News Briefs


NRA Show News: New Coca-Cola Flex Dispenser Offers 40+ Drink Choices

Coca Cola Flex

Coca-Cola will showcase  Coca-Cola Flex  powered by Freestyle, a new beverage dispenser that offers an enhanced guest experience while reducing operational complexity.

With more than 40 beverage choices available in the same footprint as standard 6-valve fountain dispensers, Coca-Cola Flex combines the benefits of traditional fountain dispensers with the innovation and variety offered by Coca-Cola Freestyle. The next-generation dispenser is debuting at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show on May 19 in Chicago.

With its sleek design, user-friendly interface, cutting-edge technology and over 40 beverage choices, Coca-Cola Flex creates an exciting beverage-pouring experience for foodservice guests. In addition to providing a simple installation and maintenance for operators, features of the front-of-house dispenser include:

  •  PurePour™ Technology: Coca-Cola Flex uses carefully crafted recipes with micro-dosing pumps and proprietary PurePour™ technology to dispense the proper ingredients at the point of pour. The result is quality, fresh beverages from every pour.
  • New Design: The new dispenser boasts a 15” HD touchscreen display for smoother navigation and an engaging consumer experience.
  • Improved Crew Operations: Using and maintaining the Flex is easier with a new user-friendly interface, easier access to inventory alerts, quicker diagnostics and improved ergonomics. The small, eco-friendly SmartPAK cartridges are easy to change and take up less space than the traditional bag-in-box syrup. 

NRA Show News: Revel Systems, IPORT Join Forces


Revel Systems announced a partnership with IPORT to offer its best-in-class products to restaurants and retailers. IPORT's stands and enclosures for Apple iPads streamline networking, charging, tablet protection, and presentation.

IPORT, a manufacturer, designs products such as Connect Pro to enhance the functionality of iPads for businesses. Connect Pro is an all-in-one system for holding, charging, and protecting iPads on table-tops or walls.  Check them out in National Restaurant Association booth 438. 

The manufacturer’s table-side enclosure provides an optimized mobile solution for restaurants and retailers seeking to take orders directly from customers wherever they are.

IPORT enclosures and stands will be offered as a new line of Revel Premium Stands.



NRA Show News: Samsung, GRUBBRR and Robert Irvine to Showcase New Collaboration

Robert Irvine with Grubbrr kiosk

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and GRUBBRR, a provider of self-ordering technologies, will be at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show along with GRUBBRR’s newest partner and investor, celebrity chef, restaurateur, and TV host Robert Irvine.

Together, GRUBBRR and Chef Irvine will showcase Samsung’s display technologies, highlighting its various use cases throughout the restaurant industry. GRUBBRR’s solutions help power Samsung’s suite of restaurant technology.

Robert Irvine partnered with GRUBBRR in March, joining as both an investor and brand ambassador. Together they are tackling challenges plaguing the restaurant industry, including labor shortages and rising food costs, and helping restaurant owners navigate the future of technology.

GRUBBRR’s self-ordering technologies have demonstrated an immediate impact on businesses by increasing revenue with upselling technology, decreasing operating costs by streamlining efficiency and reducing the dependency on labor, and improving the overall customer experience by expediting average transaction time, eliminating order inaccuracies, and implementing loyalty integrations.

“For years, one of the biggest issues for restaurants has been labor, whether it’s no labor or poor labor,” said Robert Irvine. “Self-ordering technologies are eliminating inefficiencies in the industry, while simultaneously solving the labor challenge plaguing so many owners and operators. You can see the future of restaurants. The technology is here, now it’s time to adapt and get to work.”



NRA Show News: APEX Introduces Smart Pickup Lockers


Apex Order Pickup Solutions introduces its new NextUp Series of indoor/outdoor smart lockers designed to provide efficient, frictionless ecommerce and digital order fulfillment.

See the OrderHQ Exterior Smart Food Lockers and NextUp Smart Pickup Lockers at  National Restaurant Association Show Booth 5839.

NextUp Smart Pickup Lockers ensure secure order pickup with minimal employee labor while providing customers with quick, convenient, and secure access inside or outside of the store 24 hours a day. This solves many of the inefficiencies encountered by businesses that rely on digital ordering for on-site pickup. 

This new series uses proprietary ApexIQ software, which offers easy integrations with popular enterprise resource planning systems, POS software, mobile apps and more. ApexIQ software also offers a visual loading guide for employees, directional pickup guides for customers, and an easy-to-use portal that lets authorized users manage locker features and view data from one location or across their enterprise.

