This edition of MRM's News Bites features Toast, Avero, GoParrot, and Rooam, Waitr, Shake Shack, Cvent and Social Tables, Emma, GS1 US, honestbee, Kellogg's, The Connecticut Restaurant Association,TooJay's and Feeding America.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
New Additions to the Toast Partner Ecosystem
Avero, GoParrot and Rooam have been added as key integrations in the Toast Partner Ecosystem. These new application partners will provide restaurants of all sizes access to the technology partners they need to increase revenue, improve operations, and delight their guests. Toast's Partner Ecosystem complements its core point-of-sale, empowering restaurant operators with the flexibility to build their highest-performing restaurant tech stack.
“The Toast Partner Ecosystem is just one of the many ways we empower our restaurant community to know their market and grow their customer base,” said Aman Narang, president and co-founder of Toast. “With the additions of Avero, GoParrot, and Rooam, the Toast Partner Ecosystem is better equipped than ever to contribute to Toast’s vision to help restaurants of all sizes direct each stage of the diner journey.”
Additional details on the growing Toast Partner Ecosystem:
Avero offers restaurant analytics software that enhances Toast data, revealing powerful insights on server performance tracking, inventory management, labor and food cost tracking, revenue management, and more.
GoParrot allows restaurant operators to design a highly customized and beautiful online ordering experience that sends orders straight to Toast. GoParrot includes marketing and loyalty platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that maximizes sales.
Rooam is Toast’s first mobile payment integration that enables guests to open, view, and settle the tab, all from a smartphone. The Rooam and Toast integration gives bars and restaurant operators access to stronger chargeback protection, increased sales, improved guest experience, and an in-app marketing tool.
To learn more about the Toast Partner Ecosystem, see here.
Waitr Expands into New Cities
Waitr, the restaurant platform for online ordering and on-demand food delivery, expanded into more than 20 new cities across the southern and southeastern United States. The Company, which earlier this year announced a business combination with Landcadia Holdings, Inc. has been rapidly expanding into new cities and striking new deals with notable restaurant partners. Waitr is now available in these areas:
- Alabaster, Alabama
- Albany, Georgia
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Athens, Georgia
- Auburn, Alabama
- Barling, Arkansas
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Columbia, South Carolina
- Dothan, Alabama
- East Ridge, Tennessee
- Fort Smith, Arkansas
- Galveston, Texas
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Hixson, Tennessee
- Little Rock
- Maumelle, Arkansas
- Meridian, Mississippi
- New Iberia, Louisianna
- Pelham, Alabama
- Sherwood, Arkansas
- Simpsonville, South Carolina
- Van Buren, Arkansas
- Victoria, Texas
- Warner Robins, Georgia
Waitr’s platform connects local restaurants to hungry diners in underserved cities in America’s southern and southeastern regions. Today, the company has over 6,200 restaurant partners in over 230 cities in the Southeast U.S.
“Expansion into these exciting new cities allows us to further drive our strategic regional initiatives,” said Chris Meaux, Founder and CEO, Waitr. “By focusing on and specializing in these secondary and tertiary cities, we are able to bring the convenience of Waitr’s online ordering and delivery platform to a large population of consumers who’ve yet to experience our best-in-class service. Customers in these areas can now order from our network of restaurant partners and have a delicious meal delivered from their favorite local restaurant.”
Waitr is fully operational in these new cities bringing convenience and an estimated 850 jobs total to the cities. The company continues to scale with new partnerships and work cross-market with national brands totaling expansion into over 45 cities in 2018 alone.
Shake Shack Heading to Latin America
Shake Shack's introduction to Latin America will finally come next year, with plans to open in Mexico City with partner Grupo Toks in 2019. Shake Shack is partnering with Grupo Toks, a leading food and retail group based in Mexico City with more than 40 years of knowledge and experience, to launch the first Shack in the region. Together they plan to open 30 total Shacks in Mexico through 2028.
“We couldn’t be more excited about launching in Mexico,” said Michael Kark, Vice President of Global Licensing at Shake Shack. “For years our fans have been asking for Shake Shack to land in their neighborhood, and we’re thrilled thrilled to partner with Grupo Toks to build a place for the CDMX community to gather for a ShackBurger.”
