News Briefs


Amanda Clark Named COO - International at Papa Johns

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Papa John’s International Inc. announced updates to its executive leadership team. Amanda Clark will transition from her role as Chief International and Development Officer to become Chief Operating Officer, International, focusing on the operations and development of the Papa Johns footprint in international markets. Chief Restaurant Officer Joe Sieve will assume North American development responsibilities. He will also continue to oversee corporate and franchise restaurant operations in North America.

“With operations in approximately 50 countries and territories, our continued international expansion is critical to the future of Papa Johns,” said Papa Johns President and CEO Rob Lynch. “We continue to make strategic investments across our international organization and infrastructure. Amanda’s focus on executing this work and driving profitable expansion will greatly benefit our international franchisees. Our ultimate goal is to become the QSR pizza brand of choice for international franchisees.”

“Since Joe joined Papa Johns last year, he and his team have significantly improved our restaurant operations. The results of these operational efficiencies have been evident in the recent comp growth and margin improvement across our domestic system. His more than 25 years of restaurant operations and development experience with other leading franchise restaurant brands will help Papa Johns accelerate our North America growth ambitions.”

Clark and  Sieve’s new appointments are effective Sep. 18.


Tom Rose Named Del Taco Brand President


Jack in the Box Inc. announced that Tom Rose will assume the role of Del Taco Brand President, effective immediately. He replaces Chad Gretzema, who has stepped down from the role to pursue a new opportunity.

Rose is a 30-plus-year veteran in the restaurant business with a proven track record in various corporate and franchise leadership roles. Most recently, he consulted Jack in the Box on the recent initiative to improve the company-owned Kansas City market.

Before supporting Jack in the Box, Rose spent a decade as co-founder and franchisee of North Star Foods, a restaurant franchise management and acquisition firm specializing in maximizing operational excellence and sustainability. This organization would own 130 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants and generate revenues of over $200 million. In addition, the two subsidiaries of North Star Foods were ranked in Restaurant Finance Monitor's Top 200 restaurant groups in the U.S. and grew to be the third largest KFC franchisee in the U.S. YUM Brands system.

“I have worked with Tom throughout my career, and since beginning work on the Kansas City market, we have seen meaningful staffing and sales improvement leveraged by his operational expertise and ability to execute,” said Darin Harris, chief executive officer. “We are excited for Tom to evolve Del Taco to its next phase of growth and operational excellence, as he has demonstrated throughout his entire career.”

Rose also held various senior leadership positions at Orion Food Systems, later acquired by Kohlberg & Company, including chief operating officer and board member for four years. He began his career as an Area Coach and Director of Operations at KFC & Taco Bell.  


Toast's New Product Supports Cafes, Bakeries

a man standing in front of a table

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 Retaila 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 Offers feature 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.

Learn more about Toast for Cafes & Bakeries.


New Lightspeed Data Shows Guests Are Tipping More When Dining Out

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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 Launches Stored Value for Restaurants

Thanx mobile app

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.” 

To learn more about Thanx Stored Value, visit