News Briefs


Jack in the Box Opens Drive-Thru Only Location


Jack in the Box Inc. opened its first drive-thru only location featuring its CRAVED image. It is also the second opening this summer in the Salt Lake City metro area.

“This location features our dynamic new CRAVED image which includes a new color package, signage, and imagery. As a drive-thru only prototype, it includes a drive-thru and walk-up window for ordering and pickup, and dedicated parking for mobile and third-party delivery orders,” said Tim Linderman, chief development officer. “Our historic entry into the Salt Lake City metro area is strengthened with our new Ogden restaurant. We’re an iconic brand with a loyal following and we’re excited to bring Jack in the Box to our fans in Ogden.”

The new Ogden restaurant comes on the heels of the July opening in Salt Lake City, which reported a record-breaking full-first-month sales that outperformed the previous record setting new market opening by 66%. This was the brand’s first new market in over a decade and the first to feature the CRAVED image with dine-in seating.

“Growing our presence in new markets is a key Jack in the Box initiative. We’re excited because the Salt Lake City metro serves as a fantastic example of the success our brand is building as it expands across the United States,” said Linderman.

Additional CRAVED image restaurants are planned to open in the future, including locations in Louisville, Kentucky, another new market entry for the brand.


ChowNow Partners with Boostly to Provide Integrated SMS Marketing to Restaurants

integration two blue puzzle pieces integrating

Boostly,  a text marketing and feedback solution for restaurants, has announced its partnership with ChowNow, a platform for independent restaurants that provides a suite of operating and marketing tools, including branded mobile apps, commission-free online ordering, automated email marketing, and more. The Boostly and ChowNow integration enables ChowNow’s restaurant partners to drive more incremental revenue, increase customer retention, and generate more feedback and reviews through Boostly’s  SMS marketing platform.

According to recent research, restaurant customers who opt-in to text marketing spend $12-$15 more per transaction than customers who have not opted-in to a texting program.

“We love that ChowNow has focused on the success of independent restaurant owners. Both Boostly and ChowNow have always advocated for restaurants’ ability to control their customer data and relationships, so we’re thrilled to give ChowNow’s partners the opportunity to leverage their data for SMS marketing in ways that they haven’t had access to previously,” said Shane Murphy, Co-Founder and CEO of Boostly.

Boostly provides unique competitive advantages compared to other text marketing companies such as:

  • Working seamlessly with the restaurant’s point of sale, online ordering, and phone system providers
  • Providing an entirely automated experience
  • Behavioral based texting, which sends unique content based on the customer’s interactions with the brand
  • Interactive and gamified texting that performs 10x better than traditional SMS messages
  • Collecting feedback on the customer experience to resolve issues in real time


Boostly is backed by Y Combinator. To learn more about Boostly, visit


PizzaForno Opens Kiosks in Public Transportation Centers


Canadian-founded,  automated pizzeria chain, PizzaForno is opening kiosk locations in the public transportation sector with a public transit provider  Metrolinx. The PizzaForno kiosks at the 407 Bus Terminal and Weston GO & UP Station now serving pizza, baked fast and fresh in 3 minutes 24/7, to thousands of riders daily.

Thousands of riders daily can now enjoy hot and delicious pizza, baked fast and fresh in 3 minutes 24/7 at the station, as well as at Weston GO & UP station. PizzaForno marks the transit leader's first automated hot pizza option with additional kiosks anticipated to be announced at GO Transit stations in the coming months.

Metrolinx is responsible for the operation of GO Transit, UP Express, and PRESTO. It operates over 400,000 buses and trains and serves over 100 million commuters.

PizzaForno has more than 70 units across North America, with an additional 800 units already committed through 2024. PizzaForno uses patented technology to serve consumers the best in food, flavor, and convenience. Its 9 x 6 ft. kiosks are seamlessly installed and operating in food courts, convenience stores, post-secondary schools, military bases, tourist destinations, and boating marinas throughout Canada and the US.

PizzaForno app

PizzaForno customers have the benefit of touchless ordering. They can use the new PizzaForno app to pre-order to make the experience even speedier or order directly at the kiosk from an automated screen. A robotic arm takes the refrigerated pizza and puts it into an oven for baking. Less than three minutes later, a hot pizza in a box emerges from a slot. PizzaForno also offers a take-and-bake option to enjoy at home.

Founded in 2018 by Canadian entrepreneurs William Moyer and Les Tomlin, PizzaForno offers a selection of pizza options, each made with high-quality ingredients. Utilizing technology made popular in France by ADIAL, PizzaForno has built the brand on a proven machine with 2,500 units operating in Europe.  

Photo credit: (CNW Group/PizzaForno)


First Hospitality Expands Reach with Acquisition of Hostmark Hospitality Group

First Hospitality Logo

First Hospitality, a national hotel management and development company, is pleased to announce an agreement to acquire the majority of the hotel management agreements of Hostmark Hospitality Group, headquartered in Schaumburg, IL. This strategic move significantly expands First Hospitality's geographic presence, augments its collection of restaurants and bars, and promises to bring added benefits to its expanded portfolio, which will include more than 70 hotels nationwide.

David Duncan, President and CEO of First Hospitality, stated, "Our alignment with Hostmark Hospitality Group fits well with our strategy of being the first and obvious choice in every market we serve. With our experienced team and strong operational capabilities, we are well-positioned to provide increased value to all our owners and partners, including the Hostmark community. This acquisition positions us for further accelerated growth in key markets throughout the US and builds deeper relationships with hotel ownership groups that prioritize superior financial performance, enriched guest experiences, and increased associate satisfaction.”  

The transaction adds 17 hotels to First Hospitality's management portfolio, bringing the total to over 70 hotels with more than 10,000 keys and supported by over 3,200 world-class associates. The company's footprint now extends to markets in California, Texas, and Florida, while further strengthening its presence in key Midwestern markets.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with First Hospitality,” says Jerry Cataldo, President & CEO of Hostmark Hospitality Group. “This next chapter in our story aligns us with a team that shares our values, our passion, and our dedication to delivering outstanding hospitality management.”

This integration promises several advantages, including attracting top-tier talent, improved operational efficiencies and investments aimed at optimizing hotel performance and guest experiences.

Stephen Schwartz, Chairman of First Hospitality said, “I have known the Cataldo family for a long time and have great respect for the legacy, track record, and culture that Jerry Cataldo and his family have built at Hostmark. We look forward to building on this foundation.”

Duncan added, “I am especially excited that Jerry has agreed to join our team to focus on further expanding our portfolio and strengthening owner relationships. This acquisition sets us up for accelerated growth in new markets and allows us to provide further depth of resources to benefit our entire ownership community.”

Closing of the transaction, which is subject to customary third-party approvals, is scheduled for early fourth quarter.


Subway's New Loyalty Program

loyalty program

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 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


GauVendi Takes Another Step Towards an Open, Feature-Based Inventory Platform

logo, Gauvendi

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."