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News Briefs

  • 4/30/2024

    Donatos Pizza CEO Tom Krouse to Retire

    Donatos Pizza announced the upcoming retirement in October of its Chief Executive Officer, Tom Krouse. Kevin King, who has served as President of Donatos Pizza for the past two years, will assume the role of CEO and President upon Krouse's retirement. This well-planned succession ensures a smooth handover and continued success for the brand, built on the strong foundation of family values.

    A Family Affair 

    Krouse joined Donatos Pizza in 2000 after 18 years at Wendy's. Before becoming President and CEO in 2010, Krouse oversaw Donatos Pizza's franchise expansion and development of the brand's retail division, Jane's Dough Premium Foods. Throughout his career, his decisions transcended strategy; they were deeply rooted in the ideals established by the founder of Donatos Pizza, Jim Grote. Krouse ensured these core values – a commitment to community, fostering a family atmosphere within the company, and delivering exceptional customer service – were all key parts of the Donatos Pizza experience.

    "I feel like the luckiest guy alive to have had the opportunity to lead a company with amazing people and an awesome mission," said Tom. "I'm truly honored. I am so happy for Kevin and Donatos because he is the perfect choice to take this company into the future."

    Beyond Krouse's unwavering commitment to the brand's values, he will also be remembered for his remarkable leadership in expanding the Donatos Pizza footprint. Under his guidance, Donatos Pizza has achieved the following:

    • Company has doubled in size.
    • Franchise system has grown from 10 partners to 45 partners.
    • Chain named one of five innovative restaurant brands recognized by Nation's Restaurant News with a 2023 CREATORS Award.
    • Average unit sales 60% higher than pizza industry average.
    • Franchise satisfaction rating 13 points higher than franchise benchmark.

    "When Jane and I promoted Tom to President and CEO, we knew we were about to embark on a new chapter of growth and innovation," said Jim Grote, Founder of Donatos Pizza. "Tom's leadership and passion have had a profound impact on our family business. He has been a living example of our philosophy of Agape Capitalism by leading with love, living the Golden Rule, and always striving to do the right thing. He believes in the possible and clearly sets strategy and vision for the future. Tom's creative approach to growth is deep-rooted in his belief of 'saying yes until there is a reason to say no.' He has built a solid foundation for a prosperous future."

    "I have had the distinct advantage and privilege of witnessing firsthand Tom's drive, innovative thinking, and unwavering passion for our people-first culture from the personal side as his wife and from the business side as his colleague," said Jane Grote Abell, Donatos Pizza Chief Purpose Officer and Chairwoman of the Board. "Family has been the heart and soul of our business since 1963, and Tom has embodied this throughout his tenure. He has not only been a remarkable leader, but also a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Tom's impact will continue to resonate, shaping the foundation of our company for generations to come."

    A Familiar Face Takes the Helm
    Succeeding Krouse is Kevin King, a longtime friend of the family who has a rich history with the Donatos Pizza brand, having served as VP of Development from 1990 to 2003. King's early career was spent at Domino's Pizza, serving in operations, then multi-unit supervision, and finally in international operations in Australia. Prior to rejoining Donatos Pizza as President in 2022, King solidified his expertise in the pizza industry at Papa Murphy's. While serving as Senior Vice President of Operations and as Chief Development Officer, he led the strategic and tactical aspects of the successful expansion of the world's largest take-n-bake pizza chain. King then served as Chief Development Officer at Smoothie King International for almost six years, expanding the fast-growing chain throughout the US and internationally.

    "Tom's leadership and counsel since rejoining Donatos has been nothing short of exceptional," said Kevin King. "He's been a phenomenal mentor and a true friend. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from him and build upon his legacy. Together, with our talented and diverse leadership team, I'm excited to continue to elevate Donatos' reputation for delicious food, strong community ties, and an unwavering commitment to our values."

     

    Caption:  Donatos Pizza's Tom Krouse (left) and Kevin King (right). 

  • 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. 

  • 4/30/2024

    STUDY: Tech-Superior Restaurant Prototypes are Paying Off

    a woman standing in front of kiosk

    Intouch Insight, a provider of customer experience management solutions in North America, has released the second edition of its Emerging Experience study today in partnership with QSR Magazine. The report, Next-Gen Restaurant Experiences: The Rise of Innovative Locations, is focused on how technology is impacting the customer experience for multi-location QSR brands.

    "We have been closely monitoring the latest trends in the technology and new prototypes launched by Quick Service Restaurants since the pandemic," says Laura Livers, Chief Revenue Officer at Intouch Insight. "This year, through our Emerging Experiences study, we wanted to dig deeper into the current performance of these prototypes and technology as compared to traditional experiences."

    Driving Speed Improvements


    The rapidly evolving quick service sector has seen many brands invest heavily in technology-enabled prototypes to enhance both in-person and digital experiences. This year's study highlights innovative brands that have incorporated features like mobile kiosks, improved drive-thru, AI-powered technology, innovative kitchens, and more to elevate the customer experience.
     

    Taco Bell, Checkers & Rallys, bartaco Share the Stories Behind Their Award-Winning Technology Transformations

    The results show that innovation experience overall scores outperformed legacy experiences in 7 out of 10 brands’. Some of the key findings of the study include:

    • 3 out of 4 Innovation Experiences received higher overall satisfaction scores compared to their legacy counterparts.
    • Technology innovations drove speed improvements for digital orders placed for pickup.
    • 3 out of 4 innovation experiences' overall order accuracy scores outperformed the legacy experiences. 

