News Briefs


Denny's Launches Series of National Wellness, Mental Health Summits

Dennys exterior of diner

As part of a national effort to raise awareness and offer expert insights, Denny's is kicking off a series of summits focused on how companies and individuals can better manage and improve their mental health and wellness.

The first summit is taking place on April 22 at the HPAC Theater in Spartanburg, S.C. The summit will be free to the public and attendees can participate in-person or virtually.

"Denny's has always been committed to feeding people's bodies, minds, and souls, and this summit series perfectly aligns with our holistic approach to wellness," said Kelli Valade, CEO of Denny's. "The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the topics of mental health and personal well-being front and center. Now is the time to think about how we can bring our whole selves to all facets of our lives, including the workplace."

The summit keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, Senior Vice President for Global Health and Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College. Dawes will discuss the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward to achieving a healthier society. Other nationally recognized panelists include:  

  • Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, a surgeon, clinician, educator, and researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and Senior Fellow in Global Health Equity at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute
  • Dr. Monique May, a board-certified and licensed family physician best known as the "Physician in the Kitchen"
  • Dr. Bennie L. Harris, Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate
  • Sharon Lykins, Denny's Vice President of Product Innovation

"Mental health and wellness significantly impact the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities across the Upstate region and beyond," said USC Upstate Chancellor, Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. "We are thrilled to join forces with a global leader like Denny's to address one of the most critical public health issues of our time."

Journalist Roland S. Martin will moderate two panels, "Mindful Eating," which will address the connection between food and wellness, and "Wellness at the Workplace," which focuses on mental health at work.

A second mental health summit will be offered on October 10 in Nashville, Tennessee.


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.


Groups360 and Choice Hotels International announce Direct Booking Solution for Group Room Blocks

choice hotels logo

Groups360 and Choice Hotels International announced the rollout of GroupSync™ Instant Booking across Choice’s global portfolio in 2023. Soon meeting and event organizers can shop and book online group guest rooms at Choice Hotel properties within GroupSync Marketplace.  

GroupSync’s direct integration with Choice Hotels will offer real-time best available group rates and inventory to thousands of Choice properties. Planners of small or simple meetings can book these events in real-time, with guaranteed rates and availability. Event organizers will also benefit from viewing inventory availability before submitting an RFP for more complex events. Real-time pricing and availability reduce the booking process for smaller meetings from weeks to minutes. The combination of these two capabilities changes the hotel sourcing process into an instant booking one.

“We are thrilled to have Choice Hotels join the GroupSync Marketplace,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO, Groups360. “Their involvement is a testament to our shared commitment to reducing transaction friction in group travel planning. This technology roll-out will help franchisors like Choice continue their history of innovation, enhance their customer relationships, and deliver an improved event planning experience at Choice properties. With the addition of Choice, we anticipate that over 20,000 leading hotel properties will be equipped to offer GroupSync’s online instant group booking functionality in the months ahead.”

Choice’s commitment to GroupSync technology extends further by allowing its properties worldwide to choose GroupSync Marketing™ for property-level content curation and promotion management tools.


LG Earns Top Rating in Newly Expanded B2B Sustainability Assessment Program

2023 LG Mindclick logo

LG Electronics has been singled out as the only supplier of commercial displays recognized for environmental sustainability excellence in the foremost third-party assessment of suppliers to the U.S. hospitality industry and, for the first time, other vertical markets.

As the MindClick Sustainability Assessment Program (MSAP) was expanded significantly to encompass many more brands of leading hotels and resorts, LG Electronics received the highest possible rating for the eighth consecutive year. For the first time, evaluations of the production and life cycle impacts of products also extended beyond hospitality, with MindClick naming LG a “Leader” in display products for other vertical markets that include healthcare TVs and cruise ship TVs, as well as digital signage displays and small monitors used in various industries.

Announced just in time for Earth Day, a “Leader” rating demonstrates LG’s “exemplary use of environmentally and socially responsible practices throughout the lifecycle of all product lines, from material choice to end-of-life solutions,” according to MindClick, which validates participants’ operations through a rigorous audit process. The MSAP is an annual manufacturer assessment evaluating the sustainability of product lifecycles. Previously, only suppliers to Marriott International participated in the assessment, but the program has expanded to include more suppliers, and their results are shared to additional brands, ownership groups and purchasing agents, such as Four Seasons, Highgate Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, SH Hotels, Xenia Hotels and more.

