News Briefs


More Than Half of Restaurant Workers Considered Quitting in the Past Month

a man cooking in a kitchen preparing food

Restaurant workers are feeling stressed by current working conditions. 

Kuru Footware surveyed 800 foodservice workers to take a pulse on their feelings—from how they like their current job, to whether or not they plan to leave the industry.

This survey's findings mirror what operators are saying.  According to the latest National Restaurant Association Business Conditions survey. 89% of operators say labor costs are a significant challenge.

Key findings of the Kuru survey, conducted December 2022: 

  • 68% feel there's a staff shortage right now
  • 58% of restaurant workers report they are happy or extremely happy when asked about job satisfaction

    Invest in Systems to Keep Restaurant Workers Motivated
  • 56% say they feel burned out by their job right now.
  • 57% say they are satisfied with their current wage.
  • 62% said they’ve considered leaving the restaurant industry in the past month 
  • More than one in four (27%) of them think they will have left the industry a year from now. 

The full survey summary is available here.


KURU Footwear surveyed 800 Americans 18 years and older, who currently (as of December 2022) work in the food/restaurant service industry. KURU Footwear proprietary survey, conducted December 2022.


Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG) Promotes Cory Chambers to Newly Created Role of Chief Commercial Officer and Senior Vice President, Business Intelligence


Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), an Atlanta-based, private hotel investment, ownership and management company, announced that Cory Chambers has been promoted to the newly created role of chief commercial officer and senior vice president, business intelligence. In his new position, Chambers will be responsible for leading the HVMG Revenue Excellence team in maximizing market share growth and bottom-line profitability. Central to the new role will be driving HVMG’s business intelligence strategic initiative of creating forward-looking, predictive analytics. Over the past eighteen months, comprehensive data warehousing and visualization platforms have been built to enhance real time decision making for company leaders and results for investors.

“Since joining HVMG nearly a decade ago, Cory has proven his ability to develop and deploy tools, processes and strategies that drive excellent revenue results,” said Robert S. Cole, president and chief executive officer, HVMG. “During his tenure, HVMG has experienced five consecutive years of same-store portfolio wide year over year market share growth, including a 7.6% increase in 2022, our best year yet. Cory has attracted and developed some of the best revenue talent in our industry, earned the trust and respect of our owners & brand partners, and has been a contributor, mentor and leader throughout our organization. I am incredibly appreciative of his can-do attitude, his tenacity and how he has made us a better company.”

A 20-plus year hospitality veteran, Chambers previously was vice president of revenue generation at White Lodging where he oversaw sales, revenue management, eCommerce and communications for the company’s full-service portfolio. His previous roles with White Lodging include corporate director of sales and marketing and pre-opening director of sales and marketing at the JW Marriott Indianapolis. Chambers began his career with Marriott International where he held several sales and marketing leadership positions throughout the United States at hotels ranging in size from 300 to 1,300 rooms. Chambers graduated from James Madison University and received his MBA from Babson College in Boston, Mass.

“I’m passionate about driving results, helping others use data to make great decisions and growing HVMG’s brand in the eye’s investors, brands and most importantly, our associates,” Chambers said. “This is my dream job, and I look forward to growing with HVMG as the company pursues its own expansion efforts.”


myDigitalOffice Acquires InTouch Data


myDigitalOffice (MDO), a hotel data platform, has added InTouch Data (InTouch) to its suite of data and business intelligence solutions. Acquiring InTouch, an Australian-based decision intelligence solution, paves the way for stronger relationships with hotel operators and integration partners globally. 

The acquisition of InTouch, an Australian company specializing in decision intelligence for hotels, enables MDO to:

●      Strengthen its certified APIs, integrations, and relationships with key solutions providers, including Amadeus, Oracle, Infor, and several others.

●      Grow its hospitality intelligence portfolio to include global luxury brands like Accor, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.

●      Accelerate expansion in the Middle East and Asia Pacific global markets.

InTouch, founded in 2001, has developed a user-friendly and accurate platform that captures all of a hotel's revenue streams in one place and helps owners and operators make profitable decisions. "Making business decisions has become much more efficient. And because we now have a greater breadth of data, we’re able to discover new insights and findings, plus look at our business more holistically. All of which help us to reinforce a culture of informed decision-making based on data and insights. Put another way, we now make decisions with confidence." Alex Lee Chief Commercial Officer with the Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Group.

“Now more than ever, hotel owners and operators are laser-focused on insights that help them drive more to the bottom line,” says MDO CEO Ali Moloo. "Both MDO and InTouch share a common goal of empowering hoteliers with centralized, high-quality, accurate data to make more confident real-time business decisions.”

