Andrew Gibbon, head of growth at ePOS Hybrid (www.eposhybrid.com), the start-up that’s disrupting the hospitality sector with market leading point of sale and payments technology.
From ever-evolving Government guidelines, to forced closures for months at a time, over the last 12-months the hospitality sector has faced countless obstacles.The pandemic resulted in significant changes across the indus- try, as reducing the level of human contact became essential.
The past year has also led to the digital transformation of the sector being accelerated considerably, with some real shifts in the way many businesses operate. For small businesses particularly, it has proven that it’s crucial to streamline operations for greater efficiency. This can substantially increase revenue – and while it has been challenging, some are set to come out of the other side stronger than before. Not only have we seen the way businesses interact with consumers completely shift, but businesses have been forced to pivot for the better, creating new revenue streams and offering customers a new, streamlined experience.
AUTOMATING OPERATIONS FOR GREATER EFFICIENCY AND INCREASED PROFITABILITY
One of the biggest revenue drivers we’ve seen sweep the sector over the past few months has been hospital- ity businesses offering at-home dining experiences, via the introduction of cook-at-home kits or more traditional takeaway options for customers. Bars and restaurants across the UK have been creating bespoke experiences so that consumers can enjoy their favourite local spot from the comfort of their own home – and the key to running a successful takeaway service is to automate your processes.As with anything in the hospitality sector, timing is everything, with streamlined, efficient processes very much being the key to success.Automating workflows from the point of order to the kitchen, to the delivery driver, will ensure everything runs smoothly, resulting in less stress for your employees and of course an elevated customer experience.
For this very reason we’ve seen multi-functional ePOS systems grow in popularity in recent months, due to the fact they improve workflows, increase the speed of service and minimise the chances of human error. By implementing one single platform, which controls and integrates everything from point-of-sale and online ordering to delivery management and stock control, businesses can gain greater control over how they run their business and interact with their customers.
RESPONDING TO CHANGING GUIDE- LINES AND PIVOTING TO NEW REVENUE STREAMS
As the Government prepared to lockdown the UK due to the pandemic in March 2020, many consumers pivoted further towards the use of delivery services more frequently to order takeaway food and drinks. Data from Statista around this time, uncovered that 60% of 18-24 year olds had already increased the frequency they use delivery services, with 26% confirming they planned to increase their use of delivery services – presenting a great opportunity for hospitality businesses to continue operating via this avenue.With the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats now operating in most parts of the UK too, small businesses are now able to outsource deliveries to third parties, to ensure they can still offer that same great hospitality experience without compromising on cost or quality.
Dark kitchens are also on the rise within the delivery space, which are essentially large-scale commercial kitchens without a restaurant or eatery attached. They’re purely for deliveries and costs to operate come in at around 30% less than traditional premises. In addition to cost savings, other benefits include increased speed and efficiency and better working conditions for employees.
INCREASING EFFICIENCY WITH CONTACTLESS
The pandemic highlighted a real gap in the market when it came to contactless technology, as reducing human contact became a priority across the board. Now customers can order from their phone straight to their table using an app or a QR code, while paying the bill there and then. Not only has this helped to significantly reduce the need for human contact within certain processes, but it enables employees to focus more on creating the best experience possible for consumers. This has been incredibly valuable in recent months and ultimately reduces wait times, streamlines workflow and takes the pressure off employees already trying to navigate countless changes in the way the business operates.
There’s no doubt the hospitality sector has had a challenging time. However, it’s clear the industry is incredibly resilient and, thanks to the advancement of new technologies, which many operators have already started to adopt, we have seen automation significantly improve operations. Not only has this resulted in greater efficiency and improvements to the customer experience, but also increased profitability – which will contribute heavily to the recovery of the industry.