Apps And The Hospitality Industry

May 10, 2013

In the UK and particularly the UK Hospitality Industry we are very slow to adopt technology in business.

WHY!

Wherever we go now we see our potential customers using their phone, tablet or laptop to conduct their business and personal life. Recent statistics tell us that mobile web traffic rose by 403% in first 9 months of 2012, 87% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone and mobile broadband subscriptions have grown annually by 45% since 2007. Our customers are all spending more time on their smart phones doing mobile banking, shopping and socialising. People are looking for and demanding easy accessibility.

The retail industry are all encouraging us to click and collect so lets join in and reap the benefits that an app can give our businesses, such as:

  • Reducing wastage
  • Improved advanced knowledge on sales
  • Opportunity to promote other areas of business
  • Growing a database
  • Target marketing for offers
  • Happy customers
  • Income through complementary advertising
  • Knowledge of customers spending patterns

Businesses in the hospitality industry that are utilising app technology are seeing significant benefits, for instance Dominoes are seeing sales of over £1m per year via mobile and with suggestive selling are seeing average spend increases of 18%.

The App can link with social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google+ and Four Square to further promote your business.

Unlike most Apps the App system I work with allows access to the control panel for its users. This access enables menus to be updated, features can be added or removed, offers and daily deals can be promoted all whenever the business wishes to do so. It is also allows direct access to the database so it can be utilised for marketing purposes and exclusive offers together with providing information on your customers buying patterns. This App system is also totally bespoke and uniquely branded to your business. We also work and listen to all our clients to constantly develop the App for the benefit of all.

This app is appropriate for use across all aspects of the hospitality industry  from ordering your lunch at work, booking and pre-ordering in a restaurant or pub, pre-ordering food and drink for an event, ordering room service in a hotel and also for take-aways on the high street.

Imagine being a football supporter and from your seat or before you arrive at the stadium being able to order your half time food and drink. Then either have it delivered to your seat or collect from a central point

  •  No Queuing
  •  Hassle Free
  • Increase Spends
  • Invaluable Customer Information
  • Target Marketing
  • Create a loyalty scheme without the need for customers to carry around a loyalty card
  • Reduction in cash handling with in App secure payment
  • All monies go direct to your account

The same benefits apply if you operate a staff catering facility and you make your menu available on their smartphones 24/7. It allows them to create their sandwich from your deli options at a time to suit them and then at lunchtime avoid the queuing, imagine how they will feel able to do more with their lunchtime. Also if you are in the pub and restaurant sector allowing your customers to view the menu on their smartphone, even pre-order and if desired pre-pay the benefits are enormous to you. We are also a very favorable option over the bigger app operators if you operate a take away as we ensure the money goes direct to your account and set up and order rates are very competitive.

With all of this why do you not allow your customers to carry your venue and menus around in their pocket all day. Your standard website is not optimised for viewing on the small screen of a mobile phone or tablet but your Web 2.0 site will look great on a small screen and means that you are accessible to anyone with mobile internet. People will be able to view your menu, book a table and order food in advance and all this information can be sent direct to your printer, fax, computer or as a text. Also we can enable online and in-app payment direct to you.

The information that can be provided from this software will tell you how people are using your app and therefore produce more successful target marketing and launch promotions for quiet periods. It comes complete with Google Maps so customers can easily find you. It will also link with all your social media to further inform your customers and build up loyalty by offering vouchers and special offers.

If you would like to be sent a demo app for you to visualise the benefits and explore how it will appeal to your customers contact me or visit the app page on the web site http://www.guineasassociates.com/services_mobile-apps.html


TABLET TECHNOLOGY IN THE UK HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

July 18, 2012

The use of tablet technology in the hospitality industry has not fully reached the UK shores, but it is approaching fast. The use of tablets in restaurant and hotels to replace paper menus and guest information books plus a variety of other procedures has got the hospitality industry in the USA in a spin. The use of this technology is being embraced by family restaurants, sporting venues, leisure facilities and major hotels across this continent as the realisation of the benefits of interacting with guests is recognised. It is a topic of hot debate as to if the industry, previously geared around personal service, is ready to accept this technology and the supporters of its implementation are winning the day. It is already becoming the talk of holidaymakers as they return to the UK from the USA, so the storm is being whipped up and is on its way, so why not take the opportunity to see how it might help your business. Tablet technology is not for all establishments but it certainly has its place in family restaurants, pub chains, large hotels, sporting stadiums, bowling alleys, casinos, theme parks and holiday parks. Let’s just look at some of its uses.

