What Benefits Does a Digital Future Hold for F&B?
What impact will a digital future have on your F&B business?
Technology holds with it the promise of improvement and advancement. Indeed, the very landscape of the F&B industry is rapidly changing as more and more companies take the plunge and go digital. We're seeing large conglomerates like Domino's, Starbucks and Panera reinvigorate their sales and value through digitization. With other big players like Chipotle also seeing success as a result of going digital, it's time that smaller businesses begin reaping the benefits of the F&B industry's digital revolution.
Below, we'll go over a few benefits of going digital:
Do More and Offer More
The latest tech always aims to provide the greatest functionality in the smallest package. Take, for example, modern iPad POS systems, they allow businesses to do everything from viewing table statuses to managing queues to taking orders. Tech like this ensures you need to invest minimally, while still achieving more than you could with outdated or manual methods. Of course, there's plenty of variety and ways to digitize your business. mPOS devices help your staff with mobility, Self-Service Kiosks ensure that customers can place orders themselves, kitchen management systems give your chefs an edge, queueing solutions ensure that your customers wait less and integrating with apps is a sure-fire way to reach a larger audience.
Reduce Staff costs
Even today, many companies hire staff to complete simple and mundane tasks that can easily be handled by modern technology. Digitizing your business will give you the freedom to hire fewer staff, or to use your existing staff to complete much more meaningful and beneficial jobs. An easy way to reduce staff is by digitizing your queue management systems, so customers don't need to interact with staff until they have a table ready. Self-Service Kiosks completely mitigate the need for staff to take orders and even eMenus can help reduce the need for staff as each menu item can be accompanied by pricing, descriptions and pictures. Customers can even directly place their orders through certain eMenus and apps. The benefit of reducing the number of staff is twofold. Firstly, it saves a business money almost immediately and secondly, it reduces the impact of human errors.
Data and Inventory Tracking
Nowadays, any business that seeks to grow rapidly needs to have data on their side. Data comes in many forms, but can be most easily compiled if your F&B business is digitized. For example, should you run a modern POS system, you will be able to keep track of your most popular items, your biggest food costs, your most hardworking staff and your most loyal customers. Such a wealth of data can be pulled up at any time in the form of easy-to-digest reports. While having reports of your business' overall performance will not increase efficiency, it's what you do with those reports and how you adapt that can make all the difference. If you find that an item is simply not selling, you can cut it. If you find that customers respond very well to a new item, promote it. Discerning customer trends is vital to owning a successful F&B business. In addition, ensuring your inventory is always tracked ensures your business is always operating at maximum efficiency with minimal wastage.
Engage with Customers
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) ties in with the point made above. The customer is the lifeblood of any F&B business and ensuring you engage with them will boost repeat sales and popularity. One of the best ways to engage with customers is to offer membership programs. Incentivizing customers to spend more for rewards creates a meaningful relationship between patrons and businesses that leads to customer loyalty. In addition, accruing important data about members and customers can help you serve them more personally so that they feel more welcome at your business. It's clear that digitizing your business gives you all the tools to ensure that you and your customers can communicate in a way that was impossible in the past.
There's nothing worse than feeing like your business is growing obsolete. This is where new technology, especially in the F&B industry, is so special. POS systems are built to continually offer better functionality in the form of updates. Since POS systems, like iPad POSs, are essentially downloaded as pieces of software, the software can literally improve itself within a few seconds through an update. This renders legacy POS systems and more manual forms of business rather redundant. In addition to updates, many modern F&B tech items offer integrations. Integrations help add additional functionality to a piece of tech. For example, a POS could include integration with payment systems from around the world so that no matter where your business is, local bank cards and smart cards can be supported.