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Voice-activated hotel rooms and robot butlers: How technology is revolutionising our holidays

This month, the Marriott hotel chain launched its rather futuristic-sounding “M-Beta” concept – a “beta hotel” that adapts its products and services according to constant customer feedback in real time, given via touchpads placed throughout the building. The hotel, in Charlotte, North Carolina, might sound like the starting point for a Black Mirror episode, but it’s just one example of how the travel industry is scrambling to revolutionise the hotel experience using smart tech. (The Independent)

Industry News

Chefs combat food waste by taking a second look at leftovers

The concept of zero-waste continues to gain traction in kitchens across the country, and chefs are exploring the possibilities that leftovers bring to the table for both menu offerings and a restaurant’s bottom line. “It’s important to stop thinking about things as waste, and [instead] see leftovers as other kinds of ingredients,” said Karen Leibowitz, co-founder of The Perennial in San Francisco, which hosted a Waste Not, Want Not dinner this year. (FSR)

Industry News

Google Just Made It Super Easy to Order Food Delivery

The biggest tech companies in the world are making strides to ensure you never leave their apps again — even if you need to order lunch. Just last week, Facebook announced it was integrating food delivery in its app, allowing users to order delivery without actually logging out of Facebook. (Eater)

Industry News

Chicken McNugget Sales Went Up After McDonald’s Removed Artificial Ingredients

Spurred by the continued popularity of all-day breakfast and antibiotic-free chicken nuggets, McDonald’s has beaten earnings expectations in the third quarter of fiscal year 2016. In an earnings call with analysts Friday, McDonald’s chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook touted the restaurant’s profitability, but said the fast food giant was continuing to evolve the experience “to provide more high-quality, affordable food and beverage options and convenient solutions for customers on the go.” (Eater)

Industry News

Why Chinese investors are buying U.S. hotels, including $6.5 billion for a Hilton stake

Worried about a slowdown in their economy, Chinese investors are stepping up their spending on U.S. hotel properties with China’s HNA Group announcing Monday that it is buying a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. HNA, the giant Chinese hotel and tourism company, plans to buy Hilton shares from affiliates of the investment firm Blackstone Group in a deal worth about $6.5 billion. (Los Angeles Times)

Industry News

Olive Garden expands online check-in nationwide

Olive Garden has taken its web check-in nationwide, trying to end customer frustration over arriving at restaurants only to find long waits. By the end of the week, the Orlando-based Italian-style restaurant chain says customers at all of its 843 locations in the United States will be able to go online and put names on wait lists. (Orlando Sentinel)

Industry News

5 employers that lead the way in hiring people with disabilities

You don’t have to be a hospitality giant to attract a diverse workforce. A brew pub chain, a pie shop and two cafes and Sodexho recently were honored for their efforts to employ people with disabilities. (National Restaurant Association)

Industry News

Pork belly pops up on menus nationwide

Pork belly is a hot menu item at fine dining restaurants and food trucks alike, and the indulgent ingredient has doubled its presence on menus since 2012. Part of the rise in popularity is due to a seven-year seasonal low in prices for the cut, and dishes featuring pork belly sell for an average of $14.17 compared to $9.56 for bacon items, according to Technomic. (Bloomberg)

Food Safety Full Service Government Affairs Quick Service Uncategorized

Seattle & King Co. Health Dept. Needs Your Input

The Washington Hospitality Association and Seattle Restaurant Alliance’s government affairs team recently participated in the quarterly Seattle & King County Health Department Restaurant Grading Taskforce meeting. Since 2014, stakeholders (including

Industry News

Subway sandwiches Snapchat between in-store activations, charity for viral goals

Sandwich chain Subway is leveraging the still-going-strong pull of Snapchat filters in support of an in-store special, it hopes will go viral, intertwined with charity. Subway is partnering with nonprofit organization Feeding America to donate meals to the one in eight Americans who are going hungry, while using a variety of mobile platforms including a Snapchat filter to raise awareness. (Mobile Marketer)

Industry News

I-1433: Is initiative best way to hike pay?

SEATTLE — Ariana Davis, who sponsored a measure on the fall ballot to raise Washington’s minimum wage, doesn’t expect a raise if it passes. She makes $20 an hour at a Safeway grocery store in Renton. (The Columbian)

Industry News

Blazing a new trail for the hospitality industry

Hospitality is a living, vital, needed part of our cultural fabric more than ever and it now has an association to support it. After announcing a joint operating agreement one year ago, the Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association merged to become the Washington Hospitality Association. (Vancouver Business Journal)

Industry News

NY enacts restrictions on Airbnb, with fines of up to $7,500

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York state enacted one of the nation’s toughest restrictions on Airbnb on Friday with a new law authorizing fines of up to $7,500 for many short-term rentals. The measure signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present. (Fox News)

Industry News

The grocery-restaurant price gap is worse than you think

The restaurant-grocery inflation gap, widened again in September as my colleague Jon Springer wrote Tuesday. Over the past year, restaurant prices have increased 2.4 percent, according to federal data. Grocery prices have fallen 2.2 percent. (Nation’s Restaurant News)

Industry News

Red Robin expects 3Q same-store sales to fall 3.6%

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. expects same-store sales to decrease 3.6 percent in the third quarter ended Oct. 2, the company said Thursday in a preliminary earnings release. Red Robin expects a loss of $3 million in the quarter, or 23 cents per share. But, when adjusted to exclude costs related to the closure of restaurants, it expects a profit of $5.1 million, or 38 cents per share. (Nation’s Restaurant News)