News Briefs

01/24/2023

Relay Robotics Adds Senior Product Leadership

Image
logo, company name

Relay Robotics, Inc. a supplier of service robots to the hospitality, healthcare, and real estate industries, announced the addition of three key executives to its Product team. Matt Townsend joins as Vice President, Software Engineering; Eric Nguyen joins as Vice President, Product Management; and Jason Hu joins as Senior Designer.

"We're excited to add Matt, Eric, and Jason to our Product team just as we're experiencing rapid growth and interest from some of the largest customers in hospitality, healthcare and corporate locations," said Michael O'Donnell, Relay Robotics Chairman & CEO. "Their 50 plus years of collective experience designing and building award-winning software and hardware products will enhance our strong team and bring new levels of innovation and speed to market."

Before Relay, Matt Townsend held senior roles at Aspiration (VP, Engineering), Kollective Technology (VP, Engineering), Amazon (Software Development Manager, Amazon Lab126), Visual Concepts (Senior Lead Software Engineer) and Motorola (Software Engineer, Intern).

“Matt’s proven ability to grow and manage world-class engineering teams will help us meet the next set of challenges as we scale the business,” said Steve Cousins, Relay Robotics Founder & Chief Technology Officer.

Eric Nguyen brings 25 years of product management and operations experience from senior positions at Kollective Technology (Chief Product Officer), Jama Software (Vice President of Marketing and Sales Development), and Admax Network (Director of Products and Operations).

“Eric’s extensive experience designing and building award-winning software and hardware products will enhance our team and push us to new levels of innovation and customer satisfaction,” said O’Donnell.

Jason Hu brings years of industrial design and user experience work to bear on the unique challenges of fielding robots that work directly with the general public. At the Academy of Art in San Francisco he studied, among other things, Human Robot Interaction design, and has been working with Relay Robotics for years as a consultant.

“We are extremely happy to have Jason full-time on the team as we enter this new phase of Relay Robotics history. He has the background we need to continue Relay’s leadership in designing robots that continually delight people and support our clients in the service industry,” said Cousins.

Advertisement
01/24/2023

SOCi's New Feature Offers Geographical View of Keyword Rankings

Image
Google ads

Marketing platform SOCi Inc. released an enhancement to the platform’s Listings solution, SOCi GeoRank. SOCi GeoRank gives brands a complete picture of their local search performance through an easily consumable, visual map display of how a brand’s locations are ranking against top local competitors at the hyper-local or block level.

Rankings Matter

With one out of every two consumer searches now having local intent, how often a brand appears in Google's top three local search results is more important than ever, especially considering that 78% of local searches result in an offline conversion. 

“Multi-location brands need to be able to monitor how well their locations rank in local search results to create a successful localized SEO strategy. Securing a top ranking for your business locations not only requires good SEO know-how and persistence, but a sophisticated toolset as well,” said Alo Sarv, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, SOCi. “SOCi GeoRank provides multi-location businesses a scalable way to not just check, but keep track of their local business rankings through the ability to see ranking averages and changes over time by target keyword at the hyper-local, group, or corporate level.” 

With SOCi GeoRank, multi-location marketers can dive deeper into ranking insights to see competitors’ total reviews, average review scores, and Google Business Profile categories to further investigate how to make informed SEO decisions. To assist in making and acting on these decisions, SOCi provides professional services.

01/24/2023

PreciTaste Launches Line of Plug-and-Play Products

Image
PreciHub tech solution

PreciTaste, a provider of smart software automation for restaurant operations management, is launching a line of off-the-shelf products that support the crew: Prep AssistantPlanner Assistant, and Station Assistant.

PreciHub is the central platform that houses and delivers PreciTaste's restaurant solutions, providing clear visibility for managers to better direct individual crew members and precise guidance for crews to streamline their daily tasks. The Prep Assistant uses information from each operation to predict demand and then accurately guides crews on how much to prep per day. The Planner Assistant uses quantity forecasts to produce an automated production schedule to guide crews to make the right quantity at the right time. 

As more data is collected, PreciHub can evolve into a complete Vision AI cooking system, the Station Assistant, which uses demand prediction, inventory sensing, and deep learning recommendations to provide constant guidance to crews at each food station.

With nearly 2,000 food AI systems deployed in some of the largest food chains over the past two years, PreciTaste is a proven platform that now expands its restaurant operations management solutions to a breadth of food services, ranging in different sizes, offerings, and operational needs.

Advertisement
01/24/2023

Jack in the Box Taps Advanced Location Intelligence

Image
handshake partnership

Jack in the Box and SiteZeus, an A.I.-powered location intelligence platform, recently announced a partnership designed to bring technology to the restaurant brand's site-selection and market-analysis process.

Data-Driven Decisions

The partnership came from SiteZeus' comprehensive solutions suite and Jack in the Box's need for a more robust market-planning tool. With data, real-time insights, white-space analysis, sales forecasting, and more, SiteZeus will support the brand's approach to portfolio expansion and optimization.

"The key selling points for us were the speed with which SiteZeus was able to create and validate a model and the ability to update that model as often as we'd like," says Jason Scarbrough, Lead Financial Analyst at Jack in the Box.

Jack in the Box sees an opportunity to expand its footprint by strategically entering new markets and pursuing infill growth in core markets. The brand's real estate team is implementing SiteZeus' white-space analysis solution to identify areas across the country where consumers are most likely to visit a Jack in the Box restaurant.

"SiteZeus' white-space analysis will help us prioritize growth opportunities and quickly enable us to guide franchisees toward the best opportunities," says Tim Linderman, SVP, Chief Development Officer.

