BLOG: Orderella CEO Dennis Collet explains why the restaurants and bars must adopt cashless payments and other technology to improve service
Technology has fundamentally changed each and every industry and business – what differs is how much an individual sector embraces this change. Businesses need to adopt this mobile evolution in order to move forward and the hospitality industry is no different.
We recently conducted a report into the future of technology in the hospitality industry, alongside the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), asking both consumers and operators their views on the subject.
What became clear is that both operators and consumers believe technology has a major role to play in pushing the industry on, from improving service for customers to attracting them in the first place.
The news that cash transactions were overtaken by other payment methods last year will not be a shock to anyone. Cash has long been on its way down, with digital payments on the increase year on year. More than 60 percent of the operators surveyed from the ALMR revealed they do accept cashless payments, leaving four in ten operators that don’t.
In light of this, one in four people admitted they have left a venue because their preferred method of payment wasn’t available. UK pubs and bar sales alone are valued at £18 billion, meaning UK venue operators are risking £4.32 billion in sales by not having the right technology installed to offer the preferred payments.
Another issue the industry must address is the issue of service itself and how embracing technology can help in this area. Both consumers and operators both know the importance of good service, but the operators are in danger of losing customers if they don’t address certain flaws.
From the outside, it may look like the British love a queue, but operators risk alienating three quarters of their customers if they don’t try and reduce them, as it has been found to have a major impact on their experience.
There are also a number of other areas technology could benefits operators if they are willing to invest in it. Tipping culture is historically more associated with restaurants than pubs and bars but by guaranteeing a quicker service, one in five people (22 percent) said they would tip more for this, while this rose to 42 percent in restaurants.
What these issues have shown is that operators are clearly falling behind in consumers’ perceptions of what they expect. Technology is a part of every aspect of our lives, particularly for the younger generation.
For them, using technology is like a sixth sense and when they visit pubs, bars and restaurants, they don’t expect anything different. Installing the right payment systems, with the ability to pay when and how they want, and improving speed of service must be a priority for operators moving forward.
The good news is that over a third of operators are currently actively installing new technology, with a quarter having identified what they want to install and over a third are currently researching the market. This is an encouraging start, but operators must go further to meet customer’s expectations and identify the areas they are still falling behind in.
Mobile is the future
There are a number of options out there for operators to take advantage of from installing different payment options like contactless to interactive tables where consumers can order from the table they are sitting at. While these options are good, and operators should certainly choose what is right for them, the clear growth in potential is in mobile. T
his avenue offers consumers the flexibility to choose how, where and when orders are placed and paid for, and for operators helps increase consumer loyalty as well as taking away the pain point of dealing with the payment process. Mobile is the present and the future, and operators must look for technology that helps them embrace this and target the customers they already have.
In an ever-increasingly competitive market, operators have to stay ahead or at least keep up with the pack or face being left behind. This is a cut throat industry and owners must be ruthless about which pieces of technology will help them survive.
The key is not just to plough ahead though, with what they think customers will want, but to engage with and ask them as well. If they can do that, then they should be well on their way to reaping the full benefits that technology can bring.
Dennis Collet is the CEO of mobile ordering app Orderella
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