Subway unveiled MVP Rewards, a refreshed loyalty program launching September 9 in Canada, the U.S., and Puerto Rico. The new and improved program gives Subway guests the MVP experience with more ways to earn, more perks, and more earning power as customers ascend from Pro to Captain to All-Star status tiers. Consumers can earn points by ordering their favorite sub in Subway restaurants, on Subway.ca or the Subway app.
MVP Rewards replaces Subway MyWay Rewards. All 30 million MyWay members across North America will be enrolled in the new program, and their unspent tokens will automatically be converted into points, giving them a head start on reaching status and earning MVP Rewards' best perks. New members will receive 250 bonus points when they join**.
"Subway fans are the best in QSR and to thank them for their loyalty, we're giving them the star treatment as MVP Rewards members," said Mike Kappitt, Chief Operating and Insights Officer at Subway. "Consumer input helped inform our refreshed loyalty program to create a best-in-class experience. MVP Rewards gives our guests more of what they love from Subway, with a few hidden surprises baked in, so every guest feels like an MVP and comes back to Subway more often for their favourite subs."
As part of its loyalty refresh, Subway made the program easier for guests to sign up, earn and redeem points, as well as advance from Pro to All-Star. Besides craveworthy signature subs and meal upgrades, members at the Captain and All-Star tiers will soon have access to special Subway merchandise and members-only VIP exclusives:
For a complete overview of Subway MVP Rewards and Subway's new loyalty program benefits, visit Subway.ca/rewards.
GauVendi Takes Another Step Towards an Open, Feature-Based Inventory Platform
GauVendi is advancing its disruptive approach to rethinking inventory, which has already been successfully implemented in the GauVendi Sales Engine, towards an open, feature-based inventory platform.
GauVendi started in 2020 with an innovative AI-driven booking experience that provides accommodation providers with a comprehensive solution for hyper-personalized sales and fulfillment automation. It was mainly deployed as a stand-alone solution. With this evolution, accommodation businesses and technology providers can now explore new avenues in sales, distribution, operational efficiency, and marketing of inventory. They benefit from highly automated processes without major system overhauls.
"We aim to offer every operator the opportunity to distribute their inventory in a scalable manner, much like it was previously only possible through personal sales - and all of it fully automated," says Markus Müller, CEO, and co-founder of GauVendi. "With the open API interface, all technology providers can now sell relevant and customizable inventory through their platforms. Our solution acts as an additional layer integrated into the existing tech stack, enabling differentiated sales and automation without significant changes to the current system landscape," adds Müller.
GauVendi's platform is the only one worldwide that provides a feature-based language and a dynamic product management system with its approach. The open API approach ensures seamless integration with other technology providers. Feature-based inventory can be transformed into relevant and tailored accommodation products using the AI recommendation model. The result is a transparent guest experience right from the booking process and significant time savings during reservations through intelligent and optimized room assignments.
The newly established inventory management platform and the associated new products and solutions were developed based on experiences gained from implementing the Sales Engine with existing hotel customers, their achieved results, and the acquired data. The new data structure enables the introduction of advanced automation possibilities, including dynamically optimized and intelligent room assignments using AI (Reinforcement Loops), going far beyond the largely manual and limited assignments used until now.
In today's era of personalization, the data structure in the form of categories for inventory management has proven to be inadequate. It lacks information about individual room features in data formats, making it challenging for operators to fulfill guest requests without significant manual and operational efforts. Any inquiry about specific room characteristics is handled offline and requires manual processing. Monetizing these features is also not possible, and the lack of personalization reduces the competitiveness of accommodation businesses compared to others.
Müller adds, "These problems are a thing of the past with the use of GauVendi. The results our customers achieve with our current solution validate this: significant increases in room revenue, considerable time savings through new automation features, a reduction in phone and email inquiries, and better guest reviews and check-in experiences."
Toast for Cafes & Bakeries is a new solution designed to help cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries add new revenue streams, speed up service with faster workflows, meet guests where they are, and grow their business. Catering Online Ordering and Restaurant Retail are among the new features that cafes, bakeries, and all other restaurant types Toast serves can benefit from using.Toast for Cafes & Bakeries builds on recent launches from Toast that introduce functionality tailored for specific restaurant categories, such as last year's releases of Toast for Quick Service and Toast for Hotel Restaurants.
Approximately four out of five small to medium-sized cafes and bakeries derive a portion of their sales from catering—generating 12 to 32 percent of their revenue from this channel, according to a recent Toast survey. Available in Toast’s Catering & Events Pro module, Catering Online Ordering helps cafes, bakeries, and other restaurants customize their digital ordering experience to fit their catering operations. This provides a frictionless online ordering experience, making prep for large orders easier, and expanding Toast’s digital ordering capabilities to enable restaurants to continue growing their off-premise revenue streams. Restaurants can set separate hours of operation for the catering business, longer lead times for large orders, and even order minimums. Staff can also easily prep for big orders, creating printable pack sheets and prep lists, and tracking catering orders through a shared calendar.