The Accuracy of A.I.

The team is also using the software's data modeling to better understand the factors driving each store's success and develop regional strategies. The platform's sales forecasts have helped the brand quickly pinpoint promising sites to outpace competitors in the fight for prime real estate.

"SiteZeus allows us to focus on strategic growth in new and existing markets by harnessing all the power that A.I has to offer," says Linderman.

About SiteZeus

SiteZeus is a location intelligence company using fast, accurate predictive models to help emerging and established multi-unit brands enhance their market planning. Companies across multiple industries utilize the platform to confidently expand and optimize their portfolios for maximum revenue.

01/23/2023

Digital Tip Platform Raises $4M

Image
person giving a tip to a hotel employee via digital app

Grazzy, a next-gen employee payments platform, announces $4.25MM in Seed funding from Next Coast Ventures and Tuesday Capital to fuel the rapid expansion and growth of its digital tipping, same-day pay, and better, more inclusive banking capabilities. The completion of the Seed round brings Grazzy's total Seed funding to $6.8MM.

Grazzy helps hotels, bars, restaurants and more improve employee retention and recruiting by increasing wages, unlocking instant access to same-day earnings, and offering more inclusive financial wellness for hourly employees. By putting employee satisfaction at the center of the experience, Grazzy creates happier employees who stay in their roles longer and provide better guest experiences.

BWH Hotel Group Partners with eTip and Visa to Offer Digital Tipping in the U.S. and Canada

The Grazzy platform offers the modern familiarity of a P2P payments experience that guests love, but with the enterprise-level branding, compliance and reporting that's required to successfully deliver ROI at scale.

  • Digital tipping: Guests utilize QR codes to instantly tip staff in less than 10 seconds, with no app required. The guest interface is property-branded and can also be integrated with any existing guest applications. 
     
  • Same Day Pay: The flexible platform offers multiple payout options for tips, including Grazzy Direct, which allows staff to access their tips instantly. Same day access to earnings provides a powerful competitive advantage for businesses to both keep and recruit hourly employees.
     
  • Low fees
     
  • Built for operational scale: Businesses can meet tax compliance, and measure effective wage increases, retention improvement, and overall guest satisfaction all on a single screen.

Today, several of the world's biggest and most beloved hotel brands are leveraging the Grazzy platform to enable digital tipping, same-day pay, and in-the-moment positive feedback for their team members. Grazzy offers these customers digital tipping enablement at no cost and low fees.

This latest infusion of capital will be used to accelerate growth across large hotel brands and operating groups, restaurant groups, and salons looking for modern ways to improve the employee experience, while reducing costs. Additionally, this funding will support the continuation of seamless integrations between the Grazzy platform and the major systems (PMS, HMA, and POS) that most hospitality and service businesses rely on to run their operations.

01/23/2023

Grubhub, Topanga.io Bring Reusable Carryout Packaging to College Campuses

Image
grubhub app

Grubhub and Topanga.io, a reusable packaging management platform, have teamed up to introduce reusable carryout packaging on participating college campuses.

Diners who place a to-go order from on-campus dining locations via the Grubhub app will be able to select reusable packaging at checkout through Topanga.io's ReusePass program. Meals will be packaged in a reusable container using Topanga.io's track-and-trace technology, allowing campus diners to keep track of what containers they have and when they need to be returned. This program is currently available at The Ohio State University and Colorado State University, with plans to expand to more campuses throughout the year.

Other delivery companies are addressing sustainable packaging solutions. Uber and Visa 
announced a new program designed to support small-and medium-sized businesses in their transition to green and sustainable packaging solutions

SUSTAINABILITY FOR THE PLANET

Sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food wasteAccording to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.

"Grubhub's campus partners have been vocal that sustainable solutions are a top priority, and we're looking forward to working with Topanga.io to support universities' sustainability efforts," said Adam Herbert, senior director of campus partnerships at Grubhub. "The campus dining world presents a large and scalable opportunity for sustainable solutions like this one, and we're excited to expand our suite of campus dining offerings to our partners."

"Grubhub is a leader in mobile ordering technology and has a great reputation among its campus partners, so we're thrilled to be working with them as we bring our mission to eliminate single-use packaging to campuses across the country," said Page Schult, CEO of Topanga.io. "We've been very intentional to build the best technology in the market, and it has been great to work with a leading provider like Grubhub to further bolster the strength of our campus offering," echoed Adam Bailey, CTO of Topanga.io.

"Sustainability is part of the culture for Student Life Dining Services at The Ohio State University," said Zia Ahmed, senior director of dining services at The Ohio State University. "We are pleased to work with our partners as we take key steps toward making progress in reducing waste and advancing our sustainability efforts."

"Colorado State University's residential dining services team has been eager to bring Topanga.io's ReusePass program to campus in partnership with Grubhub to expand on our sustainability initiatives," said Patrick St. Clair, assistant director, support services at Colorado State University. "It's efforts like this one that allows us to continue driving forward-thinking efforts and innovation within our residential dining program while leveraging and growing our program technologically. Today, we're excited to offer the Reusepass program to our students, faculty, and staff."

Grubhub partners with more than 270 college campuses across the United States to give students the ability to integrate meal plans directly into their Grubhub account and access restaurants both on- and off-campus for delivery and pickup. Topanga has helped QSRs, grocery delivery, and meal prep companies launch data-driven reusable packaging programs and is excited to bring their innovative technology to campuses nationwide. To date, they've helped their clients manage 1,200,000 reusable assets.