Up and coming QSR Salad and Go is expanding in Texas with three new locations opening in February in the Houston markets of Katy, Richmond and League City.
The Katy store locatedopened February 1, the Richmond location at is set to open February 17, and the League City store plans to open its doors on February 22. These new locations will mark the start of rapid brand expansion across the Greater Houston area.
These suburbs were strategically selected as ideal markets for Salad and Go as some of the fastest growing communities in the region. Conveniently located in some of Houston's most popular suburbs, the new locations will provide fresh, high-quality meals with quick and easy convenience at an affordable price.
As Salad and Go continues growing its national presence with a strong focus on Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada, the brand's expansive growth has it on a positive trajectory to provide fresh and affordable food to communities in more than 125 locations by the end of 2023. Houston is the next step in the brand's expansion across Texas with plans to open additional stores in the market throughout the new year.
Salad and Go's chef-curated menu provides guests with food for any time of the day by offering a variety of delicious and healthy items including salads, wraps, breakfast burritos and soup as well as beverages including hand-crafted lemonades, teas and cold brew coffees.
Salad and Go ensures each meal contains fresh, quality ingredients while keeping prices low by vertically integrating operations and distribution, and sourcing ingredients directly from high-quality local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. The brand's mission to make fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable for ALL extends beyond its stores and is demonstrated in the work the brand does to donate 4,000 meals every week to those in need, as well as in partnerships with nonprofits to support and fundraise for various worthy causes.
Focus Brands says dual branding is the future of QSR, and the parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s, is leading the charge. Today, the Focus Brands portfolio boasts 175-plus open dual branded units with at least 65 more in various stages of development across the country.
The Focus Brands portfolio brands have signed agreements to open more than 50 dual and tri-brand locations in the coming year, many of which include drive-thrus for added convenience as interest in dual branded franchise opportunities continues to surge.
Flexible Store Formats
Focus Brands is among the brands introducing new store formats, including Krystal, Jack-in-the-Box and Panera Bread, which opened its Panera To Go, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.
Focus Brands has long pioneered the concept of dual branding, predominately in malls and non-traditional locations with Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. Now, the company’s portfolio brands have found new opportunities with streetside dual branded units, which is paving the way for immense franchise growth.
“Dual branding is the future of our brands, especially on the specialty side of the business,” said Brian Krause, Chief Development Officer at Focus Brands. “There will always be a place in malls, but there is an immense amount of growth opportunity in streetside venues, and, by dual branding, there is more opportunity for enhanced revenue.”
The company invested heavily in consumer research to identify how to create combinations of its iconic brands to resonate with consumers and meet them where they want to be met.
Focus Brands has identified four dual-brand concepts:
Cinnabon/Carvel – Cinnabon Swirl.
While key consumer benefits vary by dual-brand combination, one consistent benefit has been convenience. Having these brands together in one location makes them far more accessible than they are individually. This convenience also creates opportunity for franchisees, as co-branding leads to an expansive menu that drives enhanced unit-level volume.
RoomRaccoon Partners with Adyen to Strengthen Hotel Payment Capabilities
Hotel management system RoomRaccoon has partnered with Adyen, the global financial technology platform of choice for leading businesses, to enhance its digital product’s payment capabilities, making payments for hoteliers easier, more affordable and more secure.
The two-way connection between the solutions will seamlessly automate payment processing for hoteliers through the RoomRaccoon booking engine, channel manager and front desk, track payments in real time and reduce the risk of fraud, identity theft, and illicit activities.
With an impressive international reach, the partnership with Adyen will see RoomRaccoon expand its payment offering in 28 markets, including new destinations in Europe and North America.
The partnership will also build on payment methods in RoomRaccoon’s payment platform. With Adyen and RoomRaccoon, hotels can benefit from a well-established system of payment methods, including local payment method preferences, that their guests know and trust.
Frits Beyer, Payments Manager at RoomRaccoon, says: “The modern guest values convenience. They want to see options like alternative payment methods and touch-free experiences woven into their stay. With personalized, flexible payment technology, hotels can create the best payment experience for guests and secure repeat business for their properties. We’re excited to partner with Adyen to enhance our client’s payments offering and deliver five-star experiences for guests.”
Mark Rademaker, Head of Hospitality at Adyen adds, “Adyen’s technology gives hospitality staff an automated solution that unifies front-of-house and online booking systems with information in real-time, meeting the demands of customers. Our financial technology empowers guests with a choice of how to pay upon check out, with the assurance that payments are seamless and secure. We’re excited to support RoomRaccoon with its international growth strategy, accepting global and local payment methods while being compliant with country regulations, so the business can grow at scale.”
Canary Technologies' Survey Finds Wide Discrepancies In National Hotel Tipping Habits
- Canary Technologies, a leading hotel guest management system, conducted a survey of 1,000 recent hotel guests and 300 hotel workers to uncover guest tipping behavior in hotels. While tipping in the service industry is a well-established American custom and an essential part of worker wages, tipping in the hotel industry lacks transparency. The survey results show that tipping in hotels is less prevalent than other service industries. partly due to friction in the current tipping process.
The survey found many inconsistencies in reported tipping behavior. While 79% of hotel guests think hotel workers should receive tips, only 59% reported leaving one at their most recent hotel stay. However, hotel workers say that only 30% of guests actually tip staff members. In contrast, 99% of recent hotel guests claim to tip at restaurants when they dine out.
Approximately 70 percent of housekeepers said tips from guests have stayed the same or decreased over the past 5 years. In an increasingly cashless economy, about 60 percent of hotel guests claim to carry less cash than they did just five years ago. Correspondingly, the survey also found that a digital tipping solution would be a welcome tool that guests would like to use to tip hotel workers. More than 70% of hotel guests who did not tip hotel staff at their recent stay would have left a tip if digital tipping was offered.
