Why hospitality needs to invest in new technologies to survive – Personal Blog

 


With another UK wide lockdown on the way, and bars and restaurants having to close yet again, when they do reopen it is inevitable that they will come with many restrictions, whether it be a curfew, table only service, or perhaps some other new measures put in place to combat the spread of this deadly virus, these measures are put in place to slow down the spread but they increase staff costs at a time when revenues have significantly dropped, the only way the hospitality industry can survive is by reviewing their operating model and investing in new technologies.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard, and it really is on the ropes right now, unfortunately, staff redundancies will be on the cards unless huge changes are made to how bars, restaurants, and hotels operate, and the only way that this can be avoided, and staff retained, is through the use of technology, and as the old English proverb says, “Necessity is the mother of invention”.

The world is dominated by health concerns and the longer that this goes on, the longer it will stick, what I mean to say here is that a sustained period of worry, and the general need to avoid infection, will stay on for longer than this current pandemic, hygiene levels my drop slightly, but businesses will be looked on for their cleanliness and ability to adapt in-case of another outbreak, whether it be another Coronavirus or something else, hand sanitising I believe will be here to stay, and that’s a good thing.

Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the previous restrictions that have been put in place in the industry and how technology can play its part.

Take-away only service


Before COVID-19 hit, restaurants and bars had been slow at adopting digital ordering technologies, as it was a small percentage of their overall sales, but when the pandemic hit, to stay alive the only option
was to offer this service or face losing the business completely, the businesses that made changes and went digital are the ones that will retain those customers going forward, and for those of us that will order from our homes, the demand is for easy ordering and consistency, these 2 things are super important when building an app, it builds loyalty and trust. Let’s face it, without a digital brand right now, the struggle to continue operating is real.

When we look at the types of food that can be offered for takeaway, most of the items that restaurants will have in their pantry will spoil if left, such as; meats, eggs, and cheese, these can be repurposed for take-aways, but not all foods will work for take-away as they lose heat during transit, to adapt, restaurants have frozen these dishes and offered re-heat meals, this is a great choice for those that had never offered this kind of service before. 

Restaurants and bars are now directly competing with long-standing takeaway service providers that have been digital for some time, to compete, going digital is a must.

Table-only service


After the last lockdown had ended, we saw gradual openings of restaurants and bars, which were allowed to open, but only if they provided table service and increased spacing between tables, initially only those that had outside dining areas were allowed to open. The problem here is that the cost of providing table service is very high, especially for bars that didn’t offer this service before, this directly affects staffing costs as more people have to be deployed and fewer people can be served at a time, to combat this, technology can be introduced to offer ‘at table ordering’ which frees up staff for serving, and if ordering can be made at the table, payment can be made from the same app too, providing quicker turnarounds on tables, opening up more business opportunities.

Advanced booking of tables


OpenTable and others have been around for some time, the ability to book a table at a restaurant in advance is not new, but what the Pandemic has done is added bars and wineries to the list of establishments that have to offer this service as default, as well as including a need for minimising crowds and creating socially distanced seating plans, with restaurants typically servicing fewer people as well as experiencing higher operating costs, these services need to adapt to offer additional functionality or if not, the establishment should look at ways to do this themselves. Monitoring capacity is time-consuming and costly when done manually, investing in technology can provide a much smoother and cost-effective solution that will future-proof the business.

COVID-19 has unquestionably had a huge impact on the hospitality sector, and where technology has been implemented in the past it has been seen as a novelty, but these novelties have now become necessities, without such, businesses cannot operate, with the need to safeguard guests and employees against this deadly virus and the ability to keep operating, without technology it will be an uphill struggle.

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