Replacing Menus

We have all faced the issue of trying to make dishes sound appealing with words and making sure our menus are not stained or dog eared. The cost of replacement menus when we increase the selling prices is significant and how do we remove items from the menu that are not selling without incurring costs also how do we price menu items with fluctuating seasonal prices. The tablet has all these answers and more. Imagine being shown to a table where there is a screen showing photographs of every dish on the menu, no requirement for descriptive words, people eat with their eyes. What a WOW factor this creates. The prices and dishes on the menu can be changed when you want, if you have sold out it can be removed, if the cost price changes significantly you can amend your selling price. The tablet can detail the composition of every dish on the menu to alleviate the issue of guests asking waiting staff what the dish contains and with the increase in food allergies, this information is essential. The guests when ordering can even send the chef a message please can we have the dish without…. In addition to all of this imagine the benefits of guests being prompted to order additional items and wines and drinks recommended with the food. Also guests do not have to wait for a waiter to order dessert or additional drinks and request/pay the bill the tablet will deal with all of this and you have the additional sales. In the USA restaurants have been reporting between 10 and 30% increases in average spend. Your staff can focus on delivering customer service and if guests do require a waiter’s attention it can be requested via the tablet. The tablet also allows you to receive immediate guest feedback and the technology allows immediate postings to Trip Advisor and social media sites, what a marketing opportunity. From a management prospective the technology reduces the risks of missed billing, constantly logs the inventory of products, provides valuable information on guests dining habits and keeps managers in permanent contact with their business. The tablet can also include limited internet access and a games console.

Guest Information Books

In our hotel bed rooms how do we provide information to our guests on all the facilities in the hotel and the local area, in the main we provide a paper book, which suffers the same down falls as the menu. Tablet technology in all the bedrooms can resolve all of this, providing up to date information and much more. The tablet can store all the information about the hotel facilities and local visitor attractions, you can even sell advertising space to further promote these attractions and improve your return on investment, it also allows guests direct access to all the hotel departments and vice-versa so guests can book a spa treatment, order additional pillows order food and drink and the spa can message every room to say they have just had a cancellation or the concierge can message to say that he has just got availability of theatre tickets. The opportunities are endless to promote your business. The advantages of retailing food and drink are replicated from the restaurant in the room service menu on the tablet and the hotel has the same information on guest’s preferences as in the restaurant. In the USA hotels are providing tablets in all guest rooms to provide a more interactive experience and in addition to all of the above allowing them to download music, check on flight/traffic information and weather forecasts.

In addition to the above uses, hotels in the USA are utilising the technology to improve guests check in, replace room keys and as remote controls for TVs and air conditioning.

All of this technology works wirelessly and is easy to install with no additional wiring and allowing the guest to be in control and significantly enhancing their experience with more efficient, faster and effective service.

In the UK and Ireland I am helping to bring Panasonic and Crave technology to the hospitality market. If you would like a no obligation demonstration on how this technology can improve your business please contact me at davidholt@guineasassociates.com.


THE UK HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY AND HEALTHY EATING

July 5, 2012

THE UK HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY AND HEALTHY EATING

As a nation we struggle to eat healthy and take sufficient exercise to burn off the calories we consume, we put the blame on our busy lifestyles and eating on the run. This is where the hospitality industry as a whole can play its part.

 The UK hospitality industry has to play its part in improving the nation’s health. The industry in various guises provides in excess of 8 billion meals a year, including food eaten in hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, work place, leisure facilities, hospitals, schools and armed forces.

In recent years survey results show that as a nation we are making improvements in our diets, but like the school report we can do better, we are now on average eating 4.5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Therefore the power of communication is getting through, so as a hospitality industry what can we do.

Despite all of the good efforts of recent years people still continue to eat too much and not do sufficient activity and as we consume more calories than we burn off this leads to weight gain. The carrying of excess weight puts us at greater risk of a whole range of serious health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and some cancers.

There are a number of ways of educating people. The UK hospitality industry as a whole needs to help the population make healthier choices by ensuring that through menus, counter and buffet displays it highlights the healthy food and drink choices.