“This is a special day for us as we announce our partnership with Shake Shack. We are very proud to introduce this great place to Mexico City and later to other cities in the country,” said Juan Carlos Alverde Losada, CEO of Grupo Toks. “The mission of Shake Shack (Stand For Something Good) is perfectly aligned with the values of Grupo Toks, and we are excited to connect food lovers with the premium ingredients, service and hospitality that Shake Shack offers.”
In keeping with its mission to Stand For Something Good®, Shake Shack intends to work with local purveyors and producers to create a one-of-a-kind Shack for the Mexico City community. The menu will feature Shake Shack’s signature items including the ShackBurger®, Shack-cago Dog®, classic crinkle-cut fries, beer, wine and frozen custard ice cream.
Cvent Acquired Social Tables
Cvent acquired Social Tables. More than 5,000 organizations and hospitality brands, including Under Armour, Live Nation, Hyatt, The Venetian, ClubCorp, and Forbes, have utilized Social Tables to help them develop and plan nearly 4.5 million events. Cvent acquired Social Tables to help event planners and venues better collaborate to deliver successful events, further accelerating Cvent’s product roadmap and global growth.
Founded in 2011 in Washington, DC, Social Tables offers the world's largest database of to-scale function space with 4 billion square feet available through its search engine. Through its powerful collaboration engine, planners and venues use Social Tables’ Event Services Solution to diagram events, create seating charts, and share files. One in three full-service hotels in North America uses Social Tables to work with planners to deliver 100,000 meetings and events each month.
Cvent technology delivers the power to source, create, and manage events more efficiently than ever before. By acquiring Social Tables, Cvent now enables:
- Improved collaboration between venues and planners: Event planners and venues traditionally manage floor plan design with disparate tools that are cumbersome to use and often inaccurate. Leveraging Social Tables’ Event Services Solution, customers can collaborate to create accurate diagrams and renderings in minutes, allowing for real-time edits that reduce the time spent making critical decisions.
- A more visual and interactive venue sourcing experience: By combining the Cvent Supplier Network with Social Tables’ rich function space content, planners can better visualize the event space and select the right venue. This improves the planner’s venue selection experience and also gives venues added confidence that their facilities will meet the planner’s requirements.
- Increased group sales for venues: Venues use the Social Tables platform to showcase their unique meeting space online and to create custom proposals that lead to more group business. In a study conducted by STR, Social Tables customers saw an increase of 2% in F&B profitability per-occupied room.
“Cvent is the clear global leader in event management, and we are thrilled to continue the Social Tables journey with them. The company embodies our vision of making face-to-face events more successful,” said Dan Berger, CEO and Founder of Social Tables. “As a fellow DC-area software company, this is even more special for the DC tech community. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with all of our customers to offer our market-leading solutions as part of Cvent. Together, we will improve how events are sourced, managed, and executed.”
“We would not be where we are today without our dedicated customers and employees,” continued Berger. “It takes a village to accomplish what we’ve done, and I couldn’t be more grateful to each of them. I’m truly excited about the additional opportunities we will have going forward with Cvent under Reggie’s leadership.”
“Over the past 19 years, we have helped power the global meetings and events ecosystem, connecting planners with the venues they need to host their events,” said Reggie Aggarwal, CEO and Founder of Cvent. “With Social Tables, we can offer new ways for our event and hospitality customers to work better together to manage events. We’ve known and respected Dan since the inception of Social Tables, and we are extremely excited to welcome him and the rest of the Social Tables team to the Cvent family.”
Emma HQ Launches
Emma launched Emma HQ, the newest innovation in email marketing platforms. Emma HQ is an email campaign and asset manager for distributed businesses, offering franchises and multi-location businesses a single platform from which marketers can manage mailings for a few dozen to thousands of locations or departments. Alongside this, Emma is also announcing a rebranding to reflect the company’s progression.
