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  • 5/23/2024

    InnSpire Integration with Optii Leverages AI to Optimize Hotel Operational Efficiency, Guest Service and Satisfaction

    mobile phone on table next to a coffee

    InnSpire, the leading provider of innovative hospitality technology solutions that help drive seamless, world-class guest experiences for some of the world’s most iconic hotels and brands, has announced a strategic partnership with Optii Solutions, a leading hotel operations and service delivery platform. Optii leverages machine-learning and predictive intelligence to automate and enhance hotel housekeeping, maintenance, service delivery, and operations management. Combined with InnSpire’s comprehensive guest journey platform, hotels can boost staff productivity and minimize costs, while elevating the overall guest experience.

    InnSpire’s new integration with Optii has recently been implemented at The Don CeSar, an iconic resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The deployment combines the power of both platforms to optimize both guest service and satisfaction, while significantly enhancing operational efficiency.

    InnSpire’s comprehensive guest journey platform includes it’s advanced InnSpire.ONE AI-powered guest service solutions, as well as mobile check-in, digital key access, casting, connected guestroom TV and a full in-room digital entertainment ecosystem. By integrating with Optii’s AI Smart Concierge solution, The Don CeSar gains the ability to automate guest requests, assign the appropriate staff member and track delivery to ensure seamless guest service.

    This streamlined workflow enables more efficient management of housekeeping, maintenance, and service requests. By combining these advanced AI-powered solutions, The Don CeSar can deliver more personalized and responsive guest service to ensure satisfying stay experiences for its discerning guests. AI-powered automation and efficient communication between staff and guests also helps to optimize labor resources and operational efficiencies, enabling the property to provide a frictionless experience for both staff and guests.

    "Our integration with Optii leverages the best of both solutions to deliver more streamlined and efficient operations that result in both happier guests and staff," said Martin Chevalley, InnSpire’s CEO and Co-founder. “As we continue to infuse artificial intelligence into our solutions in a practical way to enhance hotel service and operations for both guest-facing and back-of-house teams, Optii’s solutions will complement our goal of providing the best possible end-to-end solutions for our hotel customers around the globe."

    The Don CeSar currently uses InnSpire’s transformative InnSpire.ONE AI platform to enhance communication, deliver personalized guest interactions, optimize task management and facilitate executive decision-making. It’s AI-powered chat feature intelligently curates real-time communications in the brand tone and language, enhancing guest interactions by promptly addressing inquiries, offering personalized recommendations and proactively anticipating guest needs.

    InnSpire.ONE AI also fosters seamless communication among hotel staff, breaking down barriers and streamlining workflows. Through user-friendly interfaces and intelligent algorithms, staff members collaborate efficiently, boosting productivity and enhancing guest satisfaction.

    Parker Harvey, Room Division Director at The Don CeSar, said, "Our partnership with InnSpire continues to elevate the guest experience at the property in ways we never imagined. The recent integration between InnSpire and Optii extends that level of operational excellence to our staff operations, further supporting our guest service platform by streamlining guest service and maintenance requests and ensuring timely and efficient delivery.”

  • 5/23/2024

    Pizza Hut Hires Two Marketing Executives

    pizza hut logo

    Pizza Hut announced two new executive marketing appointments: Kalen Thornton will join the company as Global Chief Brand Officer and Melissa Friebe will become Chief Marketing Officer, U.S.

    Kalen Thornton will join the company as Global Chief Brand Officer reporting to Pizza Hut Division Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Powell, effective June 10. In this role, Thornton will lead Pizza Hut's global brand strategy and oversee all aspects of marketing across 110 markets and territories. Thornton will also be responsible for guiding the brand to a new chapter of relevance – harnessing the power of strategic, engaging customer connections across physical and digital touchpoints and ensuring that the brand maintains its status as a cultural icon.

    Thornton most recently served as Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Marketing for PepsiCo North America, where he led partnerships and built brand affinity across sports entertainment properties – leveraging media, content, and activation investments to drive growth for the beverage portfolio. During his time at PepsiCo, Thornton also served as Chief Marketing Officer of Gatorade. Before diving into the beverage business, Thornton held multiple marketing leadership roles for the Nike and Jordan brands over nearly ten years, where he was instrumental in leading transformational brand initiatives.

