News Briefs


JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Drives Guest Spend by 40% with IRIS’s Mobile Dining Platform

IRIS logo

IRIS, a provider of digital F&B and guest experience platforms, was deployed to provide guests with a seamless and efficient mobile dining service and to maximize F&B opportunities and drive revenue across the hotel. 

With 950 bedrooms and 7 restaurants and al fresco bars, the luxury resort is located in the heart of the Arizona desert and offers a host of state-of-the-art facilities, including five pools, luxury cabana cottages and pool suites.

The IRIS app, first installed prior to COVID, enables the hotel to enrich the guest stay and drive ancillary revenue with a quick, effective method of ordering and paying for food and drink items. Orders are delivered directly to the kitchen via the EPOS integration, and as a result demands on staff time are minimized, processes are streamlined and delivery times are quicker, all serving to increase operational efficiencies.

Nebojsa Sarenac, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa’s Senior F&B Operations Manager commented, “The IRIS mobile dining platform gives us many options to maximize ancillary revenue across our resort and enhance the guest experience. With the simple and seamless ordering platform, in-room sales and average check size have soared by 40% and we are already seeing a significant return on the investment.

“With new features being released regularly, we’re learning all the time. The app is fully integrated and seamlessly connects across the systems and operations we currently have in place.”

Today’s guests are demanding a more contactless experience where they can self-serve online. As such, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge now plans to maximize sales further by expanding the scalable, mobile dining platform to other parts of the resort including the Spa Bistro and the pool areas, thereby adding additional channels to boost revenue generation.

With the use of QR codes along with IRIS’s approach to F&B ordering, JW Marriott’s guests can browse menus, place orders for in-room dining and pay their bills at a time and location that suits them, via their own mobile devices. Likewise, QR codes in all the bedrooms eliminates the need to print off and distribute 950 laminated menus for each room. Unlike paper directories, when changes are made, the digital menus are updated automatically online, the team only needs to print the QR code once. Not only does this lower printing costs, but it also offers a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way to manage menu changes and reduce paper, whilst at the same time saving housekeeping having to manually update the paper version room-by-room.

The staff at the newly revitalized resort have also experienced the benefits of the app. It’s easy to edit and update with new menu items and they are able to control the pace of orders by setting delivery times and temporarily turning off mobile ordering to ease congestion in the kitchen and reduce strain on staff and resources during peak times. 

For the full case study on the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort.


Ecotrak, Therma Team Up to Monitor and Optimize Cooling Asset Performance

 Ecotrak and Therma, an IoT-powered equipment monitoring and analytics platform, formed a strategic partnership agreement that integrates Therma's Cooling Intelligence Platform with Ecotrak Facility Management Software.

Therma IoT sensors send temperature and humidity data directly into refrigeration and HVAC assets in Ecotrak, triggering real-time emergency alerts and intelligent workflows. Asset runtime hours and downtime events are also tracked and recorded, delivering sensor-driven insights on the lifecycle of the asset.

The collaboration enables Ecotrak and Therma customers to reduce food waste, carbon emissions, plus save time, energy, and maintenance costs.


M Resort Spa Casino Deploys Knightscope K5 Security Robot

K5 Autonomous Security Robot from Knightscape

Knightscope, Inc., a developer of autonomous security robots and blue light emergency communication systems, today announces another successful deployment of its K5 Autonomous Security Robot (ASR) at M Resort Spa Casino, a PENN Entertainment, Inc. property and the Official Team Headquarters Hotel of the Las Vegas Raiders.

"We are always looking for ways to enhance and elevate our guest experience," said Patrick Durkin, VP of Marketing for M Resort. "M-Bot is a welcomed addition to the security team as it helps provide guest assistance, peace of mind and safety for our guests and staff."

The K5, affectionately named “M-Bot” by resort staff, patrols the parking lots and garage wearing the M Resort logo. M-Bot greets guests with a friendly voice and promotes the M Resort brand while providing additional eyes and ears for the large human security team. The robot also offers a two-way communication system to enhance the safety of visitors and workers. Even more importantly, M-Bot provides some relief to human guards required to patrol in the blistering Las Vegas heat.

