How is technology making life easier for the hospitality industry?

Technology can be a huge time and money saver in the hospitality industry, and we are regularly seeing new software, products and innovation popping up. At The Restaurant Show 2020 many of our exhibitors, and some of our stage sessions, will be highlighting the impact technology can have on both your staff and customers. Ahead of the show we’ve been exploring the technology tools that will help drive success.

Managing your consumers

The “Alexa, who’s on Table 7?” – Bringing Voice Tech To The Table session is a talk many hospitality professionals are already looking forward to. In this new dining economy, data is the currency to shape your guests’ experiences and keep them coming back for more. Discover how to harness your data and leverage the power of voice tech for frictionless service in the dining room. Plus, learn how new technology can enable personalised touchpoints to drive exceptional experiences throughout the guest journey. This session is sponsored by Seven Rooms, a hospitality platform that helps operators unlock the full revenue potential of guest data. Combining operations, marketing and guest engagement into one front-of-house solution, the platform helps operators to maximise profits, build brand loyalty and enable personalised guest experiences. You will also be able to learn more about Seven Rooms on stand UT20 in our exhibition.

Managing your payments

Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group revealed the impact that technology can have on managing payments: “In these tough times, hospitality businesses need to make sure they keep their costs to a minimum, reduce waste and improve stock and labour control. EPOS technology helps them to do all of these things while improving their guest experience at the same time.”

Bambora Connect will be at the show to tell visitors more about its Point-of-Sale technology. The mission of this company has been to make payment solutions more mobile so that front of house or bar staff can serve customers quickly and conveniently. Mark Dorling from Bambora told us: “Since, 2015 we have had the SmartPOS generation – but today there is a game changer. An android handheld tablet that runs POS, takes payments, prints receipts and can work with WiFi or Data. This means customers can be served and payment taken more easily and simply than ever before.”  Bambora will be on Stand GN33 and they can supply the tablet terminal, enable a rapid integration to POS solutions in 20 minutes, and get merchants digitally on board for payments in 24 hours. 

Managing your orders

The growing popularity of third-party delivery platforms and online food delivery in general have thoroughly changed the food and hospitality business. While the rise of online ordering players is great news for individually owned and big chain restaurants alike, it does come with a whole range of new challenges for food businesses who are jumping on the delivery bandwagon. Managing your restaurant’s delivery operations can leave your business in disarray, especially when you don’t use the right technology. Imagine you’re on five different third-party platforms, each of which sets you up with their own tablet, ordering and printing system. Soon, you’ll be juggling tablets, trying to handle all incoming online orders, manually re-entering order receipts in your own EPOS system - all this at the same time as trying to manage your bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Automation can really help you to manage your delivery orders more efficiently. And that’s where Deliverect’s technology comes in. Deliverect partners up with both point-of-sale systems and food delivery platforms around the world. This partnership allows a connection between your third-party delivery channels and your existing restaurant EPOS system. It provides seamless integration automatically to push all your online orders from the different delivery platforms to your point-of-sale system.

A session that’s set to draw in the crowds on The Stage is our Tech Trends talk at 12.30pm on Monday 30th September. Matt Broom, head of customer technology from Pizza Express will highlight how Zonal tech can streamline ordering and boost efficiency. Online orders can flood your venue at busy times, putting staff under pressure and potentially leaving customers waiting. Plus, a lack of integration can mean online orders need re-keying into the system. Join us at The Stage to learn more from Matt and the Zonal team on how they have overcome some of these issues.

Managing your staff

When you are responsible for managing staff, this can cause many job frustrations and stresses. From staff shortages to seasonal peaks and troughs as well as last minute bookings meeting customer demand isn’t always easy. Co-founder and CTO David Brandon of RotaCloud told us: “Managers must perform a constant balancing act between scheduling enough staff to provide quality customer service, and not having so many staff around that wage bills eat into profits. Factor in the length of time it takes to actually plan the staff rota, the errors that so commonly occur as a result of miscommunicated schedules, and having to also manage things like sickness, lateness, and annual leave, and it’s little wonder that hospitality managers often feel so overwhelmed. 

