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  • 5/8/2024

    Aniai Opens NYC Showroom for Hamburger Cooking Robot ‘Alpha Grill’

    aniai robotic kitchen

    Aniai, a provider of kitchen automation and AI solutions, announces its first North American showroom in Midtown Manhattan. 

    Aniai’s flagship product Alpha Grill leverages advanced AI and robotics to automate the hamburger patty cooking process, enhancing efficiency and consistency in restaurant kitchens. Aniai has partnered with several North American quick-service-restaurant brands to conduct pilots, with an anticipated rollout at multiple locations over the next year.

    With the launch of its New York showroom, Aniai is excited to offer existing and potential restaurant operators a direct glimpse of its Alpha Grill in action.

    “We look forward to welcoming customers and industry professionals to our New York showroom to witness the future of kitchen automation,” says Eric Hansen, Head of Sales, North America. “I genuinely feel that we’re at the very beginning of a significant paradigm shift within the foodservice industry- a shift that embraces robotics to improve the lives of employees by reducing labor intensity and providing myriad ancillary benefits for restaurant operators over the long run.”

    Restaurant Show

    For restaurant operators who want to see firsthand the future of kitchen robotics sooner, Aniai will be making its second consecutive appearance at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, where it will showcase the Alpha Grill along with several enhancements, most notably, ‘Alpha Cloud’. Using cloud-based AI, Alpha Cloud can discern the color of hamburger patties and assess their quality in real-time through vision sensors that monitor the cooking process; promptly notifying kitchen staff about patty quality while ensuring rigorous and enhanced quality control.

    “Seeing is believing,” said Aniai CEO Gunpil Hwang. “When introducing innovative technology that’s the first of its kind, it’s important that potential adopters can see it in action and to fully understand exactly how it can enhance their businesses. This is what we’re planning to accomplish with our New York showroom, a permanent extension of what we’ve offered at the NRA Show.”

     

  • 5/8/2024

    Choice Hotels Relaunches Park Inn by Radisson, Celebrates Top-Performing Hotels at Conference

    Choce Hotels Park Inn by Radisson

    Last week, Choice Hotels International concluded its 68th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, one of the largest to date. Over the course of three days, Choice provided owners and operators with a roadmap on how together they will capitalize on their competitive position to capture the growing demand for travel. Choice announced the relaunch of Park Inn by Radisson and its strategic repositioning into the premium value space. 

    As part of the strategy with Choice's acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas in 2022, Park Inn by Radisson is being strategically repositioned into the premium value conversion space. Park Inn by Radisson will deliver on an unmet need tailored to the growing demographic of younger, value-conscious travelers.  

    pictured: The reimagined guest room at the Park Inn by Radisson includes fast Wi-Fi and plenty of places to charge devices. 

    "The relaunch of Park Inn by Radisson into the premium value conversion space underscores our commitment to delivering an unparalleled guest experience, inspired by the simplicity and vibrant energy of parks," said Cathy Hartman, vice president, brand strategy, Choice Hotels. "The brand has been built around a promise to brighten up every stay with a refreshing blend of color, connectivity, and convenience."

    Park Inn by Radisson will cater to a new generation of experience-centered travelers in a way that's affordable for guests and simple for owners to deliver. Park Inn by Radisson will offer guests the 'brighter basics' including fast Wi-Fi and plenty of places to charge devices.

     

    Celebrating in Las Vegas 

    At the convention,  the company also reintroduced the SOAR program and reaffirmed its over 20-year commitment to create hotel ownership opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs.

    "This year's convention was about celebrating the new level of success that Choice and its franchisees have achieved together," said Choice Hotels President and CEO Patrick Pacious. "I've never been more optimistic about our shared future. With our brands well positioned to capture even more of the growing travel demand, we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us."

    During the event, Choice awarded and celebrated the top-performing hotels through Choice's Premier Awards and the Best of Choice Awards, the company's most coveted accolades.

