News Briefs


QSR Automations Recognized for Excellence in Customer Service

QSR Automations customer service team

QSR Automations earned recognition for excellence in customer service and support.

At MURTEC, QSR Automations’ VP of Hardware Solutions and Support, Kathi Klein, received fHospitality Technology ’s 2023 Top Women in Technology Lifetime Achievement Award. 

During her more than 30 years in the restaurant technology industry – half of those at QSR Automations–Klein has amassed incomparable knowledge in understanding and troubleshooting kitchen display, front-of-house, and the associated hardware and networking platforms needed to run them. 

But what truly sets Klein apart is her natural ability to nurture relationships and foster talent, which has made her an effective leader in QSR Automations’ Support Services Team. During her long tenure at QSR Automations, Klein has built one of the industry’s strongest and most effective support teams. In fact, under Klein’s guidance, the team has received a 99 percent satisfaction rate from customers in 2021, and last year handled more than 16,000 inbound and outbound calls, which earned them a bronze award for Excellence in Customer Service from the 2022 Stevie Awards. 

This was the third bronze Stevie award for the team, as last fall, Klein accepted two additional bronze awards from the Stevie Women in Business Awards on behalf of QSR Automations–one for excellence in customer service, and the other for growth. QSR Automations was selected for these honors from more than 1,500 nominations from around the world.

“Just as our technology is the heart of a restaurant kitchen, our people are truly the heart of this business,” said Angela Leet, CEO of QSR Automations. “My colleagues are passionate about innovation both in and out of the office, and it’s immensely gratifying to see them recognized for these achievements.”

QSR Automations, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., with offices in the United Kingdom, is a global industry leader in kitchen automation and guest management services.


Salad and Go Expands in Texas

Salad and Go  salad and iced tea

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 located opened 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.


Coast Hotels Selects Shiji's Online Reputation Management Solution to Drive Guest Satisfaction Across North America

Shiji and Coast Hotels logo

 Shiji Group, a hospitality technology partner, announced that it has installed its online reputation management platform Shiji ReviewPro across 16 Coast Hotels properties and 8 restaurants in North America. Coast Hotels is a Canadian hotel brand with properties across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Alaska, Washington State, California, and Hawaii.

With the addition of Shiji ReviewPro, Coast Hotels will have the necessary tools to provide exceptional service and further improve their guests’ experience. Shiji ReviewPro's innovative technology, global footprint, commitment to client support and training, and integration capabilities make it the ideal partner for Coast Hotels to build on their already-strong reputation and grow their business. The platform provides the Coast Hotels team with insights into guest feedback and helps them respond to reviews in real-time, resulting in improved guest satisfaction and loyalty.

"We are excited to partner with Shiji and leverage their expertise in guest feedback management to drive guest satisfaction and build our brand," said Brigitte Diem-Guy, Vice President of Revenue Strategies & Communication at Coast Hotels. "Shiji ReviewPro allows us to understand our performance and guest satisfaction levels across our properties, even before the guest arrives, to ensure we are providing the best possible experience."

"As we continue to grow our presence in North America, we are excited to partner with Coast Hotels to help drive their growth through guest satisfaction," said Kevin King, Chief Operating Officer of Shiji Group. "Shiji ReviewPro is an ideal solution for hotel brands that are committed to exceptional service and guest satisfaction, and we are proud to be Coast Hotels' partner of choice."

Coast Hotels plans to expand the use of Shiji ReviewPro solution across several additional properties by the end of 2023.


HCN Showcases NEW Navigator 2.0 Tablets at BITAC Operations Conference in San Diego

HCN Navigator Tablets at BITAC

This week hoteliers representing prominent hotels, resorts and management groups across the nation converged at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego to attend BITAC® Operations, a two-day interactive conference filled with education, relationship-building, and uninterrupted private meetings between buyers and sellers of hotel products, amenities and technologies. To help operators better engage with guests, address labor concerns, and drive revenues, Hotel Communication Network was there to introduce its NEW Navigator 2.0 in-room tablet.

Built on the latest technology stack, the cloud-based Navigator 2.0 platform was re-engineered to give guests more control over how they experience the hotel and communicate with staff plus give operators a way to turn room service from a traditional loss leader to a profit center. With real-time language translation, the tablet is making two-way communication effortless for everyone involved – especially hoteliers who can now update and self-manage tablet content as often as needed throughout the day.