“There is a good reason Knightscope Security Robots have been spotted at so many casinos across the country,” said William Santana Li, chairman and CEO at Knightscope. “Entertainment and gaming professionals acknowledge the importance of technology to manage positive customer relationships and ensure an experience with the highest levels of safety.”

Resort, gaming and hospitality professionals looking for innovative security solutions or improved emergency communications for properties in the U.S. are encouraged to book a discovery call or meeting now at to learn more about Knightscope’s autonomous security robots and blue light emergency communication systems.


Jay Sarkar Joins Meyer Jabara Hotels as Chief Financial Officer

jay sarkar meyer jabara hotels

Meyer Jabara Hotels emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever. The management and ownership group is coming off a record-setting year. To keep the company on this trajectory for financial stability and growth, MJH appointed 30+ year hotel finance veteran Jay Sarkar as Chief Financial Officer.

“In today’s economy, average daily rates and revenues are up; that’s the good news,” said MJH President Justin Jabara. “The bad news is the cost of goods, capital projects, interest, and labor are up too. To keep Meyer Jabara Hotels financially strong and growing, we brought in an expert in hotel finance. Jay is a results-driven, hands-on CFO who is known to develop corporate strategies and translate them into actionable financial plans that maximize profitability and performance. He is a forward-thinking leader with tactile foresight and demonstratable success capitalizing on growth opportunities, improving bottom-line performance, and optimizing organizational efficiencies. We are delighted to bring Jay on board and consider him a trusted advisor and partner to our stakeholders and executive team.”

In addition to managing the accounting processes for Meyer Jabara’s 31 individual hotels, Sarkar is tasked with planning the financial future of the management company. He will be working alongside the Chief Investment Officer, VP of Investments & Asset Management and the VP of Development to get more hotels into the portfolio.  

“While we wait for the economy to stabilize, we will focus on finetuning the finance department and making it a well-oiled, plug-and-play machine,” Sarkar said. “In addition, we will be creating a new reporting process built on accuracy and timeliness to make sure all financial data is consistent across all Meyer Jabara Hotels. Key to financial success will be adding more revenue from the management-company side of the business.”

Longevity in Hospitality

Hospitality is Sarkar’s passion. Prior to joining Meyer Jabara Hotels, Sarkar served as CFO for StepStone Hospitality in Providence, R.I., and prior to that held a CFO post at Alena Hospitality in Orlando. He also held regional controller and numerous finance positions with Pyramid Hotel Group in Oak Brook, Ill.; Adams Mark Hotels in Indianapolis and Northbrook, Ill.; and numerous Starwood Hotels & Resorts in New York. Sarkar is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. He received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and Bachelor in Accounting degree from Mercy College in White Plains, NY.

It is truly an honor to join a hospitality company whose success comes from 45 years in the hotel business,” Sarkar said. “You don’t see longevity like this in too many industries. The Meyer Jabara name – derived from the partnership of Bill Meyer and Richard Jabara – holds a lot of weight in our industry. I am proud to work for this multi-generational family venture now under the direction of Justin Jabara. The Journey Culture and tutelage behind the Meyer Jabara name is its real strength.”


Krystal Launches New Franchise Website

Krystal exterior

QSR Krystal recently launched a new franchise website to further attract partners and continue their aggressive growth plans.

The site was developed by Hot Dish, a full-service, Franfocused and BrandFocused ad agency. The new site was built to support a lead conversion strategy and a speed to market approach.

"Krystal has a goal of reaching 500 units in the next few years and our franchise partners play a vital role in this endeavor. We're continually developing ways to better support our partners and to ensure our shared growth and success," said Casey Terrell, Chief Marketing Officer for Krystal Restaurants LLC. "With its more than 90-year history, Krystal has stood the test of time and is a proven concept that offers partners a winning business model. In addition to our legacy that is backed by our unique and highly craveable menu, we offer partners flexible store designs that fit their markets and extensive support from onboarding to opening and beyond to help them achieve their goals."