    Premier Award Winners

    • Kunal Dave of Laxmi Hotels Group (Premier Developer Award): Dave has been a Choice owner for over a decade and currently owns more than 25 Choice hotels spanning Economy, Midscale, Upper Midscale, and Extended Stay. He excels at repositioning and rebranding properties to drive up revenue and profitability.
    • Bob Patel of Omaha Hotels, Inc. (Premier Legacy Award): Patel began his relationship with Choice over 15 years ago by purchasing an Econo Lodge in Janesville, Wisconsin. Today, he has 15 Choice hotels under the Comfort, Country, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, and MainStay Suites brands. A longtime member of the Wisconsin Hotel Association, he is passionate about mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.

    Best of Choice Winners

    Like the Premier winners, the Best of Choice award recipients were selected for their demonstrated commitment to superior guest service and operational excellence. The best international properties and the best hotel per brand in the U.S. were selected.

  • 5/8/2024

    Brooklyn Dumpling Shop Appoints CEO to Drive Expansion

    Jeff Galletly Brooklyn Dumpling Shop

    Brooklyn Dumpling Parent Holdings, Inc.,  announcez Jeff Galletly as the Company's CEO. The 100% digital fast-casual restaurant chain that opened in 2021 welcomes Jeff from Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI), where he most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of Tim Hortons USA. He brings a wealth of expertise spanning restaurant operations, franchising, marketing and consumer products to propel Brooklyn Dumpling Shop into its next phase of growth and innovation. In addition to his role as CEO, he will also serve on the Board of Directors of the company.

    Galletly's appointment as CEO marks an exciting chapter for Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, which recently closed a funding round that includes well-known investors such as Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary and fellow Guest Shark and prolific food investor Matt Higgins. The investment aims to scale the business through franchise restaurant growth, consumer product expansion, team building, accelerated marketing efforts, and adjacent acquisitions.

    In his role as CEO, Galletly will steward all aspects of the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop business, overseeing operations in current locations across North America, while focusing on business growth, franchise expansion, culinary and technology innovation and winning with consumers every day. He will also enhance comprehensive support, training, and operational resources to existing franchisees in the United States & Canada, in addition to leading further domestic and international franchise expansion. Brooklyn Dumpling Shop's omni-channel strategy includes broadening the brand's consumer product footprint, presently spanning e-commerce and in retailers including Walmart, Shoprite, and Stew Leonards, amongst others.

    At MURTEC Executive Summit 2023, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop received the MURTEC Breakthrough Award for its indusry disrupting use of technology.  

    "We are experiencing an evolution in dining as consumers seek fresh, fast-casual experiences and innovative concepts that combine great food, digital convenience, and hospitality," Galletly said. "Brooklyn Dumpling Shop has been at the forefront of this evolution and I am honored to join the team and provide ongoing support for our franchisees to grow our brand, craft memorable guest experiences, and solidify our position as leaders in taste, innovation, and technology."

    Galletly has held a number of leadership positions in restaurant franchising & operations, development, marketing, strategy, and private equity. Jeff's contributions to the food service industry include expanding Tim Horton's Asia-Pacific locations and having led Operations and Marketing Intelligence for Burger King North America.

    "With his extensive record of visionary leadership and dedication to operational excellence, Jeff is well equipped to lead the company into its next phase of growth," shared strategic investor Kevin O'Leary, Chairman of O'leary Ventures.

    Matt Higgins, CEO of private investment firm RSE Ventures, added, "As a new investor in Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, I'm thrilled to see Jeff come on board as CEO. He's well known in the industry as someone who leads from the front, builds great teams, and tackles the hard work of scaling franchises domestically and abroad."

    Of Jeff's hire, Robert Cummins, founding partner of Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, music executive and restaurateur, shared, "We're thrilled to hand the keys of Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to such a proven industry force. Jeff's extensive leadership with legacy brands will drive our company into our new era and beyond."  

    Believing "everything's better in a dumpling," Brooklyn Dumpling Shop offers distinct dumplings, burgers, bowls and more, combining bold and craveable flavors. The diverse array of offerings, unique only to Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, includes specialty dumplings such as Korean BBQ, Mac & Cheese, and Smashed Apple Pie.

    In February of this year, the business became international with its first shop in Calgary opening as part of a 100 unit Canadian master franchise deal. Currently, Brooklyn Dumpling Shop boasts 11 locations in major cities including New York, Dallas, Austin, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Calgary — with a number of additional locations slated to open in 2024, including new markets Miami and Vancouver. The company will also continue expanding its consumer product business with select retail partners.

