News Briefs


Panera Bread Brewing Fresh Coffee With AI-Powered Metrics

Starbucks store

Panera Bread is looking to change the coffee game by diving deeper into analytics, leveraging CookRight Coffee — powered by Miso Robotics — to monitor coffee metrics such as volume, temperature, and time data. 

Panera is one of the first brands to leverage the technology, and can combine its coffee data with predictive analytics to create the “perfect cup of coffee,” along with a more efficient experience for staff. 

The system is designed to improve the coffee monitoring process and eliminate the need to manually check coffee urns, keeping coffee hot and fresh and alerting Panera associates when it’s time to brew a new batch. 

The technology will help support Panera’s unlimited coffee subscription, the Unlimited Sip Club, which launched in 2020 and allows subscribers to drink unlimited tea and coffee for $8.99/month. 

“Panera has a long history of tech innovation in service of meeting the needs of our guests and associates when they walk through our doors each day,” said George Hanson, SVP and chief digital officer of Panera. “CookRight Coffee is a game changer when it comes to convenience and operational efficiency, and we are extremely excited to take our coffee station into the future with Miso Robotics.”

Mike Bell, CEO of Miso Robotics, said it shares Panera’s vision to revamp the coffee monitoring process and is looking to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving restaurant industry.  


Wakefern Leveraging Computer Vision to Increase Inventory Visibility

Robot shopping in grocery store

Wakefern Food Corp. has launched a pilot that will implement autonomous “Tally” robots across its store aisles to collect shelf data, improving visibility into in-stock inventory, location, and sales floor pricing. 

The robots, powered by Simbe, will navigate the aisles up to three times per day, and do not require any infrastructure changes to the store environment to operate. They will run during normal business hours, designed to work alongside shoppers. They are equipped with sensors that allow them to navigate safely and quietly across the store, while gathering insights that will reportedly free up store associate’s time.

[LISTEN: Tech Transformation Podcast: Wakefern’s Cheryl Williams On What’s Next in Grocery Tech and Robots]

“Wakefern Food Corp. is committed to providing our customers best-in-class grocery shopping experiences,” said Charles J. McWeeney, VP of technology, innovation, and strategy at Wakefern Food Corp. “Tally’s technology is another tool to help our store operations and staff while creating new opportunities to maximize customer satisfaction.”

Brad Bogolea, co-founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics said the retail industry is currently facing a “unique and unprecedented set of challenges,” emphasizing that today’s companies must thoughtfully adopt tech that will address those challenges while continuing to provide exceptional customer service.


Walmart Health Expands Into Florida


Walmart is opening five new Walmart Health centers across North and Central Florida.

The openings mark Walmart Health’s expansion into Florida, beginning with the new Jacksonville location at 7075 Collins Rd., situated adjacent to the Collins Road Supercenter. At least four additional locations in Florida will open in the Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa areas.

“Two years after the launch of Walmart Health, we continue evolving and growing to make health care even more accessible to the communities we serve,” said Dr. David Carmouche, senior vice president of Omnichannel Care Offerings at Walmart. “With only one primary care doctor per 1,380 Florida residents, these Walmart Health centers will help address the demand for care in three major cities in the Sunshine State, delivering quality health care at the right time in the right setting, right next to where many Floridians get their groceries. We are part of these communities, and we are excited to bring more options for in-person and telehealth care services to our neighbors.”

Situated adjacent to Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Health centers provide a range of services, including primary care, labs, X-ray and EKG, behavioral health and counseling, dental, optical, hearing and more. Onsite Walmart Care Hosts and Community Health Workers will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits.

Announced in 2021, all Walmart Health locations in Florida will be the first centers to utilize Epic health technology. Epic is the most widely used and comprehensive health records system in the U.S., used by more than 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics, including most U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools.

Through this single, unified system, Walmart Health will engage patients, health care professionals, insurance carriers and other stakeholders while enhancing communication, personalization and information sharing amongst health care professionals and patients utilizing a patient portal.

