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News Briefs

  • 4/28/2024

    Sodexo to Launch Thousands of Hot Food-Producing Robots

    Sodexo hot vending

    Sodexo and ART have announced a partnership to deploy thousands of state-of-the-art hot food robotic kiosks across Sodexo-served facilities throughout the U.S. A culmination of Sodexo’s global leadership and ART’s progress in robotics and AI, this partnership will establish new benchmarks in the automated dining domain.

    Interested in How Vending Tech Can Enhance Restaurant Revenue ?  Sign up for HT's next episode of The Point on May 30

    "Our dedication to innovation in convenience, dining, and the broader evolution of food hinges entirely on technological advancements,” said Husein Kitabwalla, CEO, Tech & Services and Food Transformation, Sodexo North America. "We're excited to collaborate with ART and leverage their Just Baked Technology, further expanding our network of partners utilizing AI for food production and bringing our clients and consumers foods that transcend conventional norms."

    Effective March 26, 2024, Just Baked Smart Bistro kiosks can be found at Sodexo client sites across a variety of industries, producing giant cinnamon rolls, White Castle Cheeseburger Slider 4 packs, bao buns, breakfast sandwiches, and other delectable options with a click of a button.

    “We are thrilled to partner with Sodexo and its vast network of food service clients,” said Ben Porter, CEO of ART. “Sodexo’s reputation for quality and commitment to their customers is unparalleled, making them an ideal collaborator for us. The value proposition of ART’s cutting-edge technology transcends mere convenience, boasting features such as streamlined operations through automation, advanced analytics powered by machine learning algorithms, and unparalleled food service delivery to end users available round the clock. We are also excited to work with innovative food suppliers to bring new, exciting products to customers throughout Sodexo’s customer base.”

    ART is a hot food technology supplier for the food service industry. With a focus on technology-forward solutions, including the Just Baked Smart Bistro automated hot food robotic kiosk, ART partners with  food service operators and venues to deliver convenience and excellence in North America. ART is shaping the future of the hot food kiosk food service industry, experienced in distribution model, delivering exceptional experiences to consumers, and creating value for our partners and investors. With its small footprint and wide variety of food options, ART is pioneering a new era of convenience and sophistication. Serving an ever-expanding array of sweet and savory hot-food options, Just Baked Smart Bistro provides venues such as colleges, hospitals, resorts, airports, and casinos with 24/7 availability. Unlike anything else on the market, Just Baked Smart Bistro has cracked the code on distribution and placement, setting a new standard for hot food technology. For more information, visit www.justbakedkiosk.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. 

  • 4/26/2024

    Boom appoints Hilton’s former President of Global Operations and Development as Chairman of new Advisory Board

    boom logo
    Boom, the pioneering AI platform for the short-term rental sector, has appointed Hilton’s former President of Global Operations and Development as Chairman of the company’s newly launched Advisory Board. 
     
    Ian Carter, who is also currently Chairman at Watches of Switzerland and at Eatly, spent 15 years in the role at Hilton, where he was responsible for the company’s expansion into new markets. He is also credited for being part of the team that took Hilton Worldwide private and then public in 2013. 
     
    Ian brings over three and a half decades of senior experience in the hospitality, retail and luxury sectors across the US and the UK. He has significant non-executive experience having served on several boards in both countries, including Burberry Group PLC between 2007 and 2019.
     
    Ian joins Boom as it prepares for rapid growth in the coming months to meet rising demand for innovative AI solutions in the short-term rental market. As Chairman of the Advisory Board, he will play a critical role in guiding the development and execution of the firm’s business strategies, driving growth and enhancing its market position. 
     
    Ian Carter, Chairman of Boom’s Advisory Board, said: “Boom’s impact on the STR sector and beyond will be nothing short of transformational, and I am delighted to join at such a pivotal moment in the company’s growth.
     
    “I also look forward to welcoming other members to Boom’s advisory board over the coming months. This is an exciting time for Boom, and I am thrilled to be leading the charge with Shahar and the team as we move forward into a new era of AI-powered innovation, efficiency and scalability.”
     
    Shahar Goldboim, Founder & CEO of Boom, added: “Appointing Ian to lead our Advisory Board is Boom’s most significant milestone to date. His unparalleled experience and expertise will be critical in our mission to revolutionize the short-term rental sector with cutting-edge technology. 
     
    “AI-driven tools like Boom are already enabling property managers to automate a huge range of processes, tasks, and decisions across large portfolios – all while using their existing PMS platforms. This means managers and owners can run their businesses with fewer employees than ever before, freeing up headspace for them to focus on the strategic, high-level thinking that really matters.”
     
    Ian is also a former President of young people’s charity the Dame Maureen Thomas Foundation, a former Director on the boards of Visit California and Visit Florida and a former chair of the International Tourism Partnership.
     
    Boom’s latest strategic hire comes after the firm last month announced that Chris Mills, Rented’s former Vice President of Sales, had been appointed to the company’s executive team. 
     
