News Briefs


ShiftPixy Labs Develops Mobile Food Ordering Apps

man hands on a phone

ShiftPixy Inc. announced the development of ordering apps designed to elevate customer engagement with Digital Food Brands (DFBs) – online-only restaurants that deliver to the customer doorstep.

The ShiftPixy Labs apps will be uniquely branded for each DFB, and customers can easily browse menus, customize orders, add special instructions, track their delivery status in real time, pay for their meals and earn loyalty points all from their mobile devices. The new apps will be available for download on both iOS and Android devices.

“What sets our apps apart from the competition is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to personalize the customer experience,” said ShiftPixy Co-Founder and CEO, Scott Absher. “By analyzing past ordering history and preferences, and through a short chat with our brand characters within the app, the AI bot will present a few suggested menu items tailored specifically to each individual customer along with available deals with each order.”

Each DFB’s individual app will have its own unique brand identity and harness a loyalty program, such that each time a customer places an order, a portal to a “mini game” will be activated for 40 minutes, allowing the customer to play and earn loyalty points that can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, such as discounts on future orders, free menu items, early access to new menu items and promotions, and merchandise.

ShiftPixy Labs Digital Food Brands will embrace first-party delivery to make certain the entire cycle of customer engagement is protected and consistent, and customers will be able to reach ShiftPixy’s support team via the chatbot at any time after an order has been placed.

"...We believe that our new food ordering apps will engage customers through a personal digital experience that will keep them brand connected,” said Absher. 


SoundHound AI Unveils Its New Approach to Conversational AI

soundhound dynamic interaction screen shot

SoundHound AI Inc.  introduced Dynamic Interaction, conversational AI that not only recognizes  and understands speech, but also responds and acts in real-time. 

Where existing voice technology requires wake words and relies on turn-taking to process requests, Dynamic Interaction uses the twin technologies of fragment parsing – which breaks speech down to partial-utterances and processes them in real-time – and full-duplex audio-visual integration to create an instantaneous, next-generation experience. 

In customer service settings, like ordering food at a restaurant, this means that users won’t have to speak in a slow or unnatural way in order to be understood. They can communicate just as if they were talking to a human, receive instant responses, and customize and edit a food order “live” as they go.  

Dynamic Interaction:

  • Instantly follows and captures fluent speech in real-time.
  • Completely ignores off-topic speech – only responding to domain-specific topics, like the items on a menu.  
  • Multimodal, continuous feedback confirms requests via audio and visuals “live” as the customer engages with a device or service – gives firm reassurance that an order or request has been understood accurately 
  • Allows users to change, adapt, and delete requests in real-time. Food orders can be customized and changed using natural human speech
  • Makes proactive suggestions to the user based on a real-time interpretation of the user’s speech – like a dessert menu popping up onscreen when a customer says “for dessert I’ll have…”
  • Users can input information via voice and touch interface interchangeably and simultaneously. 
  • Assistant responds with audio and visual output, and intelligently decides when to speak to the user versus simply updating the visual output    

For restaurants, Dynamic Interaction can be used in a drive thru, a kiosk, a smartphone, laptop, or even over the phone, where Dynamic Interaction can give smart, instant verbal and visual interactions. 


Toast Buys Delphi Display Systems

drive thru gal

Toast  has acquired Delphi Display Systems, a  provider of digital display solutions and drive-thru technology for quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Specializing in advanced immersive technology, Delphi solutions have been installed at tens of thousands of sites globally. 

Delphi's technology, which has the potential to reach the more than 400,000 QSRs and fast-casual eateries in the United States, extends Toast’s growing suite of products that benefit QSRs and enterprise brands, including Toast Flex for Guest, Toast Mobile Order and Pay, Toast Kiosks, Toast Online Ordering, Order with Google, and more. Toast’s solutions are designed to help QSRs improve speed of service, facilitate faster workflows for ordering and the kitchen, unlock additional revenue opportunities, and increase efficiency.

