For as long as you can remember you’ve been down at your local pub on a Friday night, being there so often, in fact, you’ve outlasted 4 landlords, 27 bar staff and 6 menu changes. You’re almost part of the furniture, checking emails and browsing the internet via their super-fast Wi-Fi. In fact, you’ve been going since before they even had Wi-Fi.
But after being recommended a new, trendier, more hipster bar down the road, you’ve found a new watering hole. And now you get offer emails, notifications flashing up from your old local as if they were a past love telling you how good the old times were and how the future with them could be even better. And it always seems like they come through just as you walk past your old stomping ground. Are they stalking you? Not really. Just cleverly using Wi-Fi enabled marketing, trying to tempt you back, with a wink and a smile and a very appealing 2 for 1 offer on gin & tonics.
Technology in hospitality has accelerated in the last 15 years and almost all areas of the business, front of house to back, are benefiting from hospitality specific hardware and software solutions to help businesses run more effectively. We’ve created a round up for you here of how technology can make your business smoother than your old-fashioneds.
Finance software for hotels can’t be off-the-shelf accounting software – it must be able to manage challenges unique to hotel accounting and provide specialised solutions. Challenges include managing variable room rates as they change due to OTA sales activity, managing events such as theme nights and weddings, and staffing on payroll.
Some of the best and most popular ones are below, each offering with them unique advantages depending on the size of your business.
• Sage Intact – good for growing hotel enterprises
• Quick Books – ideal for smaller, boutique hotels
• Cloudbeds – perfect if you’re a small to medium sized hotel group
• M3 Accounting – the option for larger hotel groups
FRONT OF HOUSE
With the customer experience so important for hospitality businesses it’s essential to manage front of house staff effectively. Whether it be optimising staff productivity, improving guest efficiency or managing reservations and point of sale, there are software providers built to help businesses get the most out of their teams.
• Aloha – an all-encompassing solution, it’s been designed primarily for bars and restaurants and is great for managing multiple sites in one place.
• Square for Restaurants – purpose-built for restaurants, it allows users to concentrate on providing the best experience for guests.
• Deputy – simple and easy to use from any device, Deputy businesses can manage staff schedules, generate accurate time sheets and offers communication tools specifically for shift swapping.
• Open Table – one of the most popular systems out there, Open Table’s reservation management platform aids users in handling wait lists, table bookings, guests’ visit history and their accounts.
• Opera – a property management system, which delivers a central database for room inventory, making reservation management easier via workflows, as well as the ability to handle loyalty memberships.
Wetherspoons is a well-known for using new technology to enhance the way they work. The experience of ordering and paying for food via their app and having it brought to your table is extraordinary seamless and hassle free.
By overhaling it’s back of house with instant ordering and advanced kitchen management systems, it increased the quality of its food to be fresher and hotter. Now, more and more kitchens are looking at similar ways of improving their back of house operations with various software options.
QSR Automation ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK) is one of the platforms at the front of the queue, ideal for multi-site restaurant operations and able to relieve workload on hectic kitchens with a more simplified food preparation process. Chefs can view orders on overhead screens and manage workload on the fly by considering prep times so everything is ready at the same time.
Zonal Retail Data Systems Kitchen iQ is another well adopted automation system focused on improving speed and accuracy throughout the entire food delivery process. It’s been designed to integrate both front of house and back of house tasks effortlessly, presenting key information to relevant areas of the kitchen and keeping appropriate members of teams up to date with alert times.
The Vuze system from Call System Technology (CST) allows speedy service operators to be even quicker by using radio wave technology to track where customers are seated with a tag they are given when ordering.
FOOD SAFETY AND COMPLIANCE
Whilst technological advancement has increased the hunger to do everything efficiently and quickly, compliance still needs time and care to make sure it’s not missed. Unless you’re not bothered about impressing the health inspector or entering a legal battle.
At OpsBase we have developed task management software that overcomes challenges and smooths operations to help bring teams closer together and improve customers’ experience. And there’s nothing else quite like it. Whether it’s managing daily tasks, reporting maintenance issues or making sure you are critical food safety compliant, we will help your business run as it should and without much bother.
We are still relatively early in the adoption of such technology in hospitality but as service providers evolve and businesses look at creating in-house platforms, places are only going to become smarter and more efficient at delivering a better experience to their customers.
One of the ways they are becoming smarter is in the kitchen with digital thermometers, used to monitor fridge temperatures. And within OpsBase you can create routine, time-sensitive tasks, which are checked off and monitored to make sure your kitchen remains compliant.
One of the most time-consuming tasks in hospitality is creating the rota. Making sure all your peak times are covered, people are doing their contracted hours and that it’s fair are all things managers take into consideration. Then there’s the need to communicate it out, relying on people seeing it on a staff notice board.
Luckily for many businesses, in many industries, software has been developed to help tackle all those issues.
Planday – not only does it allow businesses to communicate with employees via smart phone apps and email, it also features reporting functions which is great for overtime monitoring, cost tracking and attendance management.
Deputy – featuring again in one of our lists, their accessible app allows users to communicate news and tasks too whilst the ability to export timesheets direct to payroll platforms is also popular.
Homebase – this offers many of the same features as the others, but does so for free, so if you’re a single site it’s perfect.
Fourth – one of the industry’s big hitters for managing workforce, Fourth offer a fully-integrated system featuring scheduling and labour management.
Knowing your existing customers is the most effective way of generating new and repeat business and, in a world of Wi-fi codes and customer logins, that has become easier than ever before.
Wireless Social is one of the most popular systems available and operates incredibly easily. It works when customers login to an establishment’s Wi-Fi and, with a personalised log on page, it means you can start gathering data. That data is then ready and waiting for you when you action your next targeted marketing campaign. To get the most from the data, the system features detailed reporting functions providing you with all the information you could need at your fingertips.
Once you have collected enough data you can start tailoring it to different audiences. Imagine a campaign you send to people on their birthday offering 20% off room rates as a gift or marking the anniversary of their first visit. Or, as we mentioned at the beginning, noticing one of your regulars is no longer quite that regular and enticing them back with a special offer.
Loyalty can be bought, and businesses have been quick to capitalise by creating systems and loyalty schemes to achieve that. From Booking.com, which rewards returning bookers with complimentary upgrades and specials offers, to Design My Night who allow members to build up loyalty points and personalise their booking experience, the industry knows the importance of rewarding loyalty.
Whether it’s utilising technology to bring new and returning customers through the door and increase footfall or using back office task management platforms to make sure those fridge temperatures are correct, there are countless solutions allowing your team to focus on providing superb service.
Daily task management, issue resolution and team communications, all from one platform.
OpsBase software is designed for busy restaurants bars, hotels and retailers. Manage your day-to-day operations on the move, report any issues with the click of a button, and communicate with your whole team, across multiple sites, all from one easy to set-up, simple to use app.