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.


Sustainable Development and Environmental Issues

November 4, 2011

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

 FOR A CATERING BUSINESS 

Introduction
As catering businesses we need to be mindful of the need to operate in an environmentally friendly way and to support this we need to develop a sustainability policy, which is designed to encourage greater use of local suppliers and locally sourced raw materials. The approach should balance the efforts to reduce the environmental impact caused by the business workings to deliver a Carbon Neutral service.

Suggested approach to Sustainability
The food and farming industry is going through a period of great change, influenced by factors including consumer trends, environmental concerns, and world supply of raw materials.
“Sustainability” what is the real meaning? The actual question being asked is “what are you doing to help save the planet?”

What is achieved by utilising sustainable food?
• Produces safe and healthy products in response to market demand

• Ensures that all consumers have access to nutritious food, and to accurate information about food products
• Supports viability and diversity of rural and urban economies and communities
• Achieves consistently high standards of environmental performance by reducing energy consumption, minimising resource inputs, and using renewable energy wherever possible
• Ensures a safe and hygienic working environment and training for all employees in the food chain
• Achieves consistently high standards of animal health and welfare
• Sustains the resources available for growing food

Why utilise sustainable foods?
• Health – Fresh food is healthier than highly processed foods as it contains higher  nutrient levels; however some frozen products which are frozen at harvest can be as nutritious as fresh produce.
• Animal Welfare – Sustainably farmed animals are treated humanely and are able to carry out their natural behaviour- for example they can move freely, this is good for their health and well being and means they are less prone to disease.
• Environment – Unsustainable farming leads to poor soil quality, contamination of  water and poor air quality which has an impact on health and well being. Air, road, freight and packaging have a large impact on the environment.
• Fossil Fuel and Energy Use – Sustainable farming and food systems can reduce  transportation of products and animals over long distances. This reduces the amount of fossil fuels and energy used, so helping to tackle global warming as well as improving air quality. Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources, meaning they cannot replenish themselves when exhausted

What can we as a catering business do to help save the planet?
1. Design menus to use seasonal and sustainable produce where it has a minimal  impact on your customers and clients.
2. Equip kitchens so that together with the education of staff, to provide them with the necessary skills to produce fresh food, we stimulate the opportunities for using fresh sustainable produce.
3. Ask your suppliers to produce full traceability to prove they are only using  humanely operated farms. Hopefully leading to the eventual abolishment of battery farmed chickens and other inhumane practices.
4. Ensure an open and negotiable relationship with your suppliers and clients  regarding seasonable produce and menus
5. Where applicable buy fair trade products from disadvantaged producers in the developing world to ensure their sustainability.

The small points that turn straightforward tasty food into sumptuous food are the small attentions to detail that make a simple dinner into something sublime”

Once you have actioned all of the above then utilise it as a marketing tool!!


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