“As a bakery, Toast has been a game-changer,” said Steven Rennau, Director of Operations at Toni Patisserie & Café in Hinsdale, Illinois. “With Catering Online Ordering the entire team saves time. It gives us a bit more control as we can set longer lead times and higher minimum order size. In addition, we were able to roll out an entirely new category of ‘Celebration Cakes’ —we’re talking about $150-$175 cakes coming in online.”
Restaurant Retail—a unified foodservice and retail POS system
For many restaurants, including cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries, food service and retail go hand in hand. Guests may want to get a bag of coffee beans, a branded mug, or other curated goods with their morning latte. Restaurant Retail provides a unified foodservice and retail platform on a single account,giving restaurants like cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries the power to use merchandise, dry goods, and other items to build their brand and cater to their customer base. Restaurants can easily and efficiently manage their barcoded inventory, providing tools that allow them to create and update inventory across multiple locations, generate and print barcodes, and auto-calculate mark-ups to help optimize margins. Restaurant Retail is purpose-built to allow retail items to flow throughout Toast products such as its POS terminals, online ordering, and kiosks, enabling restaurants to seamlessly manage both the foodservice and retail elements together.
Additionally, Toast for Cafes & Bakeries allows restaurants to:
Input complex orders easily and quickly with Open View: Open View simplifies order-taking by displaying items and modifiers all at once, a critical innovation for establishments with a high volume of highly configurable menu items. Staff taking complicated coffee orders, for example, can input a guest’s exact preferences in any order on a Toast POS terminal via the new layout according to the natural flow of conversation.
Reduce chaos at the pickup counter with Order-Ready Boards: Toast’s new Order-Ready Boards allow staff to share the status of an order on a guest-facing screen within the restaurant. Instead of staff calling out to guests that their latte is ready, cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries can uplevel the order pickup experience.
Reward guests for becoming regulars with Item-Based Redemption and Offers: Coming this fall, Item-Based Redemption lets cafes and bakeries configure menu items as rewards, allowing guests to redeem a free item in exchange for loyalty points. Toast’s new Offersfeature lets staff create wow-moments for guests by designing custom promotions like Buy One Get One deals or half off pastries after 3pm. With these out-of-the-box tools, cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries can now easily keep regulars coming back without having to devote time and resources to build features like this on their own.
Be the heart of the community with Fundraising: The Toast Fundraising feature allows restaurants to pick their favorite non-profit to support and gives guests the option to round up their check to the next dollar and donate the difference. To maximize impact and contributions, this can be surfaced to guests on several Toast products, including Toast Flex terminals, Toast Go handheld devices, Toast Online Ordering, and the Toast TakeOut app.
Tipping is on the rise when consumers dine out, with the highest tips occurring at bars and fine dining restaurants. On the other hand, average takeout and delivery tips dropped to around 8%, suggesting consumers might be pulling back on tips outside of traditional service venues, according to new hospitality data from Lightspeed Commerce Inc..
The data is based on a sample of thousands of restaurants powered by Lightspeed across North America. Powering the world’s best businesses, Lightspeed is the unified POS and payments platform for ambitious entrepreneurs to accelerate growth, elevate their customer experience and become a go-to destination in their space.
Key findings from the Lightspeed Restaurant data:
Tipping is on the rise: Good news for servers: diners aren’t skimping on tips. Year-over-year, the median tip percentage increased by 2.3%, from 16.93% to 17.32%.
Bars and fine dining take home the biggest tips: Overall, tipping trends are staying stable across business types year-over-year, with customers continuing to tip around 3% more at bars (19.25%) and fine dining restaurants (19.9%) than they do in casual restaurants (16.5%).
Takeout tips are down: Tips for online orders and delivery dipped slightly, falling from 8.83% to 8.07%. In spite of earning the biggest in-house tips, bars were hit hardest on takeout, with the median online and delivery tip falling from almost 10% to 8.54%.
Tipping on fast casual is going strong: In spite of the “tipflation” backlash, diners haven’t stopped tipping in fast casual restaurants, though the median tip size is still hovering under 9%—well below the 17.32% average.
Diners are going out more often: People are dining out more frequently at both fine dining and fast casual restaurants, with the total number of transactions rising 3.60% year-over-year at fine dining and 3.53% at fast casual restaurants.
