News Briefs


Wow Bao Launches The Hot Buns Club and Creates Unique Digital CollectaBaos to Enhance its Points-Based, Bao Bucks Rewards Program

wow bao loyalty program logo

Wow Bao, a fast-casual Asian concept, announces the expansion of its web3 strategy, launching Digital CollectaBaos to enhance its points-based Bao Bucks loyalty program.  

“Wow Bao has always been a pioneer in enhancing the dining experience with technology, forging a path for today’s innovations to become mainstream, " said Geoff Alexander, President & CEO of Wow Bao. “By creating a digital collectible club, Wow Bao is leveling up the everyday loyalty program, and welcoming all diners to the future.” Alexander shared his brand's tips for creating lifetime loyalty at MURTEC Executive Summit.

In November, Wow Bao laid out its phased web3 strategy, which included this NFT-based extension of their Bao Bucks rewards program and the launch of metaverse vending machines. Their entry into this technology is a clear demonstration of the real-world utility of digital collectibles.  

Customers have an initial opportunity to purchase these lively digital CollectaBaos from a first course minting, gaining access to Wow Bao’s cheeky yet chic Hot Buns Club. Club benefits include 10% off orders, 10% off Wow Bao merchandise, double Bao Bucks points, and chances to win additional CollectaBaos, free meals, and more. Additional courses, or mintings, of future CollectaBaos will offer more benefits and perks. Details of how to become an exclusive member can be found at the new Hot Buns Club landing page

Wow Bao commissioned NFT artist, MANOVERMARS, aka MoM, to create the edgy, one-of-a-kind digital imprints. MoM is a full-time freelance artist who has worked with web2 brands like Macy’s, Visa, and Specialized, as well as web3 brands like 3Landers, Ben Mezrich, Froggy Friends, and many others.  

Wow Bao’s entrance into the digital collectible space cements its commitment to continually exploring leading innovative technology and finding unique ways to reach new diners. By engaging customers in new ways, the company continues to drive engagement and loyalty. It follows its early use of self-ordering kiosks in 2010, a fully automated front-of-house animated cubby experience in 2017, and, since 2020, the unprecedented growth of over 700 locations through their virtual dark kitchen program.   

While Wow Bao has chosen Devour as its web3 ordering partner, Wow Bao is also partnering with Flaunt to both mint its Digital CollectaBaos and to integrate the program with its existing Bao Bucks Rewards program that is powered by Paytronix


Withe Secures $1.1M USD in Pre-Seed Funding

withe logo

Today, Withe, the on-demand video interview and virtual hiring event platform that aims to solve volume hiring challenges for enterprise hospitality staffing and recruiting teams, announced the close of its $1.1M USD pre-seed round, led by San Francisco-based Focal. Withe’s SaaS platform is designed for enterprises that hire hundreds to thousands of people at the same time, such as staffing and recruiting teams in the tourism and hospitality industry. With the funds, the company is planning on further expanding its technical team and building its roadmap, alongside its first enterprise customer, Fortune 1000 industry leader, Trueblue, as a design partner.

“Today, it simply takes too long to get qualified candidates in front of great companies. What we’ve created in Withe is a platform that benefits both recruiters and candidates by providing them with an on-demand and seamless experience,” said Daniel Shalinsky, CEO and co-founder of Withe. “This funding will propel the next phase of Withe by enabling us to continue to hire the right people while we expand further into new markets,” said Shalinsky.

Withe reduces interview time by 82%, providing enterprise hiring teams with seamless scheduling and better utilization of their most valuable resource: time. Industry leaders who rely on Withe for virtual hiring fairs experience notable decreases in time-to-hire and improved efficiencies across the board.

It’s no secret that today’s market is competitive when it comes to hiring the best talent swiftly. With post-pandemic recovery efforts and the North American spring and summer tourism season upon us, hospitality brands are looking to fill hundreds, sometimes thousands, of positions at the same time—more rapidly than ever. Withe is confident that its platform will be turnkey for the industry’s volume hiring needs in 2023 and beyond. 


San Francisco Hotel Simplifies Budgeting with Updated Accounting and Forecasting Solutions

Hotel Nikko in San Francisco

Business at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco is booming, especially since the property secured a spot on Forbes’ 2022 list of the 13 best hotels in San Francisco. With travelers’ eyes fixed on the luxury boutique hotel in Union Square, the hotel’s management team began looking for new financial management tools capable of delivering macro and micro analysis of numerous data sets and assisting with planning for future investments into the property. PVNG enterprise accounting and Targetvue budgeting and forecasting solutions from Aptech fit the bill for their ability to affordably give operators the insight, flexibility and control they desired.