Advances in staff scheduling technologies can make handling these situations exponentially easier, however. Cloud-based rota planning platforms allow managers and business owners to plan and tweak staff schedules anytime, anywhere from either a desktop or mobile device. These can then be communicated to relevant team members with a single click, eliminating the need for ringing around, bulk emails, and posting messages to WhatsApp groups — which have a habit of being ‘missed’ by staff. Sickness and annual leave, too, can be managed using this software, with staff holidays shown on the rota as it’s built, cutting down on instances of staff no-shows and the need for managers to re-jig the schedule.”

Managing your operation

Technology should be able to help a business of any size grow without slowing down service. For technology to achieve this, it needs to be fast, easy to use and have a true business purpose. Innovation for innovations sake can be as damaging as not innovating at all, however, there are some suppliers who are developing tools to overcome many industry issues.

For example, Le Verre de Vin technology fits the modern operators’ criteria. It preserves any bottle of wine and champagne for 21 days in under 5 seconds. This allows operators to maximise the profit from each bottle with clever technology removing the issue of the wine spoiling. This prevents waste, with absolutely no need to pour product down the drain.

With increasing pressure to pay staff more and higher rents it is important for those working in hospitality to use technology to increase efficiency while also reducing costs. The customer has never had so many options and information at their disposal, so it is up to you to use the latest technology to improve your service. PREPsafe UK Ltd believes it can assist all restaurant owners, chefs and franchise owners to reduce costs, improve efficiency in the kitchen and ultimately lead to happier staff with fewer errors. Preppy Food Safety Labelling App for Android has been built from the ground up using the fundamentals and experience gained from over 10 years with the original Preppy console.

Whether you operate an independent restaurant or a franchise with 1000s of locations, Preppy App by PREPsafe delivers a simple food safety labelling solution that will fit your needs and requirements.

At the show, Points Covered is launching a freemium menu, ingredient and allergen software platform called “And it has” at  Most restaurant managers typically assemble folders full of ingredient and allergen information to share with allergy suffering customers.  With “And it has” as a tool, businesses can do this more efficiently with the menu software. Customers, using the new smartphone app, can quickly filter the menu to their dietary needs.  “And it has” offers restaurants and their customers an altogether more streamlined and higher quality experience when dealing with the increasing complexity around dietary needs. In addition to using the service for free, restaurants have the chance to buy value-added options. For example, a website ‘menu’ plugin to reduce the cost of maintaining an up-to-date website.  Other options will be revealed at the show including something to help businesses that need to implement ‘Natasha’s Law’.

UK director of sales at Monika, Rag Hulait shared his thoughts on today’s technology: “Mobile technology in particular is making life easier for people in general, and in the context of the kitchen, it can also benefit the operator by reducing paperwork and saving time in managing a food safety system. Monika’s android-based solutions are simple to use and set up and can offer easy compliance with regulations alongside invaluable peace of mind. They can also be used to manage allergens in food served, and record equipment temperatures to avoid the risk of foodborne illness. This can do enormous damage to a business.”

But can technology improve the taste of the food? Synergy Grill’s innovative, patented technology ensures that operators can easily deliver chargrilled food which boasts a more succulent, better quality taste than a standard chargrill can achieve. This is accomplished by Synergy’s unique process, whereby any fat produced during the cooking process is atomised. This process also means there is no cross-flavouring, therefore fish, meat and vegetables can all be cooked at the same time. As the fat atomises, any moisture that comes from the food also turns into steam which gently penetrates back into the food to ensure a perfect texture and taste. Even chicken or well-done steaks, which can be notoriously dry, retain their moisture and flavour, so there is no restriction on what chefs can offer their customers.

Chris Wood, business unit manager at Visual Solutions, Sharp Business Systems UK Plc, who will be on Stand GL50, believes technology must do multiple things in a modern hospitality environment: “Attitudes towards, and expectations of, technology in hotels and restaurants is changing. These must now serve multiple functions to make investment worthwhile and continually demonstrate value to a business. A digital display, for example has many functions in a hospitality setting that can make life easier for employees. In restaurants, AV solutions could help enormously with queue management – something as simple as a ticketing countdown, or a more managed solution with regular updates and announcements, is a practical assistance for keeping customers informed and organised. An interactive digital display can also help with customer retention by increasing brand awareness and aid in telling a company’s story. Placing signage in reception or welcome areas can help promote the business and give customers visibility of brand materials in the front of house to build recognition.”

You will be able to learn more about all these tools of the trade at The Restaurant Show which is taking place from Monday 30th September to Wednesday 2nd October. Use our speaker and exhibitor list to start planning your visit and make sure you register for your free pass.