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.


Storefront and Bbot by DoorDash Integrate with Paytronix

doordash image of restaurant

DoorDash  announced that Storefront, its commission-free online ordering system which enables restaurateurs to accept online orders directly from their website, and Bbot, its order and pay at table technology, now integrate with Paytronix. This partnership enables operators to develop loyalty programs and support gift card payment – two key ways to enhance digital guest engagement.

Restaurateurs are continuing to diversify their revenue streams and offering gift cards is one clear option to capture future business and extend their customer base. Over one-third of customers paying with gift cards are also new to Storefront, allowing restaurateurs to serve new customers. Existing customers might wish to purchase gift cards for friends and family to use at a future date, for in-house dining, and now, dining at home via delivery. 

With this new Paytronix integration, customers ordering from a restaurant partner using Storefront or Bbot can simply select “gift card” as their preferred payment option during the checkout process. According to aggregate Storefront data, order value is on average 50% higher for orders paid for with gift cards opposed to those paid for with alternative methods. For ease of payment, customers can combine up to five gift cards to cover their subtotal, taxes, and optional Dasher tip for delivery. Any overage can be paid for with alternative payment methods including credit or debit cards.

"Customers are accustomed to having the option to pay with gift cards when dining in-store. It's imperative guests have the same flexibility when ordering online, which is why Storefront's integration with Paytronix is crucial to ensuring customers have a frictionless digital experience,” said Patrick Yearout, Director of Innovation at Ivar’s Restaurants. “Upon adding gift cards to our operations, we've seen an increase in weekly revenue and we've also noticed customers paying with gift cards are spending more per order compared to customers paying with other payment methods."

Building on the value of offering gift cards, this integration enables operators to further elevate their customer experience by offering loyalty programs which keep guests engaged and returning for the long-term. Orders where customers redeemed loyalty points were on average approximately 30% higher than orders without loyalty redemption and one in four orders placed from restaurants offering a loyalty solution through Storefront helped customers accrue loyalty points for a future purchase.

After navigating to a restaurant leveraging Storefront or Bbot to accept orders, customers are encouraged to sign in to their existing account or enroll in a restaurant’s loyalty program. Customers are presented with the option to redeem available rewards at checkout, and after successfully placing an order, customers will receive an order confirmation outlining how many loyalty points have been earned. Operators will also be able to reconnect with individuals enrolled in their loyalty program by sending personalized offers for future orders.

“Partnering with DoorDash Storefront enables us to offer our Frequent Diner Club Members the chance to earn Frequent Diner Club Points and redeem Reward Dollars on all carryout and delivery orders through our website and app” says R.J. Melman, President of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. “Offering the same hospitality across our dining rooms and at home is important to us, and with this partnership, we're not only able to make the online ordering process quick and easy, but we have also been able to acquire new guests."

Restaurateurs leveraging Storefront and Bbot by DoorDash who are interested in adopting gift card or loyalty solutions through Paytronix can complete this form.

image courtesy of DoorDash


HRS Names Will Pinnell to SVP Leadership Position

logo, company hrs

HRS, a global corporate lodging and payment technology platform, announced the hiring of two expert corporate travel executives to prominent roles as the company grows its business and adds resources in the Americas.

Will Pinnell, a respected executive with 13 years of experience developing and implementing an array of technology applications for Sabre and BCD Travel, joins HRS as the company’s new Senior Vice President for the Americas. Pauline Robin, an established procurement leader who spent six years in key roles overseeing global hotel supplier relations and procurement for CWT’s RoomIt consulting division, also joins HRS as Vice President, Procurement Consulting & Supplier Relations for the Americas.

The two leaders will oversee HRS’ accelerating progress, working with existing clients, hotel partners and prospects that leverage HRS technology and expertise to drive more safety, satisfaction, savings, security, and sustainable practices across the entirety of lodging operations. Both will be at HRS’ booth (#3432) at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) conference in Dallas next week.

HRS is also expanding its New York City regional headquarters, accommodating a growing staff of procurement consulting and customer-facing experts that help corporations enhance and transform their lodging program.

Two Leaders to Expedite Use of HRS’ Groundbreaking Lodging as a Service Platform in the Americas  

HRS’ industry-leading Lodging as a Service platform is redefining the impact of automation for global corporate hotel programs via its end-to-end solution. Powered by AI-driven predictive automation, HRS’ proprietary travel and financial technology gives travel leaders a broader scale of insight and ability to project anticipated scenarios for their travel programs. The appointment of these two innovative, proven executives will strengthen HRS’ senior leadership team as more organizations based in the Americas deploy HRS’ pioneering solution.  

