SparkPlug and Toast announced their official partnership, enabling restaurants to motivate and reward frontline staff.
SparkPlug is an incentive platform for restaurants to leverage their employee roster and menu items to launch personalized incentives, show employee standings in real time, automate payouts, and track ROI, all in a confidential, centralized dashboard.
Toast is a cloud-based, all-in-one digital technology platform purpose-built for the entire restaurant community. It works with integration partners in its Toast Partner Ecosystem, a curated portfolio of more than 200 partners who deliver specialized technology and services to help restaurant operators increase sales, engage guests, and keep employees happy.
"We are thrilled to welcome SparkPlug to the Toast Partner Ecosystem, and delighted to offer our customers automated and personalized staff incentives through SparkPlug's platform," says Keith Corbin, Senior Director, Business Development from Toast. "By partnering with SparkPlug, restaurants can now motivate and retain staff with customized incentives."
Impact is seen quickly, as evidenced by Joy Hill restaurant in Denver, which experienced a remarkable 450% increase in Kimchi Pizza sales and a 128% surge in Gelato units sold within the initial month of implementing the first SparkPlug campaign.
Restaurants benefit from the SparkPlug and Toast integration in multiple ways:
Real-time ROI tracking: View incentive campaign ROI, period-over-period sales lift, and employee standings via a secure analytics dashboard.
Gamification: Introduce an element of friendly competition, as employee leaderboards are updated daily, further encouraging a high level of customer service and teamwork.
Improved staff retention: Easily identify and reward top performers, promoting employee loyalty and reducing turnover rates.
"In the face of the ongoing labor shortage, it is crucial for restaurants and food service operators to adopt inventive strategies to attract, sustain, and retain outstanding employees," stated Jake Levin, Co-Founder and COO of SparkPlug. "We are excited to collaborate with Toast in equipping businesses with the necessary resources to inspire, engage, and compensate their staff, which will aid them in overcoming the current labor challenges and retaining skilled workers long-term."
By fostering a culture of recognition and reward, incentives will boost staff morale, job satisfaction, and retention, ultimately translating into a better guest experience.
Airtame Democratizes Screen Sharing in Hotel Conference Rooms with All-New ‘Share from Browser’ Feature
Airtame, creator of the hardware-enabled SaaS platform that allows seamless collaboration in businesses, launched a powerful new screen sharing feature that makes presentations in hotel conference rooms simpler and more secure than ever before. With the new award-winning Share from Browser feature, local businesses and hotel guests utilizing conference rooms and boardrooms can use any popular web browser to instantly initiate screen sharing from personal devices to Airtame-powered displays without requiring any new app downloads, installations or cables and dongles, ensuring a simple and efficient meeting experience.
“Share from Browser addresses some of the most pressing criticisms of modern collaboration tools in conference rooms, and democratizes screen sharing and hybrid communication for all users,” said Susanne Lund, Airtame CEO. “This is especially useful for businesses utilizing hotel space for important meetings. They do not want to spend valuable time figuring out how to screen share, which could create a frustrating experience. We are always looking for ways to make collaboration easier and more powerful, and in hotels it’s especially vital that all users paying to utilize conference rooms are able to quickly and easily present their content without training, from whatever device they are using.”
With no login, training or special skills required, Share from Browser eliminates any existing barriers to wireless screen sharing for in-person presentations while enhancing digital security. Once connected to the local WiFi network, a guest can simply follow on-screen instructions to visit the Airtame Browser web app on their personal device, then choose whether they want to share their whole desktop or a specific browser tab or window. Because users don’t have to enter any personal passwords or credentials to connect, they can display their content and presentations without downloading any software or sharing any private information.
Share from Browser is compatible with Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari, for ultimate flexibility and easy access, and will be available on all Airtame screens on subscription.
The launch of Share from Browser follows a beta period in which Airtame users provided feedback on the feature’s strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a refined user experience that ensures foolproof screen sharing.
“Airtame is constantly developing new platform features and benefits to make flexible and hybrid conference room collaboration more efficient and reliable,” Lund said. “Share from Browser maximizes productivity and delivers a seamless screen sharing experience for all Airtame users from CEOs to visiting guests – in the coming months we will support the same experience for conferencing to continue our mission to remove obstacles and stressors from collaboration technology.”
