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.
CardFreeis launching CardFree Checkout – an end-to-end payment interface that allows for a platform-agnostic, frictionless checkout. CardFree Checkout can also leverage CardFree’s Universal Payment Layer, providing a single API to streamline Delivery, Order Ahead, In-Store Ordering, Text-to-Pay and Pay@Table while giving restaurants holistic analytics of individual customer behavior across channels.
Checkout is decoupled from CardFree’s core solutions and can be embedded in any third party’s native app or web solution with the ability to accept a variety of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo, and more. That means that restaurants can use Checkout as a standalone product for streamlined payments, regardless of their digital ordering provider, POS, or payment processor. CardFree Checkout offers built-in protection to identify fraudulent activity pre-transaction as well as 3D-Secure authentication to shift chargeback liability to the issuing bank.
With the rise of digital solutions in hospitality, there has been an increase in both vendor and payment fatigue – driving most brands to multiple reporting venues, and worse, the consumer to muddle through 3-5 different checkout experiences. CardFree Checkout creates a unified payment experience regardless of the medium, meaning customers will engage with the same exact payment process on any ordering platform a restaurant offers – web app, native app, Text-To-Pay for phone orders, in-store kiosk, Pay@Table, etc. That ease of use and familiarity from guests effectively reduces cart abandonment while a unified source of analytics simplifies data-driven marketing.
CardFree Checkout is a comprehensive suite of payment options that cut across credit, debit, digital wallets, and gift cards, all wrapped with industry-leading fraud tools to minimize the touch points for merchants to go live. Checkout can be paired with any on-premise (Pay@Table, Order@Table, Drive-Thru, Loyalty) and off-premise (Order Ahead, Text-to-Pay) tools to further ease deployment and vendor management.
sweetgreen is opening first restaurant powered by automation. The pilot store, located in Naperville, Ill., debuts technology called the sweetgreen Infinite Kitchen, designed to enhance the customer experience and food quality, with a focus on fresh ingredients, fast service, and friendly hospitality.
sweetgreen has spent the last year and a half fine tuning and adapting its technology to test alongside customers and team members, with the goal of designing a frictionless experience that connects more people to real food.
The new format allows for quicker pace, precise portioning and increased accuracy—while creating efficiencies that allow the team to focus on fresh prep and intimate hospitality. Guests can watch the technology at work, from dispensing greens and dressing bowls and plates, to evenly dispersing ingredients and mixing salads. Team members add the final touches at the finishing station, with a sprinkle of herbs or a scoop of avocado.
"We believe that automation will enable us to elevate the quality and integrity of our food while also providing a faster and more convenient experience for our customers and a better, more dynamic job for our team members," said Jonathan Neman, CEO and Co-Founder of sweetgreen. “With the integration of the sweetgreen Infinite Kitchen in our restaurants, we can unlock efficiencies that will enable us to grow more quickly as we scale.”
When visiting the Naperville sweetgreen restaurant, customers are greeted by the new “host” position which provides a more personalized connection between team members and guests. To order, customers can utilize self-service kiosks, place an order through the mobile app, or order directly from the restaurant’s host. The new restaurant format also brings in a new Tasting Counter, brand-storytelling digital screens and a revamped merchandising strategy for an authentic sweetgreen experience at every touchpoint. Customers visiting the store will be able to shop exclusive merch with designs inspired by the new store joining the Naperville community.
Tripleseat Introduces Artificial Intelligence to Events for the Restaurant Industry
Artificial intelligence tools are spreading to every industry, including the hospitality industry, and Tripleseat is putting this technology into the hands of restaurants and hotels that provide catering and events.
Tripleseat, a web-based sales and event management platform for restaurants, hotels, and unique venues, announced the launch of ChatGPT artificial intelligence to enable venues to enhance their online presence with EventUp and food and beverage sales with Tripleseat’s direct event booking and reservation platform TripleseatDirect.
Integrated into the text editor in Tripleseat’s EventUp and enabled on TripleseatDirect forms, venues can receive AI powered by ChatGPT recommendations for updating their venue and room descriptions to better appeal to guests, boosting Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and adding creative event details to attract more planners on EventUp and TripleseatDirect. This not only improves the overall guest experience but also helps venues attract more business.
