How software solutions can be used to stimulate growth within hospitality

With everything becoming more digital focused thanks to technological developments, organisations are taking advantage of software solutions and other systems which streamline operations. Many operators within the hospitality sector, however, are still trying to do everything themselves when they could use technology programmes as a solution.

From an integrated kitchen management system and menu engineering, to customer loyalty and online payment tools, right through to staff training and providing an enhanced employee experience, introducing software will reduce the need for manual tasks and give hospitality operators freedom to do more.

A recent survey conducted by The Access Group in conjunction with The Caterer, shines light on the hospitality industry and attitudes towards business in 2019. Read on to find out how you can use technology, tools and apps as a solution to reduce admin time, streamline operations and allow more time to devote more resources to other areas.


Reduce admin time

More than 25% of hospitality operations spend a combined total of circa one day a week on administration. This nature of work hinders an employee’s ability to focus on customer facing activities, leaving less time to pay attention to guest experience, training staff, engaging front of house staff and driving customer loyalty.

Digital systems automate time-consuming admin tasks, such as timesheets, manual file sharing or expenses; allowing key personnel to concentrate on more important tasks and functions. Certain software solution systems also strip out old paper-based processes, allowing growing companies to expand without investing in additional administrative staff.


Drive customer loyalty and increase guest experience

33% of respondents have plans to implement customer loyalty apps in the next year, in an attempt to boost customer service. By implementing a system which allows you to identify purchasing patterns and customer habits, you’ll have more visibility into how you can attract new customers and retain current ones.

Providing your employees with a handheld tablet with an integrated system that allows them to immediately send orders to the kitchen will decrease waiting times and increase table turn. This will increase weekly revenue and in turn, enhance profitability. The survey also revealed that, whilst improving overall profitability was the number one priority for the next 12 months for more than half of the respondents (62%), guest and employee experience also rated highly.

A third of hospitality operations are planning to adopt technology which will aid improved data reporting. Integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) system with an ERP will help to highlight sales trends and realise customer’s needs and concerns; making areas of improvement apparent.


Employee satisfaction and staff training

Employee satisfaction and staff training Cloud-based workforce management solutions for restaurants, bars and other hospitality outlets enables the ability to effortlessly manage team members in real-time as well as on the go. What’s more, providing your employees with access to essential information they need, as well as the ability to request and amend records, is a valuable perk that makes a huge difference to productivity. Whether it’s recording absences, swap shifts, view payslips or updating data, online systems that easily allow employees to do this are a credit to efficiency amongst your team.

There are also systems out there which allow for staff training and development. This streamlines HR activities and is time efficient as it allows managers to keep track of (as well as keep safe, confidential, and in one place), personal development needs for every employee, in addition to gaining a holistic view of all training activity across the organisation.


Kitchen management and menu engineering

Almost a third of respondents said that they are looking to improve customer service by introducing technology as part of their menu engineering programme. As part of enhancing their menu, including increased attention on providing allergen and calorie information will be incorporated.

Satisfied customers are the key to any successful business; if wait times are long or popular menu items are constantly unavailable, you run the risk of damaging relationships with your customers. The good news is that there are solutions available that allow tracking of orders to payments, which can be integrated with your inventory management systems.

By incorporating relevant systems, hospitality organisations are able to improve overall profitability by freeing up employee’s time, allowing them to devote more time to tasks and roles that will increase productivity.

The responsibility for increasing productivity should lie with managers and business owners, not the employees so by ensuring they have efficient (and relevant) systems in place is advantageous. The technology which is currently available is giving the hospitality sector a much-needed boost in today’s digital age.

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Katy Hamilton is Head of Marketing, Access Hospitality division, part of the Access Group. With 20 years’ experience working within the technology space, Katy now works in the hospitality sector to help operators reduce time spent on administration, improve profitability and ultimately deliver better guest experiences.

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