There was a time when hospitality and a night out was just about the food, or drink, or the company, or the ambience. Not any more! One of the most significant changes the industry has faced comes from behind the scenes and has changed the hospitality landscape. It is pretty safe to say that technology and hospitality have never been more connected, with an array of new developments changing how both customers and operators connect to each other. Customers are DEMANDING a technological experience.
From cloud-based Epos solutions, apps, tablets and smart phones and other gadgets customers are interacting increasingly using technology in particular technology designed to create efficiencies in ordering and service. First, food service outlets swapped the traditional pen and paper with mobile devices, allowing waiting staff to send orders straight through to the kitchen as soon as they were taken. And when that wasn’t efficient enough, some outlets further reduced the role of waiting staff, building ordering systems directly into fixtures or tables. These locations effectively operate in part on a self-service basis, with customers seating themselves, placing their own orders via a tablet or kiosk, connecting directly through to the kitchen with very little involvement from waiting staff.
Recent research has revealed that pioneering technology could encourage millennials to eat out more. More than one-third (34%) of millennials are eating out less than they did a year ago, according to a YouGov study commissioned by technology company Flyt which also revealed three in five (60%) have cut down to save money, while one in eight (14%) are worried about Brexit.
The research adds that “Pivotal” technology solutions could encourage millennials to dine out more and save Britain’s restaurant industry.
London-based Flyt says introducing pivotal tech solutions could be the “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Two-fifths (40%) of those surveyed want to be able to book a table via an app or social media, while almost one-third (32%) want to be able to use their smartphones to receive more accurate wait times for a table. More than one-quarter (26%) want to order food on their own tablet or a device provided by the restaurant. Almost another quarter (24%) would like to see technology introduced at their favourite pub or restaurant that enables them to confirm their order on their smartphone to guarantee it’s correct. More than one in five (22%) would like to see technology that enables direct tipping into a waiter’s bank account and the same amount want to see personalised menus based on dietary requirements.
Almost one in five (18%) want technology that gives them the same amount of ingredient information with delivery companies as they would at a restaurant. Meanwhile, fewer than one-fifth (17%) want to be able to leave detailed feedback easily online, 15% would like technology that helps them discover the source of ingredients in a dish, and 11% want technology to streamline operations so they can eat out quicker. The statistics showed one-fifth (17%) of 18 to 34-year-olds don’t have enough spare time to eat out in restaurants.
Flyt chief executive Tom Weaver said, “Restaurants can no longer look at technology as optional – integrating it in the right way is now critical to attract diners.”
Weaver said he was surprised that millennials’ most desired tech solution was the ability to book a table through a social media platform.
“This tech is already widely available in many restaurants – but perhaps they aren’t publicising it well enough,” he added.
Research published by SMS marketing platform Textlocal, highlights how a third of consumers feel they are addicted to their smartphones, often having them to hand more than 16 hours a day.
Hoteliers can utilise our love affair with smart phones and can streamline guests’ journeys online through the device they are using the most the smart phone – from booking information and reminders, to in-hotel updates and passwords, through to guest satisfaction surveys at the end of their stay and repeat-booking offers, all sent straight to guests’ mobile phones.
Of the consumers surveyed within the report, 85% welcomed appointment or booking reminders via SMS, nearly two thirds (60%) liked receiving discounts and half were open to receiving targeted promotions. 50% of customers were also happy to complete and return online surveys via their mobile phones.
Some businesses have been quick to capitalise on the fact that smartphones have become an intrinsic part of everyday life by using the platform to build relationships and market promotions to customers via their mobile, with 60% of consumers saying they have received offers and two thirds (67%) claiming to have received booking reminders.
The benefit to hoteliers is clear as more than 42% of people who receive a SMS responded when requested – a higher rate than other communication mediums. The report also highlights that more than a third of people (37%) have made a purchase or booking as a direct result of receiving a message from a business.
“The possibilities for hoteliers are endless,” says Jason Palgrave-Jones, Managing Director of Textlocal. “Not only can businesses send welcomed offers, vouchers and booking reminders, but hotels can also engage with guests during and after their stay. Wi-Fi passwords can be sent to guests after check-in; hotel information such as meal times and restaurant availability can keep guests updated and allow those who wish to avoid busy times to do so; and incentives can be sent to past guests to encourage repeat bookings – all managed through their mobile handsets that we know are never far from their sides.”