“At Tripleseat, we believe that incorporating cutting-edge technology into our platform is key to driving success for our customers in the ever-evolving hospitality industry,” said Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat. “With the launch of ChatGPT features, we're excited to offer our customers access to the latest in artificial intelligence, providing them with personalized recommendations to enhance their venue listings and ultimately attract more business. We're proud to be at the forefront of this technology and look forward to continuing to innovate and provide top-notch solutions for our customers.”
SageNet Appoints IV Dickson Chief Innovation Officer
SageNet, a Tulsa-based managed network, digital experience and security services provider, has appointed industry veteran IV Dickson as its new Chief Innovation Officer (CIVO). Dickson previously served as SageNet’s VP of Digital Experience.
In the newly created CIVO position, Dickson will be responsible for driving innovation and fostering a culture of forward thinking and creativity that anticipates and solves customer challenges. As CIVO, he will be focused on helping both SageNet and its customers recognize emerging trends and identify opportunities for improved productivity and growth.
“SageNet enjoys a 25-year track record of innovation. The CIVO position recognizes the growing importance of innovation in this hyper-accelerated environment of technological and cultural change,” said Brad Wise, SageNet’s CEO. “IV truly understands the customer is the heart of our business, and the key to success goes beyond providing outstanding support today. It anticipates the needs and opportunities of tomorrow and provides the leadership to help the customer arrive and thrive.”
As CIVO, Dickson will also collaborate with the broader SageNet organization – including R&D, engineering, operations, product, sales and marketing – to ensure SageNet’s innovation initiatives are aligned with the company’s overarching business strategies. This includes investigating new product and service offerings, evaluating new business methodologies, and exploring ways to improve existing processes.
“This role is really all about listening, outside-the-box thinking, and teamwork with partners, customers and colleagues,” said Dickson. “During the pandemic, we witnessed an acceleration in the confluence of digital and physical experience never witnessed before. “My entire career is built on the confluence of the digital and physical world. I’ve always been fascinated with finding new ways to use connectivity, creativity and technology to help customers build innovative and highly sustainable brand experiences, whether that’s AI, IoT or something else entirely.
“This is not about invention. It’s about collaboration and implementation. It’s about taking great ideas and turning them into something better, whether that’s an improved customer experience, service or physical product. That’s what drives me, and all of us at SageNet,” concluded Dickson.
Dickson enters this position with more than 20 years of experience in digital engagement hardware, software, integration and solutions, to bring with him a deep understanding of how to harness physical-digital convergence to create business objective-driven customer engagement platforms.
Arch Amenities Group, a full-service, global provider of wellness, amenity management and meeting services for commercial and residential properties, hotels, private clubs and pools, announced the launch of its proprietary survey and salary benchmarking tool, Wage Insightssm.
Wage Insights obtains and leverages data across the hospitality and wellness sectors to enable hotels and wellness centers to better formulate their employee compensation and growth strategies.
Barry Goldstein, Arch Amenities Group chief executive officer, called the Wage Insights survey and reporting tools “some of the most defined and confident ways companies can inform their hiring strategies and react quickly to today’s dynamic labor market using current market data that is both internally equitable and externally competitive.”
Wage Insights surveys are conducted, certified and interpreted by secure, third-party partners to capture and collate national, regional and state-level data from across the hospitality and wellness industries. All subscribers, from C-suite leaders to general managers, can select from several tiers of subscription-based continual reports or choose individual reports via one-time downloads.
Wage Insights reports include comprehensive visual tools to support the budgeting and forecasting process. Reports are generated as spreadsheets and data fields in PDF format, providing wage benchmarking information specific to job type, category and location.
Goldstein credited Michael G. Tompkins, managing director of Hutchinson: An Arch Company, with conceiving the benchmarking survey and insights tool. “With fast-changing economic shifts and the post-pandemic hiring climate, the ability to leverage hyper-current survey data to benchmark salaries and wages is a game-changer for businesses looking to maximize efficiencies for growth,” Goldstein said.
Tompkins added that as demand for wellness services and amenities increases, “we know that more informed recruiting practices lead to better talent acquisition and propel business forward,” adding: “The Wage Insights benchmarking tool helps employers zero in on hiring the best talent in the market, ultimately leading to longer-lasting, more engaged teams.”