The assessment program evaluates products based on environmental and social metrics such as energy use, carbon emissions, water reduction, and human and labor rights. It also measures metrics such as carbon footprint from product use and distribution, recyclability, sustainable materials use and avoidance of chemicals of high concern. Ratings are based on products the vendor submits for consideration and those products are recognized in one of three rating levels: Starter, Achiever or Leader.

“MindClick’s recognition of LG Electronics as a Leader in sustainable business practices is even more significant this year, following the 2023 assessment’s expansion that includes many more suppliers in the hospitality industry and beyond,” said Thomas Yoon, president and CEO of LG Electronics North America. “LG is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products while improving and innovating user experiences. We strive each day to be a responsible corporate citizen, and MindClick’s evaluation of our leadership provides validation of the sustainability practices and policies we live by.”

Commercial TVs and displays from LG Business Solutions serving key U.S. business-to-business markets earned Leader status in seven key categories:

  • “Manufacturing Environmental” through efforts to measure and reduce energy and water usage, waste and carbon emissions in LG’s Mexicali and Reynosa, Mexico facilities.
  • “Manufacturing Social” with required human and labor policies including zero tolerance for forced or compulsory labor, discrimination, child labor and human trafficking.
  • “Packaging” that includes use of sustainable raw materials, is recyclable, and is optimized to minimize packaging material.
  • “Distribution” through the use of transportation carriers that are EPA SmartWay certified.
  • “Health” based on products’ materials and chemical compositions positively contributing to user health.
  • “Facilities” by ensuring product designs help reduce power and water usage, as well as reducing waste.
  • “End of Use” with products that are recyclable and have defined end-of-life solutions.

Panera's Loyalty Members Get First Dibs on Apparel Line

Panera Bread apparel

On May 1, Panera Bread will kick off its second MyPanera Week with the launch of its first-ever online merchandise storefront, The Panera Shop, where fans can purchase a variety of "Carb Couture" inspired by best-selling menu items.

Offering cozy "Mac Drip" sweatshirts and sweatpants, "Just Baked" baby onesies and more, The Panera Shop will go live on May 1 exclusively for MyPanera members through May 7. 100% of the net profit from sales during MyPanera Week will be donated to the Panera Bread Foundation.

Panera is among a growing number of brands offering branded apparel to its most loyal customers. Earlier this week, sweetgreen said it is also launching its new online merch store called “The Market,” debuting apparel, accessories and gear.

Taking place from May 1 to May 7, MyPanera Week will celebrate more than 52 million MyPanera loyalty members with exclusive perks and BOGO offers on "Panera Faves," throughout the week, including $0 delivery fee on orders $5 or more all week and more.

Knead to Know 

The weeklong celebration culminates on May 6 with the launch of MyPanera Knead to Know Trivia. Starting on 5/7 through 6/11, members can visit to register for their chance to win $500 in Panera Bread gift cards, $250 to The Panera Shop, and one year free of an Unlimited Sip Club. 

For more information on MyPanera Week or to join MyPanera, visit


Personica Rebrands to Fishbowl

Fishbowl logo 2023 version

Personica, a provider of restaurant marketing solutions, is changing its name back to Fishbowl, effective immediately.

The decision was made to embrace the company’s legacy and strong brand recognition in the industry.

Fishbowl was a pioneer of digital marketing for the restaurant industry. Today the company has more than 50,000 restaurant customers; delivers almost nine billion email and SMS messages annually; and has created more than $10 billion in revenue for clients using its promotional offer platform. As the company looks to expand its reach, offering new products and improved customer service, it will do so "under a name that clients can remember and trust," the company says.

In addition to the rebrand, Fishbowl recently introduced Delightable, the new Guest Relationship Management (GRM) tool designed to help restaurant owners use their own data to build and maintain relationships with their patrons, further enhancing the company’s suite of solutions for the industry.

The rebrand and product launch signal Fishbowl’s continued commitment to providing innovative marketing solutions that cater to the unique needs of the restaurant industry.