By : Rebecca Woods
January 16, 2017 08:00 AM
2016 was an interesting one for global hospitality. We’ve seen significant expansion of restaurant chains throughout the world – whether they are global players or more localised chains. In the UK for example, 16 new concepts launched each week in 2016 according to CGA Peach – showing there is a definite appetite for eating out and restaurants are taking advantage of the opportunity.
What’s also been incredibly interesting is the drive from consumers to be able to interact, order and pay at restaurants in an increasing number of remote ways. Enabled by consumer smartphones and the emergence of marketplaces and aggregators, such as Deliveroo and UBER Eats, how hospitality businesses serve their customers and the potential touchpoints they have with the restaurant is ever increasing – and shows no sign of slowing down.
So, here’s our thoughts on the top five trends to look out for in 2017:
Digital transformation is going to continue at pace in 2017, coupled with continuing evolution of different channels for consumers to order food. We’re already seeing online ordering and order ahead increasing in popularity – with restaurants investing heavily in online ordering applications, mobile consumer engagement, and more sophisticated kitchen management systems to manage peaks in orders.
This has mainly been driven by smartphone and tablet devices. However, the app revolution could well go further and allow restaurants to infiltrate living rooms with the rise of smart TVs, Apple TV devices, integrated voice recognition devices, and wearable technologies which are all app-based platforms. There’s no reason why hospitality smartphone / online ordering apps and experiences can’t migrate to these devices, providing more engagement points for guests and continuing to open up a restaurant’s reach and client base.
To drive down costs and improve service times, many marketplaces are starting to introduce new, non-human, ways of delivering goods. In December 2016, Just Eat made the first takeaway delivery in London by robot – making headline news. This could well be the future – it would certainly be cost and environmentally effective in more rural areas or open up faster delivery options. Indeed, Amazon is close to launching Prime Air– delivering goods by Drone.
As home food deliveries significantly increase as consumer habits change, delivery by drone or robot could become more common place particularly across the world’s cities, which are heavily populated by Millennials, the life blood of these growing aggregators.
Potentially not a new trend, but the way we use data is going to continue to evolve in 2017 and play a greater role in marketing initiatives. 2017 is going to see restaurants embrace the artificial intelligence (AI) technology platforms, including machine learning, to leverage and use data more than ever before. Using data for different purposes and in different ways is definitely going to drive marketing initiatives as part of a long-term trend.
We believe that wearable technology has the potential to add a new dimension to the hospitality environment, enabling managers or servers to see information at a glance – such as when orders are ready, real-time inventory updates or to keep up-to-date with when customers have paid via their mobiles (something else we expect to see become more mainstream in 2017).
POS is going to transform in 2017. Point-of-sale is no longer a term that’s fit for purpose. As the channels through which guests can order and purchase continue to grow, the need for these to be under pinned by a sales platform becomes ever more important; providing the central hub through which all orders and transaction are routed.
In looking at moving to a platform-of-sale, restaurateurs need to consider the flexibility of their system and its architecture to ensure that it has the flexibility to adapt and incorporate future, cloud-based developments to easily evolve the technology set and most importantly keep pace with changing consumer behaviour.
Consumer engagement is one of the core pillars of NCR’s Aloha platform moving forward. This is the area where restaurants need to focus on evolving their technology offer to ensure that they are operating on the same playing fields as their customers – but need to be well aware that this is the area where most change is going to happen. Restaurateurs need to be in a position to be able to adapt without huge capital expenditure each time, as a single point solution is unable to easily adapt or integrate. A Platform of Sale, however, enables operators to easily integrate the latest innovations into their existing technology stack, providing a truly seamless guest experience.
To find out more about our Aloha solutions for hospitality visit www.ncr.com/hospitality