The hotel industry faces the challenge of Increasing hotel employee wages and attracting labor back to the hospitality industry. Wages have already increased 25% since 2019, outpacing overall wage growth in the US. However, AHLA's 2022 survey found that 87% of hotels are still experiencing a staffing shortage, suggesting further wage increases may be needed to attract enough workers to the industry.
Canary's survey discovered that nearly 80% of current hotel workers say they would be more likely to stay with their current employer if their tips were increased. Additionally, 70% of hotel workers felt that hotel management teams actually have a duty to encourage tips to staff members. Hotel workers reported low pay as the most common reason for leaving the industry.
Other Key Findings
Generation Z makes for the best hotel guests. They report cleaning up after themselves more frequently and thoroughly before checkout as well as being more likely to tip, with 62.5% leaving a tip at their most recent hotel stay (<12 months).
However, Boomers tip more when they do tip. Only 56% of Boomers tipped at their most recent stay, but those who did tip left larger amounts than average.
Business travelers are better tippers than personal travelers, being 15% more likely to tip.
"With no end in sight to the hotel staffing shortage, and clear indication from our survey that both hotel guests and workers desire better tipping options, digital tipping is more relevant than ever," said Bryan Michalis, Vice President of Marketing at Canary Technologies. "Digital tipping is a powerful tool that hotel management teams can deploy quickly and easily to improve staff retention. It also provides guests with a cashless method to do what they overwhelmingly report that they want - express gratitude to the workers who provide them with outstanding service during their stay."
To review the white paper with the report findings, click here.
Knowland, a provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced its expansion in the Middle East to include Doha, the capital of Qatar. Knowland’s extension into the Middle East will continue throughout 2023 to accommodate the demand and competition facing new hoteliers.
The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing hospitality markets in the world. This has created several challenges including steep competition as well as the necessity to train sales teams who may have never worked in the hospitality industry. Knowland provides the market insights and commercial tools needed by operators to capture share and deliver profitable results in the meetings and events space.
Expanding market and extraordinary growth – Approximately 600,000 hotel rooms are under development in the Middle East, according to data from consultancy Knight Frank. The region’s growth is also supported by being the first region to return to pre-pandemic levels, and its recent success with mega events including a record number of congresses won by Dubai. Industry reports estimate by 2030 the UAE’s hospitality market alone is set to expand by 25 percent, while Saudi Arabia is projected to reach a total room inventory of more than 218,000, and Qatar is estimated at 89 percent growth in hotel keys by 2025.
Shifting market share in a fiercely competitive market – With nearly 27,000 hotel keys expected to be delivered in the next three years, there will be significant changes in Qatar’s hotel offering by the end of 2025. Plans show the country’s room capacity almost doubling as it prepares for an anticipated visitor influx following heightened interest after the success of the 2022 World Cup. Knowland’s platform is specifically designed to aid any sales and revenue person in the market looking to gain insight into new accounts, in-depth competitive insight, and access to data that improves success in their position.
Hands-on approach delivers training to hotel teams – Training hotel teams to take advantage of the nuances of any market intelligence program is critical to their success. Knowland takes a white glove service approach to ensure commercial teams in the region are leveraging data to identify opportunities and increase market share.
Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland, states: “Knowland’s further expansion in the Middle East, specifically in Doha, is a testament to our dedication to ensuring hotel teams have the tools they need to win share in a rapidly developing region. The world’s largest active pipeline of new hotels is in the Middle East, so as we continue to build on the exciting growth in Qatar, we are also focused on expanding our reach throughout the increasingly popular region for local and global meetings and events.”
Knowland plans to open additional Middle East markets this year.For the latest information, visit our regional web page here. Knowland also continues to grow in other global regions such as the Asia Pacific and will release updates as they happen.
Hotels on Hiring Spree with Better Wages, Benefits, Flexibility
As nearly 80% of hotels experience staffing shortages, hoteliers are offering potential hires a host of incentives to fill vacancies, according to a new survey of hoteliers conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
Seventy-one percent of respondents are increasing wages, 64% are offering greater flexibility with hours, and 33% are expanding benefits – but 81% say they are still unable to fill open positions.
Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents indicate they are experiencing a staffing shortage, 22% severely so. The most critical staffing need is housekeeping, with 43% ranking it as their top hiring need.
The numbers are an improvement from September 2022, when 87% of respondents to an AHLA survey said they were short staffed, 36% severely so, with 43% ranking housekeeping as their top hiring need at the time.
Respondents are attempting to fill an average of seven positions per property, down from 10 vacancies per property in September 2022.
These staffing challenges are resulting in historic career opportunities for hotel employees. As of December, national average hotel wages were at all-time highs of more than $23 per hour. Since the pandemic, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy. And hotel benefits and flexibility are better than ever.
To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200+ career pathways, the AHLA Foundation’s “A Place to Stay” multi-channel advertising campaign is now active in 14 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and Tampa. For more info on the campaign, visit thehotelindustry.com.
Additionally, AHLA affiliate “Hospitality is Working” recently launched the Workforce & Immigration Initiative. The effort is aimed at urging Congress to address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy. You can learn more about the effort here.
“Recruiting enough workers continues to be the top challenge for many hoteliers, and this is leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “AHLA and the AHLA Foundation are working tirelessly to grow the industry’s talent pipeline and retain workers through innovative events like National Hotel Employee Day and compelling ad campaigns like ‘A Place to Stay,’ but there is still more to be done. We need Congress to help address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy.”
Methodology: AHLA’s Front Desk Feedback survey of more than 500 hoteliers was conducted Jan. 10-17, 2023.