Palmer Digital Group Launches On-Wall Outdoor Digital Menu Boards
Palmer Digital Group, a full-service manufacturer and installer of custom indoor and outdoor digital kiosks, display enclosures, and drive-thru menu boards, announces a new line of on-wall outdoor digital menu boards for the restaurant industry. The new series targets QSRs and fast casual restaurants that lack real estate for traditional menu board structures, including businesses located in outdoor shopping centers, strip malls and busy urban areas.
The OWDMB series offers single, double, and triple display configurations, with display sizes of 46, 49, and 55 inches. Chuck Lewis, Vice President, Palmer Digital Group (PDG), explains that PDG launched the on-wall outdoor OWDMB series based on feedback from businesses challenged by narrow drive-thru lanes.
“An increasing number of QSRs and fast casual restaurants have embraced drive-thru business as an important revenue generator, and many of these businesses simply don’t have the room to install pedestal-style menu board structures,” said Lewis. “We felt that all QSRs should be able to benefit from digital menu boards even if they have tight drive-thru lanes, so we created a new product line to solve these problems.”
Unlike PDG’s pedestal-style displays, the on-wall outdoor menu boards do not require a concrete foundation. Systems are easily mounted on a flat wall surface capable of supporting up to 600 pounds, which can be achieved by first mounting a sheet of ¾-inch outdoor-grade plywood to the wall. Power and data cords are run through the wall in advance of installation, with OWDMB display heights recommended between 48 and 52 inches relative to the center of viewer sightlines.
PDG provides in-house-built IP56-rated enclosures with each OWDMB on-wall digital menu board system to protect against inclement weather elements and other natural intrusions. The enclosure also houses the company’s quad-outlet box, surge filters and media players, and is discreetly mounted to remain out of customer sightlines.
Lewis notes that PDG values the customer feedback it receives because it leads to new solutions, such as the OWDMB series. “Our partners and end customers are our eyes and ears in the field, and can see any problems or issues that we may not be able to identify during the product design phase,” he said. “We take suggestions seriously and try to incorporate any changes or modifications that will not raise the cost of the existing equipment to satisfy the needs of our customers.”
RMS Cloud and Atomize Join Forces in Complete 2-Way Integration Endeavor
Atomize has finalized the 2-way integration with the prominent property management system RMS Cloud. Through this new integration Atomize continues its global growth trajectory and is now available for an additional 7000+ properties across 70 countries running running on RMS Cloud.
RMS Cloud is a privately owned company with offices in Australia, Asia, Middle East, Germany, UK and North America. They have 40 years global experience global experience from providing the hospitality industry with their enterprise property management software. Their cloud-based software provides real-time functionalities and allows businesses to centralize all operations and streamline efficiencies. In their customer portfolio they operate close to 7000 properties, among them recognized brands such as The Ascott, ALH Hotels and Cheval Collection to name a few.
The integration with Atomize gives RMS Cloud users the opportunity to automate demand modelling and price optimization for their properties, enabling them to do more with less and thereby lowering costs and improving margins.
The full blown 2-way integration means that the internal PMS data such as room inventory, bookings, pick up pace and occupancy from RMS Cloud will be automatically pushed to Atomize to perform price assessments and calculate the optimal rates for each room type. The new rates will be automatically pushed back and adjusted in RMS Cloud, up to 730 days into the future.
For RMS Cloud users, the benefits of deploying Atomize are:
Maximize your revenue with price automation. Atomize offers real-time price optimization and automatically adjusts your rates according to demand shifts in the market. Atomize customer portfolio shows an average RevPAR increase of 15% after 6-12 months.
Save hours of valuable time . Atomize will increase your efficiency and save hours of manual work by eliminating any manual tasks related to pricing through automated price optimization and price setting.
Stay ahead of your competition with future demand insights. The powerful insights from future demand data, such as flight search volume, search pressure and source market behavior, helps Atomize users detect demand – before it shows on the books and enables the hotel to be more proactive with their pricing to stay ahead of the competition.