“When we began searching for technology to replace our previous solution, we wanted tools that could drill down into every account and help provide context behind our performance,” said Vincent Rafanan, Hotel Nikko San Francisco chief financial officer. “Budgeting and forecasting was a top priority. Previously, we relied on a standalone system to oversee these processes. Once we met with Aptech, we immediately saw how easy it was to connect Targetvue to the cloud and to PVNG, then share information seamlessly between the two systems. Today, our team is easily comparing and contrasting any scenario from month to month. These tools have been invaluable for digging into last year’s reporting and preparing forecasts for the year to come.”

Targetvue is designed to provide “one version of the truth” throughout an organization. By providing variance analytics, data visualization and version control, this tool helps hotels meet future growth goals by utilizing a single, centrally maintained set of database models. By adopting this user-friendly software, hotels can eliminate the need to correct and recombine multiple spreadsheets for consolidating and reporting.

PVNG elevates hoteliers’ ability to monitor their success. The tool features Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Statistics, Financials, and Bank Reconciliation modules and seamless web browser navigation allowing hotels to upload their accounting data remotely. PVNG can be deployed as a hosted service and also offers OCR invoice processing, a myriad of payment options, drill-down capabilities in financial statements and reports, and the ability to handle single or multi-property accounting.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Hotel Nikko San Francisco and are delighted at the success they are having with Targetvue and PVNG,” said Jill Wilder, Vice President at Aptech. “Luxury hotels like the Hotel Nikko frequently add new services and amenities. This, combined with the wide range of offerings the hotel provides, makes accounting, budgeting, and forecasting all the more complex. PVNG streamlines common daily procedures, while Targetvue eliminates the need to manage budgets across multiple spreadsheets, preserving a single view of a hotel’s true operating potential across the entire organization. These capabilities are helping hotels of any size maintain success and momentum, heedless of the size of their aspirations.”


The 531-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco is known for its high-end Japanese-inspired decor, a wide array of amenities, and attention to detail. Located at Union Square's gateway, it is surrounded by retail stores, boutiques, and various restaurants. The property is convenient to San Francisco’s Theater District and is renowned for its 10,000-square-foot health club, the Anzu restaurant, and a glass-enclosed swimming pool.


NRA NEWS 2023: Craftable and Square Celebrate One Year of Partnership, Streamline Restaurant Operations and Reduce Costs

craftable logo

Craftable, a profit management platform, celebrates one year of partnership with Square, the technology company that makes commerce and financial services easy and accessible. Craftable and its partners Square, Paytronix and 7Shifts will be hosting an activation at this year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) Conference at McCormick Place (2301 S King Dr) in Chicago, IL on May 21st from 3-5 PM at Square’s booth, #5821.

Last May, Craftable and Square announced a collaboration to provide hospitality operators with full visibility into their operations, connecting purchases with sales data and labor in real-time with Craftable's Foodager, Bevager and Analytics platforms.

To showcase the results of the integration, Craftable and Square recently teamed up to unveil a case study titled “How Square + Craftable helped NYC’s brewery-gastropub manage operating costs.” Utilizing the easy-to-use Square for Restaurants platform, Torch & Crown’s team, led under the direction of entrepreneurs Joe Correia and John Dantzler, was able to efficiently take orders, make menu changes on the fly and keep orders moving through the kitchen. 

After using Square’s seamlessly integrated platform to run their operations, they decreased time spent on invoices by 6 hours and increased touchless payments by 40%. By leveraging Craftable’s integration with Square, they reduced food costs by over 5% and reduced beverage costs by a whopping 12%.

“We are proud to serve the hospitality industry alongside Square, a trusted leader in restaurant technology,” said Samuel Zats, co-founder and CEO of Craftable. “Our tech platforms seek to empower operators within the industry with the financial and business operations data to optimize business practices, allow teams to run more efficiently, and implement strategic tactics to support immediate and long-term growth.” 

Craftable will be debuting its happy hour style activation at the NRA Conference, notably the largest gathering of food service professionals in the Western hemisphere. During the activation, attendees will enjoy an open bar while learning about how the four leaders in hospitality tech–Craftable, Square, Paytronix and 7Shifts–work seamlessly to improve efficiency, streamline operations and provide the data and insights for restaurant and bar operators to improve their bottom lines.