“Will Pinnell brings a unique combination to the complex arena of managed travel – a balanced mix of entrepreneurial mindset with the product and commercial experience to grasp the speed and scope by which global companies implement and deploy new technologies,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge. “Pauline Robin is a global corporate lodging procurement expert, having worked in multiple international locations as well as many years in the USA. Her successful consulting career prior to this only enhances her understanding of the broader issues many travel procurement leaders face today.”

“They are joining at precisely the right time, as more travel programs in the Americas are moving on from legacy processes,” said Ragge. “As 2024 draws near, trailblazing companies are accessing and leveraging deeper data insights, seizing the expansive potential of our predictive AI-driven automation, and gaining from the efficiencies of synchronized procurement, booking, payment and data intelligence.”

With his past volunteer positions, which included serving on GBTA’s board of directors and on the GBTA Ladders leadership team, Mr. Pinnell is widely known in the global managed travel industry for his insights and contributions to many ideas and strategies GBTA adopted in service of its members. His entrepreneurial track record, which includes key roles in the development of Sabre’s leading-edge mobile applications and – most recently– global responsibility for BCD Travel’s customer-facing applications and booking technologies, aligns with the technology mindset HRS features in its global management team.

Mr. Pinnell worked in several leadership roles over the past decade with BCD Travel, including VP of Global Sales and Engineering and VP of Digital and Global Strategy. During his nearly five years at Sabre, Mr. Pinnell led the company’s mobile solution development as Director of Mobile Strategy and Traveler Solutions. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Marketing and Management from TCU, and has earned certificates in AI, robotics, machine learning and leadership from prominent institutions including Cornell’s SC Johnson School of Business and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Pauline Robin comes to HRS after spending six years overseeing global supplier management and procurement teams for CWT’s RoomIt consulting unit. Before starting her career in business travel, she worked at PWC for nearly three years, focusing on global management consulting. Ms. Robin holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. 


Actabl Unveils Two-Way Integration between Alice and Transcendent, Enhancing Hotel Operations and Guest Experience

actabl logo

Actabl, a hospitality software company dedicated to empowering hotels with actionable insights to drive profit, proudly announces the launch of its highly anticipated two-way integration between Alice and Transcendent. This groundbreaking integration optimizes hotel operations, allowing real-time cross-departmental collaboration between Front of House, Housekeeping, and Engineering to efficiently manage guest requests, improve guest satisfaction, and achieve prime operational visibility and accountability.

Designed with ease of use in mind, the integration enables both teams using Alice and engineers relying on Transcendent to seamlessly collaborate and communicate within their familiar systems, eliminating the need for learning new technology. By optimizing workflow processes between teams, the integration significantly decreases guest request resolution times, increases productivity and empowers teams, leading to reduced overhead expenses. Progress is tracked in real-time, offering Alice teams greater visibility to optimize operating costs and Transcendent teams more insights into capital planning processes. 

"We are thrilled to introduce the two-way integration between Alice and Transcendent, representing a significant milestone in our mission to empower hotel operators to provide outstanding service through integrated solutions," said Anu Sharma, Senior Vice President of Technology and Delivery at Actabl. "Making guests happy is at the forefront of everything hoteliers do, and this integration allows them to resolve issues swiftly so they can focus on providing elevated experiences and ultimately increasing guest loyalty."

Actabl is actively building a comprehensive platform for hotel intelligence and operations management technology demonstrating its commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and continuous product improvements. With a strong focus on customer engagement and learning, Actabl has attended over 60 conferences in 2023, providing individualized training to enhance customer knowledge and maximize software utilization. Additionally, the company has increased team capacity and introduced new measurement tools to expedite implementation timelines.

"We prioritize our resources to ensure our software suite enhances our customer's day-to-day operations, growth, and ongoing success. Bringing Transcendent and Alice closer means more than streamlining operation processes to increase efficiency and cost savings,” shares Steven Moore, CEO of Actabl.“It means streamlining operation processes to improve the work day for front of house, housekeeping, and engineering teams so that they can focus on providing great hospitality.” 


Modern Restaurant Concepts Hires New CTO

man who is a CTO at QDOBA

Modern Restaurant Concepts (MRC), a fast-casual restaurant platform comprised of the QDOBA and Modern Market Eatery brands, announced that Prashant Budhale has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer.

Budhale brings more than 28 years of experience in technology leadership to MRC, and as CTO, will lead all technology across MRC brands.  

Previously Budhale served as Head of Technology for SONIC Drive-In, part of the Inspire Brands portfolio. At SONIC, he was responsible for the vision, development, and implementation of all technology initiatives across the 3,550 unit, $6B brand. Prior to SONIC, Prashant was Senior Director for Pizza Hut, part of YUM! Brands, where he led retail technology. Earlier in his career, Prashant worked as a software development consultant with IBM, Allstate, Oracle, Capgemini, and Fujitsu America.  