    Launched in 2023, Boom is an AI-driven tool that sits over the top of a property manager’s existing Property Management software (PMS). 
     
    Boom acts as a ‘virtual workforce’ that automates day-to-day decision-making, freeing up time and headspace for property managers, who can instead focus on strategy and portfolio growth. 
     
    The tool automatically coordinates check-ins, responds to guest queries, schedules and predicts maintenance tasks and repairs, and takes care of accounting – all autonomously and without the input of a human property manager.
     
    With a rapid onboarding process and proven boosts in revenue, conversion rates, and review scores, Boom is a company to watch in 2024. 
  • 4/24/2024

    Domino's Tips Customers Who Tip Delivery Drivers

    Dominos You Tip

    Domino's Pizza Inc.  is launching You Tip, We Tip – a promotion that tips customers who tip their delivery drivers, beginning April 29, 2024.

    "Domino's drivers have been hustling to deliver hot, delicious pizzas since 1960, and we love that customers have been tipping them for their great service since day one," said Kate Trumbull, Domino's senior vice president – chief brand officer. "But these days, everywhere you go, there's a tip screen. The pressure to tip is real, even when no extra service is provided. So, we decided to flip the script and show our appreciation by tipping customers back." 

    In fact, in HT's 2024 Restaurant Industry Outlook,  one executive said tipping is "turning customer sentiments negatively."

    How Does You Tip, We Tip Work?


    When customers tip their Domino's delivery driver $3 or more online, they'll receive a $3 coupon to use on the following week's online delivery order. \

    Domino's is the first quick-service restaurant to tip customers for tipping their delivery drivers. To learn more about Domino's You Tip, We Tip promotion, visit dominos.com/youtipwetip.

  • 4/24/2024

    Under New Ownership: Tropical Smoothie Cafe

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe is changing hands. 

    Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tropical Smoothie Cafe from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. This buyout intended to help accelerate Tropical Smoothie Cafe's expansion through continued investment in menu innovation, operating excellence, and best-in-class marketing.

    Blackstone has a long history of successfully propelling the growth of leading franchisors, including in its previous acquisitions of Hilton Hotels and SERVPRO. 

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe began operating as a single location on a beach in Destin, Florida in 1997, and has grown into a nationally recognized brand with more than 1,400 locations in 44 states across the U.S. today. Known for its delicious mix of smoothies and food offerings, the company opened more than 175 new locations in 2023 alone, 70 percent of which were opened by existing franchisees. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has also been ranked #1 in the Smoothie/Juice Category by Entrepreneur Franchisee 500 for four consecutive years.

    Peter Wallace, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone’s Private Equity business, said, “Tropical Smoothie Cafe has had an impressive growth trajectory consistently building on its loyal customer base as it has scaled nationwide. Blackstone has deep experience helping accelerate the expansion of leading franchise businesses as one of our highest-conviction investment areas. We believe our capital and resources will help position Tropical Smoothie Cafe for continued success and innovation for the benefit of its guests and franchisees.”

    Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

  • 4/23/2024

    Leanpath, Galley Solutions Integrate to Drive Faster, More Precise Food Waste Reduction

    food waste compost

    Leanpath builds on its integration capability with menu management systems, announcing a partnership with Galley Solutions and its culinary operating system.

    Leanpath's intelligent food waste prevention platform is a complete solution that allows foodservice kitchens to understand what they are wasting and why it's being wasted. Leanpath's analytics, reporting, and automated prevention tools empower kitchens to stop that waste from reoccurring.

    At MURTEC 2023, Hospitality Technology presented Leanpath with the Industry Hero Award for its contributions in reducing food waste.

    The new integration between Leanpath and Galley Solutions imports customers' daily menus into the Leanpath food waste tracking platform. This enables kitchen staff to more easily and precisely identify what foods are being wasted and to make more informed adjustments to planning menus, automating production, and optimizing purchasing to prevent that waste in the future.

    "We're always trying to shave some pennies off our cost per meal," says Chef Antonio Pignagrande, Director of Culinary Enablement with Harvest Table Culinary Group, an early adopter of the new integration. "The best way to do that is to not put food in the trash to begin with. Leanpath helps us avoid that food waste, and the integration with Galley Solutions is the next evolution of that work. It's going to allow us to understand where the opportunities are to reduce waste down to the recipe level."

    "At Leanpath, we're laser-focused on helping our customers go beyond just gathering food waste data by turning that data into actions that reduce waste," says Leanpath VP of Product Brennan Hogan. "With this new integration, Galley Solutions customers are going to be able to drive even more precise and impactful food waste actions."

    "This integration highlights the importance of the Galley Solutions culinary operating system as the hub of customer's food data," says Galley Solutions CTO Matt Ferguson. "Having that clean food data for things like recipes, ingredients, menus and vendor items is what makes this integration with Leanpath so effective for our customers."

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