What does this tell us? For one, it reinforces that your focus as an operator should lie with the trend of creating custom or seamless experiences. Tailoring the experience has been difficult in the digital world (addressing allergies, preferences, dietary restrictions). But this is an investment that companies have to make sooner or later.
Another panelist, Jeff Bradbury of Hughes, noted that using IT to begin addressing labor challenges is interesting. Indeed, with AI solutions coming to market that help automate and forecast labor scheduling (ask Smartbridge about this if it hits a nerve for you too), there is more opportunity for IT to branch out their roles in HR and operations. We’ve seen this with KitchIntel, our solution accelerator that tells cook staff when to cook, turn and waste food. The value of reduced staff training has been seen as a significant benefit of deploying an automation tool such as KitchIntel.
Let’s look back to the top item on that list. The largest percentage of investment is in reducing operating costs. Shocker. As Alan Hickey of Vromo (another panelist) points out, that’s an obvious one. But you have to spend money to reduce costs. And often, people may need to address what is the particular problem you are trying to solve.
One final grabber for us was a callout to systems integration. As a company that has been doing this exact thing for restaurants for 17 years, we’re happy (relieved?) to see it fall from #4 in the challenges list, to #6 with a 10% decrease from 2019. Hospitality Tech says that restaurants feel it “is more achievable”.
So why comb through Hospitality Technology’s report at length? Do you have the time? Maybe a better question to answer is – are you matching the pace of the marketplace? In April, Hospitality Tech will host a webinar regarding the findings in the study, in which our CEO will be one of the panelists. Join us as we explore some of the reasoning behind these results.