News Briefs

01/18/2023

Hospitality Has a New Labor Resource with Debut of shiftNOW

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shiftNOW announced the launch of its software solution designed to connect hospitality's finest brands to quality talent.

Founded in 2022, shiftNOW provides a flexible solution to one of the hospitality industry's greatest challenges - talent. The industry is plagued by a labor shortage that is causing a ripple effect on businesses' operating hours, revenue, and overall success. According to the National Restaurant Association, 72% of operators ranked recruitment and retention of their workforce as their top challenge. Fractures in the industry's workforce have only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and compounded by other macroeconomic factors, like inflation and the "Great Resignation". 

With shiftNOW, hospitality businesses can remove the hassle from hiring by streamlining open shifts and controlling how their business is resourced. The easy-to-use platform enables businesses to post open shifts and select the best candidate from a network of qualified, vetted talent. Every verified candidate undergoes a thorough, one-on-one vetting process led by the shiftNOW recruitment team.

"Hourly workers are increasingly seeking autonomy over when, where, and how they work, making it challenging for businesses to find consistent, quality employees," said shiftNOW founder and CEO, David Wise. "shiftNOW is fulfilling a critical need in the hospitality industry - qualified talent that's available and ready to work. We're making shiftNOW synonymous with quality – we want our clients to have the best workforce and our users to have the best experience."

Exclusive hourly opportunities with competitive pay are now available to qualified individuals through shiftNOW's mobile app. Individuals seeking hourly opportunities can browse the Shifter by shiftNOW app for available shifts in their area and get matched based on their experience.

With a focus on serving restaurants and bars, hospitality groups, event venues, golf courses, and country clubs, shiftNOW is dedicated to bringing high-quality talent to premier establishments.

shiftNOW is currently operating in Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina with plans to expand throughout the Southeast and beyond.

To learn more about shiftNOW, visit www.shiftnow.com.

Hourly shift workers can download the Shifter by shiftNOW mobile app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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01/18/2023

Marriott International Announces Instant Booking Solution for Meetings and Events With Groups360

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Marriott International and Groups360 announced the launch of Instant Booking for Marriott’s portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada. Marriott International is the first brand to have a direct integration with Groups360 to offer the “Instant Book” functionality for both guest rooms and meeting space at scale on GroupSync Marketplace, providing planners with a streamlined booking process at the click of a button.

As the meetings and events landscape becomes more dynamic, many planners are currently challenged by the lengthy sourcing and contracting process, especially for smaller events. The need to book meeting space separately from guest rooms only adds complexity. GroupSync’s direct integration with Marriott now offers planners access to real-time best available group rates and inventory at over 1,500 Marriott properties across the United States and Canada, with additional growth expected throughout 2023. Once the instant booking is completed on GroupSync, hotels receive instant notification for faster handling and execution of small meetings.* This new capability significantly reduces planning time and directly addresses the needs of Marriott’s group customers.

In addition, planners now have the benefit of viewing inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events at all Marriott hotels globally. The combination of these new capabilities turns the “sourcing” process into the “shopping” or “buying” process, simplifying the way planners book meetings.

“Through our collaboration with Groups360, we can now deliver real-time instant booking through GroupSync Marketplace at hotels in the U.S. and Canada,” said Drew Pinto, Global Officer, Global Sales, Distribution and Revenue Management, Marriott International. “This offers our group customers what they have told us they are looking for, which is a much more seamless and efficient booking experience. Our industry-leading integration with Groups360 will also allow all Marriott hotels globally to receive and respond to RFPs quickly and efficiently through a two-way response process. This will be a win-win for both planners and hotels.”

“We are thrilled to have Marriott International join GroupSync Marketplace. Event organizers benefit not only from instant booking for rooms and space but from à la carte catering and equipment ordering, too,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360. “Their involvement is a testament to the commitment to reduce friction in group travel planning and help hoteliers, like Marriott, enhance their customer relationships. With the addition of Marriott International, we anticipate that over 20,000 leading hotel properties will be equipped to offer online group booking in the months ahead.”

