This edition of MRM News Bites features NLRB, IHOP, Fourth, Ordermark, Chica’s Tacos, Thanx, Chowly and EZCater, Corner Bakery, Fountainhead Taproom and PourMyBeer and Epson America.
NLRB Approves McDonald's Settlements
The National Labor Relations Board instructed an administrative law judge to approve settlements resolving complaints against McDonald’s USA LLC, McDonald’s Restaurants of Illinois, Inc., and 29 franchisees, based on violations allegedly committed by McDonald’s Restaurants of Illinois and the franchisees. The Board concluded that the settlements will provide a full remedy for all alleged substantive violations. After nearly three years of proceedings, the General Counsel and McDonald’s USA, LLC presented a series of informal settlement agreements resolving all the alleged unfair labor practices. An administrative law judge denied their motions to approve the settlement agreements.
On special appeal, the Board vacated the judge’s order, and remanded the case to the judge with instructions to approve the settlement agreements. Applying the “reasonableness” factors set forth in Independent Stave, 287 NLRB 740 (1987), the majority found, contrary to the judge, that the settlement agreements are reasonable, that they provide a full remedy to all affected employees, and that accepting the settlement agreements would serve the policies underlying the Act as well as the Board’s longstanding policy of encouraging the amicable resolution of disputes. The settlements do not impose joint and several liability on McDonald’s USA, LLC as a joint employer; however, they impose obligations on McDonald’s USA, LLC to support the remedies agreed to by McDonald’s Restaurants of Illinois and the franchisees.
The entire decision can be found here.
Flip’d by IHOP
HOP® Restaurants announced plans to launch Flip’d by IHOP™, a new fast-casual concept in the U.S., top photo. The new brand aims to fill a gap in the restaurant space by focusing on freshly-made breakfast foods and beverages with speed and convenience in mind, directly addressing a growing consumer demand in densely populated city centers. Popular lunch and dinner items, including the brand’s Ultimate Steakburgers and Buttermilk Crispy Chicken will also be available. IHOP plans to open its first Flip’d concept in Atlanta next April with additional sites in New York City, Washington D.C., Denver, and San Francisco currently under exploration for 2020.
New restaurant development is one of three key strategic initiatives in IHOP’s growth plan, which also includes to-go and lunch/dinner expansion as major areas of focus. Currently there are more than 1,700 IHOP restaurants in the U.S. and another 100+ IHOP restaurants globally. Flip’d by IHOP will be a stand-alone brand within the IHOP portfolio.
“In looking at what exists today in terms of fresh, fast menu options — particularly at breakfast — there’s still tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Jay Johns, President of IHOP. “After talking extensively with consumers in large cities across the country, we designed Flip’d by IHOP to deliver on what folks told us they want and need from a trusted brand like IHOP in a fast-casual setting, putting an emphasis on quality ingredients, speed, to-go and delivery.”
The Flip’d by IHOP menu will borrow inspiration from iconic IHOP favorites – including the brand’s world-famous Buttermilk pancakes – but put a unique twist on flavors and portability in a way that only IHOP can. For example: Pancake Bowls, with made-to-order pancakes served in a bowl to enjoy on the go and finished with toppings like fresh berries and sauces or savory ingredients including scrambled eggs, Hickory Smoked bacon pieces and Jack and cheddar cheeses.
“Today, millions of Americans are settling for sub-par breakfast foods that are either microwaved or have been sitting under a heat lamp because they’re forced to grab something while at their usual coffee spot,” continued Johns. “With Flip’d by IHOP, guests don’t have to compromise – now they can get freshly-made, all-day menu items like Pancake Bowls and Egg Sandwiches along with a hand-crafted espresso beverage for a good price and in a matter of minutes.”
Other items on the Flip’d by IHOP menu include:
- A Build Your Own Pancake Bar with a choice of made-in-house pancakes or oatmeal as a base and a variety of mix-ins and toppings from the Top It Off bar, such as fresh blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple; fruit compotes; chocolate chips; caramel sauce and more
- Egg combos with choice of breakfast meats and an assortment of Egg Sandwiches made with two scrambled eggs and premium toppings on a toasted Brioche bun
- A variety of made-to-order breakfast burritos and bowls with options like the Bacon Temptation with two eggs, hickory-smoked bacon, roasted tomatoes and queso over crispy breakfast potatoes, or The Garden with baby arugula, sautéed mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and avocado cream sauce over crispy breakfast potatoes.
