see how LG’s line of cruise-ready 4K Ultra HD cabin TVs with the webOS smart platform provide options for every size room and enable deployment of custom welcome messages and videos. These cabin TV models range from 22- to 55-inches.

    Booth visitors can also sample a variety of digital signage displays in the Public Space Signage Zone, such as LG’s 86-inch ultra-wide and 37-inch “Stretch” displays that are perfect for columns, hallways and maximizing utilization of unique spaces. Those looking to increase engagement will love the 55-inch touchscreen that can be deployed for disseminating information, wayfinding or to offer unique gaming options.

    Cruisers who appreciate novel sights and sounds onboard will delight at the possibilities offered by LG’s 55-inch Transparent OLED display that, for example, can upgrade customer service desk experiences with advanced see-through displays. Other public signage products include the LG Kiosk, a standalone unit with a 27-inch touchscreen ideal for accessing information, facilitating check-ins or offering special event ticketing, as well as LG 75- and 110-inch 4K displays that highlight the vibrance and impact of high-quality content.

    The company will also show off its advanced new electric vehicle charging stations for cruise port visitors to charge their EVs. These owner-operated chargers will help cruise brands take part in the EV charging market without relying on third parties, empowering them to set their own rates and ensure enough capacity to meet local demands.

  • 4/8/2024

    SURVEY: Restaurant Surge Pricing Sours Customer Loyalty, Can Negatively Affect Profits

    consumer not happy with surge pricing

    U.S. consumers have a negative perception of surge pricing. According to a HungerRush  survey, 64% of diners said they have a negative reaction to restaurants using surge and dynamic pricing. Additionally, 81% of diners surveyed said they would either stop going to a restaurant altogether or alter their dining hours to avoid prices surging during peak hours.


    The point-of-sale (POS) software platform provider for quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, released the results from a national consumer dining survey on surge and dynamic pricing models for restaurants in the United States.

    Restaurant owners face increasing profit margin challenges due to rising food sourcing costs, labor costs, and other economic factors. In California, the  $20 minimum wage is now in effect, impacting some restaurant owners’ bottom lines. In order to offset these rising operational costs, more restaurants are choosing to raise the cost of menu items depending on the time of day and demand (surge and dynamic pricing).

    But this study suggests dynamic and surge pricing models may not be a good idea as a long-term strategy. As seen in recent weeks with national media coverage on the topic, dynamic or surge pricing models don't sit well with customers. 

    This signals the need for restaurants to reevaluate pricing increases and instead explore other potential ways of increasing revenue.

    Additional highlights of HungerRush’s National Restaurant Price Surging Survey:

    • Are diners more understanding of locally owned restaurants that need to increase their prices?
      48% of diners said they are more understanding of small chains and local restaurants needing to raise prices. This reveals that owners of smaller restaurants have more room than larger chains to experiment with surge and dynamic pricing in order to help offset their high operational costs.
    • How Do Diners Feel About Extra Fees?
      56% of consumers surveyed said they choose/will choose in the future to order from a restaurant with lower fees. 63% of diners are willing to pay a small fee to make up for increased operational costs. However, 21% of diners are only willing to pay a minimal fee of less than 3% of their total visit.

    "Coping with the recent $20 minimum wage in California alongside high national inflation poses significant challenges for restaurant owners," said Bill Mitchell, Executive Chairman of HungerRush, and former President of Global Operations of Papa John’s International. "While raising prices may seem like a straightforward solution, it can negatively impact consumer loyalty. We've witnessed backlash against surge pricing models in the past, demonstrating the importance of preserving customer experience and loyalty. Our data highlights the critical role of customer satisfaction in a restaurant's profitability. Instead of solely relying on price hikes, we recommend leveraging technology and optimizing workforce planning to enhance operational efficiency and minimize expenses."

    As restaurant operators and owners evaluate if surge and dynamic pricing models are right for them, they need to consider the sticker shock diners will experience. If they go this route, they need to be prepared to make up for the 22% of loyal customers they are driving away altogether.

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