    On May , the company is celebrating the grand opening of its second corporate location on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The grand opening will feature a charitable donation from the company to nearby Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's (MSK) Cycle For Survival. 100% of proceeds will go directly to MSK for rare cancer research.

  • 5/8/2024

    QSR Automations Showcases ConnectSmart RecipesPlus at Restaurant Show

    man standing in front of kiosk

    QSR Automations, best-in-class leader in restaurant technology, will be at the National Restaurant Association Show North Building – Booth 5834 to showcase its recently launched innovation, ConnectSmart® RecipesPlus, a digital recipe platform aimed at transforming restaurant kitchen operations. 

    For years, restaurants have relied on old-fashioned printed recipe books prone to accumulating stains, being lost in translation, or just lost in general to manage their kitchens and feed hungry patrons. QSR Automation’s ConnectSmart® RecipesPlus is providing a new alternative to those restaurant kitchens that are ready to provide their guests and kitchen staff with an elevated experience. 

    Since its inception over 25 years ago, QSR Automations has been dedicated to making restaurants smarter through its various innovations and technologies that push the dining experience forward. From kitchen automation, guest management platforms, and so much more, the company is committed to providing solutions to the challenges and changes facing restaurateurs, diners, and employees every day. 

    "Making service easier for everyone is a key component of our vision at QSR Automations, so anytime we start developing a new product, we keep that top of mind. We are thrilled to share our latest innovation, ConnectSmart® RecipesPlus, with the industry at the National Restaurant Association Show and highlight how this solution can help the industry streamline training, improve employee retention rates, facilitate smoother kitchen workflows, and enhance the guest experience," shares QSR Automations CEO, Angela Leet. 

    To learn more about how ConnectSmart® RecipesPlus can not only replace old-fashioned and outdated recipe books, but also ensure accuracy in the kitchen and a consistent guest experience, visit Booth 5834 at  the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago on May 18-21. 

  • 5/8/2024

    SoundHound AI, Perplexity Partner to Bring Online LLMs to Voice Assistants

    merger handshake deal

    SoundHound AI  Inc., a provider of voice artificial intelligence, has partnered with Perplexity, the conversational AI-powered answer engine. Together they will bring Perplexity’s online LLM capabilities to SoundHound Chat AI – a voice assistant that utilizes hundreds of real-time domains, as well as generative AI responses.  

    The SoundHound Chat AI assistant will leverage Perplexity to provide accurate, up-to-date responses to web-based queries that static LLMs cannot currently answer – expanding the type and complexity of the questions the assistant is able to handle.

    For example, a user can ask a question like: “How does the price of gas this week compare to last week?” and the response will combine accurate, live information on gas prices with a comprehensive generative AI-style explanation that provides further context. The user can then follow-up with, “Navigate to the nearest gas station,” which uses SoundHound’s technology to seamlessly incorporate data from the appropriate sources and integrate with the navigation software of a device such as a car or a phone.

    SoundHound’s voice AI products are built on nearly 20 years of experience in AI, speech recognition, and natural language processing. The company’s proprietary technology allows for category-leading speed and accuracy – allowing a user to speak naturally to access a vast range of real-time knowledge domains (like flight times, sports scores, music selection, and restaurant search), generative AI responses (from multiple LLMs), and now Perplexity’s incredible web-search results.

    SoundHound saya ir Chat AI was the first voice assistant to launch with generative AI capabilities, as well as the first to go into production for automotive. SoundHound Chat AI is already deployed in over 12 countries in 18 languages with automotive partner, Stellantis.

    The assistant also utilizes a specially developed arbitration technology that uses a combination of software engineering and machine learning to intelligently select the more appropriate response, helping to minimize harmful “AI hallucinations.”

    “Through this integration with SoundHound’s Chat AI assistant, we’re one step closer to our goal of making Perplexity available to everyone across every device they use,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, Chief Business Officer at Perplexity AI. “With the growing popularity of voice AI, we’re allowing users to more easily access the information they need, when they need it.”