“Emma HQ has been developed by listening to our customers,” said Cody Bender, Chief Product Officer at Campaign Monitor. “Our customers—especially those in restaurant, higher education and franchise industries—have worked with us directly during the creation of Emma HQ and have helped our product development team build a platform with the features to best address their unique needs. We are excited to see how our customers use Emma HQ to connect with their subscribers.”
“We love Emma because it gives us the sophisticated suite of email marketing tools we need to provide exactly the right content to our member base.” said Kevin Keith, Chief Brand Officer at Orangetheory Fitness, an Emma HQ customer. “The approvals dashboard has simplified our process by speeding up our email approvals for over 1,000 studio newsletters and ensuring brand consistency across the board.”
Emma HQ addresses the evolving needs of marketers at distributed organizations with three unique features:
- Brand controls: In order to deliver a consistent brand experience, Emma HQ allows marketers to create and share approved templates down to their sub-accounts, as well as lock creative elements within the templates. Elements can include branding and style aspects, such as font, colors and text size. When using the asset manager, marketers can further create and share approved templates and assets, including company logos, images and files. These features make it simple for individual sub-accounts to create emails with localized content, while still maintaining a recognizable brand across the board.
- Approvals dashboard: Emma HQ simplifies the review and approval process for marketers by allowing them to manage it all from a single dashboard. Before sending, each mailing must be submitted to the approvals dashboard, where corporate marketers can quickly approve content or respond back with edits to ensure every email follows brand standards.
- Activity dashboard: The at-a-glance dashboard allows marketers to view recent activity and results from all of their sub-accounts. This increased visibility makes it simple to see which locations are performing well and which ones need more assistance with their email marketing strategy.
With the development and release of Emma HQ to solve unique issues in the industry, Emma has refreshed its brand to match its ever-changing nature. The new branding reflects the support, efficiency and effectiveness of the email marketing solutions it offers to more than 50,000 customers. The rebranding includes a refreshed logo, positioning and revamped website. Emma HQ is available now. Explore the new platform’s features at myemma.com/emma-hq.
Understanding Block Chain in the Supply Chain
GS1 US® is establishing a cross-industry discussion group to help companies better understand the transformative qualities of blockchain in the supply chain, and prepare for blockchain implementations using GS1 Standards. The most widely-used supply chain standards in the world, GS1 Standards provide a foundational data structure and systems interoperability to help drive blockchain success.
The initial meeting will be held November 28-29 in Chicago. Members of GS1 US initiatives in the apparel/general merchandise, foodservice, healthcare and retail grocery industries will join GS1 US experts to discuss how the distributed ledger technology facilitates decentralized, secure, and efficient data exchange. They will navigate how blockchain supports supply chain imperatives, including product traceability and authentication, which can enable product information transparency. The group will also identify process gaps that GS1 Standards and industry can address, align industries on the role of GS1 Standards in blockchain, and develop “Getting Started” guidance.
“With so many diverse use cases being piloted—from improving product recalls to helping companies meet regulatory requirements—industry has determined that blockchain should be examined more closely,” said Siobhan O’Bara, senior vice president of industry engagement and services. “Leveraging the blockchain expertise and guidance that GS1 US has provided over the last year, this group will help determine a path forward that supports the supply chain’s current and future investments in GS1 Standards, and strengthen the progress we’ve already accomplished in the areas of visibility, traceability and transparency.”
After the initial face-to-face meeting, the Discussion Group will meet monthly to continue to exchange information around various use cases, and develop guidance and resources. Members interested in joining the group should possess skill sets in one or more of the following areas: data management, sales/account management, inventory management, master data management, operations, or information technology.
More information about the Discussion Group is available at www.gs1us.org/blockchain-discussion.
honestbee unveiled its latest offering: habitat by honestbee, the world's first tech-integrated multi-sensory grocery and dining destination of its kind. CEO & Founder of honestbee, Joel Sng, terms it as 'NewGen Retail' — innovation in retail technology which inspires more human engagement for a multi-sensory shopping experience.
