News Briefs

02/21/2023

Tyme Introduces Biometric-Enabled Kiosks

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Comprehensive restaurant ordering platform Tyme and biometrics fintech company PopID, which is part of The Cali Group, have formed a partnership.

PopID is bringing its face verification platform, called PopPay, to Tyme self-checkout kiosks. The new integration will allow consumers to use face verification to check in and receive personalized order recommendations and also pay on Tyme kiosks. This update, paired with the kiosk's ability to accept traditional payment forms, will enhance the customer experience by giving them flexibility in how they order and pay.

71% say the ability to integrate with other systems is driving their POS purchase decisions, according to HT’s 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

The new integration moves biometrics from its rapidly expanding usage in airports to restaurants and retail stores.  A customer that enrolls in the service can choose to "check in" with a face scan, and the customer sees his or her favorite orders from that particular location, including their their favorite modifications and order add-ons.

How it Works

  • A customer submits a selfie when enrolling with PopID's PopPay and links a credit / debit card or bank account to their account.
  • When the customer checks in with PopPay on a Time kiosk, the machine scans their face and shows their favorite orders. 
  • When the customer goes to check out on a Tyme kiosk, the machine scans their face again and recognizes the payment information linked to their account.
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02/20/2023

Journey Hospitality Launches Hotel Consultancy Division

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UK hotel technology company Journey Hospitality has announced the launch of its first Consultancy division, dedicated to helping hoteliers digitally transform their business and the industry as a whole. 

As part of the company’s mission to revolutionise hotel ecommerce, the new Consulting division is headed by Strategic Director Simon Kaye and Susanne Williams as Commercial Director - Consulting. 

Kaye joins Journey from his role as VP Services and Client Delivery for Alliants. HIs technology background, paired with commercial nous, sees Kaye act as a surrogate CIO for hospitality companies, identifying gaps in technology stacks and providing solutions to ensure businesses are performing well today and in the future. 

Williams returns to Journey Hospitality from Alliants to deliver strategies that drive growth in the commercial and technology space for hotels. Her expertise in driving profitability across all revenue streams with commercial frameworks that deliver business change at board level will provide Journey’s clients with unique analyses and recommendations to improve performance. 

Simon Bullingham, founder and CEO of Journey Hospitality, said: “It’s important to us that we engage with our partners and customers to drive wider change in hotel ecommerce - and a more profitable future for the industry. The launch of our Consultancy division allows Journey Hospitality to further extend support to the industry, helping investors, owners and operators identify opportunities to improve both today and tomorrow.”

Williams said: “Returning to Journey was an easy choice. I know how much value they add to their clients and how customer relationships are integral to the way they do business. The new Consultancy division will build upon that ethos in an area of the industry that Journey has previously not explored - working closely with investors, owners and operators to identify transformational opportunities for growth.”

Kaye said: “With our proven track record of delivering strategies that drive growth in both the commercial and back-of-house for hotel groups and individual properties, I’m excited to lead this new chapter for Journey Hospitality along with Susanne. I look forward to helping companies through digital transformation and improving their operational effectiveness whilst keeping guests at their heart.”

Journey’s new consultancy team has experience in reinvigorating hospitality companies, including leading brands such as Four Seasons, Warner Leisure and Soho House’s venture Mollie’s Motel and Diners. 

In March 2022, Journey Hospitality launched its revolutionary all-in-one ecommerce platform, onejourney® servicing over 130 luxury hotels and resorts worldwide, facilitating multi-product shopping baskets, and driving sales of non-accommodation facilities and services, and ancillary revenue streams. 

02/17/2023

ShiftPixy Labs Develops Mobile Food Ordering Apps

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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. 

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02/16/2023

SoundHound AI Unveils Its New Approach to Conversational AI

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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. 

02/16/2023

Toast Buys Delphi Display Systems

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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%.

02/15/2023

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

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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.”