Keep track of your comp set and market. Your comp set data is incorporated into Atomize. Through a comp set and market analysis, Atomize finds the right balance between your hotels performance, the market and your competitor data when setting prices.
Sell every room at the optimal price. Atomize price different room types and room categories dynamically based on actual demand which results in an optimized distribution of your inventory.
Increase your market share. Most Atomize customers see an uptick in RevPAR Index (RGI), many by more than 15% in the first quarter.
“Hotels need to streamline their operations and apply key tactics to meet the challenge of shifting demand and staff shortages. In order to do that they need to invest in smart technology to automate processes and to increase efficiency. That is why we are experiencing an increasing need for solutions like Atomize. We look forward to support RMS Cloud users and make them more successful in their respective markets with the use of Atomize, ” says Alexander Edström, the CEO of Atomize.
"We are excited to partner with Atomize and bring a game-changing revenue management solution to our customers," said Peter Buttigieg, CEO of RMS Cloud. "This integration allows hoteliers to harness the power of intelligent pricing and inventory management, driving their revenue growth and competitiveness."
Potawatomi Casino Hotel Selects Agilysys POS Solutions to Maximize Return on Experience for Guests and Staff
“We are in a much better position to create the High Return Hospitality experiences they expect with Agilysys’ POS solutions at staff members’ fingertips. Additionally, such technology helps us attract and retain top talent in a tight labor market in a growing sector.”
Further, today’s traveler wants it all from their lodging and travel provider. While cleanliness and safety are table stakes, they also crave multiple amenity options like dining at different price points, gaming, retail shopping, theater-style shows and spa treatments. Bleisure travelers not only want the additional amenities, but they also desire access to self-booking and self-service technology, to make the most of their time between business and leisure.
Potawatomi Casino Hotel, located in downtown Milwaukee, is one such property that not only provides several on-site amenities but has implemented hospitality technology to create guest and employee champions at every touchpoint. Potawatomi Casino Hotel, one of Wisconsin’s most popular entertainment destinations featuring more than 1.1 million square feet, chose to replace systems previously in use with two award-winning point-of-sale (POS) systems from Agilysys to optimize food and beverage interactions and enhance guest and staff experiences.
Agilysys, Inc. is a leading global provider of hospitality software solutions that delivers High Return Hospitality. Its latest point-of-sale (POS) systems combine highly interactive terminal and tablet touchscreen applications supporting Windows, Android and iOS devices and includes strong information security for data protection. The robust reporting and analysis features, extensive enterprise-grade menu and item configuration capabilities and multi-language support help drive service flexibility and increased operational efficiency.
Since installing the POS platforms from the Agilysys Hospitality Core Collection™, Potawatomi Casino Hotel staff have been able to provide enhanced experiences throughout the property that serves 6 million-plus guest visits annually. The property, owned and operated by the Forest County Potawatomi Community, features:
Gaming, which includes state-of-the art slot machines, bingo, table games and a temporary sportsbook.
Restaurants and bars, including the four-star Dream Dance Steakhouse Canal Street Café, authentic Asian noodle and sushi bar RuYi and The Potawatomi Marketplace.
Entertainment at several on-site venues, such as the 1,500-seat Potawatomi Event Center and nightlife hot spot Bar 360.
Deluxe amenities at its 500-room, 19-story hotel, including 75 suites, some of which offer stunning views if the Milwaukee skyline and Lake Michigan.
Full-service catering for corporate and social events.
With such a large, comprehensive enterprise, the 3,000-employee Potawatomi Casino Hotel has improved guest and staff experience by investing in Agilysys’ mobile food & beverage ordering and kiosk systems, resulting in better reviews, increased satisfaction and greater on-property spend.
“Coming off the pandemic, guests want it all, and technology helps us deliver,” said Garret Finocchiaro, CIO at Potawatomi Casino Hotel. “We are in a much better position to create the High Return Hospitality experiences they expect with Agilysys’ POS solutions at staff members’ fingertips. Additionally, such technology helps us attract and retain top talent in a tight labor market in a growing sector.”
The U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics reports overall employment in the gaming industry is expected to increase 17% from 2021 to 2022 — quicker than the average for all occupations. As such, Potawatomi Casino Hotel management understands the need for hospitality-specific solutions to up the proverbial ante to keep staff — and guest — satisfied in this growing industry.