Industry Vet Moves to Krystal

The new franchise website comes on the heels of recent franchise deals that Krystal has inked with popular celebrities in music, media, and sports, as well as a notable multi-unit deal with seasoned restaurant professional Argus Wiley and his Red Door Foods. The Wiley deal includes the purchase of 21 existing Krystal restaurants and a development deal for 15 new locations. Krystal also recently expanded internationally with the opening of their first Puerto Rico location.

Krystal also recently opened a new U.S. prototype designed with off-prem in mind and has been posting breaking record sales. 


Selfbook Releases Station: Comprehensive Hub for Hotel Booking & Payment Orchestration

selfbook logo

Selfbooka Tiger Global and Amex Ventures backed technology company that is modernizing hotel payments and bookings, announced its latest flagship product, Station. Station is a hospitality-focused platform harnessing financial technology to give hoteliers more control over their revenue, this product exists at the heart of Selfbook’s ecosystem. Station works in harmony with Selfbook’s Direct booking layer and newly released Express secure payment enablement to facilitate the hospitality journey as a whole, from the guest’s room selection to on-demand payouts for hotels.

Station is the arrivals hub for all facets of hotel bookings management and payment processing. This intuitive dashboard is the hospitality industry’s first platform designed to simplify the labor-intensive and manual systems that hoteliers typically use to manage bookings and process payments. Station automatically captures and processes all booking and payment data passed through Selfbook’s Direct and Express checkout interface and payment rails to ensure all information is securely handled within one environment.

Selfbook’s central mission is to revolutionize an outdated hotel booking and payment experience for guests and hoteliers alike. Station simplifies the unwieldy and time-consuming processes that hoteliers face behind the scenes when managing bookings and payments, while Direct and Express were created to modernize the booking and payment flow for end users.

Station’s key strengths lie in its ability to automatically schedule and process payments based on custom and dynamic rate plans, improve Selfbook’s fraud prevention capabilities, send payment links to recapture failed payments, and more. Within Station’s unified digital ecosystem, hotel admins can intuitively navigate bookings and associated rates and payments, add charges, trigger refunds, and request next-day payouts, enhancing financial control and visibility, all while saving time and effort.

Express, the second new addition to Selfbook’s stable of products, which is also launching, offers a variation of the guest-facing seamless booking experience offered by Direct. Crafted for hotels with custom booking engines, Express empowers hotels with plug-and-play payment blocks, streamlining the checkout experience without changing the look and feel of a hotel’s existing system. Express supports a custom combination of the fastest-growing payment methods including digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, global credit and debit cards, and Affirm’s ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ to create a checkout flow suited to each hotel’s preferences.

As a unit, Selfbook’s three core products offer a wealth of features crafted to drive revenue for hotels. From the option for guests to pay for their stay upon booking rather than at the hotel, reducing the likelihood of cancellation, to flexible cancellation policies offering guests a wider variety of refund windows, Selfbook brings a guest-first approach to hospitality that directly benefits hotels.

“Hotel arrival experiences are so often interrupted by immediate requests for the guest’s credit card. Our purpose in creating Station is to ensure that all payment orchestration happens securely behind the scenes to facilitate a truly hospitable and transaction-free check-in experience for guests every time they arrive at their destination,” said Khalid Meniri, Co-Founder and CEO of Selfbook.

If time is wasted, your organization is losing money. For those of us who manage companies that may not be affiliated with global enterprises to support payment automation needs, Station is the answer,” said Sean Murphy, Managing Director at Hotel Esencia. “The immense value of data being stored in one place to enhance analytics, the ability to extend a seamless experience for guests, and reducing the tiresome chore of using multiple platforms to process one transaction is unmatched. At Hotel Esencia, Station is paving the way for us to perform at our highest level, and we certainly couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds!”