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  • 5/9/2024

    STUDY: 80% of Diners Research Menus Online to Assess Dishes, Cost, Convenience

    consumer not happy with surge pricing

    Consumers love restaurants—64% said they would dine at or order from restaurants every day if they could manage it—but a prolonged struggle with inflation is tempering their spend and gratuities for staff. 

    On average, consumers today spend 30% of their individual or family food budgets on restaurants each month, down from 40% in May 2022. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) say they are spending the same or more on restaurant meals compared to last year, but are tipping less. This is according to Popmenu's nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. consumers in April 2024.

    Eating and drinking places generated $93.7 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis in March 2024, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Following a decline in December and January, industry revenue grew in February and March—but is still trailing a $94.2 billion high in November.

    "Although restaurant industry sales remain healthy, competition for guests has intensified over the last several months," said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu. "Consumers are doing their homework: 80% research restaurant menus online as they assess dishes, cost, convenience, and other drivers of dining decisions. Restaurants who are winning and growing are 1) offering more budget-friendly menu options or discounts and 2) actively engaging consumers across digital channels to entice them to order online or in person."

    What consumers want:

    • More leftovers: Half (52%) of consumers say they prioritize restaurants that offer bigger portions, so they have leftovers for another meal.
    • Bigger, better deals: 66% of consumers choose restaurants that provide more affordable menu items or special offers.
    • Fewer fees: 67% of consumers prefer to order directly from a restaurant's website vs. a third party, primarily to avoid fees and take advantage of cheaper menus.
    • More rewards: 45% frequent restaurants that offer a loyalty program.

    Survey Methodology
    Popmenu conducted an anonymous, nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and older, from April 16 to April 17, 2024.

    See Popmenu at National Restaurant Show Booth 6057. 

  • 5/9/2024

    Cheetah Technologies Raises $14M, Names New CEO

    raising capital money bags

    Cheetah Technologies, a restaurant supply technology and food distribution supplier,  announced the appointment of their new CEO, technology and operations veteran, Kim Spalding. Over the last several months, Spalding and the Cheetah board collaborated on an additional $14M round of funding, focused on the continued development and scaling of the company's technology platform. 

    Spalding comes from esteemed posts at the likes of Google, Starbucks, and McKinsey. Over the past 25 years, she has shown a deep understanding of operational change management, process discipline, and innovative technology solutions to build value for shareholders and drive growth for businesses.

    "I've been fortunate to work with several companies that have had a tremendous impact on a global scale. Those experiences have prepared me for what could be one of my biggest challenges yet, tackling the food supply chain through technology," said Spalding. "The challenges facing this industry impact everyone on the planet, daily. Cheetah's technology was built to improve the entire foodservice industry by offering transparency, structuring and sharing data, and enabling excellent service. With scale, that can positively impact millions of small business owners, employees, and their customers."

    Cheetah's investors showed their support and excitement for Spalding's appointment and the business's trajectory with closing an additional $14M in funding focused on further strengthening their technology platform and its growth opportunity.  

    "The $400B restaurant supply chain market is fragmented, strife with low NPS scores, and therefore, is in dire need of transformation," said Charly Mwangi, Partner at Eclipse. "Paired with Cheetah's technology and density of talent, Kim Spalding brings the experience and operational skills needed to tackle this complex problem. Kim's appointment and Cheetah's latest round of funding will help propel the team forward in a meaningful way as they work towards their mission of transforming the foodservice industry." 

    Before joining Cheetah, Spalding was the SVP of Ocean Network Strategy & Platforms at Maersk where she led strategic investments in the ocean network and new product innovation. Prior to taking that role, she was the CEO of TradeLens, an enterprise SaaS start-up backed by IBM and Maersk to provide secure supply chain visibility using blockchain technology. Spalding served as the General Manager of Ads for Local Businesses and Emerging Markets at Google (2015-2022), including Travel Ads, Local Services, and Maps Monetization. She also served as a VP of Global Coffee and various operations and product roles at Starbucks, including the introduction of mobile payment on the Starbucks App. 

    Cheetah is a restaurant supply app, providing the simplest, most affordable way for restaurants to get their daily supplies. Cheetah's technology was developed to solve the complex issues facing foodservice distribution including supply chain management, logistics optimization, data analytics, and purchasing algorithms which enhance efficiency and profitability for every partner in the channel. Proprietary solutions connect multiple supply-side systems with in-house sales software bringing a lean, efficient, and reliable approach to the foodservice ecosystem. This software reduces the time & labor needed to place & process orders while minimizing food waste.