“Potawatomi Casino Hotel understands the need to deliver Return on Experience so the millions of visitors and guests that come through its doors receive such amazing interactions and memories that they post on social, tell their friends about it and come back for more,” Darren Student, Vice President Sales, Agilysys. “We can’t wait to see how this amazing property continues to grow as we move into a long-term partnership and the company invests in a comprehensive suite of Agilysys hospitality solutions that deliver greater guest and staff loyalty.”
Checkers and Rally’s Roll Out Hi Auto’s First-Ever Spanish Language Drive-Thru Voice AI Ordering
Hi Auto and Checkers and Rally's Drive-in Restaurants revealed the addition of Spanish drive-thru voice AI ordering, representing a momentous development both for the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry and for North America’s more than 50 million Spanish and bilingual speakers. Already operational at more than 350 of the restaurant group’s locations, Hi Auto’s is the world’s most widely deployed drive-thru voice AI ordering technology, and today’s announcement signifies the first of its kind for bilingual drive-thru voice AI ordering.
Following beta testing over the past two months at five of their drive-thrus, Checkers and Rally’s is ready to expand the Spanish drive-thru voice AI rollout to more franchises and stores.
“Seventy percent of Miami Dade’s population are of Hispanic descent, so I congratulate the leadership of Checkers, Rally’s and Hi Auto on being pioneers and leading the way for other companies to follow,” said Liliam M. Lopez, President and CEO of the non-profit South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “It gives me such satisfaction to see that Checkers, Rally’s and Hi Auto are implementing a policy that their drive thru employees speak Spanish. Thank you to their leadership team, and we look forward to working with them.”
Leveraging Hi Auto’s AI and automation technologies and real-time human supervision capabilities, the new bilingual feature enables drive-thru restaurants to accurately take spoken orders and inquiries for Spanish speaking customers in real-time, further enhancing the customer experience. In fact, the Hi Auto system automatically detects the language spoken by the customer and immediately responds in that language to carry out the ordering process.
“At Checkers & Rally’s, we understand the importance of creating an inclusive environment and meeting our customers where they are,” said Minh Le, Chief Information Officer at Checkers & Rally’s. “With the addition of Hi Auto’s Spanish translation capabilities to our AI voice ordering technology at the drive-thru, we’re further enhancing guest interactions, increasing order efficiency and embracing our welcoming culture. We’re excited to partner with Hi Auto as we continue to implement Spanish translation technology to our AI-powered drive-thrus nationwide.”
Designed to provide a seamless interaction with customers, Hi Auto’s solution allows restaurants to take orders from vehicles through a virtual assistant, permitting customers to conduct a natural conversation at ordering stations. Hi Auto is the only company that has scaled drive-thru voice AI to hundreds of stores, and Checkers is the only chain that has scaled drive-thru voice AI to hundreds of locations. Hi Auto has integrated unique customization capabilities that allow the franchisee community to support this scale.
Now adding Spanish to its extensively installed English drive-thru voice AI ordering, Hi Auto takes customers’ orders, recognizes each item, offers additional upsell suggestions and sends the order to the restaurant's Point of Sale. The company’s advanced AI technology understands complex menus, half-sentences, diverse accents, detailed requests, as well as mid-order changes made by customers.
Commenting on the new Spanish AI tech rollout, Hi Auto’s CEO and Co-Founder Roy Baharavsaid, “To best serve our communities, restaurants need solutions that speak to all customers, and the United States is the world's second largest Spanish speaking country. Our expanded partnership with Checkers and Rally’s represents a huge breakthrough for the country’s Spanish-speaking and bilingual communities, and allows every restaurant to cater to the Spanish speaking population at any time.”
Hi Auto’s conversational AI has revolutionized how QSRs serve their customers. The company’s solution streamlines the ordering experience, through fast and accurate automated order processing, helping to improve average speed-of-service, reduce operational costs and drive ROI. With over 95% order accuracy rate, Hi Auto enables restaurant employees to focus on other tasks to drive efficiency and reduce multitasking and stress, helping make the company’s solutions the most scalable across large numbers of restaurant locations.