With customer experience being the number one priority CLH News is delighted to recommend a selection of regular advertisers who have been providing payment systems and providing a wide range of technology solutions whether you are a small single branch business or a multi-site group, which will, as we approach the busiest time of the year reduce queues and improve speed and efficiency of service. Not to mention help you promote yourself to ensure customers make repeat visits.
3R Telecom established in 2001, when three independent retailers joined together has become one of the largest distributor of Prepaid Mobile Top up vouchers and International calling cards. The key, they say, to their ongoing success has been the determination to cherish relationships with customers, developing a friendship rather than a working relationship and working alongside them at each stage providing you with high levels of support and guidance.
Their State-of-the-art EPoS systems are designed to become an essential part of your business. Assembled with detailed reporting functionalities which will help to minimize your cost whilst maximizing profits, they are excellent for both multi-sites and single-site businesses.
Built on over 16 years of experience, 3R EPoS reporting facilities safely stores information regarding your business and can be uniquely tailored to suit your needs. Whether you own a convenience store, restaurant or a bar, the 3R EPoS system can integrate products that are unique to your business. This can include the ability to store new promotions, daily specials as well as adding local dishes to the menu.
3R EPoS systems will contribute to the success of your on-going business as it includes the ability to inform managers when your stock is reaching minimum levels thus allowing you to re-order stock accordingly. Furthermore, 3R EPoS systems will calculate and suggest what should be ordered based on current and archived sales, recent orders and current stock level thus saving time and money.
In order to also boost your sales and gain customer satisfaction, 3R EPoS systems also offer a range of handheld touch screen devices. Such benefits can contribute to your cost savings and enhance your purchasing ability across your business.
Specialist EPOS supplier CCR Systems have been supplying, installing and maintaining Retail and Hospitality EPOS systems for over 34 years, and are a ISO-9001 registered company with a diamond award for customer satisfaction. Our Powersuite software package that includes Total Control Premier/Stock, Instant Loyalty and Drilldown is the ideal package for all types of Hospitality & Retail outlets.
Their hardware is a choice of top of the range touch screen terminals from selected quality manufacturers. The ORDERMAN Restaurant table ordering system is without doubt the best of it’s kind, utilising the latest Oderman 7 hand held terminal and Kitchen Monitors or printers. Have a look at our web site on ‘ccrsystems.co.uk‘ and view the ORDERMAN video.
CCR also cater for the client that needs a low cost system that easily compares with the box shifters.
WACR specialise in touch screens and cash register, tills sales and hire in the Wiltshire South West Area. Headed by John and Martin we have personally handed over thousands of epos and till solutions to satisfied customers over three decades.
We are also able to undertake repairs and servicing for business throughout Avon,Wiltshire,Gloucestershire,Somerset,South Wales,Berkshire,Hampshire and Oxfordshire. We have over 36 years experience of supplying and mantaining EPOS systems and Touch screen systems to pubs, clubs,restaurants and retail scanning.
Our reputation has been built on high quality customer service and product reliability. We offer a very reliable backup service for our customers. We offer a contract and support contract for most makes of cash registers and touch screens.
Cloud-based Silver EPOS gives restaurants competitive edge – even at the festive season.
With the festive season upon us, bars and restaurants across the UK are at their busiest – and many are relying on the innovative Silver cloud-based EPOS system from NFS Technology Group for help.
Streamlining operations to keep costs at a minimum, while maintaining excellent customer service, is more important now than ever. And the pioneering EPOS app is providing restaurateurs and bar owners with the power stay on top.
Silver gives managers a complete online end-to-end view of their business – from wherever they are.
It’s simple to use on an iPad and provides all the features you need to boost sales and improve efficiency, with comprehensive reporting and forecasting capabilities that help you control labour costs and improve stock control.
Its easy-to-use interface means staff are up and running on Silver in hours, and it also provides marketing and loyalty-promoting capabilities.
Silver works for both independent or multi-site operators, and provides immediate ROI because it’s available at an affordable monthly cost including integrated loyalty, email marketing and inventory control – backed by 24/7 support.
A CHATBOT called Feebi is being used to book restaurant tables and answer customers’ queries.