Marriott is celebrating the GroupSync Marketplace launch by giving away 1 million Marriott Bonvoy® points with the Plan to Win Giveaway. To enter the giveaway, instantly book your small event for the chance to win 30,000 points, or book a larger event using GroupSync's streamlined RFP process at one of Marriott’s extraordinary hotel brands for a chance to win 20,000 points. Visit Marriott-GroupSync Giveaway for complete details and rules.

*A small meeting is defined as 10-25 guest rooms on peak and/or events for up to 50 attendees, starting 4 days out and up to 1 year out with a maximum length of stay of 7 days.

01/18/2023

Optii Solutions Launches Data Analytics Team to Double Down on Advanced Predictive Technology

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Optii Solutions, the leading cloud-based hotel operations software, announced today an increased investment and focus on advanced technologies and analytics, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

By creating a formal data analytics team, Optii Solutions will ensure that its use of these advanced technologies will continue to play a key role in its product development strategy going forward. After extensive conversations with customers over the last 12 months, it is clear that AI and ML are central to the increases in operational performances at Optii customer hotels. It’s also one of the main drivers of differentiation for the company in a field of static task management systems it competes against.

Dino Pietropaolo, Chief Technology Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “When we look at our competitors, it is clear that hotel operations technology based on digitizing traditional ways of working has reached a point of diminishing returns. We see the rate of performance improvements fall off a cliff just a few months after implementation with these solutions. While AI and ML has been a part of Optii’s approach, we have an exciting runway in how we leverage these technologies. Soon, Optii will be able to make an impressive set of decisions and predictions that can make operations the most advanced part of the hotel. And it will never stop learning.”

Hotel operations have been traditionally labor intensive, and while this will never go away, those in operations positions at hotels will soon have access to tools that will dramatically change the operational decision-making process.

Katherine Grass, Chief Executive Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “The micro and macro challenges facing the hospitality industry are real, and it’s our job as technologists to put our best foot forward and help solve these challenges. In this case, we recognize that the use of advanced technologies is optimial and Optii’s strength. The efficiency and productivity gains Optii customers are seeing today are really just the beginning. With the use of Optii, I foresee hotel operations leaders pushing the boundaries in new ways, and their roles within their respective organizations being elevated. Their level of impact on the business as well as guest experience will reach new heights.“

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01/18/2023

Carnival Corporation Expands Next-Generation Wi-Fi Connectivity with SpaceX’s Starlink

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Carnival Corporation & plc announced an agreement for the next-generation of internet connectivity across its global fleet, the latest in a series of moves that have nearly tripled ship bandwidth since 2019. The company has signed a new agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink, the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology, to provide faster service, greater capacity and more reliable Wi-Fi on a global scale.

Fleet roll-out of Starlink began in December 2022 with Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships, with plans to expand Starlink to several of the company’s other world-class cruise brands, which include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.

Rivaling on-land connectivity experiences, Starlink greatly advances Carnival Corporation’s focus on providing the best available Wi-Fi experience for its guests to stay connected while on vacation, including sharing photos and videos, streaming movies and live sporting events, and enjoying other content onboard with a reliable connection at even faster speeds.

“For many of our guests, it has become more and more important to maintain the type of connectivity at sea that they’ve become accustomed to at home, and of course to share the unforgettable experiences of their cruise with friends and family,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We are in the business of delivering happiness, and Starlink makes it as easy as possible for our guests to share all their great moments and memories, giving them even more joy out of their cruise vacation.”

According to Weinstein, “The added bandwidth will give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features, as well as help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams. And importantly, adding Starlink’s innovative technology to the company’s existing connectivity platform will also help our amazing crew stay in touch with friends and loved ones.”

“High-speed, low-latency broadband internet is critical in our modern age, and we’re excited to provide Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA’s guests an internet experience that makes their travel even more enjoyable,” said Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink sales for SpaceX. “In even the most remote waters, guests onboard Carnival Corporation ships will be able to share real-time updates with friends and family.”

