This edition of MRM's News Bites features The James Beard Foundation, Shake Shack, Enlightened Hospitality and Goldbelly, STK, Kitchen United, Cater Nation, Closed Loop, McDonalds and Starbucks, Dinova, HotSchedules, Bringg and DoorDash, 7shifts and Koomi, VizyPay and Chipotle.
Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at email@example.com.
The James Beard Foundation launched Waste Not, a multi-year campaign designed to encourage culinary professionals and home cooks to reduce food waste by thinking differently about food and adopting full-use cooking methods.
The campaign will urge Americans to start with small changes just one day a week — on Waste Not Wednesday. If all Americans eliminated food waste on Waste Not Wednesdays, more than 7.8 million tons of food would be saved each yeari — enough to provide almost 13 billion mealsii to the hungry.
"Waste Not reflects the James Beard Foundation's commitment to create a better food world," said Clare Reichenbach, Chief Executive Officer. "Chefs are a leading voice for change. Every day in restaurant kitchens, chefs demonstrate how a full-use perspective on ingredients results in food that is more flavorful, sustainable, and economically responsible. Through both the Waste Not book and Creating a Full-Use Kitchen curriculum, more than 70 chefs are bringing inspiration as well as creative and practical ideas for chefs and home cooks to have an impact on food waste reduction."
The James Beard Foundation in collaboration with long-standing partners, has created a series of educational tools and events to support the Waste Not campaign, including:
- Waste Not — A new cookbook featuring more than 100 unique recipes by 65 well-known chefs who incorporate commonly discarded ingredients to build layers of flavor. Chefs share their tips and tricks for turning root tops, bones, scraps, seeds, and other ingredients into essential building blocks of good food.
- Creating a Full-Use Kitchen — A free online curriculum for culinary professionals. Created with founding support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and served up by Morton Salt®, with food waste tracking partner LeanPath, the curriculum is designed to train the next generation of chefs and culinary professionals on techniques and creative approaches to food waste that reduce costs, improve nutrition and enhance sustainability.
- Culinary Labs — An experiential learning opportunity for culinary professionals from across the country to increase their understanding of food-systems issues — including food waste reduction — sustainable solutions, and practical application.
- Waste Not Wednesday — A movement to inspire consumers to make simple changes one day a week to reduce food waste. The James Beard Foundation will share tips, recipes, and tools from leading chefs each Wednesday, and has also produced a Public Service Announcementfeaturing Tiffany Derry, a Top Chef fan favorite and host of Hungry Investors.
- Taste America — A ten-city tour that celebrates the country's diverse culinary culture and the important role that chefs play in advocating for a more delicious, sustainable, and equitable food world. This year's program will feature unique dining events and in-store cooking demos at Sur La Table (including some of the delicious recipes in Waste Not). In keeping with the Foundation's commitment to reducing food waste, viable leftover food from the events will be donated to those in need in partnership with Feeding America®.
- Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change — The signature program trains chefs to become advocates for eliminating food waste and adopting more sustainable practices. More than 200 chefs have already been trained through the program and another 50 are expected to participate next year.
- Waste Reduction Practices — Efforts that will reduce food waste by an estimated 30 percent at dining events hosted at the historic James Beard House and around the country.
The environmental and cost implications of food waste are staggering. An estimated 40 percent of all the food produced in the U.S. gets thrown away,iii translating to $1,500 in wasted money each year for every American household.iv
"Even a 15 percent reduction in food waste could save enough food to feed 25 million Americans annually," said chef Tom Colicchio in the forward to the Waste Not cookbook. "Small habits, adopted by many, can tip a culture from indifference and neglect toward a saner, more just future in which we all can share."
Whether you are a home cook or culinary professional, you can experience new flavors and make a difference. Some tips from the Waste Not cookbook include:
- When salad greens start to wilt, sauté them with some olive oil and garlic for a bright side dish.
- Save asparagus bottoms, carrot tops, mushroom stems, and other vegetable parts in freezer bags or containers for use in stocks, soups, and sauces.
