Taco Bell uses AI to serve personalized app experience | TGI Fridays looks to tech to drive up customer counts | Panda Express welcomes Lunar New Year with AR filters
January 21, 2020
Restaurant Technology SmartBrief
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On the Front Burner
Taco Bell uses AI to serve personalized app experience
Taco Bell is tapping the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide its registered app users with relevant menu items, promotions and content based on their individual preferences, order history and location. "Taco Bell is all about satisfying our fans with the most craveable dining experience imaginable," said Derrick Chan, director of e-commerce.
Mobile Marketing Magazine (1/14),  Restaurant Dive (1/14) 
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The Connected Restaurant
TGI Fridays looks to tech to drive up customer counts
TGI Fridays is betting big on customer-facing tech and a new version of its loyalty program to drive traffic and repeat visits, CEO Ray Blanchette said. The restaurant chain will invest $3 million in new technology in 2020, bringing the total spend over the past few years to $33 million, he said.
Nation's Restaurant News (free registration) (1/13) 
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Panda Express welcomes Lunar New Year with AR filters
Panda Express welcomes Lunar New Year with AR filters
(PRNewsfoto/Panda Express)
Panda Express has unveiled augmented reality filters, "Celebration of Good Fortune," on Instagram and Facebook to ring in the Lunar New Year. The five AR filters feature cultural traditions relating to the holiday, such as red envelope surprises and lion masks, and the brand is also running a sweepstakes with a grand prize trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2021 to celebrate the holiday.
Adweek (tiered subscription model) (1/17),  Mobile Marketer (1/16) 
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Tech Talk
Blockchain is promising, but may not be right for all restaurants
Foodservice operators who want to improving supply chain transparency and traceability have their eye on blockchain, but implementing the technology on a wide scale requires buy-in all along the supply chain, experts say. "[T]here needs to be willingness from all the partners to play the game, to collaborate," said Riccardo Accolla, director of digital food science for food supply chain platform Ripe.io.
Restaurant Business online (1/15) 
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Cybersecurity Update
A strategy for limiting insider cyberattacks
About a third of data breaches are inside jobs, often by disgruntled employees or identity thieves, writes digital consultant Michael Klazema. Companies can reduce their vulnerability by conducting more thorough background checks of potential employees, including multijurisdictional database checks and national security watchlist checks, and by establishing "zero trust" policies requiring frequent identity verification.
BetaNews (1/14) 
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Edible Innovation
Fungi fuel a new wave of meat alternatives
Two companies are introducing fungi-based meat alternatives this year, as they've found fungi provide a superior texture, taste and carbon footprint compared to plant-based alternatives, writes Sam Danley. Prime Roots is developing fungi-based seafood, beef, chicken and sausage while Emergy Foods' new Meati brand will introduce a steak alternative in Colorado restaurants.
Food Business News (free registration) (1/16) 
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Ala. eatery experiments with indoor farm
Alabama restaurant company Vintage Hospitality has begun growing lettuce in a 320-square-foot shipping container from Freight Farms. Owner Jud Blount and executive chef Eric Rivera hope the indoor growing facility will be the solution to the problem of getting fresh salad greens year-round.
WSFA-TV (Montgomery, Ala.) (1/16) 
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News from the National Restaurant Association
These Top 10 restaurant trends are what’s hot in 2020
Wondering what customers are craving at restaurants this year? From stress-busting foods to special burger blends to rejiggered classic cocktails, this year's list highlights a combination of comfort mixed with a little bit of edginess. Dig in for the results.
7 easy ways to promote your restaurant’s healthy kids’ meals
Our new What’s Hot menu trends report finds parents really do want healthier choices for kids when dining out. Here’s how to market them. Get the tips.
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Tradition is the albatross around the neck of progress.
Bill Veeck,
professional baseball club executive, owner, promoter
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