“InTouch has been connecting siloed data to thousands of hoteliers for more than 20 years,” says Ryan Smith, CEO at InTouch. “We live and breathe hotel data and decision intelligence, and we’re excited about this opportunity to scale by joining the industry’s fastest-growing hotel data platform.”

Focus on Integrated BI Platform 

The acquisition of InTouch follows MDO's strategic investment from Cove Hill Partners in January 2022 and following that, the acquisitions of Focal Revenue, a hospitality revenue intelligence software company, and Datavision, a leader in hotel data analytics and business intelligence for luxury resorts. In the past 18 months, MDO has significantly scaled its team of employees worldwide and has made key leadership appointments with a strong emphasis on establishing itself as a trusted partner to hotel groups of all sizes. These successes were recognized when MDO was again named to Inc 5000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, where they ranked #608 overall and #6 in the Travel & Hospitality vertical. In December, CEO Ali Moloo was named a 2022 LODGING Luminary by LODGING Magazine.

"We are proud of the progress we have made and are committed to continuing to evolve and improve our offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers," says Scott Ryan, President of MDO. "We look forward to serving our current and future customers by making data work for hospitality, not hospitality work for data."


Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Selects Shiji’s Concept to Power its Members’ Spa and Golf Management

Shiji teaser logo

Shiji announced that its product, Concept, has been selected to offer the spa, golf, and resort activities management platform as a preferred provider to its member properties.

Curator currently includes 97 independent boutique and lifestyle hotels and resorts across the U.S. After an extensive competitive process, Curator selected Shiji’s Concept as a preferred solution given its’ track record in the hospitality space. Some of the key benefits are the sophisticated back-end resource management platform, open-API environment, capability to be an all-in-one management platform across on-property activities, including spa and golf, and commitment to continuous improvement of the platform.

"Shiji is an ideal preferred partner because of their proven commitment to service quality and incredible reputation as a leading golf, spa, and activities technology provider in the upscale and luxury hotel market," said Austin Segal, Vice President at Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. "Through this partnership, we are proud to offer Shiji’s Concept Spa and Golf to our member properties as a robust solution that, with its scalable and module-based solution, can drive both operational efficiencies and increased guest satisfaction for properties of every size."

With more than 20 years in the industry, Concept, a Shiji product, is an industry leading Golf, Spa and Leisure technology solution provider for hotels and resorts in over 70 countries around the world. The solution also boasts open API integration capability allowing hotels to choose from dozens of existing integrations or develop custom ones to connect guest fulfillment solutions across payments, inventory management, loyalty, and more. It is known as the most complete Spa, Golf and Activities solution for hospitality, with a world class local support infrastructure.

“We are excited to partner with Curator’s independent member hotels and offer Concept spa, golf and activities management solutions that empower them with innovative technology, to deliver an enhanced guest experience, and a measurable ROI. At Shiji we look forward to working with property managers to take their technology stack into the future and help manage guests and data efficiently, and reduce operational costs,” said Dan Bell, Senior Vice President of Shiji Americas.


Akia Raises $6 Million in Series A Funding to Scale Automation Technology

logo, akia

Akia, a customer experience automation platform, announced a $6 million Series A funding round. California-based venture capital firm Altos Ventures led the financing with additional participation from GSR Ventures, who led the previous seed round.

Since launching in 2019, Akia has consistently achieved 3x year-over-year growth, operating primarily in hospitality. The current market conditions, ongoing labor shortage, and post-pandemic impact have increased demand for Akia's automated customer engagement framework. Akia has helped thousands of businesses eliminate monotonous paperwork, automate processes and drive engagement to better serve consumers and increase efficiency.

In an app-fatigued world, where over 75% of app downloads are not used more than once, Akia’s Mini Apps are mobile experiences that don’t require download or login. From the business perspective, where native apps fall short - costs, maintenance, and engagement challenges - Mini Apps fill these gaps with better accessibility and usability. Companies using Akia’s platform produce more results by leveraging Mini Apps to automate and expedite day-to-day processes like identity verification, security deposit collection, or even contactless hotel check-in.

”Securing this new round of funding from Altos is really a validation of our vision,” said Evan Chen, CEO of Akia. “Consumers are tired of poorly made chatbots, waiting on hold for call centers, or downloading apps for single use. We are committed to developing innovative products and services that help businesses respond more effectively and quickly to the changing needs of their customers.”

The shift towards a contactless first approach and the ongoing staff shortages have created a prime opportunity for Akia to make a splash in the market. Akia is well-positioned to take advantage of these favorable conditions and will continue to expand its reach and impact.

