The hospitality industry has found itself at the sharp end of labour shortages, price rises and supply chain challenges. But there are five good reasons to feel positive about the months head.
Despite tough trading conditions, hospitality leaders are increasingly optimistic about the future, according to new research. One recent poll found that 68% of multi-site leaders are feeling confident about their business’s prospects. Most were operating at a profit too.
This is great news for an industry badly in need of a boost. But how is it possible to sustain a positive outlook if more challenges arrive? Here are five reasons to keep feeling optimistic:
#1: Costs are rising but new tools empower youSome price rises are outside your control, but next-generation restaurant tech tools let you protect your margins and claw back valuable savings across your business. Here are some great examples:
- If some ingredients have increased in price, the latest tech immediately shows you the impact across your menu — and a revised margin for each dish. You may then want to tweak recipes, drop less popular dishes that have become unprofitable, or raise prices in a careful way.
- With the latest intuitive handheld tech, stock checks are quick and easy to carry out, so you can always stay on top of your inventory. As a result, you only order what’s needed and less stock is wasted.
- In a few clicks, you can also compare suppliers and their prices across your venues, consolidate contracts and negotiate better, based on higher volumes.
- Sales forecasts, powered by artificial intelligence, can help you to get order volumes correct — and also guide your managers so they create staff schedules that are optimised for demand each day.
#2: You can now do more with a smaller teamAttracting and retaining staff remains a major challenge for restaurants — and the wider hospitality industry — with nearly one in ten jobs unfilled. However, with the latest tech, it’s possible for up to 80% of daily routines to be automated and become self-driving. Here are some examples:
- System-generated prep plans, based on accurate AI predictions for each day
- Automated supplier ordering when the system recognises that stock is low
- Far less paperwork, with Profit & Loss reports created at the click of a button
- Effortless staff communication via each person’s login, so everyone feels part of the team and kept in the loop with memos and system-tracked incentives
- Auto-generated reminders and alerts to keep everyone on point
#3: Many customers will pay extra for a better dining experienceWhat irks customers most is an obvious increase in prices — but the service quality is unchanged or has got worse. However, plenty of surveys in the wider marketplace show that people are willing to increase their spend if things tilt the other way.
One survey published in Forbes found that 52% were happy to pay more for a better customer experience. In hospitality, the research findings were even more remarkable: 31% of customers will pay up to 10% more — and 10% of customers are willing to spend over 30% more for better service and an improved experience.
One ‘quick win’ in this area is Smart Table Service where your waiting staff take orders at the table using a handheld device. Not only does it help them to record orders accurately and get prompts to promote special offers, it means they can send orders to the kitchen in a click. This gives chefs valuable extra minutes to get dishes ready on time.
The best restaurant tech will also track the production of each dish, so front-of-house staff don’t need to chase the kitchen. They can check the production status on-screen. And if some orders are slipping behind, the system escalates them automatically — alerting the kitchen, so chefs can shift their priorities.
Smart Table Service tech is useful at the end of the meal too. Staff can use their devices to take secure payments as soon as customers are ready to leave. There’s no hunting down a payment handset or queuing at the till, so customers don’t sit and wait in frustration.
Overall, Smart Table Service can mean a better all-round customer experience. Without needing to constantly return to terminals or check on the kitchen, our research has found that waiting staff have 20% more time to focus on guests.
#4: The delivery market keeps on growingAfter surging during the pandemic, delivered food has become ‘habitual to consumers’, according to research. For some restaurants that deliver already, this is an opportunity to double down on their strengths, for others this is the moment to test the water. The top priorities should be to:
- Find a flexible tech platform that can support whichever model you choose — or switch between. You may decide to: Go all-in with the top delivery platforms; take the orders via apps and your website and handle your own deliveries; or manage your own dark kitchen.
- Rely on restaurant tech that brings all your orders into the same tracking pipeline as you use for your restaurant, with no re-keying required. This is essential for staying in control at peak moments.
- Watch costs like a hawk. Avoid middleware fees and other costs that can eat into your profit. But also use tools that show you the margin of every dish, so you can fine-tune your delivery menu prices — and hit that balance of making a profit while staying competitive in this growing space.
#5: Managers and owners get real-time insightsBecause next-generation tech operates in real-time, you can check Profit & Loss, plus a host of other key performance indicators on your laptop or mobile, 24/7. These could be yesterday’s sales, today’s inventory levels, or next month’s revenue forecast.
This is essential for business agility. But the detail will also show you what’s going wrong — so you can intervene swiftly with guidance, training or discipline. It will also reveal what’s working well and worth extra focus, whether it’s a new dish your trialling, an emerging star performer in your team, or the sales target achieved by one of your shifts over the weekend.
With accurate numbers at your fingertips, there’s less chance of being blind-sided by a sudden cash-flow emergency, or feeling frozen when it comes to making big business decisions. You can see patterns and trends for your business and take all the steps you can to strengthen resilience and efficiency, so you’re able to adapt to whatever challenges or opportunities come next.