Diners constantly look to food service operators to be innovative in their approach and we have seen demand move to lighter dishes and healthy cuisine utilising locally sourced products. The promoting and producing healthy food can come in a number of ways including:

  •          Promoting the eating of five fruits and vegetables per day
  •          Promoting fresh fish on menus
  •          Promoting stir-fry cooking
  •          Promote starchy foods, particularly whole grain varieties
  •          Reduce the amount of salt in cooking
  •          Removal of artificial trans fats from foods
  •          Reduce saturated fats and sugars in our foods
  •          Provide calorie information on menus and websites
  •          Provide nutritional information on dishes on menus and websites

In schools we can educate our children by utilising tools like the eatwell plate, which clearly demonstrates the proportion of the food types we should consume to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

As the hospitality industry we can help create the right environment to empower and support people to make informed balanced choices that will help lead to healthier lives. The Department of Health has created the Public Health Responsibility Deal; visit http://responsibilitydeal.dh.gov.uk, for hospitality businesses to make significant contributions to improving public health by helping to create this environment. Business can sign up to the Responsibility Deal to commit to take action to improve public health, information on how to sign up is on the website. As part of this pledge you can communicate to your customers the importance of healthy eating through Change4Life and gain approval for your activities. The Change4Life brand is a popular trusted health brand and can be used to communicate a wider message to your customers, see www.nhs.uk/Change4Life. The Change4Life website provides more information on eating healthier and keeping active.

As an individual in the hospitality industry whatever we can do to help produce healthier living will go to reducing the level of obesity in the UK therefore improving the nation’s health.

If you require assistance in providing and promoting healthier options or providing nutritional information please contact me.

 


salmon and smoked salmon with spaghetti

November 22, 2011

This is a very tastey quick and easy dish to prepare. This recipe is for two people.

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 Salmon fillets, total weight approx 240g, sliced thinly

1 Onion, chopped finely

1 Garlic clove, crushed

2 Pinches of dried chilli flakes

400g Tin of chopped tomatoes

1/4 Handful of fresh basil, chopped

4 Sprigs of tarragon, chopped

100g Smoked salmon, sliced thinly (prawns can be substituted for smoked salmon)

200g Dried spaghetti

Seasoning

METHOD

Put a saucepan of water onto boil for the spaghetti and cook as per the instructions on the packet. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, garlic and chilli and allow to cook slowly for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Empty the tin of tomatoes into the frying pan and add the herbs and season to taste, allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the salmon and cook slowly for 3 mins, add the smoked salmon and cook for one minute, it is now ready to serve. Drain the spaghetti and place on plate pour the fish and tomato sauce over the spaghetti.


PRAWN AND PEA RISOTTO

November 9, 2011

PRAWN & PEA RISOTTO


This recipe is for two people and the combination of the sweetness in the peas, prawns and herbs will delight your taste buds

INGREDIENTS

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

¼ head of celery

200g Arborio rice

125ml of dry vermouth

600ml fish stock

250g raw king prawns, peeled

75g frozen peas, defrosted

½ handful of fresh basil chopped

¼ handful of fresh mint chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

30g of butter

Sea salt and black pepper

METHOD

Heat the fish stock in a pan to a very gentle simmer. In a separate large pan heat the olive oil and add the garlic, onion and celery and cook gently for ten minutes until the vegetables have softened, ensure the onions do not brown. Then turn up the heat and add the rice, keep stirring the rice for a minute and then add vermouth and continue stirring. Once the vermouth has cooked into the rice add a pinch of salt and first ladle of stock and turn heat down to simmering. Continue stirring and once the stock has cooked into the rice add the next ladle of stock, continue adding the stock a ladle at a time ensuring it has been absorbed before adding the next ladle. The rice is cooked when it is soft with a slight bite.

Now add the peas and prawns and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Then add herbs, lemon juice, butter and pepper to taste, stir in. Remove the pan from the heat and place a lid on the pan and leave it to stand for 5 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

It is now ready to serve, enjoy!!


Chocolate Brownie Recipe

October 31, 2011

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE RECIPE

Delicious chocolate brownies firm exterior with a gooey middle, yum yum

Ingredients

250g unsalted butter, chopped

200g dark Fair Trade chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up

80g cocoa powder

65g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 25cm  square baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering  water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth, then remove from heat. Sieve the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and then add the sugar. Add this to the chocolate mixture and stir together well. Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix into chocolate mixture until you have a silky consistency.

Pour brownie mix into the baking tray, and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes; you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares and enjoy!!


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