The global grocery retail market will add US$2.7 trillion in sales to 2022, with growth in the next five years dominated by Asia.1 While Asian grocery sales through e-commerce channels led the 30 percent global growth in the past year,2 90 percent of worldwide retail sales are still done in physical stores.3
At the forefront of innovation in online and offline retail, honestbee is investing on technological know-how to drive convenience, personalisation and multi-sensory experiences by launching the 'NewGen Retail' concept in this new physical space, habitat.
A Fully Integrated Online and Offline Experience
Spanning 60,000 square feet, habitat by honestbee is a full supermarket, speciality fresh grocer, online fulfillment center, retail innovation hub and experiential dining destination all in one thoughtfully designed environment. Over 20,000 Asian and global ingredients and daily essentials can be purchased seamlessly online and offline in one honestbee app.
Powered by honestbee, habitat offers two world firsts: a cashless checkout experience (AutoCheckout) and robotic collection point (RoboCollect). Orders can be processed end to end in under 5 minutes. Smart infrastructure ensures hassle-free, multi-sensory shopping experience with operational productivity.
To enter habitat and avail themselves to all the services, customers have to download the honestbee app. This is linked to the credit card or through beePay, honestbee's very own mobile payments wallet to make secure, cashless transactions.
For purchases of 10 items or less, shoppers can use the "Scan & Go" function on the honestbee app, so they can skip the checkout line and get their items on the spot. For more items, shoppers can drop off their personal trolleys at the convenient AutoCheckout point and habitat will take care of the scanning, packing, payments and delivery.
Shoppers can order from habitat's food and beverage concepts for dine-in, take-away as well as home delivery, while online grocery orders are fulfilled by shopper bees using overhead conveyor belts for greater productivity before driver bees pick them up for one hour time belt deliveries within the day.
A Growth Opportunity for Marketplace and F&B Partners
habitat by honestbee's ecosystem and partnership makes it convenient and less expensive for global entrepreneurs and FMCG/F&B partners to establish or expand their presence online and offline. Without having to commit to technological and operational costs as well as infrastructure and fixtures, marketplace partners can enjoy the integration of online and offline, logistics, cashless payment, customer service and data, allowing them to focus on delivering quality, one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences.
"habitat by honestbee is a beautiful, physical extension of the honestbee brand we all love. With its launch, we now provide tech-enabled convenience, value and quality through food, online and offline. It is a unique combination of a full supermarket, speciality grocer, dining and interactive lifestyle destination. In this thoughtful space, one can expect a multi-sensorial food experience that nourishes, educates and inspires. We designed it so that customers can get their groceries and meals efficiently but also linger and enjoy the experience. " said Pauline Png, VP & Managing Director, habitat by honestbee.
"We are excited to bring this 'NewGen Retail' concept from Singapore to our other eight markets and beyond soon. Guided by our passion for food and technology, we will continue to innovate in O2O solutions to enhance the quality and value of our products and retail experiences. We invite progressive partners and customers to come along with us on this journey!" said Joel Sng, CEO, honestbee.
Pop-Tarts Treats and Tricks
In advance of Halloween, Pop-Tarts® will throw treats and tricks into one bubbling cauldron as it takes over Kellogg's NYC Café. From October 24 -27, the café will exclusively feature new Pop-Tarts recipes designed to surprise unsuspecting taste buds with either a sweet treat or a thrilling flavor trick.
"This Halloween, we celebrated everyone's favorite things about Pop-Tarts – their soft crust, filling and frosting – to create a one-of-a kind menu full of tasty treats," said Joe Beauprez, Senior Manager of Pop-Tarts Marketing. "With recipes so simple fans can re-create the full menu at home, our café takeover shows there is no limit to how you can enjoy your favorite Pop-Tarts."
