If you own or run a restaurant, bar or hotel and you’re not already thinking about the next generation technology, you’re already too late.
Believe it or not hospitality is already technology-driven and if you don’t have it, you’re not doing smart business. Whether you like it, or not, technology is moving faster than you can move.The effective use of this technology can either make your business faster, leaner and ultimately, it can help you deliver a guest experience they’ve never had before.
New advances in technology pervade nearly every aspect of our society, and hospitality is certainly no exception. Eating out is already undergoing a digital revolution with 70% of restaurants due to accept mobile phone payments in 2015. We are already surrounded by computerised point of sale, bar management, hotel reservation and front office, energy management, menu scoring, and accounting and inventory systems, along with computer-controlled cooking equipment as friers and digital microwaves.
New technology is here to stay, and it’s high time the hospitality industry moves along with it. To be able to do this efficiently and effectively, however, we need to understand the reasons why difficulties presently exist and how they may ultimately be resolved. So what’s the best way to integrate technology into a restaurant, hotel or bar? I have been looking in detail at the current state of technology in restaurants, bars and hotels and the changes that are on the near horizon. While future scanning (see also super forecasting) is very tricky there are some undeniable trends in innovation, from the internet of things / internet of everything to the way we train staff to be Excellence, always. Here are some key waypoints to start you thinking:
- Just a Beer Light to Guide Us. Websites and social media are the biggest drivers to restaurants, bars and hotels. If they can’t find you fast they go elsewhere. Local footfall needs a great big digital sign: Enter Here. What is your digital strategy to highlight your establishment? What are the next generation location finders that will keep the customers coming?
- Training Gets Smart. Training is a critical issues for hospitality particularly if there are multiple sites. I have seen some attempts at introducing systematic training with eLearning – most of which are clunky and very last generation. Mobile learning is the way ahead. World Manager® is I believe, the first all-in-one corporate communications platform allowing CEO’s to train, track and communicate with every employee in the world, by the minute. Currently it is use in over 22,000 business locations in 51 countries. In 2013, according to BRW, over 25% of the fastest growing companies in Australia are using World Manager®. Companies such as Billabong, G8 Education and Goodyear Dunlop Tyres use World Manager every day and their teams can access World Manager from their Smartphones, Tablets or Desktops, on both Apple and Android operating systems. It effectively delivers online training, face to face recording, policy sign-offs, manages live workshops and tracks national training stats. It has job ready and vetrack integration, tracks and report staff completion of topics and enhances and sustains trainer messages. Cool and very smart.
- Back-end Gets Smarter. Scheduling and inventory management control systems. Technology is needed because restaurants will eventually become a paperless system, eliminating things such as credit cards and payrolls. The use of next generation stock control and the Internet of Things will require more broadband and better software.
- The Age of Accessible Data. As long as the value exchange is enticing enough, consumers are more willing than ever to allow hospitality brands access to their data.
- Fast Free Wireless Access. If there’s no Internet connection, there will be no repeat business. It’s all about bandwidth. Businesses need a bandwidth plan.
- The New eMarketplace. eMarketing, sales, public relations and advertising are some of the key elements that are changing rapidly. However, this approach seems to be insufficient with the introduction of digital marketing trend, to generate leads and improve online customer experience.
- The ES Customer experience. The emphasis should be on delivering excellent customer care throughout the buying process. So simple things like apps letting you know your table is ready eliminate the need for restaurant pagers, which are limited by distance. Digital measures of the emotional signature and metrics helping the design of excellent service. See alsoHospitality Must Change.
- Smart Technology Branding. The immense growth of mobile world (smartphones and tablets) is s quickly surpassing the age of desktop, laptop and personal computers, which enabled hoteliers to create a cohesive brand experience across all the mobile devices taking into consideration content compatibility with limited screen resolutions.
- TMS (Not test match special)…Table Management Systems that track turnover and available seating, help keep tabs on customer flow. From the art of being the Host who gets flow and turnover, to the science and algorithm of management and peak flow.
- Mobile phone payment. Fast food chains are currently the main place where mobile is accepted as payment, with many restaurants still relying on cash or wifi enabled electronic-point-of-sale (EPoS). 68% of restaurants planning to accept the payment next year via Near Field Communication (NFC) . Credit card security is a major issue for hospitality. Customers can pay right at the table without ever losing sight of their credit card.
- Swipe it Now. Tablet-ready menus, as opposed to paper menus, can be updated immediately and in real-time. Customers’ ability to customise or change their orders via apps eliminates the need to chase down waiters or waitresses.
In the hospitality industry, it is important to be vigilant and on the move and aware of the fast change environment and technology out there. There is a need to be agile and continually trying to explore new territory with fast evolution and adoption rates.Innovation with purpose and authenticity. Consider these quotations and compare them to the cost of moving forward with your technology:
- If you make guests unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
- If we don’t take care of our guests, someone else will.
- One Guest, well taken care of, could be more valuable than £ 10,000 worth of advertising.
- There is only one boss. The Guest. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
- A Guest is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependant on us, we are dependent on him.
- There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.
- Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.
- Guests may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
- The purpose of a business is to create a mutually beneficial relationshipbetween itself and those that it serves. When it does that well, it will be around tomorrow to do it some more.
- Guests don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.
- Our greatest asset is the guests! Treat each guest as if they are the only one!
- Treat every guest as if they sign your pay cheque, because they do.
- Guest complaints are the schoolbooks from which we learn.
Finally, here is a simple but powerful rule – always give people more than what they expect to get.