    “The data suggests that customers have a preference for innovative experiences,” says Livers. “As growth in these digital channels continues to surge, creating consistency across the varied customer engagement points will be critical for success. The brands who measure, learn, and pivot quickly, will be the brands who ultimately come out on top.”

    Download the full study here: https://hubs.ly/Q02tjNSr0

  • 4/30/2024

    Subway Sale to Roark is Complete

    Subway exterior with drive-thru

    Subway completed its previously announced sale to affiliates of Roark.

    The acquisition comes on the heels of Subway's three exceptional years of sales growth and positive global net restaurant growth for the first time since 2016. The brand has continued to innovate in 2024, with the introduction of Subway Sidekicks, a hot new menu category, and a fresh lineup of signature wraps, served on a new lavash-style flatbread.

    "The entire Subway system is excited that our sale to Roark is complete," said John Chidsey, CEO of Subway. "As we look to our future, our growth journey is far from over. With a continued strategic focus on delivering better food and a better guest experience, our next chapter will be the most exciting yet."

    Staying the Course

    Looking ahead, the company will continue its work to Build a Better Subway for its franchisees, employees and guests with a focus on ongoing culinary and digital innovation, modernization of restaurants, and strategic international expansion. There are no anticipated changes to the company's leadership team, strategic focus or operating plans.

    As one of the world's largest quick service restaurant brands, Subway serves freshly made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads and bowls to millions of guests, across more than 100 countries and territories in nearly 37,000 restaurants every day. Subway restaurants are owned and operated by Subway franchisees—a network that includes thousands of dedicated entrepreneurs and small business owners—who are committed to delivering the best guest experience possible in their local communities.

  • 4/30/2024

    The Human Bean Evolves the Drive-Thru Experience

    Human Bean digital menu boards in drive-thru

    The Human Bean coffee franchise has partnered with Creative Realities, Inc., a digital signage solutions provider, to enhance the customer drive-thru journey with compelling and lively outdoor ordering experiences.

    Customers at The Human Bean will find engaging visuals of signature drinks, refreshed brand colors, and seasonal promotions on the bright, easy-to-read menu boards. By collaborating with Creative Realities, Inc., the coffee company is transforming its drive-thru experience while improving operational efficiencies.

    "At our core, we believe in meaningful exchanges at the window," says Janie Page, Chief Marketing Officer at The Human Bean. "To stay true to that ideal, we've implemented a digital solution that allows us freedom and flexibility, and delivers a fresh, approachable look."

    Through integration with The Human Bean's point-of-sale provider, pricing and inventory updates to the menu boards are automated. This ensures accurate and up-to-date information for staff and customers. 

    The menu boards will also be uniquely tailored to promote seasonal celebrations throughout the year, such as limited-time offers and annual Community Giveback Days.

    "By offering a blend of dynamic digital and static solutions, tailored to the varied experiences and cost considerations of The Human Bean, we created a drive-thru encounter that's both unique and aesthetic in design," says Rick Mills, CEO at Creative Realities.

    The new digital menu boards are rolling out at The Human Bean locations across the country, with over 30% already installed.  

  • 4/30/2024

    Gott's Roadside Partners with Raydiant to Revolutionize In-Location Dining Experience

    Gotts Raydiant partner

    Raydiant announces its partnership with Gott's Roadside, an iconic San Francisco Bay Area restaurant. The collaboration will see Raydiant's  on-brand digital menu API solution implemented across multiple Gott's Roadside locations.

    The partnership began when Gott's Roadside inquired about the Raydiant platform and its digital menu solutions following Raydiant's announcement of its integration with Toast, a point-of-sale (POS) system. Thorvald Aagaard and his IT team at Gott's Roadside thoroughly vetted the Raydiant system through numerous demonstrations and collaborative sessions between the two companies.

    Impressed by Raydiant's offerings, Thorvald championed the solution internally and worked closely with Raydiant's engineering team to develop custom, on-brand menus seamlessly integrated with the Toast POS system. The result is a powerful, user-friendly solution that enables Gott's Roadside to control its digital menus' appearance and functionality through the Raydiant app.

    "The collaboration between our internal teams at Raydiant, our partner Toast, and the team at Gott's has enabled us to introduce innovative digital menu boards that align with Gott's brand to one of the most popular restaurant chains in the San Francisco Bay area," said Ryan Helmstetler, VP of Marketing at Raydiant. "With our On-Brand Menu API, the Gott's team can manage their digital signage while being confident that it's seamlessly integrated with their POS system. The Gott's team can entrust Raydiant to handle the technical aspects, so they can focus on creating the best burgers in the Bay Area."

    Gott's Roadside first implemented the Raydiant solution at its new Thrive City location within the Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors home. Following the successful deployment, it expanded to three additional locations and has committed to rolling out Raydiant's digital menu solution across all its restaurants as part of its agreement.

    "Raydiant's solution gives us complete control over menu design: it's ours, down to the last detail. Their technology is rock-solid, and the POS-integration is fantastic," said Thorvald Aagaard, IT Director at Gott's Roadside. "Any change we make to our menu is synced to the screens within 30 seconds, all from inside the POS system. Like all the best technology, Raydiant makes something hard to accomplish really, really easy to do."

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