    “By integrating Perplexity search capabilities into SoundHound Chat AI we’re raising the bar for voice assistants and the kinds of queries they can handle effortlessly,” said Mike Zagorsek, Chief Operations Officer at SoundHound AI. “Where this technology is already deployed in vehicles, we’re seeing usage habits shift substantially – increasing by multiples. We’re confident that this enhancement will further delight users as more and more people choose to talk rather than type.”

    To learn more about SoundHound Chat AI visit www.soundhound.com. See them at NRA Booth 6057. 

  • 5/8/2024

    National Restaurant Association Show Expands Show Floor by 10%

    NRA 2024 logo

    With an anticipated participation of over 55,000 industry professionals, the National Restaurant Association, Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, renowned as the paramount event in the foodservice industry, is gearing up to host one of its largest shows since 2019. Boasting an expanded show floor by 10% compared to 2023, the 2024 Show will feature over 2,240 exhibitors spanning every facet of the industry. Among these, a remarkable 68%—more than 1,500 companies from across the globe—are returning to the Show and will be joined by a 700+ companies debuting products for the first time. The National Restaurant Association Show, taking place May 18 – 21, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago, will be the ultimate destination for showcasing innovative solutions and the latest food and beverage trends shaping the future of the foodservice industry. 

    Tom Cindric, President of the National Restaurant Association Show, remarked, “The Show remains unparalleled in its ability to showcase the industry's vitality and drive innovation forward. With each passing year, the Show provides a comprehensive snapshot of the industry's trajectory, shaped by the collective contributions of our diverse exhibitors. We eagerly anticipate the influx of new voices and ideas, alongside the continued insights from our returning participants.”

    The 2024 Show will impress with its expansive exhibit space covering 700,000+ square feet, the size of over 12 football fields. With over 900 product categories on display, ranging from food and beverage to equipment, technology, AI-powered solutions, bespoke tableware products, emerging global flavors, and more, attendees will experience a comprehensive showcase of the latest innovations driving the foodservice industry forward. 

    This year, the Show will welcome more than 600 international exhibitors, representing 28% of the total exhibitors, from diverse countries worldwide, including Canada, China, Brazil, India, and more. Participation in the Show not only provides exhibitors with invaluable networking opportunities and exposure but also catalyzes business growth, cementing its status as an essential platform for both new and returning exhibitors worldwide.

    As exhibitors prepare for this year’s Show, they eagerly share their experiences and why they invest in this event each year: 

    "This is an amazing gathering point for so many of our existing clients,” stated Christ Lovett, Sales Leader at DoorDash. “So, it's a phenomenal opportunity for us to be able to link up with businesses that we spend so much time talking to on the phone." 

    "The reason why we come back [to the Show] is because foodservice is a big part of our business and the ROI that we've seen from this event has been exponential," Gulshan Kumar, Vice President of Sales at Pathwater, remarked.  

    More than 600 exhibitors, both new and returning, will be featured within eight pavilions on the Show floor, providing dedicated spaces for both new and returning exhibitors to showcase their offerings and innovations. These pavilions offer curated experiences tailored to specific interests, such as A Taste of the States, Bellavita Italian Pavilion, Iberica Spanish Pavilion, The Beverage Room, Global Food Expo, Organic & Natural, and the TECH Pavilion. Additionally, the Startup Alley will highlight first-time exhibitors and emerging organizations presenting food and beverage items, equipment, technology, and more, contributing fresh ideas to the foodservice industry.

    Having received specialty awards, both new and returning exhibitors will also be showcased in designated areas on the Show floor. This year's Food and Beverage (FABI) Awards are recognizing 35 recipients for their industry-altering products shaping the future of food and beverage, with 10 FABI Favorites selected by the judges for their unmatched influence and visionary contributions to the industry. Additionally, the 2024 Kitchen Innovations (KI) Awards celebrate their 20th Anniversary, honoring 25 recipients who define the gold standard of foodservice equipment innovations, elevating automation, efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

    For the complete list of companies exhibiting at the 2024 Show, click here. For more information and to register, visit nationalrestaurantshow.com. Connect with the Show online on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

     

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