Adding new features, functionalities, and modules to existing POS is a priority for 71% of respondents, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

According to Toast’s Voice of the Restaurant Industry survey*, on average restaurants are managing seven service models including drive-thru. To help restaurants succeed as they navigate the changing landscape, Toast continues to innovate by focusing on solutions that optimize different service models to unlock growth and increase efficiency.

 *Toast conducted a blind survey of 956 restaurant decision-makers from May 13, 2022, to June 28, 2022. Respondents were not made aware that Toast was fielding the study. Panel providers granted incentives to restaurant respondents for participation. Using a standard margin of error calculation, at a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error on average is +/- 3%.


HEI Hotels & Resorts Names Cindy Murphy Regional Vice President of Operations


Officials of HEI Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality investment and management company, announced that Cindy Murphy has been named regional vice president of operations.

“A hospitality expert with nearly thirty years of experience, Cindy is the ideal candidate to help HEI achieve its growth goals by providing invaluable support to our general managers in the field,” said Anthony Rutledge, managing partner and CEO, HEI Hotels & Resorts. “She has worked at virtually all levels of the industry, from property level positions with Embassy Suites by Hilton to corporate roles with IHG and Sonesta. This vast experience provides her with a unique perspective that will benefit our entire portfolio. Throughout her career, Cindy has demonstrated an uncanny ability to find the best in her teams. Cindy brings something ‘extra’ to the table, and we look forward to her working her magic at HEI.”

Prior to joining HEI, Murphy was vice president of operations and head of the Sonesta Select brand for Sonesta Hotels where she was responsible for 224 company managed hotels that generated $750 million annually. She also held similar roles with IHG as vice president of franchise performance support and Trust Hospitality, LLC, as vice president of operations and technical services. Murphy worked at Marriott International as senior director brand management for Marriott’s Autograph Collection and played a key role in the growth and long-term viability of Marriott’s collection of unique independent luxury and upper upscale hotels. Additionally, Murphy held leadership roles with Choice Hotels and Hilton Hotel Corp. She is an AHLEI Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) and is certified in hotel real estate investments and asset management by Cornell University. Murphy received her Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in hospitality management from DeVry University and her Master of Business Administration from Emory University Goizueta Business School.

“I had the good fortune to work with HEI in a franchise support role for the past five years, and their sincerity, expertise and professionalism were immediately apparent,” Murphy noted. "HEI stands apart from the competition by living and breathing their business ethos. I'm excited for this next chapter in my career, and I look forward to providing our general managers with the tools they need to not only succeed in their day-to-day jobs, but also to assist them along their own professional career arcs.”


The WorkNomads Lab Hotel Selects INTELITY for Mobile Guest Experience

The WorkNomads Lab Hotel guestroom

INTELITY®, a provider of guest experience and staff operations platform, announced today a new deal with The WorkNomads Lab Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria. The newly opened, mixed-use hotel will implement INTELITY’s mobile offerings, including a branded mobile app, mobile check-in, mobile key, and GEMS®, Guest Experience Management System — INTELITY’s suite of staff-facing tools.

Located in Bulgaria’s capital city, The WorkNomads Lab Hotel is the country’s largest coliving hotel and features a mix of both hotel rooms, and flexible coliving and coworking spaces well-appointed for living and working in a post-pandemic world. With onsite offerings, including communal kitchens, office areas, a bar and restaurant, rooftop amenities, and a laundry room, The WorkNomads Lab Hotel is ideal for younger guests and remote workers looking for a modern approach to work, travel, and beyond.

“Today’s younger, digital-savvy guests crave a personalized and seamless experience,” said Katrien Meire, Founder and Executive Director at WorkNomads. “With the INTELITY platform, we are able to not only achieve this, but also get guests checked into their rooms as conveniently as possible. This allows our team members to serve guests in other ways and provide the flexible, modern experience our guests expect in their daily lives and at The WorkNomads Lab Hotel.”

With a branded mobile app powered by the INTELITY platform, contactless service and digital amenities will be available to The WorkNomads Lab Hotel’s guests, as well as longer-term residents and workers, throughout their stay. By downloading the property’s app, guests can enjoy the convenience of using their mobile devices to check-in, check-out, place in-room dining orders, and make service requests. The branded app also allows guests to bypass the front desk and access their room key directly from their mobile phone. Additionally, INTELITY’s back-of-house workflow management system, GEMS, automates guest requests and work orders, streamlines services, and delivers business insights to the management team.