- Ultimate Sandwiches with choice of an all-natural Black Angus Steakburger, Buttermilk Crispy Chicken from all-natural breast meat, or grilled chicken breast.
- Freshly-squeezed orange juice, Signature Coffee Brews, including Nitro and specialty espresso beverages
- Grab-and-go salads and wraps, freshly-baked goods and more
Flip’d by IHOP is different than the sit-down experience guests have come to expect and enjoy at IHOP for more than 60 years. Upon entering Flip’d, visitors can order from a digital kiosk or directly at the counter. Guests will also be able to order their food online in advance and pick-up their items from a designated to-go area or have it delivered. Catering will also be available with guests choosing large servings of Build Your Own Pancake Bowls, breakfast sandwiches, a Burger Bar and more.
Fourth Names New CEO and CFO
Fourth Enterprises appointed Clinton Anderson as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Clinton has a proven track record of innovation and success within the hospitality industry, most recently as President of the Hospitality Solutions business at Sabre, a global public company with over $4 billion in sales. Clinton joined Sabre in 2014, and has served in multiple roles from corporate strategy to managing the Traveler Experience business, to his most recent role leading Sabre Hospitality Solutions providing reservation and operations software to 40,000 hotels in over 160 countries. Previously, Clinton spent nearly 20 years at Bain & Company where he developed growth, operations and M&A strategy for clients across the United States and Europe.
“While stepping away from a company and customer base that I have grown and been passionate about for over 20 years is never easy, one of the key aspects of a good leader is to know the right time to transition. Clinton is the right person to lead the organization into the future, given his strong experience and proven ability to drive results at scale,” said Ben Hood, founding CEO of Fourth. “The future is bright for this organization and I will be cheering for its continued success.”
Doug Bayerd, principal at Marlin Equity Partners, said, “Clinton has a breadth of business experience and strategic vision to lead the organization in the next stage of its growth. This includes a commitment to our people and core values, and a focus on delivering value to both the customer and the end users. On behalf of the board, we look forward to working closely with Clinton as Chief Executive Officer.”
“At the same time, we thank Ben for all he has done and wish him well. He has been an exemplary leader during this critical time of transition and of Fourth for over 20 years. We are grateful for his leadership as we brought these businesses together to create a global champion in the restaurant and hospitality software industry.”
“I am truly honored to lead as Fourth Enterprises’ CEO,” said Anderson. “I look forward to working closely with our exceptional senior leadership team and all employees as we continue to create and sell products that improve the lives of millions of users. Fourth and HotSchedules have an incredibly talented team that shares a common passion for delivering results for our customers. Together, we will drive innovation and growth by remaining focused on providing our customers with the solutions they need to be successful and providing exceptional experiences for our people.”
In conjunction with this announcement, Fourth Enterprises alsow welomed John Whitmarsh as Chief Financial Officer. As CFO, Whitmarsh brings over two decades of financial management expertise to the executive team, having played a pivotal role in growing multiple private equity-backed SaaS and technology companies. Prior to joining the team, Whitmarsh served as the CFO of Vyze, which was recently acquired by MasterCard. Previously, Whitmarsh was the CFO for Zenoss Inc., a provider of unified IT monitoring and management solutions for physical, virtual and cloud-based IT infrastructures. He also held CFO roles at Century Payments (Worldpay), Misys Transactions Services (Allscripts), Digital Motorworks (ADP) and MessageOne (Dell), where he was named 2009 Best CFO for private companies by the Austin Business Journal. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin.
“HotSchedules and Fourth have long served as technology leaders in the restaurant and hospitality industries and I am ecstatic to join the team as it embarks on its next stage of growth,” stated Whitmarsh.
