A recent debate is raising the question of how fit the hospitality industry is for technology tools. Still more user-friendly and extremely smart systems are popping up every day, ready to make the life of a busy hospitality owner and manager much easier. But is the industry ready to discard old habits and take on new systems?
A TechCrunch article is claiming that software solutions and restaurants don’t necessarily go hand in hand – and that the adoption of new online and mobile solutions has completely bypassed the industry. And with good reason.
“[…] restaurant people are not necessarily technology people. In general, they have a passion for hospitality, and enjoy serving people great food. When you show up to pitch your tech idea to a restaurateur while she is preparing for dinner service, you might lose a finger,” says Bryan Menell in The Greasy Underpan Of Restaurant Tech.
In response, User-Interface Engineer and product owner, John Serrao, is fronting the debate in his article Restaurant Tech Restocked For Tomorrow And Beyond. Specialised in technical consulting for the food and health industries, John doesn’t necessarily think that the hospitality industry is not fit for technology – they just need more information.
Many still believe that tech tools are complicated, unsafe and difficult to manage which are myths that do need to be dispelled as the industry is falling behind others – such as the retail sector which is way ahead. But what is available for retailers are also available for restaurateurs and would revolutionise the way they operate.
Smart point of sales systems on the rise
A lot is happening with point of sales systems and the market is no longer dominated by only a few operators. Today, hospitality owners and managers have a large range of POS products to choose from – the problem is that they have very little knowledge of what the systems have to offer.
“For all the talk of the Aloha and MICROS point of sale (POS) systems dominating in restaurants, a bevy of newcomers have been making inroads. Square, with its slick reader and now retail POS terminal, carries the most gravitas among the mobile POS companies for good reason.
Adil Consulting, a merchant POS consultancy, found 52% of small merchants now use a mobile POS for the majority of their payment processing, a huge change from even a couple of years prior.
Mobile POS upstarts are also eyeing the market leaders with more sophisticated products. POS startup Revel (which recently raised a $100 million Series C round) and ShopKeep aim at the heart of Aloha and MICROS by combining deep business analytics with mobile-based front-of-the-house systems,” John adds.
Revolutionary supplier overview
New and upcoming supplier companies are going against the old-fashioned long supply chain, making it easy for caterers, restaurateurs and kitchen managers to find ingredients from producers and distributors. Often, restaurants work with several different suppliers – covering both foods and drinks – resulting in a lot of paperwork and complicated payment terms. But these new companies want to change that game, making these processes a lot less manual.
John Serrao: “Another innovative startup, Sourcery, allows chefs to manage disparate food suppliers from a central dashboard, streamlining payments and invoicing. […] Restaurants bring their purveyor network into Sourcery’s orbit and they weave their technology across each restaurant’s web of suppliers.
The result of reducing friction for food sourcing may ripple through the supply chain. It encourages more restaurants to source widely […].“
One tool is missing…
One tech solution that John Serrao is not pointing out is workforce management systems – another revolutionary tech tool which frees up a lot of time for hospitality owners and managers.
When we are out researching the hospitality market, we are often met by an increased interest in adopting a smart, modern workforce management tool. However, at the same time, we are faced with the same worries as John is mentioning – many still believe that “Technology is way too expensive,” “We would need an IT guy to support us” and “We don’t have the time to get started.”
It’s a shame that these concerns are keeping businesses from growing. As stated previously, innovative companies are making it possible for restaurateurs to keep up with the retailers – which is great, because why should only they get the benefits?
Our customers report 75% saved administration time, 5% saved on payroll and a significant increase in staff satisfaction. Which manager wouldn’t want that?
So, is the industry ready?
It does seem like the retail sector is moving fast ahead and that the hospitality industry is falling behind when talking about implementing modern tech tools. However, that doesn’t mean that they are not fit or skilled enough to handle them.
In fact, we believe that most hospitality operators will adopt a modern workforce management solution within the next five years. We just need to get passed those hurdles by keep improving the systems and by sharing information. And we’re working on that.