Walmart Health is operated by qualified medical professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, behavioral health providers and optometrists. Walmart Care Hosts and Community Health Workers onsite will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits. Patients can make an appointment, input insurance information and confirm eligibility at

The Walmart Health centers will offer care seven days a week with weekend and evening hours, as well as telehealth options on Sundays.


The locations and opening dates are scheduled for:

  • April 5, 2022: 7075 Collins Road (Jacksonville)
  • April 7, 2022: 1586 Branan Field Road (Middleburg)
  • April 12, 2022: 904 B Cypress Parkway (Poinciana/Kissimmee)
  • April 14, 2022: 3647 South Orlando Drive (Sanford)
  • June 7, 2022: 28516 State Road 54 (Wesley Chapel)

RIS Parent EnsembleIQ Investing in Membership and Subscriptions With New Hire: Craig Lowe

Craig Lowe Headshot

RIS parent companyEnsembleIQ has tapped previous Wall Street Journal employee Craig Lowe for its newly created position: senior vice president of membership and subscriptions. Lowe will be responsible for the overall strategy and delivery of new enterprise membership and subscriptions initiatives across the company’s grocery, drug, convenience, retail technology, and consumer goods channels. 

Lowe brings vast international membership and subscription expertise from across both the business to business information services marketplace and consumer media. He created paid subscriptions and membership programs, transformed a conferences business, and led controlled circulation and news trade sales and marketing initiatives. 

He was most recently vice president, global audience marketing at Dow Jones, where he was responsible for delivering audiences for the Wall Street Journal’s global events business, and developing membership growth strategies for all WSJ Professional membership propositions. Earlier in his career, Lowe was with BMI Research, Espicom Business Intelligence, Saga Publishing Ltd, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, and Centaur Media Plc. 

“Today we have two high-value membership products — Path to Purchase Institute and Restaurant Technology Network. By bringing Craig into EnsembleIQ, our goal is to create new, innovative membership and subscription experiences that leverage our actionable intelligence and connections across key retail channels,” said Jennifer Litterick, CEO of EnsembleIQ. “Craig will provide strategic leadership to ensure that we are tailoring our solutions to fulfill the needs of our business decision maker audiences and new constituencies seeking to grow their businesses.” 

EnsembleIQ is a North American business intelligence company delivering insightful information and actionable connections throughout the entire path to purchase in retail, retail technology, consumer goods, healthcare, and hospitality. To learn more about EnsembleIQ, visit


The Vitamin Shoppe Is Expanding Its Assortment and Drop Shipping Capabilities


Beginning this month, The Vitamin Shoppe consumers will have an expanded online shopping experience, able to view new product categories such as exercise equipment and accessories. 

The company has tapped cloud-based digital commerce platform Logicbroker to enable additional digital merchandising capabilities and provide real-time inventory visibility and reliable shipping. 

Sharon Leite, CEO of The Vitamin Shoppe, said the company’s goal is to “continually provide new products and services that meet customer needs.”

“Logicbroker's innovative technology will help expand our drop ship offering with limitless possibilities to discover the partners and products that help our customers become their best selves, however they define it,” she added. “We are confident that Logicbroker understands our drop ship and merchandising needs, providing the best platform to deliver on our objectives."

Through the partnership, said Logicbroker founder and CEO Peyman Zamani, his company can help promote wellness for diverse communities everywhere. 


enVista Looking to Increase Enterprise Interoperability with New Mobile Fulfillment App

Dashboard showing tech performance

Global software solution company enVista has launched a mobile fulfillment app, enStore. The solution integrates omnichannel order fulfillment, enterprise inventory available to promise (ATP), and mobile point of sale (mPOS) capabilities. 

According to the company, omnichannel retail organizations looking for visibility, interoperability, and agility across their customer and associate functions would benefit from the technology.

enStore includes onboarding, training modules, and in-app assistance, as well as built-in gamification features to “incentivize, engage, and reward associates around picking, packing and selling.”

The platform can run on Apple iOS, Windows or Android devices. enStore is pre-integrated and built on a common data model with enVista’s OMS and Point of Sale solutions; however, it can be used with any order management system or POS. 

enVista’s CEO Jim Barnes said the technology can extend the ideal consumer experience at any point in the store and simplify training for associates across the store network.