Ordermark Adds Head of Innovation
Ordermark hired Charlie Jeffers, a 25-year industry veteran and award-winning expert on point of sale (POS) integration, into the newly created position of Head of Innovation. Jeffers will lead Menu and POS integration for Ordermark’s restaurants and virtual kitchen clients as the company looks to extend its leadership position in the
Jeffers comes to Ordermark after serving as CEO for TakeOut Technologies (“TakeOut Tech”), a Laguna Hills, Calif.-based company specializing in online, mobile, and call center integrations for the restaurant industry. Prior to joining TakeOut Tech in 2010, Jeffers was Vice President of Sales for Custom Business Solutions.
‘Charlie is one of the most experienced POS people in the industry,” said Art Julian, CEO of NorthStar. “Ordermark will benefit from this experience in dealing with both legacy POS companies and the newer cloud based systems. Given that Ordermark has already created some innovative products for the third party delivery markets, Charlie will drive those innovations further.”
“I could not be more thrilled to join Ordermark at an exciting time for the category and the company. Ordermark is the clear industry leader, and is gaining momentum with core technology and integration opportunities that allows for even more innovation in the future,” added Jeffers. “In this new role I look forward to working with Alex and the team at Ordermark to help restaurants and virtual kitchens become more profitable, and tackle the myriad integration challenges and revenue and market share opportunities of online ordering, mobile ordering, and ghost kitchens.”
“Charlie is one of the restaurant technology industry’s most respected leaders, with deep expertise in POS integration,” said Alex Canter, Ordermark CEO. “His knowledge and leadership, having worked with hundreds of restaurant chains and dozens of POS companies will help Ordermark to ensure that its technology and services meet the very high standards we have for data integrity and reliability.”
Chicas Tacos Looks to Grow
Chicas Tacos announces four new locations across Southern California in continuation of the company’s rapid expansion plans. The rollout begins in January with the opening of Chicas Tacos Culver City, located at 9345 Culver Blvd, followed by two more location openings: Beverly Grove/W. 3rd Street, slated for a Q1 2020 opening, and a soon-to-be-announced address in Venice slated to open in Q2 2020.
In addition, the company is partnering with Pouring with Heart hospitality group as the official food partner for All Season Brewing Co, a new brewery concept which will open at 800 S La Brea Ave in Fairfax/Mid-Wilshire in winter 2020.
“The city of Los Angeles has been a huge source of inspiration for our mission to create a better taco with better ingredients,” said Chef Eduardo Ruiz, Director of Tacos at Chicas and the Culinary & Beverage Director at BLVD Hospitality. “We’re excited to continue growing our traditional yet modern approach to Mexican cuisine and look forward to sharing Chicas’ fresh approach with more of the local communities we care so deeply for.”
The new locations will feature larger kitchens and dining rooms than Chicas’ original 700-square-foot DTLA location, while still offering quick and easy ordering via self-ordering kiosks. With more space to flex, Chicas Tacos has also expanded its core menu to now include Mexican beer, wine and margaritas; as well as new bowls, burritos, and a growing roster of plant-based options including the award-winning Chicas Impossible Taco—crowned Best Taco de Chef award at Taqueando Fest 2019. The pronounced vegetarian menu will also include standouts like the Plant Based Nachos, oozing with vegan queso, marinated jackfruit, salsa morita, avocado cashew crema, and topped with scallions, radish, chile blanco and cilantro; and the Jackfruit Taco, featuring sautéed jackfruit, avocado cashew crema, cherry tomato pico de gallo, cilantro on a corn tortilla. The new menu builds upon Chicas’ best-selling Steak and Fish Tacos (voted best taco by Los Angeles Magazine), and will be available to order in-store, through the Chicas Tacos mobile application and online at www.chicastacos.com.
Operations across all new Chicas Tacos locations will continue to be run by hospitality veteran Ronit Gieske. The Cornell University grad and current VP of Operations brings more than 15 years of experience, most notably as the former New Store Openings Director for Tender Greens. Prior to Tender Greens, Gieske also successfully managed a robust portfolio of restaurants for companies like Hillstone Restaurant Group and David Myers Group.