Starlink agreement advances Carnival Corporation’s connectivity leadership strategy

Starlink joins a growing portfolio of world-class communications service, satellite and other technology providers that make up Carnival Corporation’s industry-leading, fleetwide connectivity ecosystem. As a global cruise company with nearly 100 ships visiting over 700 ports worldwide, Carnival Corporation’s innovative, multi-provider connectivity framework is designed to strategically route internet traffic to optimize network speeds across its fleet anywhere in the world.

01/18/2023

Deliverect, MarginEdge Joins Toast Partner Ecosystem

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MarginEdge

Deliverect and MarginEdge have joined the Toast  Partner Ecosystem. The MarginEdge integration will allow Toast restaurants to have another direct connection for daily sales and labor data and product mix information while the  Deliverect integration allows a restaurant to integrate all online orders to the POS.  

MarginEdge restaurant management system automates tedious processes, connecting Toast to a restaurant's accounting system and helps to streamline key activities like inventory, bill pay and ordering. This integration will allow restaurant owners and operators to streamline processes and reduce the time it takes to complete their back-office paperwork. This allows them to make immediate data-driven decisions to optimize their bottom line.

Tighter integrations with other operating systems is driving 46% of restaurants’ POS upgrades, according to HT's 2022 POS Software Trends report

Deliverect removes the need to manually rekey orders from various channels, so businesses can increase operational efficiency, save time and money, and ramp up customer satisfaction. 

Toast is a cloud-based, all-in-one digital technology platform purpose-built for the entire restaurant community. It works with integration partners in its Toast Partner Ecosystem, a curated portfolio of more than 180 partners who deliver specialized technology and services to help restaurant operators increase sales, engage guests and keep employees happy.

01/18/2023

How Big Boy Improves Cost, Efficiency

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American restaurant brand Big Boy Restaurant Group LLC has partnered with Oracle to modernize its systems. With MICROS Simphony Cloud Point of Sale (POS) and Oracle Payment Cloud Service, the chain will be able to streamline its ordering and payment processing across the entire system, while also better using data to manage inventory and new opportunities such as ghost kitchens. 

"As our brand continues to evolve, we needed an enterprise-grade solution that could meet our changing demands and become our forever POS," said Matthew Gilmour, Director of Information Technology at Big Boy Restaurant Group, LLC. "For us, one of the key benefits of Oracle Payment Cloud is its ability to help reduce credit card processing rates. By leveraging the latest technologies and industry-leading security measures, Oracle Payment Cloud enables us to process transactions more efficiently and securely, which will ultimately lead to lower fees and increased savings. Oracle made the entire process from sales to implementation a seamless and effortless experience."

64% of restaurants surveyed say enabling new payment options are drivers impacting POS upgrades decisions in 2022, according to HT's 2022 POS Software Trends report

Home to the original Big Boy Burger, Slim Jim, and its Classic Blockbuster Breakfast, Big Boy has been a mainstay in American history since 1936.

With Oracle, the brand will be able to continue to modernize its operations and customer service while preparing for the future. For example, Big Boy plans to leverage the comprehensive analytics and reporting and mobile order entry, table management, smart cash, and real-time inventory management capabilities in Oracle's restaurant commerce platform to increase efficiency across it business and reduce waste. And with the addition of Payment Cloud Service, the brand can offer diners a range of order and payment options, including contactless and mobile, at a fraction of the costs of traditional payment processing. Combined, these capabilities make for a more efficient, flexible, and convenient guest experience, increasing customer and staff satisfaction levels across Big Boy's restaurant footprint.

Big Boy's also plans to leverage the platform's open API and partner integrations to support its delivery and marketing efforts. By leveraging these solutions, Big Boy can increase sales by effectively promoting its brand and offerings, as well as simplify the third-party ordering and fulfillment process across delivery services such as DoorDash and GrubHub. Future integration plans include considering drive-thru, self-checkout kiosks, and QR code ordering. Oracle's kitchen displays with priority ordering not only streamline operations for Big Boy's ghost kitchens, but also provide a valuable revenue boost by enabling efficient fulfillment of orders for multiple brands.