News Briefs


Focus Brands Accelerates Dual Branded Locations

Foucs Brand dual branded Jamba Juice and Auntie Annes

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. 

Drive-Thru Convenience

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:

  • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon
  • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon/Carvel
  • Auntie Anne’s/Jamba
  • 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. 



Flyby Launches Food Drone Delivery, Closes $4M Pre-Seed

generic drone delivery

Flyby Robotics, the end-to-end drone automation and delivery company, raised $4M in pre-seed investment funding.

Drone Delivery Now Available

This news comes alongside their pilot launch and a series of active partnerships with food retailers and innovative snack brands across the US. The first cohort of live retailers include smoothies from Nekter Juice Barsalad from MAD Greens, sushi from Tokyo Joe's, and crunchy shiitake mushroom chips from Popadelics. During the live pilot, customers from participating retailers are able to order drone delivery for just $3, and experience delivery times averaging under 4 minutes.

"Nekter Juice Bar has always pushed forward to the forefront of technology to improve the guest experience, starting with our best-in-class app with more than 1.3 million loyalty members and user-friendly online ordering capabilities," said Steve Schulze, co-founder and CEO, Nekter Juice Bar. "We are now continuing that tradition of innovation working with future-looking companies like Flyby."

This pre-seed will fund product development with the goal of achieving Level 4 autonomy for Flyby's flight systems, which currently perform at Level 3. At Level 4 autonomy, drones operate without any human intervention throughout the delivery process, but allow a pilot in a remote command center the option to manually override in rare circumstances.

Flyby has already developed a package deployment system, which gently winches products down from a hovering drone to customers' doorsteps. The system is designed to uphold a product's quality during flight and delivery, and allows Flyby to deliver fragile products like smoothies.


Domino's Ordering Debuts on Apple CarPlay

Dominos Apple car play

Domino's Pizza Inc. has launched a new and more efficient way to order while on the go: via Domino's iOS app on Apple CarPlay.

Customers have two ordering options via Domino's app on CarPlay: "Tap to Order" or "Call to Order." Tap to Order lets customers submit their saved Easy Order or one of their most recent orders, while "Call to Order" allows them to place the order of their choice, hands-free, by talking to a customer service representative.

"Domino's has been known as the industry leader when it comes to pizza and technology, and we're constantly striving to continue providing the best experience to customers. That's why we launched Domino's app on CarPlay," said Christopher Thomas-Moore, Domino's senior vice president – chief digital officer. "We know how frustrating it can be to wait in a drive-thru line just to place an order. Domino's app on CarPlay is a great alternative to that, as customers still have the convenience of staying in their car, and can place an order from wherever they are, without waiting in a long drive-thru. It's yet another way we're bringing more ease and ordering options to customers across the U.S."

How Does It Work?
Ordering Domino's via CarPlay is easy! To do so, customers simply need to:

  • Download Domino's iPhone® app
  • Log into their Pizza Profile
  • Have a saved Easy Order or recently placed order (in order to use "Tap to Order")
  • Select Domino's app on Apple CarPlay and voila! Ordering is at your fingertips.

Domino's is one of the first quick service restaurant brands in the U.S. to offer easy on-the-go ordering via CarPlay. In addition to placing an order via Domino's on CarPlay, customers can also track the status of their order via Domino's Tracker. Domino's app on CarPlay is the brand's newest AnyWare ordering platform – a suite of technology that allows customers to order from wherever they are, using whatever device they prefer. Other AnyWare ordering platforms include ordering via Apple Watch or with an emoji via text.


Chuck E. Cheese Hires New CMO

Sean Gleeson at Chuck E Cheese

CEC Entertainment LLC appointed marketing veteran Sean Gleason to the position of Chief Marketing Officer for the company's flagship brand, Chuck E. Cheese, and its virtual kitchen brands, including Pasqually's Pizza & Wings.

Gleason has expertise in brand development, digital media, menu innovation, and in leading high-performance teams to deliver transformational growth.

As Chuck E. Cheese CMO, Gleason will lead all marketing functions, menu innovation, guest insights, communications, as well as the brand's digital marketing and consumer journey initiatives. He will be responsible for developing and executing strategies that position Chuck E. Cheese for long-term growth, both domestically and internationally.

Industry Vet 

Gleason has more than 25 years of marketing strategy, media, advertising and brand experience. Most recently, he ran his own consulting firm. Prior to that, Gleason led the marketing efforts at Dave & Buster's for more than a decade as Chief Marketing Officer. During his tenure, he oversaw the brand's revitalization and digital transformation, special events, and culinary as the company grew revenue from $521 million to $1.35 billion.

Before Dave & Buster's, Gleason held senior level marketing positions at Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Pizza Hut. Gleason will be based at the CEC Entertainment corporate support center in Irving, Texas.


Olo Partners With DeliverThat

handshake partnership

Olo, an open SaaS platform for restaurants, has partnered with DeliverThat, a provider of catering delivery.

DeliverThat joined Olo's Dispatch network as a delivery service provider (DSP). Dispatch is Olo's direct delivery solution that automatically connects direct orders from a restaurant's mobile app or website with third-party DSPs for last-mile delivery. This partnership provides an elevated, catering-specific delivery experience designed to boost loyalty and revenue for the two companies' joint customers.

DeliverThat is primarily fulfilling catering delivery orders for Olo brands via the brand's mobile app and website and is providing coverage in all 50 states. 


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to Offer Starlink High-Speed Internet On Board Fleet

logo, company name

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., a global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line (“NCL”), Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, announced its plan to improve connectivity for guests and crew at sea by offering SpaceX’s Starlink high-speed internet on its ships. Using advanced low earth orbit satellites, Starlink delivers industry leading broadband internet connectivity which will improve the capacity, speed and reliability of internet on board. The Company is currently testing Starlink, beginning with Norwegian Breakaway, with the intent to rollout this game-changing technology across its entire world class fleet in a phased manner.

“We are thrilled to offer Starlink on board our ships to improve internet connectivity at sea. This initiative is a testament to our continuous quest to find new and innovative ways to enhance the experience for both guests and crew while sailing on our award-winning brands,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO-elect of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Ensuring that this technology meets our high standards of excellence for our guests is incredibly important to us, which is why we are introducing this cutting-edge technology across our fleet in a phased manner. Once deployed, guests and crew will have a faster and more reliable method to stay connected with friends and family including by sharing in real-time the incredible memories they create while at sea.”

If trials are successful, the Company is targeting to equip 7 additional vessels with Starlink by year-end, including all three of the Company’s exciting new additions this year, Oceania Cruises’ Vista, Norwegian Viva and Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur. A comprehensive rollout plan is under development and details regarding timeline and availability on specific ships will be communicated once finalized. In addition to enhancing the guest and crew experience, the extra bandwidth will also allow for more flexibility for onboard services and improve the ship-to-shore connection for operational needs.