MD7 Partners with LNG Electric to Power EV Adoption for 13,000+ Hotels and Apartment Complexes

lng teaser logo

EV charging provider LNG Electric has announced it is partnering with design firm MD7 to place Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) EV charging stations at over 13,000 hotels and 40+ multi-family communities across the country. The planned installations will make LNG Electric one of the top 3 owner-operators of EV charging stations in the United States.

Beginning this month with a Level 2 charger installation, LNG Electric's 13,000 chargers will be rolled out over the next five to six years. LNG Electric aims to create a charging network covering 10%-15% of the US hospitality market to tackle range anxiety by making chargers more widely available. And with a growing demand for reduced charge times nationwide, LNG Electric is also moving to meet the need to reduce nationwide charge times by installing more Level 3 charging stations as part of its planned network.

The partnership is the first step LNG Electric is taking to remove one of the primary barriers to EV entry for many: a lack of infrastructure. As they provide power to as many communities as possible, LNG Electric and MD7 hope to make EV charging more widely available and a viable transportation method for hotel guests and apartment renters.

"MD7 is the best at installing connected infrastructure like EV charging stations," said Taylor Weaver, CEO of LNG Electric. "Their willingness to help us even the playing field and provide charging stations for people at every income level shows just how committed they are to our mission. We want to power the EV grid, no matter where you are."

"We're excited to partner with LNG Electric to provide first-class EV charging technology to apartment complexes and hotels, furthering our commitment to environmental sustainability," said Michael Fraunces, President of MD7. "We support their mission to provide affordable EV grid access to more people than ever before, and we can't wait for what's next."

The first deployments will be at Marriot and Hilton brand hotels in Ohio, Florida and Illinois.


NRA 2023 NEWS: Palmer Digital Group Brings Message of Monetization to National Restaurant Show

Portillo's Drive-Thru Digital Signage

Palmer Digital Group, a full-service supplier and installer of indoor and outdoor digital kiosks, drive-thru digital menu boards and canopy systems, returns to the National Restaurant Association Show this week with its latest outdoor display solutions for QSRs and Fast Casual restaurants. The full-service supplier, which also provides planning and installation services, will demonstrate its all-in-one outdoor digital menu board solutions and EV charging stations, showcasing PDG’s enclosures, integrated displays, and dynamic digital out-of-home (DOOH) media support for EV kiosks.

The Restaurant Show has proven a lucrative venue for PDG over the years, and the company anticipates that this year’s event will once again deliver. “We have onboarded at least four distribution partners each year, and our calculations prove that each one represents at least $500,000 in new annual sales,” said Chuck Lewis, Vice President, Palmer Digital Group. “That speaks to the value of demonstrating at this show, as do the contracts we have won from end customers like Buona that discovered us here.”

Lewis notes that QSR and Fast Casual restaurants are eager to transition to digital inside and outside their stores, and PDG”s installation services remove the time and costs of site planning, site preparation and crane lifts for end businesses. Many PDG menu board structures can be installed by two technicians, which along with the company’s installation services is a key differentiator from competitors. 

Palmer Digital Group will exhibit at Booth 5550 and contribute to demonstrations at three CMS partner booths. Across all four booths, visitors can see how businesses can creatively arrange, manage, update and monetize menu board content across one or more display panels. However, visitors will need to come to PDG’s booth to see its all-in-one EV charging solution, a Level 2 80-amp EV kiosk that supports dynamic DOOH content, energy-efficient electrification, cloud-based performance monitoring, and mobile payment solutions among other attributes.

“We see increasing interest in our EV charging solutions because they draw in new clientele that QSR and Fast Casual businesses can upsell to as they charge their vehicles,” said Lewis. “Restaurants can post their menu and promotional content on these displays in their parking lots as an appetizer to the dine-in customer experience.” 

For digital menu boards, PDG will provide single, double and triple outdoor enclosures with integrated displays across their three CMS partner booths. All three companies resell PDG enclosures that provide robust structural support for digital menu boards.

  •  At Booth 6674, EyeCatch Networks will show PDG’s QSRMB255 double digital menu board solution with Samsung displays and content powered through its digital signage software.
  • At Booth 8216, Stream LLC will show PDG’s QSRMB255 double and QSRMB155 single digital menu board solutions with LG displays and content powered through its digital signage software. PDG’s single-board solutions are often deployed as pre-sell boards at the beginning of the customer’s drive-thru journey.
  • At Booth 6178, Zero-In will show PDG’s QSRMB355 triple menu board solution with Samsung displays and content powered through its digital signage software.