News Briefs


Steak n Shake Adds New Way to Pay

Steak n Shake exterior in Indy

Steak n Shake will offer PopID Check In and PopPay on its self-ordering kiosks in select locations in the Orlando market, with plans to expand to more than 300 corporate locations. PopID Check In is an opt-in service that enables consumers to scan their face to automatically sign into their loyalty reward account and see their past orders, making the ordering process as convenient as possible. When a guest checks in with PopID, they also have the option to use PopPay to automatically complete their payment.

“Our partnership with PopID is a key part of our effort to provide guests with a fast and seamless ordering experience," said Keith Correia, Chief Information Officer. "When using PopID Check In, a guest does not need to use their phone or take out their wallet as part of the ordering process. They will automatically be checked in for loyalty rewards, and they can choose to make an automated payment with PopPay. A guest can even see their past orders and quickly reorder their favorite menu items. Ordering at Steak n Shake has never been easier or more convenient.”

In addition to enhancing the guest experience and improving order throughput, PopPay helps to reduce fraud and offers lower payment processing fees.


Sheilina Henry Promoted to President of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse

dine brands logo

Bloomin’ Brands Inc. announced the promotion of Sheilina Henry to President of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. She will be responsible for leading operations and development for the company’s fine dining brand.

“Sheilina’s extensive background in operations and her drive and passion for excellence will help create a meaningful impact at this exceptional brand,” said David Deno, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin' Brands. “New restaurant growth is a priority at Fleming’s, and it is as close as the new flagship location that recently broke ground across the street from the Restaurant Support Center in Tampa.”

Henry has more than 20 years of experience in restaurant operations, training, and project management. She joined Bloomin’ Brands in 2012 as an Outback Steakhouse Joint Venture Partner. She was promoted to Vice President, Training & Development in 2016, Regional Vice President of Operations in 2019, and Group Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2020. She most recently added leadership for Off-Premises Dining to her Senior Vice President responsibilities.

Bloomin' Brands. has four founder-inspired brands: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Barand operates more than 1,450 restaurants.


P.F. Chang's CEO to Step Down

PF Changs exterior in NJ

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. announced that Damola Adamolekun has decided to step down as Chief Executive Officer effective August 1. The Board has appointed Rohit Manocha, a shareholder representative and P.F. Chang's board member since 2019, to serve as interim CEO and is working with an independent recruitment firm to conduct a comprehensive search for a successor.  Adamolekun will return to Paulson & Co. Inc. as a Partner focusing on investments.

"I'm immensely proud of all that we've accomplished to elevate the customer experience, to build-out the company's technology infrastructure to enable a robust takeout and delivery business, and to expand our international footprint," said  Adamolekun. 


In the four-and-half years since acquisition, the company has invested more than $200mm to open more than 10 bistros and two flagships, revitalized the existing store fleet, and upgraded the menu and experience in restaurants to provide customers with the highest quality Asian food in an entertaining and celebratory setting.

The company has significantly expanded its takeout and delivery business, launching a small-footprint P.F. Chang's To Go format so more customers can enjoy P.F. Chang's anywhere. The Company is now in an ideal position to continue to grow and take advantage of the substantial opportunity to bring the P.F. Chang's experience worldwide.


Jet's Pizza Tops 5M Orders Through AI Talk, Text Features

voice ai soundwaves

Jet’s Pizza  has fulfilled 5 million orders via HungerRush’s OrderAI Text and Talk.

Jet’s started with OrderAI Text in 2019 and has since fulfilled 4 million orders with the text-to-order feature.  Since 2022, Jet’s fulfilled more than two million orders using OrderAI Text.

In December 2021, Jet’s started its pilot with HungerRush’s OrderAI Talk, an AI-powered phone bot, which has now already passed 1 million orders and is now in 240 stores in 20 states. Currently, Jet’s is earning $6 million a month from using the technologies across its store locations. Many employees and owners at locations using the technology have noted it has been essential in decreasing stress caused by the workplace.

Solutions to Help the Worker Shortage

“One of the biggest concerns we were hearing from franchisees was getting enough applications in the door, so we addressed this with technology. OrderAI can take infinite phone calls, which is instrumental in getting employees off the phones and back into the fun part of the job – making delicious pizzas,” said Aaron Nilsson, CIO of Jet’s Pizza.

Jet's has seen less turnover as work stress has been reduced.  

