Readers of my blog will know how constantly the retail industry is changing, but so too is the hospitality sector – and many of the challenges and opportunities faced by bars, pubs, restaurants and leisure destinations match those of traditional retailers.
Armed with the confidence from helping many retailers around the world ‘go omnichannel’ in order to serve their customers better every day, iVend Retail is making a push into the adjacent hospitality sector – and I couldn’t be more excited.
Fast food, grab and go coffee, and lunchtime snack operators are among the fastest growing businesses across the globe, as consumer desire for convenience dictates a need for handily located and easy-to-use food and beverage venues. At such a critical time for the industry, iVend Retail has established a new technology suite to support organisations operating in the sector.
According to a recent report undertaken by TCI Research on behalf of HOTREC, which represents the hotel, restaurant and café industry at a European level, consumers are looking for hassle-free hospitality experiences. Bearing in mind increasing globalisation and the growing levels of foreign travel, its findings are arguably representative of the world outside Europe too.
The study suggests that millennial guests want unique experiences defined by cool design, digital innovations and rewarding personalised interactions at the locations they visit. They also apparently want restaurants to provide food that provides the authentic local experiences.
Hospitality decision makers evidently have much food for thought as they look to optimise customer attraction and retention – and the flexibility of iVend Hospitality, with its fully-integrated, restaurant management solution and multilingual POS system, can provide the backbone to their refreshed operations.
Technology for Hospitality
The iVend Hospitality POS and hospitality management system is designed to cater for the unique requirements of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and cafés of all sizes. The system can boost guests’ appreciation and loyalty, and reduce order and checkout times, while at the same time creating menu flexibility and decreasing operational costs for the businesses deploying it.
The new POS technology enhances front of house operations, catering for split and partial bills, table management, servers, reservations and orders. But behind the scenes it neatly links to kitchens to ensure speedy and accurate customer order preparation – bringing what can often be a manual process into the digital era and helping modernise hospitality.
In the UK alone, the hospitality sector employs close to three million people and produces £130 billion in economic activity, according to the trade association UKHospitality. Meanwhile, HOTREC says there are 1.8 million businesses making up the sector in the European Union – 99% are small and medium-sized enterprises and, in total, there are 10.2 million jobs within the industry.
It’s a diverse and vibrant space and it’s constantly evolving, but UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls’ recent comments should be heeded. She said in March that hospitality “is not immune to pressures or changing consumer habits and we need to plan for our futures to ensure it remains robust [and] relevant” – and that’s an important point to consider.
For the hospitality industry to continue to thrive, like the retail sector it will need to be laser-focused on
customer experience, its businesses will need to find new efficient processes to run their operations, and it must invest more in technology to cater for what consumers are looking for. iVend Hospitality is here to help on all those fronts.