Recipes for recreating all the scary-good Halloween-themed Pop-Tarts creations from the takeover can be found here. While you can simply try out these sweet treats or purchase boxes of Pop-Tarts at the café, you can also choose to take a risk with spooky flavor tricks:
- Zombie Eye Tart-Pops – Frosted Cherry Pop-Tarts are coated in icing, rolled into balls, and served by a witch; but keep an eye out, one could satisfy your sweet tooth, the other could shock you with a tongue-twisting, sour surprise
- Finger Freezer Milkshakes – Made with delicious Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts, these dripping-red milkshakes are served up by a mad scientist who was a little too hands-on but don't worry any fingers you may find are only sweet candy
- Fang Sandwiches – Made with tasty Frosted Blueberry Pop-Tarts and marshmallows, your friends will 'dye' when a vampire delights you with these "chatterbox" sandwiches that just might turn their mouths a hilarious blue
The bravest guests at the café can sign up to experience extra frights in the Pop-Tarts "Crypt" beneath the café. Those who survive will be rewarded with the sweetest treat of all – a first taste of new Pop-Tarts® Bites before they are on shelves this December. With everything that's great about Pop-Tarts®,including the soft crust, filling and frosting, these bite-sized pieces are perfect for snacking anytime and anywhere – available in two classic flavors, Frosted Strawberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon.
2018 CRAzies Awards
The Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) announced award winners and finalists for the 2018 CRAzies Awards Gala presented by Sysco. The 24th Annual Awards Gala for the CRA has been renamed the CRAzies, which will recognize the exceptional ability and talent of the restaurant community.
The honorees for the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame, Restaurateur of the Year, Vendor of the Year and CRA Friend of the Industry have been selected and each of them will be recognized on Monday, December 3 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The finalists for the other six categories have been selected and public voting is now live at ctrestaurant.org. The vote of the public, the CRA Board of Directors and an additional panel of judges from the industry will help select the overall winners from each category.
The Griswold Inn (Essex) and The Place Restaurant (Guilford) will be inducted into the Connecticut Hospitality Hall of Fame. The 2018 Restaurateur of the Year will be Dorjan Puka and Scott Miller of the DORO Restaurant Group, which owns and operates three West Hartford restaurants (Avert, Treva and Zohara), one Manchester restaurant (Artisanal Burger Company) and a full-service catering company.
The CRA Vendor of the Year is The Chef’s Warehouse, which is a nation-wide specialty food distributor that is based in Ridgefield, Conn. Rounding out the award announcement is the CRA Friend of the Industry, which will recognize State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury), who has served nine terms in Connecticut’s 15th district and has been a vocal leader for the restaurant and small business community in our state.
“We have some of the finest chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants in the country and we look forward to showcasing the best-of-the-best from our industry,” said CRA Executive Director Scott Dolch. “Quoting the late Steve Jobs, I say to the winners and finalists, ‘here’s to the CRAzy ones…the ones who are CRAzy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do!’”
As for the finalists, one of the most coveted awards each year is the CRA’s Chef of the Year. The six finalists for 2018 include Corey Cannon from Bricco Trattoria (Glastonbury), Brian Lewis from The Cottage (Westport), Manuel Romero from Olea (New Haven), Chris Sheehan from Max Downtown (Hartford), Matt Storch from Match (Norwalk) and Luke Venner from Elm (New Haven).
The Server of the Year finalists are Chris Catanesi from Jesup Hall/The Whelk (Westport), Dru Conway from Oyster Club (Mystic), Stephanie Lemire from Sayulita (Glastonbury), Michael McGarrity from On20 (Hartford) and Brian Smith from Millwight’s (Simsbury).
The Bartender of the Year finalists are Kin Hun Khoo from Arethusa al tavolo (Bantam), Dan Rek from Elm City Social (New Haven), MeKayla Roy from Zohara (West Hartford), Christine Short from Zaragoza (New Milford) and Michela Zurstadt from The Essex (Centerbrook, CT).
The Caterer of the Year finalists are Big Green Truck Pizza (New Haven), Craft Bird Food Truck (Hartford), Delicacy Catering (West Hartford), Elizabeth’s Café (Madison), Mercado (Wethersfield) and Pasta Vita (Old Saybrook).
The CRA Restaurant Newcomer award highlights the top restaurants that are less than two years old and the 2018 finalists include Grano Arso (Chester), Oko (Westport), Osa Restaurant (Middletown), Park & Oak Restaurant (West Hartford), Porron & Pina (Hartford) and Swyft (Kent).