    In addition to Thornton's appointment, Melissa Friebe will become Chief Marketing Officer, U.S., reporting to incoming Pizza Hut U.S. President, Carl Loredo. Friebe joins Pizza Hut from Taco Bell, where she served in a number of positions over nearly three decades with the brand, most recently as Chief Brand Strategy Officer. In her new role at Pizza Hut, she will lead all aspects of marketing for the brand's U.S. business. Friebe will succeed Lindsay Morgan, who is departing the brand after serving more than eight years in various marketing leadership roles.

  • 5/23/2024

    Picnic Works Teams Up with Roboworx for National Rollout of Autonomous Pizza Stations

    gourmet pizza with basil and mozzarella

    Seattle-based Picnic Works, Inc., and Roboworx, a subsidiary of Administrative Resource Options Inc.  announced a strategic collaboration to facilitate the national rollout of Picnic’s fleet of autonomous Picnic Pizza Stations. This partnership aims to enhance the efficiency and consistency of pizza production across numerous restaurant locations.

    Founded in 2016, Picnic has been at the forefront of integrating technology with food service. The Picnic Pizza Station is designed to seamlessly fit into existing commercial kitchens, assembling 130+ pizzas per hour, depending on size, with precision and efficiency. Recognized as a Kitchen Innovation Winner by the National Restaurant Association, Best in Show at CES, and listed in the FoodTech 500, this innovation is set to revolutionize operations in restaurants, live event venues, convenience stores, universities, convention centers, corporate campuses, and other food service venues.

    "At Picnic, our expertise in food and technology drives us to constantly innovate," said Michael Bridges, CEO of Picnic. "To ensure the seamless deployment and support of Picnic Pizza Stations across the country, we sought out a dedicated partner. Finding Roboworx, with their exceptional automation expertise, perfectly aligns with our mission to help our customers thrive."

    Roboworx, dedicated to the service, support and customer success of robotics, will deploy the Picnic Pizza Stations and provide ongoing support and preventive maintenance. This collaboration ensures that the devices remain operational and efficient, allowing Picnic’s customers to focus on their core business activities without the distraction of managing advanced robotic systems.

    "In a world where robotics continually enhance our lives, the Picnic Pizza Station stands out as a truly unique and groundbreaking innovation that delivers faster, more consistent and more convenient pizza production,” said Chris McNelis, vice president of operations, Roboworx. "Our team of automation experts at Roboworx will provide 24/7 remote monitoring, preventive maintenance, and any break/fix support to ensure the Picnic Pizza Stations are working properly so Picnic’s customers can focus on running their businesses, not managing their stations. We’re all about customer success."

  • 5/22/2024

    Lightspeed Adds Integration to Uber Direct, Uber Eats Marketplace

    Lightspeed POS and Uber Eats

    Lightspeed Commerce Inc. the one-stop commerce platform empowering merchants to provide the best omnichannel experiences, and Uber announced a new North American partnership to directly integrate Uber Direct and Uber Eats marketplace into Lightspeed's platform.

    Through the partnership, Lightspeed will have built-in integrations with the Uber Eats marketplace and Uber Direct, Uber's white-label delivery facilitation service, enabling Lightspeed merchants to:

    • List their menu offerings on and take orders from the Uber Eats marketplace, which is accessed by millions of monthly active platform consumers; and
    • Take orders from their own branded website through Lightspeed's Order Anywhere, then access delivery via Uber Direct, allowing them to pay only the associated delivery fee without the added cost of developing their own custom delivery fleet.

    The combination of solutions enables merchants to satisfy their customers' delivery demands, tap into new markets through the Uber Eats marketplace and reduce overhead on direct-to-consumer orders with Lightspeed Order Anywhere and Uber Direct.

    "We are incredibly excited to be announcing this strategic partnership with Uber, as we believe it unlocks incredible value for our hospitality customers," said JD Saint-Martin, President of Lightspeed. "The restaurant industry continues to face significant challenges with staffing and increasingly narrow revenue margins. This partnership is an opportunity to provide our customers some relief in the form of a world-class delivery network and cost savings plan. We believe this is only the first step in a long-term relationship with Uber."

    "On-demand delivery is now a core expectation for consumers, with 75% of them expecting express delivery as an option, and merchants are taking note," said Bernie Huddlestun, Head of Uber Direct for the US and Canada. "We're proud to partner with Lightspeed to offer restaurants solutions that meet their customers' needs and encourage repeat orders, while giving restaurants the flexibility to offer seamless delivery experiences in the way that works best for growing their business."