“We are very pleased to welcome The WorkNomads Lab Hotel to the INTELITY family of properties,” said Robert Stevenson, CEO of INTELITY. “The INTELITY platform is well adapted to hotel, mixed-use, and residential use cases, and we’ve seen increasing utilization in new areas matching the global shifts in flexible working and travel. Katrien and her team’s vision for WorkNomads is moving the dial when it comes to providing a modern work-travel experience, and, by adding the INTELITY platform, we couldn’t be more excited to help them elevate this experience even further.”


FitnessOnDemand to Collaborate with Marriott Bonvoy

man doing a plank

Fitness OnDemand™, a provider of premium fitness content for clubs and hospitality fitness centers, announces a collaboration with Marriott Bonvoy®, Marriott International’s travel program and marketplace, to offer members free access to a range of virtual fitness classes that travelers can access from the comfort of their hotel room, the beach, pool, or hotel gym. Guests can either access content online or via the FitnessOnDemand™ app across 450+ hotels in Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

The new collaboration with FitnessOnDemand now makes it simple for Marriott Bonvoy members to access guided yoga, meditation – as well as all kinds of specialty workouts – in the privacy of their hotel rooms or anywhere they may choose on the hotel grounds.

“A lot of hotel travelers are looking for relaxation on vacation or to unwind after a busy work trip meeting,” said Uday Anumalachetty, divisional vice president, FitnessOnDemand. “Members at participating hotels can now access a large catalog of on-demand, cardio and specialty classes that get the heart pumping; or a wide variety of self-guided meditation sessions and instructor-led yoga classes that help them de-stress and refresh – all from the privacy of their own hotel room. No prior experience is needed so any guest can try something invigorating and new to them or find a class that helps them stay on track with familiar workouts from home.”

Collaboration based on survey findings

The collaboration follows research conducted by Marriott Bonvoy among 16,000 adults across Europe, the Middle East and Africa into their fitness habits and attitudes to exercising while away from home.  Results from the research show that one fifth of all U.K. travelers feel unfit if they fail to work out while traveling and, of those that do workout 42% said that they exercise on vacation because it is good for their mental wellbeing and helps them to return home in a better state of mind. A third of South Africans (33%) believe exercise allows them to spend time alone and prioritize their self-care. Yoga and mindful meditation are particularly important to hotel guests across the different countries, with the majority saying they would like to take up yoga and to try meditation on vacation but feel they don’t have access to the tools they need.

The survey also revealed different approaches to exercise habits while on vacation across the countries. The British were the most idle with only 53% saying they work out on vacation, in comparison to over the 90% of residents of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia who proactively work out while away. Three quarters of Italians and Spanish travelers make a conscious effort to exercise on holiday, with a third of those not normally working out at home, showing an increased interest in fitness while away.  It seems that French travelers most like to indulge on holiday, with a third exercising because they feel the need to burn off the extra calories they consume through the food and alcohol they consume while away. Despite the best of intentions, seven in 10 Germans (71%) who exercise on holiday have suffered a workout faux pas, with nearly a quarter (23%) getting lost when going for a run or cycle in the local area

This new initiative offers Marriott Bonvoy members at participating locations free access to a wide range of virtual fitness classes that people can access either online or via the FitnessOnDemand app, giving full flexibility to members to work out how and when they choose. Members are offered a seven-day access of the FitnessOnDemand workout platform every time they stay at a participating hotel in more than 450 hotels and resorts across Europe, Middle East & Africa.

To enrol in Marriott Bonvoy and discover how to blend travel with staying on track with exercise visit To access FitnessOnDemand, members simply scan a QR code provided by each participating hotel, complete their registration details to receive a verification email and connect online or via the app. Although Marriott Bonvoy members receive a complimentary seven-day access to the platform on each hotel stay, they have the option to continue using it longer by subscribing for $5.99/month via the mobile app on any iOS or Android device.