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Support Tourism in Washington – Take Action Today Please contact your legislators today! Funding for Substitute House Bill 1123, which establishes a statewide tourism marketing program, needs to be included in

Industry News

Two tech giants vie for niche at hotels

Amazon.com’s battle with Apple over digital assistants is moving into hotel rooms, where Alexa and Siri are both vying to be the voice-controlled platform of choice for travelers. Marriott International, the world’s biggest lodging company, is testing devices from the two tech giants at its Aloft hotel in Boston’s Seaport district to determine which is best to let guests turn on lights, close drapes, control room temperature and change television channels by voice command. (Arkansas Gazette-Democrat)

Industry News

When restaurant ambitions go south

Expansion is the order of the day in the world of Seattle restaurants. Got a place that works great? (Seattle Times)

Industry News

NRA to Congress: ‘Press go on health act but fix it later’

National Restaurant Association Policy and Government Affairs EVP Cicely Simpson today told Speaker of the House and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan to press forward with the latest take on a federal health care policy, the American Health Care Act or AHCA. Simpson said in the letter that the NRA considers the plan “an important first step towards reforming the employer mandate and lessening the burden that employers have faced in complying with the Affordable Care Act.” (Pizza Marketplace)

Industry News

Starbucks sets new hiring goals, including employing 25,000 veterans by 2025

Starbucks’ annual meeting Wednesday at McCaw Hall — its last with Howard Schultz as CEO — featured quite a few patriotic touches, perhaps a reaction to the furor surrounding Schultz’s decision to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years. The meeting opened with a singing of the national anthem by members of Starbucks’ employee choir, joined by the Seattle Recruiting Battalion Color Guard. (Seattle Times)

Industry News

Hotels Industry Pushes Back Against Airbnb

Regulators and the hotel industry have long criticized Airbnb for enabling what amount to illegal hotels, arguing real-estate developers’ buy thousands of apartments specifically to rent out to Airbnb users. Earlier this month, they doubled down on their claims when a study published said the home-sharing service has turned into a business platform. (Travelmarket Report)

Industry News

NRA leads fight to keep swipe-fee protections in place

There was a time not so long ago when restaurants had a serious aversion to customers swiping their debit cards. That seems almost comical now. Cash might be king but it hasn’t sat on the throne in ages. (FSR)

Industry News

Family and parental leave policies are new front for labor supporters

After last year’s successful efforts passing a minimum-wage and sick- leave initiative statewide, and a scheduling law regulating large retail- and food-service establishments in Seattle, workers’ advocates are now turning their focus to family and parental leave. Efforts to craft a parental- and family-leave law are underway in the state Legislature, while Seattle City Councilmember M. Lorena González plans to introduce Wednesday a proposal for a leave law that would cover all employers within the city. (Seattle Times)

Industry News

Burger-flipping robot has its first day on the job in California

The next time you place an order at a fast food joint, you could see a robot behind the counter. Flippy is an AI-driven kitchen assistant that can flip burgers and place them on buns, and it debuted today at a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena, California. (Engadget)

Industry News

Does the Yakima Valley need more hotels?

YAKIMA, Wash. — With no fewer than six new, planned or expanding hotels in the Yakima Valley, some operators are wondering how they will fare in a market with modest occupancy levels. “There’s a lot of speculative construction,” said Tom Denlea, owner of several Best Western hotels in the Yakima Valley and who is expanding an existing hotel in Zillah instead of building a new one. (Yakima Herald-Republic)

Industry News

How self-serve kiosks can rescue corporate dining — part 1

While self-serve kiosks are already used in numerous restaurants to improve the speed of service and labor efficiency, kiosks are now being used to help revive another sector of the foodservice industry — onsite corporate dining. Employee restaurant services have been the only consistently declining foodservice segment in recent decades, according to figures provided by the National Restaurant Association. (Fast Casual)

Industry News

No-shows take big bite out of restaurants’ profits

Every night at her Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in the Mission, Azhar Hashem plans for 10 percent of the people who have made reservations simply not to show up. Most nights, she’s close to her expectation. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Industry News

NRA president: ‘No other industry is as inclusive as the restaurant industry’

Dawn Sweeney is one of the best-known female leaders in the restaurant industry, but she has helped a variety of other industries as well. Before joining the NRA as president, she was president and CEO of AARP Services and also held leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the International Dairy Foods Association. (Fast Casual)

Industry News

Hotels take a fresh look at communal spaces

From hip lobbies with a coffee shop ambiance to shared living spaces linking guest rooms, more hotels are turning their focus to providing inviting community areas. For corporate travelers, it may mean sending a few emails from a co-working alcove complete with power and USB outlets, while leisure visitors may linger around tables stacked with board games or post photos to social media from the lounging zones. (JLL)

Industry News

Restaurants celebrate March Madness with special offers

As March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, heats up, restaurants hope customers will join them to watch, celebrate and commiserate. Here’s how nine chains are enticing sports fans over the next few weeks. (Nation’s Restaurant News)