3 Ways Hospitality Operators Can Introduce Tech into their Business with Success
Friday 27th April
We will be honest; technology introduction is costly. Often, technology companies shy away from speaking this Truth. However, there is a much greater cost for not implementing it in a way that drives value for the business and there is a greater potential opportunity to deliver real ROI if tech is used in the right way.
For tech to be implemented successfully, there is not only the financial investment of vendor fees, but there is significant commitment by the business needed to see the benefits.
Tech requires preparation of the business. It requires focus. It requires persistence.
It requires bravery to innovate.
For hospitality operators that are used to certainty and controlled operational processes, the idea that a new way of working may have some teething problems can make many senior managers consider technology introduction to be both costly, and risky. This has led to the hospitality industry being slow to realise the gains offered by technology.
But not making the most of the opportunities technology provides is far riskier and could lead to continued inefficiency and decreased competitiveness. Restaurants that ignore technology risk being left behind.
Lots of organisations are getting it right and moving even further ahead, which is testament to the power of technology.
How can the technology community do a better job to help operational leaders prepare for that uncertainty, and most importantly, help their operational teams working on the ground in venues to stick with it?
Flyt works with many hospitality clients, including Mitchells & Butlers, PizzaExpress and Nando’s, to help them integrate technology into their systems quickly and easily. Our years of experience have taught us that making sure things go well technically is only half the battle. Making sure the Operator realises the benefits of the technology is just as, if not more, crucial for success.
There are a number of things that we have seen that can help. Many of them seem simple but require laser focus from the operator who is introducing the Technology.
1) Introduce technology holistically to the whole business. Don’t treat it as a project for one team
Where we’ve seen successful introduction of technology (whether operational or customer facing) Is when the silos and fiefdoms are dropped, and strong alignment across all parts of the
business is established and maintained. Getting operations, marketing, finance and technology teams on board and working together on the introduction of tech makes a significant difference to success. If technology introduction is seen as something only for the IT team, the chance of success is dramatically lower.
2) Measuring performance that is aligned to the business’s goals
It’s tempting to dazzle with supposedly smart new measurement techniques, but the measurement of business performance is not something to be overcomplicated. Measure Cost of acquisition; measure food costs; measure labour cost; measure revenue; measure Margin; measure NPS. Success happens when it is clear what is being measured by the introduction of the technology, and those measurements are relevant across the business.
For example, the introduction of customer facing technology should be measured against things like top line revenue, or increased average spend. These are total business metrics. You may want to measure downloads and lines of data collected, but ask yourself why – how will these metrics tell you anything about the success of technology?. Measure impact and performance so that everyone can understand what it means to them. This requires alignment across the business to agree how to measure, and identify exactly how the introduction of technology is supporting improvements in the business KPIs.
3) Pilot to measure. Pilot to learn
Pilot projects with your vendor aren’t just a tick box exercise. Pilots have great value, and expecting the vendor to do free pilots undermines the process of successful technology introduction. Vendors may not be able to fully support the free pilots because they cannot allocate free resource to it. Customers avoid internal scrutiny as the perception is that it’s not really costing them anything, therefore there is no perceived risk. Pilots need to be considered a proof of value by all parties with the intent to find out exactly how to implement this new way of working to ensure success. Setting clear measurements is essential before starting. The choice of pilot locations is key. This shouldn’t be a lottery, but a carefully considered mix of the estate that helps ensure adequate learning in different scenarios.
Staff in venues during pilots should be incentivised and techniques to help them stay motivated are critical. This investment pays back many times over compared to staff who have another head office initiative foisted upon them with no associated incentive.
We’ve seen this implementation of effective incentives in both PizzaExpress and the City Pub Group when they have introduced technology in their business from the Flyt platform. The learnings in these cases, where staff have high motivation during pilots, were so powerful that they shaped the next stages of estate-wide roll out to increase the chances of success.
Technology so frequently misses the mark in hospitality. Vendors can do better by continually improving the way they build and test software. Operators can do better by ensuring accountability is shared across teams and recognising and embracing the value technology brings to their business as a whole. And most importantly, for teams who work in food service venues, we need to help them not dread the introduction of new technology, but see it as a great opportunity for their venue to be incredibly successful.
We’re excited to announce Flyt as one of our YFood Insight & Innovation Day partners. Flyt’s Chief Revenue Officer Carey Benn will be joined on stage by Pizza Express Customer Solutions Manager Matt Broom during our Startup Brand Case Study to share how they collaborated early in 2016 in order to help Pizza Express integrate the best guest-facing services in their recently launched mobile application. Join us to find out how this relationship developed to deliver one of the leading guest-facing technology experiences in the UK, and the learnings both organisations have for working with technology within hospitality.
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