Thanx Expands CRM
Thanx is expanding its CRM-integrated digital ordering tools beyond mobile applications, announcing an enhanced web ordering experience for restaurants including Oath Pizza, PINCHO, Tocaya Organica and Kolache Factory. The complete platform — Thanx Ordering — helps merchants accelerate the growth of their direct ordering revenue with deep CRM and loyalty integrations and a truly omnichannel approach to capturing digital orders. The enhanced experience is available now in partnership with Olo; Thanx is the first Olo partner to offer CRM-integrated user interfaces for both mobile applications and web ordering on a single platform.
Madera Group’s Tocaya Organica, Oath Pizza, and Kolache Factory were among the restaurant brands who jumped at the opportunity to offer a better web ordering experience to their guests.
“Our loyalty program with Thanx will offer great incentives to keep our customers ordering directly from our site,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Tocaya. “Thanx’s digital ordering solution allows us to deliver best-in-class digital experiences via websites and in-app; with rewards seamlessly integrated into the user experience, it creates a powerful incentive for guests to order direct.”
“Restaurants can easily spend six- or seven-figures building custom digital ordering experiences. This agency approach is too expensive and as such many brands are using generic, outdated user interfaces that unfortunately turn customers away,” said Thanx CEO and Founder Zach Goldstein. “Our vision at Thanx is to deliver a single solution to personalize all guest interactions; our ability to now offer a beautiful, turnkey web ordering interface rounds out the complete solution for our customers.”
As an increasing volume of restaurant revenue comes via digital channels, restaurants are in greater need of “owned ordering” experiences to capture and retain high-value customers instead of referring them to high commission, third-party delivery providers such as DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEATS. Using the Thanx marketing platform, restaurants can now run more sophisticated campaigns to retarget top customers and can easily attribute paid advertising to orders to finally measure the lifetime value (LTV) of their advertising efforts.
Clean Juice Looks to Catering For Growth
Chowly announced that its partnership with ezCater is now being leveraged by the first and only USDA-certified organic juice bar franchise, Clean Juice, to offer catering at all Clean Juice locations.
Catering is growing 50 percent faster than the overall restaurant industry, according to ezCater’s report published in May 2019. Chowly’s partnership with ezCater, which launched in February 2019, is enabling restaurants like Clean Juice to expand their businesses and introduce new markets to their brand by implementing tech-driven catering strategies. Manually entering catering orders into a restaurant’s POS system is time-consuming and susceptible to human error, and with the check size of each catering order averaging $283, the lack of efficient processes for managing catering orders can result in costly mistakes.
With Chowly’s integration, restaurants on the ezCater platform can now efficiently manage catering orders by having them automatically sent to their POS system, eliminating manual order input, reducing errors, and simplifying reporting. Additionally, existing Chowly clients can leverage the partnership to expand their off-premise offerings to include catering. Chowly client Clean Juice, which did not previously offer catering to its customers, was able to start integrating catering orders into its Toast POS system at all 80 of its locations to further grow its business through off-premise opportunities.
"Catering is different and this integration is different too. We worked with the awesome ezCater team to build something that solves catering order integration, allowing restaurants to adopt great catering tech with less overhead," commented Justin McNally, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Chowly.
"Chowly's partnership with ezCater is a major asset to Clean Juice, as it allows us to quickly ramp up our catering strategy while keeping our franchise partners focused on delivering a memorable, efficient, and fast guest experience,” commented B. Quick Chadwick, Vice President of Marketing at Clean Juice. “This integration has been seamlessly executed and we're confident the partnership will pay dividends in terms of increased sales and operational efficiencies…both critical for our success.”
“Catering is a huge growth opportunity for restaurants,” said Don Bell, Head of Partner Solutions at ezCater. “Integrating with Chowly connects us with 20 top POS systems, making it even easier for restaurants to grow and manage their catering business, no matter which technology they use.”
This partnership marks Chowly’s continued expansion of its POS integration solutions, which furthers the company’s mission to simplify the full spectrum of restaurant operations. Another recent milestone on the way to fulfilling this mission includes Chowly’s partnership with DoorDash, announced in September 2019, which enables restaurants to leverage delivery as a service to fulfill delivery orders on their native websites and mobile apps.