- Buy meat, poultry, and fish on the bone. Save the bones for making stocks, or cook larger meat bones and feed them to pets.
- Use leftover rice to make fried rice on days you don't feel like cooking something new, folding in whatever protein and vegetables you have on hand.
- If you find that fruit is getting too soft or old, put it in the freezer to use later in a homemade smoothie, or purée and mix with seltzer for a refreshing homemade soda.
Shake Shack Expands in Asia and Adds Executive Chef
After announcing that flagship locations in Shanghai and Manila will open next year, plans are now underway for Shake Shack, top photo, and partner SPC Group to launch the first Shack in Singapore in 2019.
Shake Shack is partnering with SPC Group, a leading global food company based in South Korea with 30 brands and over 6,000 stores worldwide including seven Shake Shack locations in the greater Seoul area.
“We are executing our strategic plan in Asia with plans to launch in Singapore, Shanghai, and Manila in 2019,” said Michael Kark, Vice President of Global Licensing. “For years we’ve been looking for the right opportunity to enter the Singaporean market given its regional importance, and we’re thrilled to have found the right strategic partner and an ideal launch location. Our flagship site will be in the stunning Jewel Changi Airport, home to more than 2,000 trees, harkening back to Shake Shack’s birthplace in NYC’s Madison Square Park.”
Shake Shack first launched in Asia at Tokyo’s Gaien Park in 2015, and since then has expanded to include 10 Shacks in Japan, 7 in South Korea, and a May 2018 Hong Kong flagship with a second Hong Kong location planned to open at Pacific Place near the end of the year.
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 Singapore 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.
In other news, Shake Shack named Chef John Karangis Executive Chef and Vice President of Culinary Innovation. In this newly created role, Karangis will oversee culinary innovation for Shake Shack, leading the team in dynamic, thoughtful and strategic menu development.
Karangis joins Shake Shack after seven years as Executive Chef for Union Square Events, the Catering and Venue Hospitality business of Union Square Hospitality Group. During his time there, Karangis helmed culinary efforts across all facets of the business – from intimate in-home dining experiences to 1,000 plus plated multi-course dinners, developing new concepts for sports and retail venues (including Papa Rosso at Citi Field and Café at 9/11 Memorial Museum), modernizing in-flight dining experiences with Delta, cultivating chef collaborations and leading teams at numerous New York City establishments including The Conrad Hotel and Tacocina. Karangis spent the early days of his career working in the kitchens of Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern.
Karangis’ expertise in creating compelling menus and dining concepts will be integral as Shake Shack continues to develop new menu items and cultivate its core menu. Karangis joins the team working alongside longtime Culinary Director Mark Rosati who continues to lead global culinary partnerships and develop localized menus with premier chefs and artisanal producers.
“Shake Shack is more committed than ever to growth, evolution and culinary excellence. With the recent addition of our innovation kitchen, we are acutely focused on further developing a thoughtful and exciting menu for our guests. I couldn’t think of a better Chef than John to lead usthere” said Randy Garutti, Shake Shack CEO. “I’ve known John for a long time and his experience and expertise will add tremendous value.”
“I’m thrilled to join the team at Shake Shack, a beloved culinary institution whose food has wonthe hearts of so many around the world” said Chef John Karangis. “I look forward to infusing theexperience I’ve gained over my career to further innovate and enhance what Shake Shack alreadydoes so well.”
As a growing global business with nearly 200 locations worldwide, Shake Shack is focused on culinary excellence and continued innovation. The appointment of Karangis is another step in that commitment. Last month, Shake Shack celebrated the opening of its innovation kitchen in New York City’s West Village. The space serves as the hub of all menu development at Shake Shack.
Karangis will officially join the team on October 29..
Enlightened Hospitality Invests in Goldbelly
Goldbelly raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Enlightened Hospitality Investments (EHI), the fund formed by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. Existing investors Intel Capital, 500 Startups and 645 Ventures have also reinvested, demonstrating confidence in the company's business model and connection with its customers.