QDOBA is a fast casual Mexican restaurant with over 750 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Modern Restaurant Concepts has 800 units across two brands. The system operates corporate-owned and franchised units.


Waverly Labs Adds New Features to Forum

waverly labs logo

Waverly Labspioneers of smart translation solutions, unveils an enhanced version of Forum, the mobile and web-based app that helps people easily communicate in multiple languages. Designed for use in lecturers, auditoriums, and theaters, as well as in-person and/or remote meetings (working alongside platforms such as Zoom, Google Chat, and Microsoft Teams), Forum now features five additional languages, greater user and session controls, faster and more variable launch and access options and is now fully compatible with Android and iOS.

Users of Forum either host or attend a session that can take a variety of formats, including one-to-many, one-to-one, or many-to-many communications. Once a session is created, participants can join by simply scanning a QR code or entering a meeting code generated by the host. They then select which language they want to receive, and Forum provides text and audio translation direct to their device. Forum can be seen in action here.

Its foundational technology revolves around capturing speech, leveraging cloud-based processing, and seamlessly providing translations to many devices and tailored solutions, each optimized for specific applications. With its exceptional speed and precision, Forum effortlessly manages ongoing conversations, ensuring a seamless and authentic interaction among participants, and adeptly translate conversations involving multiple users while simultaneously processing different language translations, enabling seamless and dynamic communication.

Already being tested by multinational companies such as Uniqlo and Chanel, The Perfect Crime, the longest-running play on Broadway, and churches around the country, Forum has proven a versatile platform. Most recently, connected health leaders, Withings, a French-based company, used Forum at an event in Paris with international attendees. Léa Céline Lutz, Brand Marketing Specialist, Withings, commented, "We hosted an international conference with attendees from four different countries (France, the UK, Germany, and the US). The Forum app was the perfect solution because our speakers presented medical and technical information in a variety of languages, and each attendee could follow along in their native language of choice." 

Forum can be used in a wide variety of industries, including theaters, lectures, houses of worship, education, conferences, events, international business meetings, labor training, and entertainment. Today, it adds Ukrainian, Bengali, Farsi, Swedish, and Finnish to the languages it supports. It now offers audio and text translations in 25 languages and 45 dialects, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Hebrew, Thai, Vietnamese and Dutch.

"Over the last seven months, we have been working closely with a variety of people on Forum, and we are delighted to expand its features even wider, bring on board new languages, provide a wider range of customization, and give those using Android OS the experience of using Forum." Said Andrew Ochoa, Founder, and CEO at Waverly Labs.

The advanced features of Forum include the following:

Versatile speech recognition and transmission options

  • Hold-to-Talk: Hold the mic button to capture your voice and release it to translate.
  • Pause-to-Translate: Simply talk, and following a 2- second pause in speaking, translations will be completed without the need to hold any mics or press any buttons*.
  • Live Translation: In this mode, Forum translates as you speak in real-time*. 

Vocabulary Preferences: Providing great control over terminology and decency. 

  • Custom Vocabulary and Definitions: Add uncommon vocabulary that are regularly used, such as names, acronyms, expressions, and slang, to personalize and increase the accuracy of your experience.
  • Profanity filter: Provides the option to block any words or phrases not wanted in a chat.*

Transcripts:  - Past conversations are available as transcripts. You can see the messages displayed in all the participants' languages during the session*

Host Controls: The HOST speaker has complete control to mute the audience and lock the session so no other participant joins during the speech.*

Enhanced Accessibility Features - Ability to adjust Text size, view the number of participants in a session, and control the speed of audio.* 

Log-in flexibility: Creating a Forum account and/or log-in has never been easier as users now can do it using Google, Apple ID, or an email*.

Mobile Web Browsers: Now, downloading the app is not necessary anymore; just scan a QR code with a camera phone, making it easier to distribute to a bigger audience.*

*Added Enhanced features to Forum

Forum offers both free and tiered feature plans to cater to diverse user requirements. The app can be downloaded for free, allowing users to join sessions and listen to streamed translations (text) on their devices. However, hosting sessions and sending communications for translation requires a plan.

Plans vary based on factors such as the number of participants and supported languages, monthly translation minutes, hosted session limits, and access to additional features like vocabulary preferences. Users can choose from Free, Personal, Professional, and Premium plans, with monthly costs ranging from $0 to $129. Furthermore, customized "Team Plans" are available for individual companies, ensuring a tailored solution to meet their specific needs, as well as custom Enterprise solutions

Forum is part of the Waverly Labs suite of translation solutions, which also includes SUBTITLES and AMBASSADOR INTERPRETER. SUBTITLES is a customer service counter display designed for safe in-person interactions, while AMBASSADOR INTERPRETER is an over-the-ear device that provides nearly simultaneous audio and text translations. For further information, please visit