HungerRush’s OrderAI Talk phone bot simplifies the phone ordering process by providing customers with the ability to place and pay for an order, without any interaction from the store’s staff. The technology can handle users’ various dialects or situational nuances, and the system understands the order, resulting in reduced frustrations typically associated with less sophisticated phone bots.

OrderAI Text provides the unique ability for frequent Jet’s customers to leverage texting as a powerful, simple, and convenient re-order channel to either phone or other digital ordering channels. Based on the same software engine as OrderAI Talk, OrderAI Text delivers great guest experiences, and increased order volumes. OrderAI Text allows restaurants to have consumers opt-in for marketing promotions, and at key re-order times, a reminder text can be sent. By simply responding to the text promotion, the order is immediately placed without ever leaving the text thread. In fact, 29% of Jet’s customers act on marketing promotions once opted in. With the combination of OrderAI Talk and Text, Jet’s provides its customers with a unique market differentiator, while also increasing significant brand value for the restaurant.

With OrderAI Talk and Text, Jet’s improves order accuracy, reduces wait time, and improves the employee and customer experience. Increased order accuracy greatly enhances consumer satisfaction and loyalty, while also reducing food waste of orders that need to be remade. The 5 million total orders fulfilled through the OrderAI technology have accounted for approximately $140 million in sales for Jet’s locations across 340 stores.

To learn more about the partnership between HungerRush and Jet’s, please watch our new Jet’s story video.


Firebirds Wood Fired Grill Transforms Operations

server with tablet and happy diners

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill selected NCR Corp.'s Aloha to transform its operations

Firebirds operates casual American restaurants in 21 states via its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. The NCR Commerce Platform unifies all of NCR Aloha’s capabilities and provides a cloud-based solution that is boosting Firebirds’ efficiency and creating a great dining experience.

More than a POS

71% of restaurants are leveraging data gathered via the POS for digital engagement, according to HTs 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

With NCR Aloha, Firebirds is able to get "operational and financial insights through analytics, can easily integrate solutions through the cloud and deploy directly to all our restaurants, and have a single point of support for faster IT resolutions,” said Patrick Greene, Vice President of Information Technology.

NCR’s solutions also extend to the  FIREBAR, its in-house bar, where handheld devices are making service smoother and helping increase revenue.  

NCR is a full end-to-end provider from order creation to payment settlement that brings together software, services and hardware -- trusted by more than 100,000 restaurant sites. NCR Aloha provides everything enterprise and SMB restaurants need to connect and run their businesses.


Accor Partners With Phrasee to Create High-Performing Content to Supercharge Campaign Outcomes and Maximize ROI

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Phrasee, the complete AI content platform for enterprise marketers, and Accor, the largest hospitality company in Europe and the sixth largest hospitality company worldwide, are partnering to optimize the hotel group's marketing copy to accelerate engagement and revenue.

"The hospitality industry is extremely competitive, and we are matching the innovation we bring to our hotels to delight customers with enhanced marketing efforts, enabled by Phrasee's generative AI technology," said Marc Lantrok, Accor's vice president of customer engagement, Europe & North Africa. "We are excited to move forward with our partnership with Phrasee as we work toward becoming more data-driven and increasing revenue and engagement for our Accor loyalty program in the UK and French markets, as well as ibis in the UK.”

Accor is using Phrasee to optimize subject lines, tested to drive open and click rates for higher engagement, traffic, and revenue for the specified hotels. The optimized copy will help ensure that Accor brands are at the forefront of customers' minds when they are ready to book. In addition, Phrasee’s platform will guarantee messaging consistency across multiple marketing channels, further boosting customer loyalty with the right messaging at the right time, delivered via the right vehicle.

“Marketers are jumping on the AI bandwagon to create content, but too many are unable to generate content that delivers,” said Parry Malm, Phrasee CEO. “This is not a case of the more, the merrier. The content must be good, meaning it must be on-brand, optimized for performance, and provide the level of safety that enterprise marketers need at scale. Accor’s partnership with Phrasee ensures the hospitality group’s marketing program is backed by a content engine that delivers smarter, data-driven high-performing content to drive customer engagement and ROI and continues to improve as it gleans insights for even greater engagement.”

Looking ahead, Accor will leverage Phrasee technology to ensure the maximum number of campaigns are optimized, driving impact and ROI. Accor will use Phrasee's Language Insights and AI platform to gain customer insights, inform data-driven decisions, and create high-performing, on-brand marketing messages optimized for new and returning hotel guests.