The artificial intelligence (AI) software is in use at Jenkins & Sons, the Penn Hill restaurant run by Urban Guild among others such as Ojo Rojo, Banque & Bohem, Creams in Bournemouth town centre and 2Taps Winebar in Belfast.
Mr Santana said: “It’s always learning. The more restaurants we have, the better the AI becomes. We aim to answer at least 95 per cent of questions. “You want to be talking to your customers in the restaurant while Feebi handles the queries outside the restaurant.”
Users sign up for a free trial and begin by asking a series of questions about their business, its opening hours, menus and policies.
He added: “We built it on a SaaS – software as a service – based model. A restaurant can put in their information within 15 minutes and, for £30 a month after a 30-day free trial, it runs on their social media and website.”
Matt Lawrence, group marketing manager at Urban Guild, said a trial was going well at Jenkins & Sons.
“Customers are able to ask questions like opening hours and menus. They get instant replies and the instant gratification of finding out if we’re open tonight and what’s on the specials menu,” he said.
Microtek UK Limited are a Yorkshire based company specialising in the distribution, supply and service of EPOS equipment. As the UK distributor of Uniwell Point of Sales Microtek support a National dealer network of fully trained and approved Uniwell re-sellers.
Microtek UK Limited employ 17 experienced electronic engineers in our repair centre and our technical laboratory enables repairs to be done on electronic boards at component level. This enables the repair of EPOS equipment at very competitive rates.
Our sister company MSD UK Limited has 25 years of experience in developing and providing back office management software and front end point of sale software. Specialist sales and reporting software enables EPOS and sales management. Full stock control is available for all hospitality outlets via EPOS Office software and Multisite management is encompassed in EPOS Central.
MSD’s front end software MSD Touch gives sales control for restaurants, bars and takeaway outlets.
Both Uniwell and MSD Touch integrate with the some of the best names in the hospitality industry to offer the end user a complete solution including, card payment services and mobile phone payments. On-line ordering, allergy and menu management, hotel bookings and leasing facilities.
So are you utilising technology to keep them coming and keep them loyal? CLH News spoke with Eloise Sheppard, managing director of call systems technology who shares top tips for driving customer loyalty
With new restaurants opening what seems like every other day and more and more shoppers going online, customer loyalty is becoming increasingly important. Eloise Sheppard, Managing Director of Call Systems Technology, has been getting to the heart of what really matters to consumers and offers her top tips on driving customer loyalty in this technological age.
Playing Your Cards Right
The key to getting a loyalty scheme right is by making sure it’s one customers deem worthwhile without compromising profits. Operators should keep away from schemes that give users a percentage discount every time they dine or shop and instead focus on giving customers an incentive to come back. Loyalty cards are an easy place to start but operators need to be careful: many people don’t want a wallet full of plastic and I would advise investing in an online system for customers who want to participate but don’t want the clutter. The reward also needs to be more substantial than earning a free drink or collecting points that don’t ever seem to amount to much. Burger restaurants, for example, could offer diners one free burger for every five that are purchased.
Chances are also high that consumers will pay for side orders and drinks when they return to redeem the offer.
Building Brand Identity
Presence online and within the local community is an important factor in encouraging customer loyalty. This element becomes more difficult for large restaurant and retail chains to achieve because communication channels such as the website and social media accounts are managed by head offices. Businesses should consider microsites for the regions or even for individual outlets, and local social media streams, managed on the ground at each location to notify nearby customers about what matters to them. Independent stores and eateries, including pubs, can more easily ensure they’re active online and encouraging engagement from local customers. Running competitions on social media and advertising events online is a great way to remind people about the business and inspire them to visit again. With so many different store and eatery options available, consumers need these little digital reminders to stay loyal.
Keeping In Touch
Most retailers and restaurants accumulate a substantial database of customer details, including birthdays, shopping and eating preferences, email addresses and phone numbers. As long as customers have opted in for marketing purposes, there’s no reason why restaurant operators and retailers shouldn’t be putting this data to work. Businesses should offer discounts around birthdays and anniversaries, or send a more personalised email now and again, showing relevant new dishes or products. Marketing components of CRM systems are designed to automate this process and make it easier to connect with the customer and encourage repeat visits.