Goldbelly will leverage the new funding to meet increased demand and expand its technology and operations teams in its newly opened New York City headquarters. As a part of the transaction, Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and a partner in Enlighted Hospitality Investments, will join the company's advisory board.
Led by founder & CEO Joe Ariel, Goldbelly's team of "food explorers" finds America's most unique, legendary and authentic food experiences and makes them available for national delivery, straight from the source. Their proprietary technology manages e-commerce operations and logistics for 350 of the country's most popular food makers.
"We are thrilled to partner with Danny and the team at Enlightened Hospitality Investments and to join their great portfolio of brands who are unified by shared values of hospitality and a commitment to providing a stronger emotional connection to food," said Ariel. "At Goldbelly, we believe that the country's greatest foods are made by passionate regional food makers and artisans. We've created a platform to empower these iconic local brands to connect with food lovers across the country, and look forward to enabling more people to enjoy these magical food experiences around the country."
"Enlightened Hospitality Investments is passionate about finding category disruptors, particularly when their business and culture leverage technology to provide exceptional hospitality," said Meyer. "Goldbelly does just that, conveniently fulfilling nostalgic cravings for hometown favorites. Joe Arieland his team have created something very special, as evidenced by Goldbelly's devoted following and inspiring culture. We look forward to working together to share the gift of Goldbelly with as many food lovers as possible."
New Beef at STK
This October, STK is rolling out a revamped beef program in all US locations. The new program will focus on transparency and traceable sourcing of the highest quality of beef. Transitioning to exclusive sourcing from Meat by Linz, the Linz Heritage Angus Program is recognized for raising the bar in both the Angus breeding and fine dining communities.
In response to consumers’ increased interest in the lineage of the meat they consume, STK is calling on domestic ranchers to raise its beef on reputable farms located in Iowa and Nebraska. Parent company The One Group Hospitality, Inc. is proud to institute this revamped program and is looking forward to the positively impact for its customers.
“Our steak program is a one-of-a-kind, curated experience courtesy of the Linz-Heritage Certified Black Angus Program located in the heartland of the U.S. Each piece of USDA beef is carefully cared for from conception to plate. Linz Heritage black angus cattle are certified, allowing for consistence and the highest quality marbled beef,” explains Aaron Taylor, Executive Chef of STK.
As part of the new program, STK will now offer unique, curated cuts of steak that are rarely found in restaurants of this scale. These specialty cuts require skill and patience, and are part of the brand’s commitment to offering the finest cuts of meat.
“We are excited to strengthen our partnership with Meats by Linz, a company that prides itself on high standards and strong integrity. The exemplary quality of beef combined with the new unique cuts gives us an opportunity to introduce our US customers to STK in a brand new way,” said Emmanuel “Manny” Hilario, CEO and President of The ONE Group and STK.
In addition to transparent sourcing, the new program diversifies the restaurant’s offering with two new cuts of beef: the Wagyu Flatiron and Cowgirl Ribeye. The Wagyu Flatiron is a tender, flavorful and economic option within the desirable Wagyu category. This addition adds a quality cut of meet at a price point that wasn’t previously offered at STK. The Cowgirl Ribeye is a bone-in, wet aged and finely marbled cut of beef, which utilizes the skillful removal of unnecessary exterior fat to create a noticeably leaner ribeye steak. The removed portion is considered a rare delicacy and will be offered as a special “off the menu” item available in limited quantities.
STK Restaurants are currently located in New York City, South Beach, Orlando, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto, London, Mexico City, Ibiza, Milan and Dubai.
Kitchen United Secures $10M Funding
Kitchen United, a virtual restaurant concept, closed on a $10 million Series A funding round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures). Co-founders Harry Tsao and John Miller (Cali Group) also participated, along with several other investors. Launched in 2017, Kitchen United offers national, regional, and local restaurant chains a value-driven, low-risk opportunity to expand into new markets, grow revenue through off-premise dining, and expand their addressable delivery market. Kitchen United’s state-of-the-art commercial kitchens also provide food entrepreneurs the flexibility and business intelligence needed to enter this rapidly growing market.
