Digitise your restaurant and save costs

Digitise your restaurant and save costs

Hospitality operators who have not digitised their hospitality business are missing out on opportunities to use artificial intelligence and new technologies to optimise the customer experience; through different functionalities they can provide a better service. However, new technologies for hospitality must be combined with an effective human touch in order to create a pleasant and authentic customer experience.

The importance of digitising hospitality

Due to the health crisis that has hit the world over the past year, many businesses have been negatively impacted, with the hospitality industry being one of the hardest hit.

Fortunately, technology helps to reduce this impact; it can be implemented to improve the profitability of hotels, restaurants and cafes or to position small businesses as a strong competitor to the market leaders.

In addition, digitising your business is the best idea to determine what consumers' expectations are and to successfully meet them, as we have reached a new era, where 50% of people first consult their mobile phone before visiting an establishment. The great thing about this is that these statistics are not constant. More and more users acquire a smartphone and start searching for different services online.

Accordingly, the importance of keeping up to date with the digital advances that can be implemented in the business environment lies in the fact that it is the best way to boost the design of products, improve the relationship with consumers and expand the range of services offered to them.

How to digitise hospitality to improve the customer experience?

1 Payment system

This is not simply about receiving payments in bank transfers, but allowing customers to pay in full for their consumption using modern payment gateways, with money that is not tangible but just as valuable as conventional banknotes. Accepting payment methods such as Bizum, Google Pay, Apple Pay, cryptocurrencies, etc., will give our business a modern feel and make life easier for customers, which will make them come to us more often.

2 Customer applications

What is the reason why companies like UBER are so successful in their sector? The answer is simple: They provided a modern solution to the customers' problem of ordering a taxi by phone. As illogical as it may seem to some, most people would rather order a service by pressing a button on their smartphone than by making a phone call.

The same is true in the hospitality industry. It is easier for customers to order or make a reservation from a mobile app than by making a phone call.

There are different reasons for this, but it is mainly because it is not the same for someone on the other end of the phone to be reading the menu as it is to see the dishes in the gallery of an app. In addition, this way you have the advantage of integrating an electronic payment system, with which you can pay off what is owed also at the touch of a button.

When considering this form of digitisation, it is important not to overlook that the interface for the software must be intuitive, developed by an expert capable of making the user experience pleasant, and of course easy at all times.

3 Use of POS

A hostel is not just any business, so limiting the management system to a generic one is not a good idea when the competition is so strong.

The ideal is to have an electronic point of sale to flexibilise the means of payment and people can choose how to pay their bills, either with debit cards or credit cards.

Being able to receive payments with any type of card is not the only advantage of a POS. This device is ideal because people can make a menu change quickly without bureaucratic issues; it is also the best complement to any cash register, because directly from the screen of this, you can control the banking metrics associated with it in real time. In fact, it is not even necessary to carry out this control from the cash register. The POS banking data can be viewed from any device anywhere with the appropriate credentials.

A POS or point of sale is the solution for foreign customers who refuse to exchange their money for any unstable currency; they can consume services or products using their bank card regardless of whether it comes from a foreign entity.

On top of that, today's points of sale are being designed with state-of-the-art technology: the vast majority contain touch screens and a very intuitive operating system. This means that it is not necessary to have specialised knowledge in administration to operate them, and any employee can handle the payment process for customers.

4 Free Wifi

Despite the fact that it should be a fundamental requirement in customer service establishments, there are still some industries that do not give the proper seriousness to this issue; not knowing that the lack or inefficiency of the network connection is one of the main reasons why customers leave the place quickly.

In fact, many restaurants, hotels and cafés have marked a before and after in their trajectory by offering this service to their customers. Let's remember that the digital age in which we live is not only useful for keeping social networks up to date. Many people have jobs for which they need a network connection to keep up to date even when they are on holiday in another country. Not having it is what leads them to leave the place or simply never consider making a reservation to visit.

However, it is not just about providing access to the signal; it is about maintaining an efficient service and that in case of errors, they are fixed immediately.

5 Software update and optimisation

Digitising the hospitality industry by creating mobile apps is no easy task.

Due to the fact that new developments are a constant in this area, it is necessary to keep this type of software at the forefront, to prevent it from falling far behind the competition and being seen by consumers as obsolete software.

For this task, a specialist must be hired who is able to keep the business application up to date, and therefore functional.

In this regard, the programmer should be given precise instructions: there is no need for a complex application, where customers do not know what to do or how to use it. An application should be designed with a simple interface, in which different functionalities can be integrated on the same platform. It is also essential that it is optimised for mobile use, so that users have a fast experience and do not have to wait hours for their order or reservation to be processed.

6 Dynamic filters

This is something that goes hand in hand with the integration of a mobile application. It consists of integrating a section where potential customers accessing the search tool to request or check services and can filter that search to get more focused results on what they are looking for.

7 Virtual reality

It is perhaps a newer technological system than those mentioned above and stands out mainly because it makes use of AI or Artificial Intelligence.

Virtual reality is nothing as new as many think. This is a creative and effective way to engage customers with services they haven't even tried in reality. How does it work? It's easier than you might think!

This consists of offering the public a virtual taste of the services and facilities that await them, i.e. before they become consumers, people can have a realistic experience of everything they are going to find on site.

8 Chatbots

This is not about investing in robots to replace human staff like in the movies. In reality, this form of digitalisation is basically about implementing a small piece of software in applications or websites to act as a kind of assistant that can help customers by answering frequently asked questions.

Chatbots are very helpful, because they guide people in the same way as a staff member would, but without involving any people in the process. However, they have the disadvantage that they cannot be programmed to work on complicated issues, so their degree of functionality is actually very limited.

How to digitise the hospitality industry to save costs?

Digitalisation is not only an advantage for consumers, but also for businesses in this industry. By incorporating advanced technology, cost savings in human labour can be made and employee management can be carried out at a faster pace.

  • For example, by implementing chatbots, there is no need to waste useful manpower on online service, as the virtual assistant will take care of the process, unless it is a complicated issue.
  • Technology can also be applied to improve the quality of installations and to save costs in paying for services. One way to do this is to incorporate smart light bulbs, air conditioners or other types of appliances that turn on or off according to activity in the room.
  • Time and labour can be saved by emailing the bill and attaching a payment link for customers to click on to pay.
  • Service rates are updated on a scheduled basis from time to time, with no need for anything other than monitoring.
  • The organisation of bookings, occupied seats and the like is done automatically, with minimal risk of errors, which improves the quality of service and helps to avoid losing customers due to organisational mismanagement on the part of staff.
  • By attaching a security system with retina or fingerprint scanning, the level of security is improved and the chances of the business being subject to theft or material loss are reduced.

Is digitalisation the solution to transform the hospitality industry?

It is no secret that digital transformation in all aspects has changed the way we used to do things and as customers increasingly demand better services, adopting innovations at a faster pace is what will help us meet their expectations.

When the hospitality industry simplifies and automates the customer experience (from the process of finding a place, to the way of booking, to the means of payment), consumers will experience a more seamless process.

For this reason, hotels and restaurants are under pressure to adopt new technologies to digitise their facilities without losing personalised service along the way. Following this route will lead to loyalty, which means that customers will be willing to come back again to enjoy the service.

You can take a look at our website Bliscop if you are looking for a POS Software for your hospitality business!