“Now more than ever, hospitality businesses are turning to technology to help them drive additional revenue and change the guest experience for the better,” notes Peter Dougherty, General Manager of Hospitality at Lightspeed Commerce. “Our customers that have implemented embedded payments and automated tipping prompts often tell us they see a bump in average tip size. The reality is that in our post-pandemic world, guests are looking for a frictionless, cashless payment experience, and they’re willing to tip more for exceptional dining experiences—especially when they have access to digital tools that make it easy. For hospitality businesses navigating a rapidly changing market, that extra income in their employees’ pockets is crucial to retaining staff without cutting into their profit margins.”
Lightspeed powers the world’s best restaurants, including: Daniel Boulud Group (NYC), Atomic Hospitality Group (Chicago), Alinea Group (Chicago), Canlis (Seattle), Big Mamma (Europe), Kei (Paris) and Maybe Sammy (Sydney), and is now available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia.
Omni Hotels & Resorts Appoints Four Seasons Veteran Vince Parrotta to Newly Created Chief Operating Officer Role
Omni Hotels & Resorts is pleased to announce the appointment of Vince Parrotta as its new Chief Operating Officer. With over 40 years of operations experience, Parrotta brings a wealth of expertise from his previous role as President, Hotel Operations - Americas at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. This strategic move comes as Omni embarks on its first brand refresh in over a decade, aiming to provide elevated guest experiences amidst significant growth to its diverse portfolio.
In this newly created position at Omni, Parrotta will oversee hotel operations as well as related brand and guest experience roles.
“The timing is right for us to add a COO to our leadership team as we double down on our commitment to elevating our brand and elevating the guest experience," said Omni President Kurt Alexander. "Vince’s tenure leading operations for Four Seasons with a keen focus on quality ensures he will immediately be a key resource for our brand.
Known for his dedication to service excellence, Parrotta has a proven track record in operational management. During his 24-year tenure at Four Seasons, he held leadership positions across the country including Scottsdale, Jackson Hole, Aviara, Las Vegas and Chicago.
The appointment of Parrotta is particularly significant as Omni Hotels & Resorts has committed $1.5 billion in portfolio enhancements over the next five years and as it amplifies its focus on training and service.
Omni Hotels & Resorts remains committed to delivering exceptional customer service and attracting top talent like Vince Parrotta. With this strategic addition to the team, the brand is poised to reach new heights in the hospitality industry.
Thanx, a loyalty and digital guest engagement platform for restaurants, launches Thanx Stored Value enabling consumers to preload funds to pay for future purchases through a new partnership with Ansa. This solution allows consumers to pay in-store with Apple Pay or Google Pay using merchant-specific stored value funds, thus completely eliminating the need for new hardware. Ansa is a digital wallet platform founded by leading payments industry experts previously from Adyen and Affirm, offering ‘wallet-as-a-service’ technology.
The first Thanx customer to offer this capability is Urbane Cafe, a 32-unit West Coast chain specializing in chef-crafted sandwiches and salads.Caprice Kindgren, Urbane Cafe Director of Marketing, said, "We know that our top guests would love to be rewarded for adding funds to their Urbane Cafe app and we're excited to lock in their loyalty. Thanx Stored Value and Ansa help us deliver for our guests without having to add any hardware in-restaurants.”
Consumers can also use Thanx Stored Value funds to pay for app- or web-based digital purchases. Whereas typical stored value solutions require dedicated hardware investments to manage in-store payments, the Thanx+Ansa solution eliminates cumbersome barriers for brands and consumers, enabling seamless integration with any POS provider capable of accepting Apple Pay. Additional benefits of Thanx Stored Value include increased customer retention and revenue as consumers who prepay are more likely to return for subsequent purchases and upfront cash flow as stored value balances are immediately available to restaurants when loaded. Starbucks, for instance, has been reported to maintain a prepaid balance of approximately two billion dollars.
Consumers can easily load and manage funds through an intuitive in-app experience and merchants will have the option to incentivize preloads with bonus offers at the time of loading or accelerated loyalty point accruals when paying with preloaded funds.
“At Thanx, all of our digital experiences are thoughtfully designed and purpose-built to drive customer lifetime value. Thanx Stored Value is yet another tool for our customers to increase guest engagement and grow incremental revenue. In many ways, what we’re offering is superior to anything else on the market today; better economics than gift cards, no new hardware to manage, truly point of sale agnostic, and best of all, no need for consumers to even open an app to pay in-store” says Zach Goldstein, CEO and Founder of Thanx.
“Thanx is the leader in helping restaurants achieve growth and profitability, and at Ansa, that’s our mission as well,” says Sophia Goldberg, CEO and co-founder of Ansa. “We couldn’t be more excited for every business to make their most frequent customers their most profitable with branded, easy-to-deploy digital wallet technology.”