Smashburger has developed new store formats with a focus on digital accessibility and using technology to make it easy for customers to pick up takeout orders, President Carl Bachmann says. Customers will be able to pick up their orders from secure cubbies that use geofencing connected to the Smashburger app to automatically open when the customer walks in or drives up.
Legendary Restaurant Brands is growing its Bennigan's On The Fly concept, originally created for airports and other nontraditional venues, as a virtual concept served from hotel kitchens. Franchisee Kinseth Hospitality Companies has secured a licensing deal to operate the concept in two Iowa hotels, where the menu is available to hotel guests as well as for takeout and delivery orders.
Velvet Taco has installed drive-thru pickup windows for takeout orders in five of its 22 units, and they've proven so popular during the pandemic that the chain will expand the feature to more locations, CEO Clay Dover said. "In our drive-thru pick-up locations [with] digital pick up, orders are 25% higher than our other restaurants," Dover said.
Marriott International has begun testing vending machines with the potential to replace the breakfast buffets at its Fairfield Inns & Suites locations. The self-serve machines dispense free breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, cereal and fruit, and offer guests the option of purchasing additional items.
Restaurant software company PAR Technology has acquired loyalty and guest engagement firm Punchh in a cash and stock deal valued at $500 million. Part of the funding for the deal came from PAR's sale of $160 million in shares to Act III Holdings, a firm controlled by Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich.
Chef Helene An's Famous Garlic Noodles are finding new fans through NOODS, a digital meal delivery service launched by her family's flagship eatery, Crustacean Beverly Hills. An's granddaughter, Bosilika An, created the digital brand that has generated buzz with its eye-catching packaging and playful marketing.
General Electric is developing sensors that could be embedded in consumer electronics to detect nanoparticles from viruses such as the flu or COVID-19. Researchers say the technology would be comparable to laboratory-grade instruments.
Yamaha Unified Communications has added the RM-TT wired tabletop array microphone as a new option to its ADECIA customizable communications solution. The ADECIA tabletop solution, like the ADECIA Ceiling System, integrates the RM-CR remote conference processor, VXL1-16P Dante/PoE-compatible line array speaker, and Yamaha's SWR2311P-10G PoE network switch.
We're now pretty sure that the Sony Xperia 1 III will launch next week — and a new leak has given us a good look at its standout features. Renders designed by case maker Olixar (via GSMArena) have revealed the next Sony flagship ahead of its rumored April 14 debut. And while the phone isn't the only focus of these images, it appears that many of the Xperia 1 III's rumored features have made it to the final version of the phone.