Kitchen United will use the funding to power its national growth strategy – the company has plans to open new facilities in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Columbus, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver and New York City by the end of 2019. These funds will also build the company’s real estate, marketing, engineering and operations functions in connection with the existing leadership team, which hails from industry giants like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, SBE Entertainment, Wolfgang Puck and more. As part of the investment, GV General Partner Adam Ghobarah will be joining Kitchen United’s board of directors.
Kitchen United leverages aggregate data to identify the best locations for its “Kitchen Centers,” which are facilities that can house 10-20 restaurants in converted warehouses, as well as big box and light industrial locations. Data on local demographics are overlaid with cuisine-specific demand mapping to determine the best locations for these centers, as well as the best partner fit from its growing list of participating restaurants. Once in the facility, Kitchen United provides its restaurants access to opt-in consumer and operational data to tailor their businesses, meet consumer demand, and realize operational efficiency. Examples of these functions include flagging unpopular menu choices, allowing restaurants to reduce menu size, and tailoring labor size based on demand.
“Kitchen United’s data-driven approach to flexible kitchen spaces unlocks critical value for national, regional, and local restaurant chains looking to expand into new markets,” said Adam Ghobarah, general partner at GV. “The founding team’s experience in scaling – in addition to diverse exposure to national chains, regional brands, regional franchises, and small upstart eateries – puts Kitchen United in a strong position to accelerate food innovation. Delivery networks have created new possibilities for food entrepreneurs, and we see significant investment opportunities in this ecosystem.”
"Consumers are demanding new dining choices at ever increasing levels,” said Jim Collins, CEO of Kitchen United. “Our Kitchen Centers are designed to bring production closer to homes and businesses across the country, empowering local and national businesses alike to reach new markets. We’re thrilled to work with GV as we bring many more of these kitchen spaces to life in the years ahead.”
Cater Nation Celebrates Nine Years with New Website
Cater Nation launched a new website on the same day they are celebrating nine years in business.
"We are very excited to release this new website to our current and future customers. We gathered valuable input from our loyal clients to create an exciting, new web design and implement numerous new features. We are especially excited to have a website that is now 100% mobile-friendly, as statistics have shown that nearly half of our customers are coming to our site via mobile phones or tablets," said Kyle Brown, one of the founders of Cater Nation.
New features and improvements on the catering marketplace website include, among other things: 1) the ability to easily search delivery locations, restaurant names or menu items; 2) a new portal to search and view Cater Nation's catering partners' reviews and 3) new reward options and immediate fulfillment is now offered for most Cater Nation Reward selections.
Cater Nation serves a wide variety of industries and many Fortune 500 companies, providing an easy solution for arranging group meals online or by phone. The company integrates with the SAP Concur Expense platform to automate catering expense reporting. The company offers ordering from over 2,500 restaurants and caterers and partners with some of the top brands in the restaurant industry. The company proudly provides their customers with the highest level of customer service, as demonstrated by the third-party review site Trustpilot, which reports Cater Nation with a TrustScore of 9.8 out of 10 and an "excellent" rating, the highest in the industry.
NextGen Cup Challenge
Closed Loop Partners, in partnership with Founding Partners Starbucks and McDonald's are pleased to announce the official launch of the NextGen Cup Challenge! The Challenge invites students, suppliers, entrepreneurs, designers and businesses to review the Challenge brief and begin crafting submissions.
Top ideas will be eligible to receive a portion of $1 million in funding, along with the opportunity to advance to join a business accelerator program offering further assistance in scaling and commercializing solutions.
This Challenge is a part of NextGen Consortium, a global initiative convened by Closed Loop Partners' Center for the Circular Economy and founding members Starbucks and McDonald's. Other partners include The Coca-Cola Company and Yum! Brands as supporting partners, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as an advisory partner and OpenIDEO as the Consortium's open innovation partner.