    Cheetah is founded and run by food industry veterans, supply chain and logistics experts, chefs, engineers, data scientists, and innovators who have come together to help restaurateurs, distributors, and manufacturers thrive. 

  • 5/9/2024

    Uber Eats to Power Restaurant Delivery on Instacart

    instacart uber eats partnership

    Instacart and Uber Technologies, Inc. announced a strategic partnership to bring Uber Eats restaurant delivery to Instacart customers. In the coming weeks, Instacart customers nationwide will be able to use the Instacart app to order from hundreds of thousands of restaurants, powered by Uber Eats.

    The experience will be featured through a new "Restaurants" tab in the Instacart app, providing a user-friendly interface that allows consumers to choose from a selection of nearby restaurants, browse menus, place orders, and track deliveries in real-time. Customers will be able to order groceries for the week from Instacart's more than 1,500 national, regional, and local retail banners across more than 85,000 stores – all fulfilled by Instacart and its shopper community – as well as dinner for the night from hundreds of thousands of restaurants, which will be fulfilled by Uber Eats and the couriers on its platform. Instacart+ members will also get even more value from their membership at no additional cost, with $0 delivery on grocery and restaurant orders over $35.

    "Our goal is to make it effortless for people to go anywhere and get anything," said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber. "We're excited that this new strategic partnership with Instacart will bring the magic of Uber Eats to even more consumers, drive more business for restaurants, and create more earnings opportunities for couriers."

    "Through this partnership, Instacart customers now have access to both the best online grocery selection in the U.S. and restaurant delivery, making it even easier for them to conveniently tackle all their food needs from a single app," said Fidji Simo, CEO and Chair of Instacart. "Whether it's ingredients for a beloved family recipe, a prepared meal from a nearby grocer or takeout from a favorite restaurant – customers can now get the food they want, from the retailers and restaurants they love, all within the Instacart app."

    For Uber, powering restaurant delivery in the Instacart app is another way to help drive more orders to Uber Eats restaurant partners. This new channel also enables Uber to extend its leading restaurant selection to millions of customers across the U.S., including families in suburban markets that use Instacart.

    This partnership also extends the efforts of both companies to create technologies and solutions that support brick-and-mortar businesses. Through this launch, Uber and Instacart are helping restaurants and retailers grow by increasing opportunities for them to reach new customers online and drive more sales through an even more engaging Instacart experience.

  • 5/9/2024

    3 Digital Keys to Elevate the In-Store Experience


    As the restaurant industry rapidly evolves, SageNet is spotlighting the top three digital innovations that are redefining the in-store dining experience, most recently at this year’s National Restaurant Association tradeshow. From enhancing customer interactions to improving operational efficiencies, these technologies promise to elevate every aspect of the fast-casual restaurant service model.

    1. RFID Order Tracking: Streamlining Operations

    RFID order tracking systems represent a leap in operational efficiency. By attaching RFID tags to orders, restaurants can track the movement of every item from the kitchen to the counter in real time. This system reduces customer wait times and increases transparency, which enhances the overall customer experience.

    "Our RFID technology ensures that customers and staff alike can track an order’s progress. This transparency is key to building trust and efficiency," says IV Dickson, Chief Innovation Officer at SageNet.

    2. Dynamic Digital Menuboards: Enhancing Visual Engagement

    Central to the modernization of the restaurant environment are dynamic digital menuboards, both indoors and for outdoor drive-thrus. SageNet’s demo for these boards feature high-definition, 55" displays that provide real-time updates and visually engaging content. By seamlessly integrating with existing POS systems, they improve order accuracy and speed, directly impacting customer satisfaction.

    "Dynamic menuboards transform the way restaurants communicate with customers. They are not just tools for displaying menus but are pivotal in promoting daily specials and influencing buying decisions," explains Dickson.

    3. Integration to Revolutionize Order Confirmation

    SageNet’s integrated order confirmation system is designed to revolutionize the drive-thru experience. This system provides instant, customized order confirmations, reducing human error and offering opportunities for upselling. Integrated within the broader SageVIEW digital signage system, it aligns day-parting, inventory, and environmental factors with the menu displayed, thereby maximizing profitability and enhancing the customer's brand experience.

    These three technologies are setting new standards in the restaurant industry, combining to create a smoother, more engaging customer experience. Attendees of the NRA witnessed these innovations firsthand, and you can experience the future of dining at

  • 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.

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