The final category is the Restaurant of the Year and new for 2018, the CRA will recognize four different regional winners from throughout the state, as well as an overall winner. The North Region (Hartford & Tolland Counties) finalists are Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ (Windsor), Present Company (Simsbury), Shu Restaurant (West Hartford) and Zohara (West Hartford). The South Region (Middlesex & New Haven Counties) finalists are Bread & Water (Middletown), Bufalina (Guilford), Shell & Bones (New Haven) and Zinc (New Haven). The East Region (New London & Windham Counties) finalists are 85 Main (Putnam), Cafémantic (Willimantic), David Burke Prime (Mashantucket) and Oyster Club (Mystic). The South Region (Fairfield & Litchfield Counties) finalists are Arethusa al tavolo (Bantam), Elm (New Canaan), Kawa Ni (Westport) and The Restaurant at Winvian Farm (Morris).
To submit a ballot, click
TooJay's held its second annual “Too+You” campaign and raised $25,000 for Feeding Florida, a statewide network of Feeding America food banks providing a healthy, adequate and consistent food supply to those in need.
Throughout the month of September, $1 of every cake slice sold was donated to Feeding Florida. Guests also made donations by rounding up their checks throughout the month. Through the buying power of Feeding Florida, $1 provides 11 meals to those in need across the state. TooJay’s donation will fund more than 275,000 meals for food insecure families.
“We are pleased to partner with and support Feeding Florida as a part of our commitment to give back to the local communities where we do business,” said Max Piet, President and CEO of TooJay’s. “Thanks to the efforts of our team members and guests, we surpassed our fundraising goal for this amazing cause.” TooJay’s team members across its 28 locations also got involved by collecting enough canned food to provide an additional 2,500 meals.
“Feeding Florida is grateful to the TooJay’s community for their role in the fight to end hunger in our communities." said Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida. "This donation will allow us to continue to provide a healthy, adequate and consistent food supply to the 3.3 million Floridians facing hunger every day."
Founded in 1981, TooJay’s currently serves guests in Palm Beach and Broward counties, the Treasure Coast, the West Coast of Florida, the Orlando area, The Villages, and Polk County. Three new restaurants are expected to open in Naples, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach during the first half of 2019.
Feeding America announced the national expansion of a pilot program to rescue food, in partnership with manufacturers and their carriers on the road. Each year, 40 percent of food in the United States goes to waste. This program, known as MealConnect Logistics, has already facilitated the donation of more than 580,000 pounds of food to the Feeding America network of food banks in the pilot phase.
After partnering together for nearly four decades addressing hunger, Feeding America and General Mills joined forces last fall to get more meals to families in need. By recognizing there was food to be rescued within the delivery chain, the two organizations developed a smart solution to fight both food waste and hunger.
"This program is the definition of innovation," said Feeding America Chief Supply Chain Officer Blake Thompson. "We're rescuing food in an outside-the-box way and that means more meals on the plates of hungry Americans. Everybody wins."
In piloting the program, General Mills connected Feeding America with their carriers on the road. In complex supply chains, not every delivery to a grocery store, wholesaler or food service provider is flawless. Incorrect quantities or slightly damaged packages can result in a product that is commercially unsalable, but perfectly safe to consume. When a trucker finds oneself on the road with surplus food, his carrier company utilizes MealConnect to find the nearest food bank and quickly reroutes the driver to donate the surplus food.
"We believe that good business means finding every opportunity possible to help communities in our daily processes," said Mary Jane (Melendez) Laird, Executive Director of the General Mills Foundation. "In MealConnect Logistics, we see the perfect opportunity to partner Feeding America's technology with our carriers and find a way to feed more hungry Americans."
MealConnect is a technology platform developed and established by Feeding America in 2014 that prevents perfectly good food from going to waste by directing it to Feeding America food banks in real-time. The program ensures that valuable food ends up with families in need, where it can be best used.
"Each year, we distribute more than 81 million meals to Minnesotans in need," said Rob Zeaske, CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. "This program means that we will be able to serve even more meals and connect more families with healthy, nutritious rescued food."
The program that began with one manufacturer will expand to manufacturers and their carriers, nationwide. Food banks around the country will benefit from the rescued food, immediately.