Every day, millions of people across Canada and around the world enjoy a hot coffee on the go. In fact, each year, an estimated 250 billion fiber cups are distributed globally. Most of these paper cups are lined with plastic and in most recycling markets these materials aren't easily separated for recovery.
The Challenge is the first phase of a $10M+ multi-year, multi-industry global consortium that aims to advance the design, commercialization, and recovery of cup and food packaging alternatives.
"We envision globally available to-go cups designed with their next life and use in mind," says Kate Daly, Executive Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. "These cups would be made of ethically sourced and sustainable materials. After consumer use, the valuable cup materials would be given new life as other products or added to compost to become agricultural soil."
Learn more here.
Dinova Wins DoD Contract
Dinova, Inc. was awarded the preferred dining program contract for the Department of Defense (DoD). This contract is part of a larger effort by the Department to grow usage of the DoD travel card to increase rebates earned and improve visibility into travel spend.
Dinova’s program, which is focused on connecting diners with business grade restaurants, will launch this fall under the name DoD Dine Smart, and will apply to the DoD’s two million active duty military, reserve and civilian personnel on official travel. Of the DoD’s annual $9 billion official travel spend, TDY (Temporary Duty) travel comprises roughly 70 percent of all department travel vouchers. Whenever personnel on official travel use their government travel charge card to dine at any of the more than 16,000 restaurant locations participating in the Dinova marketplace, the DoD will earn a rebate. Those rebates will be reinvested to extend the DoD’s travel budgets. Additionally, starting in 2019, DoD travelers will be eligible to earn their own dining rewards on those same official travel meals through the myDinova Rewards program.
“When it comes to business travel stress, having a satisfying meal while you’re exploring a new city really goes a long way toward balancing the hassle – we believe this is true no matter who you work for,” said Alison Galik, president of Dinova. “Today, we’re thrilled that the Department of Defense has joined the growing number of employers who are recognizing the impact of dining on traveler satisfaction, and, ultimately, organizational health overall. DoD DineSmart offers this government agency a way to save money while supporting their travelers’ well-being, all of which falls right in line with Dinova’s ‘nourishing connections’ approach to business.”
The DoD manages the national security and military defense for the United States of America, both at home and abroad. With more than three million employees worldwide, the DoD operates in every time zone and in every climate and has a wide range of dining needs.
HotSchedules Launches Two Products
HotSchedules® launched two new offerings – HotSchedules Essentials and HotSchedules Plus. Building and administrating schedules using paper, spreadsheets or other manual methods can take six hours or more a week. HotSchedules Essentials and HotSchedules Plus give managers easy-to-use tools to build better employee schedules in 75 percent less time and provides employees with a central hub to swap and pick-up shifts, message one another and stay connected to their stores on the #1 downloaded scheduling app on iTunes. HotSchedules Plus also includes the company’s Time & Attendance module, helping managers reduce the time it takes to manage payroll.
“Since 1999, HotSchedules has been the gold standard in employee scheduling, communication, forecasting, and labor management,” said David Cantu, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer at HotSchedules. “With HotSchedules Essentials and HotSchedules Plus, we’ve taken the full power of our award-winning labor platform and mobile app and tailored it to the needs of small businesses with the ability to add capabilities as they grow.”
“We use HotSchedules for employee schedules and maintaining time off throughout the business,” said Jae Creech, General Manager at Luv2Play on TrustRadius. “HotSchedules made it very easy to create and post my schedule. My favorite part is being able to see who wants to switch their shifts.”
Another reviewer, Christopher Moran, Director of Food & Beverage at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif. said, “HotSchedules helps keep track of specific availabilities, time-off requests, shift approval and swapping, and messaging. This makes scheduling very easy and provides instant updates to changes.”