“BITAC Operations is a terrific forum to sit down with hoteliers face to face, discuss their pain points and introduce to them to our in-room tablets as the preferred way for guests to communicate with the hotel,” said Aurelio DaMota, HCN vice president of sales. “Travelers are very comfortable with tablets, and since the pandemic these mobile devices have become increasingly popular to keep people connected with family and friends, stream movies, conduct business, shop, listen to music, search local information, make reservations and a lot more.

“We attended BITAC Operations to show hoteliers how they can use HCN’s interactive tablet for direct in-room messaging, group business/event communication, guest surveys, housekeeping optimization, in-room marketing, late check-out requests, and as an interactive city guide – all while cutting labor costs and increasing revenues,” he said. “Via a quick demo, we sat down with buyers in a relaxed atmosphere and showed them how guests can communicate with the hotel, make purchases, order room service from local restaurants (not the hotel), report problems, and control their room environment. More importantly, we demonstrated how Navigator 2.0 can easily replace existing but outdated room equipment such as the phone, TV remote, and clock/radio, further saving money and eliminating all the clutter today’s travelers don’t want to touch. This new in-room tablet hits the sweet spot in affordabilityfunctionality, and engagement.”


Navigator 2.0 has an elegant look with the tablet set on a Bluetooth pairable speaker base. The unit’s high-quality sound, USB A&C charging points, and stunning HD graphics give guests a user experience they are comfortable with and appreciate. The speaker base also serves as a voice assistant, enabling guests to request services and amenities, report problems, plus control lights, thermostat, and blinds by voice command.

“We are delighted that HCN had such a positive experience at BITAC Operations,” said Rich Viola, President and CEO of Hotel Interactive, producer of the BITAC Conference Series. “Oftentimes at tradeshows it’s difficult for problem solvers to find the time to sit down with operators to discuss their operational challenges and present bonafide solutions. Here, our program is centered around creating time via pre-scheduled meetings and connecting buyers with the sellers they want to learn more about. There are so many new innovations since the pandemic that are overcoming labor challenges and keeping guest safety and contactless engagement at the forefront. Today, operators are sharing best practices with their peers and then we are pairing them with solution providers like HCN whose tools make those best practices a reality.”


Nathan's Famous Expands Brand Through Delivery-Only Menu

a large sandwich sitting on top of a table

Nextbite a provider of virtual restaurants, has partnered with Nathan’s Famous to bring its iconic hot dogs, burgers and crinkle cut fries as a delivery-only menu through Nextbite’s network of restaurant partners. The Nathan’s Famous virtual brand is now available for restaurants to sign up to offer them as a Nextbite partner, bringing this brand to consumers nationwide.

The Nathan’s Famous delivery-only menu includes Nathan’s signature all-beef hot dogs, crinkle cut fries, burgers and more. The hot dog menu includes hot dogs along with chili, cheese sauce and bacon toppings.

With Nextbite’s virtual restaurant solution featuring Nathan’s Famous menu items, it seamlessly connects restaurant partners with delivery services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. Nextbite delivery-only restaurant concepts are crafted to complement current restaurant operations, equipment, and resources. Backed by data, its brands drive orders during different dayparts, so restaurants can increase sales during slow periods.


Valyant AI Advances Conversational AI Platform

Rob in drive-thru of Good Times in Denver standing in front of menu board

Valyant AI, a provider of AI-powered customer service solutions, has announced the incorporation of language-learning models to enhance its artificial intelligence technology for restaurants. This application is set to utilize the latest advancements in LLMs (similar to ChatGPT and Google’s LaMDA) for improving the comprehensiveness of its voice assistant system’s responses, speed and efficiency.

17% of restaurants plan to add in-car ordering this year, according to Hospitality Technology’s 25th annual Restaurant Technology Study.

The LLM technology utilized by Valyant AI is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand natural language and context in a previously impossible way. This technology has been trained on vast amounts of language data, allowing the platform to provide users with more accurate responses in less time, positively impacting customer satisfaction, reducing wait times and delivering a more efficient user experience overall.

A key distinction of Valyant AI's usage of LLM technology is that it ensures customer data security and privacy by not sharing that information with any third-party external entities. This level of protection is  crucial in maintaining customer trust and building a positive reputation in the industry.

Valyant AI is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in artificial intelligence, and the incorporation of LLM technology is just one example of the company's ongoing dedication to innovation.