News Feature | February 13, 2017

Restaurant And Hospitality News – February 13, 2017

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Papa John's Clean ingredients

In news this week, Papa John’s hires a new Chief Information and Digital Officer; Andy Pudzer pledges to divest stake in restaurants if confirmed as Labor Secretary; and a new report sees a rosy outlook for hoteliers in 2017.

Papa John’s International Taps Mike Nettles As New Chief Information and Digital Officer

Papa John’s International has announced the selection of Mike Nettles as SVP, Chief Information and Digital Officer (CIDO) for the growing pizza company. Most recently, Nettles served as Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and IT Strategy at Panera Bread Company. While at Panera, Nettles was responsible for driving the IT architecture and processes behind the Panera 2.0 model.  In his new position, Nettles will report to President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie.

“We are excited to welcome Mike Nettles to the Papa John’s team,” stated Ritchie. “Not only is Mike a great cultural fit for our company, but he is also a proven leader in the digital and retail sectors that will help us deliver a better customer experience and elevate our digital platforms.”

According to Business Insider, 55 percent of Papa John's sales are now through digital channels, and of these, 60% are from mobile devices . Ritchie told Business Insider that the company invests $20-25 million a year on new technology, but not on flashy new products. He explained, “It’s always the little things. Somebody is trying to go to the checkout page and there’s a small hurdle we see when we go back and review…little things like the color of a button or the positioning of a button.”

According to The Nation’s Restaurant News, Panera challenged Nettle’s new position with Papa John’s as a violation of a non-compete clause, filing a lawsuit in July that delayed Nettle’s start with the pizza chain. The case was settled and dismissed in December.

Nettles will continue to guide Papa John’s technology and innovation from the perspective of the customer experience, including providing more online payment options at checkout than any of its competitors. Papa John’s also recently was awarded Technomic’s 2017 Chain Restaurant Consumer Choice Award for “Use of Technology Improves the Experience.”

Andy Pudzer Will Divest Stake in Restaurants to Eliminate Potential Conflicts of Interest

CNBC has reported that Labor Secretary nominee Andy Pudzer has agreed to divest his stakes in CKE, worth somewhere between $11 and $55 million, if he is confirmed, according to an ethics submission reviewed by Reuters. Pudzer’s confirmation hearing has been repeatedly delayed as a government ethics office reviewed his plan to divest from CKE, which owns franchised restaurants, including Carls Jr. and Hardees.

According to the LA Times, Pudzer has also pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving CKE as Labor secretary unless he got a waiver or authorization in conjunction with federal law. Puzder also promised to divest his holdings in more than 200 assets, including Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Altria Group Inc., Bank of America Corp and Cisco Systems Inc., within 90 days of his confirmation. He will divest from more illiquid funds within 180 days, but he declined to provide details for some of the funds' underlying assets, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Pudzer’s confirmation hearing is now scheduled for February 16.

Report Finds 2017 Will Be Positive One For Hotel Industry

Profitroom, a technology provider of reservation services for hotels and apartments in Poland, predicts that 2017 will be a prosperous year for the hotel industry in Central Europe, with online sales in the hospitality industry that could exceed 20 percent. The recent report, "Hotel Marketing & Technology Trends 2017," prepared by the company in cooperation with its partner Deloitte, includes 13 trends in the areas of technology, marketing and sales, which will have a direct impact on the functioning of European hotel facilities in 2017. These include: booking hotel rooms via a mobile device, augmented and virtual reality technology, and in-room technology. Hoteliers who leverage the trends mentioned in the report could attract more guests throughout the year.

Profitroom found that in 2016, more than half of all reservations in the tourist industry were made online. In 2017, agents and metasearchers are expected to become the leading suppliers of online booking. In the upcoming year, customers are expected to purchase complementary services and enrich their orders at subsequent stages of the booking process. In 2017, effective upselling could contribute to a 20 percent increase in sales of new products/services offered by a given hotel facility.

The study also found that mobile-friendly websites are crucial; 51 percent of hotel websites were displayed on smartphones and tablets in 2016, which is 5 percent more than in 2015. If a website is not optimized for mobile viewing , 40 percent of consumers will stop browsing and leave the website. Additionally, prospective hotel guests are more trustful of booking their stays via smartphone or tablet.