Bringg Teams with DoorDash
Bringg is partnering with DoorDash tol enable restaurants that use Bringg with their existing in-house fleet to seamlessly integrate DoorDash Drive-—the white label service that empowers merchants to offer delivery to customers that have placed orders directly with the restaurant-in order to expand the size and reach of their delivery operations as needed. This flexibility provides chains with the ability to quickly scale their operations and easily meet demand during peak times and at specific locations.
In addition, restaurants using DoorDash Drive via Bringg will have real-time visibility into all of their deliveries through the Bringg dashboard. Whether a restaurant chain uses DoorDash, another third-party delivery fleet, an in-house fleet, or any combination of these, they will be able to leverage Bringg's delivery operations solution to centrally control, manage, track and optimize their processes and orders. What's more, restaurants using Bringg's platform will be able to control and extend their brand's customer journey, ensuring the entire delivery process is fully branded in the eyes of customers.
Ben Flammang, VP Business Development at Bringg said: "As customer demand grows, restaurants are looking for new operational technology solutions to broaden their reach and ensure that every order is fulfilled efficiently. That's why I'm so excited about our new partnership with DoorDash. The integration of our platforms will benefit restaurant owners who will be able to reach new clients more efficiently, as well as their customers who will have more options to have their favorite brands delivered to their door faster than ever before."
A.J. Tus, Business Development Lead at DoorDash said: "We're thrilled to partner with Bringg to design effective last-mile logistics solutions for our shared clients. The combination of Bringg's logistics tooling and tracking solutions with DoorDash's national scale and operational expertise will unlock new last-mile opportunities for merchants in the restaurant industry and beyond."
7shifts Integrates with Koomi
7shifts integrated with Koomi to empower quick-service and takeaway restaurants with sales performance insights to make efficient, more profitable labor decisions. The seamless integration combines real-time sales data from Koomi with the scheduling and labor management tools in 7shifts without the need for manual uploads or spreadsheets.
"We are pleased to add Koomi to our growing list of integrated POS partners,” said Jordan Boesch, 7shifts CEO. “Like Koomi, we believe that restaurateurs thrive when they have access to interoperable systems that provide them with the insights they need to reduce costs and increase labor profitability.”
“Koomi and 7Shifts are a great match in giving our quick-service customers the ability to forecast and manage appropriate staff requirements, which is one of the largest problems for quick-service restaurants today’’. Says Kevin Conabree, Koomi’s CEO. ‘’Any scheduling or staff issues can now be optimized so restaurants can focus on serving customers faster than ever.”
Restaurateurs that use 7shifts or Koomi together in their operation can leverage this new integration in order to:
- Forecast future sales with 95 percent accuracy: Using 7shifts proprietary forecasting algorithm, restaurants can accurately forecast their future sales using historical data from their Koomi POS.
- Eliminate over and understaffing: Plot data from your Koomi POS directly in your 7shifts staff schedule to create labor-perfect, optimal schedules that respect your staff’s availability.
- Reduce labor costs by up to three percent of total sales: View your sales data in real-time to check variance and make profitability business decisions that reduce costs and elevate restaurant profitability.
'L' Train Starbucks
The iconic “L” train is the impetus for a sleek new design concept for Starbuck’s that recently debuted inside Chicago’s Block 37 development. The project team, led by O’Kelly Kasprak Architecture and Starbuck’s Corporate, put an original, Chicago inspired spin on the long-awaited Starbuck’s store located in the lower level pedway – the central hub for the city’s daily commuters. With a superstation that connects the Blue and Red lines serving as the cornerstone of the Block 37 development, the architects set out to assimilate the environment.
“The bustling pedestrian walkway between two busy train lines provides the backdrop for this colorful store,” said Starbuck’s Coffee Company Design Manager Doug Stanesa. “Inspiration came from an Art Deco poster of the “L.”
By opening the storefront, the designers have integrated the space into the daily path of commuters. The result is a functional store built for accommodating high-volume, emphasized by designated standing areas and no seating. Design inspiration points include: adaptations of red and blue colors motivated by the Red and Blue transit lines; a green metal bar in front which incorporates the Starbucks brand color; wood paneling, clean lines and metal wall trims representing movement based on the developmental age of the transit system; and early promotional posters advertising the groundbreaking “L” trains.