    This integration is now available to Lightspeed Restaurant customers in North America with additional markets to follow.

  • 5/22/2024

    Red Robin Updates Loyalty Program

    Red Robin updated rewards program on mobile app

    Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. has transformed its popular loyalty program, Red Robin Royalty , making it easier for members to earn free food and perks faster than ever before. 

    Based on an internal survey conducted in 2023, where more than half of guest respondents indicated that they are looking to earn more rewards faster, Red Robin has replaced its previous rewards structure, which rewarded guests with a free entree for every nine entrees purchased.

    Now, Red Robin Royalty members will earn one point for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases, not just entrees. For every 100 points earned, members will receive a $10 reward to use on their Red Robin favorites.  

    "Our Red Robin Royalty members deserve to feel like royalty when dining with us," said Kevin Mayer, Red Robin's Chief Marketing Officer. "This overhauled loyalty program is the latest in a series of upgrades at Red Robin to enhance the guest experience through culinary innovation and superb service, and now, our members will be able to earn points faster, along with other exclusive perks, allowing them to cash in on their continued love of our delicious burgers, which is the number one ask that we heard.

    VIP Experiences 

    "The new VIP-like experience gives members the royal treatment with crave worthy sneak peeks and early access to new menu items, exclusive offers, including free birthday burgers (and kids' birthday burgers for Red Robin's littlest fans), plus a free appetizer for new members on sign-up. Somehow, Red Robin's Towering Onion Rings taste even better!

    Red Robin has always been about craveable food paired with an unbridled approach to hospitality and bottomless fun. The new loyalty program comes as Red Robin introduces its new Leave Room for Fun marketing campaign meant to remind people how great it feels to embrace their fun side and incentivize guests to dine at Red Robin for moments of connection over creative and delicious food that only Red Robin can provide.

    Red Robin's more than 13-million-member strong Royalty program first launched in 2008 and is one of the original restaurant programs to reward guests for their loyalty. To sign up for Red Robin Royalty® and begin earning rewards and perks from Red Robin throughout the year, visit redrobin.com/rewards and download the Red Robin mobile app. Full terms and conditions apply.

  • 5/22/2024

    Wendy's Promotes Two Executives

    Wendy's logo

    The Wendy's Company announced the appointment of Abigail Pringle to the newly created role of President, U.S. and E.J. Wunsch to President, International effective June 17. Pringle has served as President, International and Chief Development Officer since 2019, and in numerous leadership roles across Development, Operations and Strategic Initiatives since joining the Company in 2002.   Wunsch has served as Chief Legal Officer since joining the Company in 2016. He has been a strategic partner on various international initiatives across Australia, Asia, Europe and South America. Prior to Wendy's, Wunsch oversaw a substantial international legal portfolio with The Procter & Gamble Company, including four years stationed in Singapore with responsibility throughout Asia.

    As President, U.S., Pringle will direct all aspects of the Wendy's  U.S. business, which includes more than 6,000 Company-operated and franchised restaurants. Wunsch will assume similar accountability for the Wendy's International business across 33 countries and U.S. territories.

    "Since joining Wendy's earlier this year, I've carefully reviewed our business strategy and structure, and believe dedicated Presidents for our U.S. and International business segments alongside our global centers of excellence will help us accelerate our growth in same restaurant sales, digital and new restaurant development even faster," said President and CEO Kirk Tanner. "I believe having one leader with clear accountability for development and operational performance in both the U.S. and International businesses, along with a singular voice to those respective franchise systems, will be a catalyst to accelerating growth and performance. Fortunately, we have exceptional leaders for these important roles on the leadership team today. Abigail has been a critical architect of our restaurant development journey and has put our International business on firm footing that is ready for accelerated growth. She will now bring that discipline and drive for outsized performance to our U.S. business. E.J. is a strong, strategic business leader who has been deeply involved in the business in his current role. I'm confident he will bring his global experience and keen business acumen to support the health of our existing International business and grow our footprint further around the world."   

    "It has been a career highlight to lead our Global Development and International business over the past five years," said Pringle. "I know our U.S. business and franchisees exceptionally well and am confident that we still have much potential opportunity ahead for sales, profit and restaurant growth."

    Wunsch said, "I see a huge opportunity for Wendy's on the international stage. I'm eager to support our current franchise and Company operations in driving outsized growth, while also advancing our footprint to bring more Wendy's to more customers around the globe."

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