"Akia is paving the path for the next generation of tech-enabled services,” said Jim Dai, Partner at Altos Ventures. “The hospitality sector has faced numerous challenges in recent years and will need a system like Akia to delight customers while improving efficiency. We are thrilled with Akia's momentum and have complete confidence in its leadership and long-term vision."


Presso, Creators of the World’s First EcoRobo Garment Care Machine, Raises $8M Led by Early Fitbit VC Uncork Capital

presso kiosk

Presso, the company establishing a new standard of clothing care with the world’s first line of on-demand, low-carbon, express garment care machines, today announced that it has raised $8 million in seed funding from Uncork Capital, 1517 Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, Cherubic, HAX, SOSV, Pathbreaker Ventures, VSC Ventures, and YETI Capital. The news comes after a breakthrough year in which Presso launched the 11th iteration of its machine and brought its total bookings to 89. 

At a time when brands and consumers alike are more climate conscious, Presso is stepping in to provide the only automated service that offers garment cleaning at a fraction of the carbon footprint, water consumption and speed of previous solutions. In addition, Presso creates revenue generating opportunities for enterprises -- especially the hotel industry, which faces severe labor shortages as we enter the post-pandemic era. 

“We’re incredibly excited to back the work of Nishant and Thibault, who have achieved a lot more than your typical seed-stage startup. By helping hotels profit from garment cleansing, Presso is supporting the post-pandemic economic recovery of the hospitality sector,” said Jeff Clavier, Managing Partner of Uncork Capital. “While battling labor shortages, Presso provides a perk that draws valuable clientele and promotes increased loyalty without diverting labor resources from other guest services. The Presso mission to introduce a new standard of garment care is a very exciting use case for us at Uncork.”

“Before we had a Presso, a guest would need to find the garment care bag in their closet, call down to the front desk, and the concierge would fill out a paper slip with the number of items, pick them up from the guest’s room, and send it out for delivery. In two or three days, the guest could have their items back. At one point, we couldn’t even offer the service because it was too resource-intensive – guests wanted it, but we couldn’t provide it. Presso condenses all those steps all on-site,” said Dipan Patel, CEO of Buckhead America Hospitality Group.

"There is nothing like Presso on the market today. We’ve created the first AI-powered line of on-demand, low-carbon, express garment care machines,” said Nishant Jain, Co-Founder and CEO of Presso. “Our mission is to make on-demand clothing care accessible to everyone and we’re proud to do it in a more sustainable way.” 

Presso offers novel benefits to the hospitality and residential and commercial real estate industries:

  • Low Carbon: Compared to traditional dry cleaning services, Presso uses 7X less water and 3X less electricity and reduces the carbon footprint of today’s clothing care by 93%. While 70% of dry cleaners use carcinogenic cleaning solvents, Presso opts for organic and compostable cleaning liquids. With gentle care of each garment, Presso increases the lifetime of garments by over 400%, combating excessive textile manufacturing, a leading cause of landfill saturation.

  • On-Demand: Traditional garment care services have a 2-3 day turnaround time; Presso reduces that by 360X. Because of this shortened turnaround time, Presso machines can clean up to 150 garments daily.

  • Improved Operations: For the hotel industry, staffing shortages make workers' jobs even harder, and hotels are missing out on revenue because they don’t have the staff to handle dry cleaning requests. Presso’s solution reduces staff time on housekeeping calls, paper receipt handling, and manual accounting. Company estimates suggest that top-line revenue improvement potential is at least $17,000 per property per year.

  • Top-Line Revenue: Presso boosts dry-cleaning service usage at existing spots like hotels and creates new revenue opportunities for multi-unit and office spaces that want to take advantage of empty space and, simultaneously offer a perk to tenants, employees or guests. Since the machines are automated, Presso serves a top-line revenue without staff lifting a finger.

  • AI-Powered Robotics + Stretch AI: Presso’s cameras collect garment data, while A.I. and computer vision automate robotics. Image processing within the system will enable further automation in the future, including automatic fabric detection, reduction in processing time, and, eventually, fully autonomous garment clipping. 

This new round of funding brings Presso’s total amount raised to $10.1M and additional investors include Buckhead America Hospitality, a southeast based hotel and real estate development company, and TISHMAN℠ (“Tishman”), a New York based real estate and investment firm with a long track record of developing and acquiring assets with a focus on New York, Chicago, and Florida.  

If you are a hotel, apartment or commercial real estate operator and would like to improve your operations, team productivity, and engagement, please visit