On the First Day of Giftmas …
Corner Bakery and Coca-Cola will gift one lucky winner each day from Dec. 12-23 as part of its 12 Days of Giftmas sweepstakes! Participants can enter for a chance to win by visiting www.cornerbakery.com/12daysofgiftmas.
Everyone’s on the nice list this year! After submission, participants will be served with a 99-cent beverage offer with any purchase featuring a product from The Coca-Cola Company’s total beverage portfolio.
The following gifts are up for grabs:
- On the 1st day of Giftmas – $50 Corner Bakery Gift Card
- On the 2nd day of Giftmas – Popcorn Maker
- On the 3rd day of Giftmas – Bluetooth Headphones
- On the 4th day of Giftmas – Fuji Film Mini 9 Camera
- On the 5th day of Giftmas – JBL Speaker
- On the 6th day of Giftmas – $100 Corner Bakery Gift Card
- On the 7th day of Giftmas – Dart Board
- On the 8th day of Christmas – Holiday Bundle (holiday sweater, throw blanket, beanie and scarf set, bottle and cup)
- On the 9th day of Giftmas – Retro Vending Machine Fridge
- On the 10th day of Giftmas – Cruiser Bike
- On the 11th day of Giftmas – Cutter & Buck 19” Leather Weekender Duffel
- On the 12th day of Giftmas – Segway Ninebot Electric Kick Scooter
“We are delighted to partner with Coca-Cola and generate excitement during the holidays,” said Donna Josephson, CMO of Corner Bakery. “This is the season of giving, so it is exciting for us to give away 12 great gifts. We hope everyone is as excited about 12 Days of Giftmas as we are!”
PourMyBeer in Chattanooga
Fountainhead Taproom, located in the southside of Chattanooga, puts its customers in control of their drinks by letting them be their own bartenders. They can use self-pour taps to pour craft beer, cider, and wine, paying by the ounce.
At Fountainhead Taproom, you simply open your tab by presenting your ID and credit card to the host, who will need to verify that you are at least 21 years old. Once they verify your age, they give you a PourMyBeer RFID card linked to your credit card, which gives you access to their 60 beverages. Each one can be sampled and poured in whatever quantity the customer desires, so they can try sips of a few and find a favorite. This ensures that patrons drink only what they want and never get stuck with an entire pint of a drink they don’t end up liking. Best of all, the efficient and quick nature of self-serve dispensing means that the long lines and wait times synonymous with traditional bar dispensing are eliminated with self-pour.
The owner of Fountainhead, Burt Casey, said: “We are glad to be a part of making Chattanooga a craft beer destination, and offering an unbeatable selection alongside a revolutionary PourMyBeer experience." He adds: “Our 60-tap self-pour wall allows you to pour only what you want, and create unlimited flights. No more waiting to flag down your next round!”
Josh Goodman, the CEO of PourMyBeer shares, “Besides the operational benefits for the owner, self-pour has the potential to be a great market differentiator. Oftentimes, it is what allows local businesses to stand out in a busy market space and to allure customers to come back.”
Epson Debuts New OmniLink Models
Epson America, Inc., introduced the OmniLink® TM-T88VI-DT2 and OmniLink TM-T70II-DT2 all-in-one thermal receipt printers. Replacing the previous models and designed for merchants in the retail, hospitality, banking and financial market segments looking to move away from traditional bulky POS PC-based systems without sacrificing functionality, the new all-in-one printers offer built-in, high-powered PC support and increased processing power in future-proof devices whose compact footprint occupy up to 70 percent less space than traditional POS systems. Featuring front-facing receipt printing (TM-T70II-DT2) or top loading and receipt printing (TM-T88VI-DT2), these compact, reliable printers were engineered to improve the customer experience and provide advanced functionality that enables merchants to deploy the latest POS applications.
“Epson is continually evolving its core POS solutions—including its receipt printers—to accommodate the requirements of the next generation retail solutions,” said Gregg Brunnick, director of product management for POS Printers, Epson America, Inc. “Our OmniLink DT2 printers deliver the key functionality and flexibility needed to support POS applications as they become available on the market, so that our customers can streamline essential operations and, in turn, better engage with their own customers.”
The new printers are available now from Epson authorized partners.