Change of Guard at Papa John’s and Cleaner Blending at Smoothie King

This TGIF edition of MRM’s Daily Bite includes news from the National Retail Federation, Papa John’s, Smoothie King, MobileBytes and an accolade for Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine from Toast.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at 

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NRF Welcomes Tax Reform

The National Retail Federation welcomed tax reform signed into law by President Trump today, saying the measure will dramatically benefit businesses, workers and consumers.

Lower taxes will help us grow our businesses and offer our customers better value.

“This is landmark legislation that will boost our nation’s economy more than anything we have seen in decades,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Middle-class taxpayers are the biggest winners, with significantly more take-home pay thanks to tax cuts and vast new employment opportunities because of tax relief that will help large and small businesses alike create new jobs. Consumers finishing up their holiday shopping this weekend can rest assured that there will be more money in their paychecks by the time the bills come due.”

“Retailers are winners under tax reform since our industry receives few of the tax breaks that benefit other sectors of the economy and pay the highest effective tax rate of any industry,” Shay added. “Lower taxes will help us grow our businesses and offer our customers better value. But the biggest benefit for retailers will come as lower taxes and increased global competitiveness help U.S. companies throughout the economy put more Americans to work and pay them higher wages. Consumers with jobs and money in their pockets benefit the entire economy, including retailers and every job behind every product on our shelves.”

NRF analysis shows that cutting the corporate tax rate will save large businesses enough to create between 500,000 and 1.5 million jobs while reducing taxes for “pass throughs” will benefit the small retailers that make up 95 percent of the industry. Congressional estimates show a family earning the average income of $73,000 a year will see a tax cut of over $2,000 in 2018, which is easily enough to cover the $967 NRF research shows the average consumer will spend this holiday season.

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

Schnatter Leaving Papa John’s CEO Role

Steve Ritchie has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Papa John’s, effective January 1, 2018. He will lead Papa John’s global development and facilitate the brand’s marketing, digital and customer experience evolution, while founder John Schnatter will continue as Chairman and pursue his personal passion for entrepreneurship, leadership development and education.

Steve Ritchie
Steve Ritchie

“I am humbled to take on this role,” said Ritchie. “By focusing on our team members, we will deliver the world class experiences our customers deserve. At Papa John’s, any opportunity is achievable if you dedicate yourself to putting your best foot forward every day. I’m certain our future company leaders are delivering pizzas in one of our 5,000 stores around the world right now.”

At Papa John’s, 98 percent of restaurant managers are promoted from hourly positions – delivery drivers, customer service team members and shift managers – within the company. Ritchie, 43, started with Papa John’s in 1996 as a customer service representative at $6 per hour. In 2006, he became a Papa John’s franchise owner and operator, then in 2010 began serving in increasing capacities of leadership in operations until being promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2014. Ritchie was added to the succession plan for the company’s top job in 2015 when he was named President.

“I am so proud of Steve – he has excelled at every job he’s ever held at Papa John’s – from being an hourly customer service rep, to a delivery driver, store general manager, director of operations, franchisee and most recently President,” said Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter. “With 120,000 Papa John’s corporate and franchise employees, Steve will put the spotlight on our pizza and the most important ingredient – our team members. We couldn’t have a more proven leader to guide Papa John’s through its next stage of growth.”

Cleaner Blending at Smoothie King

Smoothie King Franchises, Inc., launched  its Cleaner Blending initiative.  At the centerpiece of the new initiative, Smoothie King will remove added sugar from more than 50 smoothies and will remove artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, and added hormones from all smoothie ingredients and introduce non-GMO fruits and veggies.

The franchise has already eliminated from its smoothies: high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, hydrogenated oil, gluten, and ingredients prohibited by any regulatory lists monitored by NSF. Through the Cleaner Blending initiative, Smoothie King is now taking it a step further.

“At Smoothie King, every decision we make is based on helping to support our guests’ health and fitness journeys,” said Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King.  “We’re always improving what we put into our smoothies, so our guests can feel good about what they’re putting into their bodies.  That’s our purpose and our commitment, and we could not be more excited to announce the Cleaner Blending initiative.”

 The franchise will be rolling out these updates over the course of the next year. Kim also revealed the company’s commitment to eliminating Styrofoam cups.  The cups will be replaced with a new material that is better for the environment.  

Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. is a privately held, New Orleans-area-based franchise company with more than 900 units worldwide. It currently operates in 34 states, the Caymans, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea.

Order Ahead from MobileBytes

MobileBytes introduced Order Ahead, a mobile ordering platform as the latest update to the MobileBytes app.

Order Ahead was designed to provide a faster, in-app experience for restaurant guests who prefer ordering on their phone, versus on a personal computer.

“The more we improve the guest experience, the more our merchants will benefit from increased loyalty and spending in their locations,” said MobileBytes CEO Dan Calderone. “A POS system is capable of so much more than simply taking payments. It should be used as a way to enhance customer satisfaction and increase sales.”

The latest feature in the MobileBytes app gives merchants another way to interact with guests and take orders without tying up front of house resources. The Order Ahead app saves recent and most frequent orders, simplifying the ordering process to only a few touches. In addition, Order Ahead will provide guests with the ability to automatically earn loyalty points at participating restaurants. The MobileBytes loyalty system keeps track of visits and gives merchants the ability to offer rewards after enough loyalty points have been accrued.

The Order Ahead mobile feature is tied directly to each merchant’s POS and online ordering system. Meaning, updates to the restaurant’s online ordering menu are automatically reflected in the app with no additional steps required. For most restaurants, setting up the new feature takes only a few minutes and gives customers the ability to order from anywhere with an interface styled to fit the restaurant’s brand.

The MobileBytes app does not store customer’s credit card data. Instead, encrypted tokens are used to make guests’ card data secure. This allows a guest to reuse their credit card for future transactions without needing to re-enter their card number, thereby decreasing payment time to 10 seconds or less.

Order Ahead and online ordering are part of a suite of features offered by MobileBytes and are included at no additional cost.

Restaurant Experts You Should Follow

One of the best ways restaurateurs can gain information that helps them make decisions to run their businesses in a more efficient manner is to follow industry insiders on Twitter. 

Each year, Toast strives to equip restaurant owners with the resources they need for a successful new year and compiles this list of restaurant experts shaping the industry. Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s  Barbara Castiglia is honored and humbled to be included on this list for the second year in a row.

“Our social media is a true complement to our growing library of restaurant management content,” said Castiglia. “I would estimate I spend 90 percent of my waking hours reading and Twitter enables me to share content from all over the world that I feel is of interest to restaurant owners, managers and employees whether it’s the latest tech gadget in India or a restaurant doing a unique marketing effort in Iowa.”