NextUp lockers help reduce errors for both employee order loading and customer pickup. They virtually eliminate mistaken pickups and stolen orders, ensuring that the right order goes to the right customer, at the right time. They also offer a helpful feature that automatically pops open the door if a customer leaves part of an order in the compartment. The lockers are IP54 rated, so they can be placed outside or in a store vestibule to give customers flexible, 24/7 access to their orders, without the need for an employee to be there.



AHLA, IFBTA Announce Technology Partnership


The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the International Food and Beverage Technology Association (IFBTA) today announced a new strategic partnership that will more closely align the two associations to benefit their respective members and advance technology within the hospitality and foodservice industries. 

The partnership will enhance AHLA’s connectivity to food and beverage technology content and key industry suppliers while expanding IFBTA’s organizational reach by aligning it with America’s largest hotel association.

The new agreement includes the following areas of collaboration:  

  • IFBTA and AHLA will become association partners, wherein IFBTA becomes an AHLA Association Member and AHLA becomes an IFBTA Association Member 
  • A representative from AHLA’s technology committee, HTNG, will serve as a member of the IFBTA Board of Directors
  • An IFBTA representative will serve as a member of AHLA’s Food & Beverage Committee and will also support and promote AHLA’s HTNG initiatives
  • IFBTA and AHLA will support relationships with key food and beverage thought leaders, innovators, and industry suppliers
  • IFBTA membership will be provided as an included benefit of AHLA membership, to include access to IFBTA resources, chapters, education, and events

“Lodging and food and beverage are the cornerstones of hospitality, and this partnership brings together two of the most important associations in these areas,” said AHLA Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Carey. “The technology education capabilities and global F&B reach IFBTA brings to AHLA will be valuable assets to our association and its members.”

“Although food and beverage technology has long been at the intersection of the hospitality and foodservice industries, they have often been split between those operating hotels and those operating foodservice establishments,” said Rob Grimes, CEO of the IFBTA. “The partnership between the IFBTA and AHLA further solidifies the crossover and allows those from each industry to gather and share information with their professional counterparts. We are excited to support AHLA by providing additional networking, resources and educational opportunities to their membership.”

The agreement announced today is one in a series of recent AHLA partnerships that are enabling the organization to better serve its members and the hotel industry. Other examples include:

  • AHLA’s partnership with the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Americas
  • AHLA’s partnership with Questex to produce the industry-leading technology and operations trade show, The Hospitality Show
  • AHLA’s 10-year agreement with HFTP to produce the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI)
  • AHLA’s partnership with the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) to grow the hotel and hospitality industry workforce

PreciTaste Deploys AI Kitchen Management Solution in NY, Chicago Restaurants

DIG restaurant

New York-based DIG and Chicago-based Urbanbelly restaurants are using PreciTaste's plug-and-play Prep Assistant.

Launched earlier this year, PreciTaste's Prep Assistant is providing real results to combat today's rising labor and food cost challenges. It takes task management from clipboards to digital automation, accurately guiding each crew member on precisely how much to prep per daypart based on AI-generated demand predictions. Customers report that the solution saves managers and crew members over an hour per day from the first day of installation and reduces food waste by up to 20% - leading to up to a 5% food cost saving overall, both of which increase profitability.  PreciTaste shared real-world examples in the Tech Disruptor series at MURTEC.

"DIG's main priorities are creating the freshest dishes and best experiences for our guests and our kitchen teams. With the Prep Assistant, our managers can focus more on cooking delicious food and training our chefs, and less on how much to prep as tasks are organized more efficiently and accurately," says Tracy Kim, CEO of DIG, a restaurant group that serves scratch-cooked American fare. 

Chef Bill Kim, Urbanbelly Founder and Chef-Partner at Cornerstone Restaurant Group, is seeing similar results. He says, "We are thrilled to partner with PreciTaste to integrate the Prep Assistant into the daily operations at Urbanbelly. Prep Assistant AI technology provides the tools to empower our staff and operators to optimize resources and run our business most effectively. Utilizing AI is a massive benefit to the restaurant industry to create efficient workflows and allow increased managerial bandwidth to focus on growth and development."

As PreciTaste continues expanding their offerings to more midsize restaurants, its team of 80+ engineers just released a first-of-its-kind proprietary ChatGPT-like customer extension - the Chat Assistant. This software-based restaurant management solution provides a wealth of operations data from all connected stores in real time. With generative AI and Large Language Models (LLM), all operations data becomes accessible to provide instant intelligent insights and calculations around operational KPIs.  

With nearly 2,500 food AI systems deployed in the past two years, PreciTaste is a market-proven platform that now offers AI accessibility for restaurants of many sizes and offerings. Now that they've seen the impact on their bottom line, Urbanbelly and DIG plan to expand their AI capabilities to continue to increase labor efficiency and their level of customer service in the coming months.