“It was an honor to work with the Starbucks design team and to bring their design vision to life,” said O’Kelly Kasprak Project Manager Karen Couch. “The success of the project and the design can be attributed to the efficient communication and proficient collaboration between the Starbucks team, Lankford Construction, and O’Kelly Kasprak.”
The biggest design challenge for the architectural team in addition to integrating the storefront with the high traffic pedway zone was the technical negotiation of transit tunnels directly below the space (i.e., the non-ability to drain/run lines below the floor surface). The tunnel running underneath the majority of the store’s footprint required “a lot of ingenuity and team work” between the engineers, the contractor and the architect to ensure that the integrity of the Starbuck’s design was maintained.
“We had to get creative and come up with some unconventional solutions,” said O’Kelly Kasprak Founding Principle Belinda O’Kelly, who thought her team was a great match with the Starbuck’s design team. “The result is something everyone involved with the project is really excited about. A Starbuck’s that is centered on Chicago and located in the heart of Chicago’s downtown commute.”
VizyPay Unveils Discount Program
VizyPay unveiled a Cash Discount Program for merchants to offset merchant service fees without increasing overall prices. The program offers merchants an alternative to credit card processing fees. Historically only available for higher education, gas station and utility providers, cash discount programs can now be used by independent retailers in the automotive, food, bar and spa services industries, among others, with VizyPay’s Cash Discount Program finally offering a solution to their complex credit card processing fees.
The Cash Discount Program instead incentivizes business owners to encourage cash payments in their establishment, giving customers the option to pay a discounted price. When customers pay with cash, or an in-store credit, they’ll eliminate the storewide service charge and save money for both the customer and business owner. Traditionally, merchants have been forced to raise prices to incorporate credit card services fees, which ultimately penalizes the customer. This counteraction also enables merchants to invest in other sectors of their business, like staffing, inventory and more.
“Credit card companies have been the driving force into a cashless society, yet small business owners are the ones left footing the bill on the rising and hidden rates that come with credit card acceptance,” said Austin Mac Nab, Managing Partner at VizyPay. “We want to create a transparent payments ecosystem where merchants not only understand the fees that come with credit card acceptance, but also have the option to avoid them completely.”
Chipotle's Scratch and Sniff
Chipotle Mexican Grill is celebrating 100 million views of its digital Giphy stickers by bringing some of the most popular stickers to life in the form of limited edition scratch and sniff stickers. Available now for purchase on Chipotle.com, the stickers are real-life designs of some of the most-used Chipotle Giphy stickers on Snapchat and Instagram: "Would Rather Be At Chipotle," "Less Talk More Guac," and "Salsa Flame," which feature scents of smoky adobo, roasted cumin, and flaming chili, respectively.
"We've seen tremendous enthusiasm for the Chipotle Giphy stickers since they launched on Snapchat and Instagram, and love that these give people the freedom to express themselves in creative ways on social media," said Tressie Lieberman, vice president, digital marketing and off-premise at Chipotle. "As we continue to push the bounds on digital and social innovations, we're also seeing a demand to bring many of these digital experiences into 'real-life,' which is why we wanted to create these fun, real-life scratch and sniff stickers for our fans."
Chipotle was one of the first major brands to launch stickers on Giphy in June 2018. The company worked with designer and Instagram pro, Pablo Rochat, to create highly engaging designs that were inspired by popular fan conversations found across social media. Chipotle leveraged learnings from the early experimentation to create a Sponsored Sticker Pack on Snapchat. Chipotle continues to experiment with Giphy stickers to promote new products and insider Chipotle tropes, most recently it launched a new sticker, along with the Snapchat Sticker Pack, to celebrate National Guacamole Day and the launch of its large-sized guacamole side.
Chipotle plans to continue to expand its offering of Giphy stickers and its next app update will allow customers to easily send Giphy stickers via SMS.