Digitising The Hospitality Experience
12th December 2022
Hospitality is fundamentally a human experience but, when executed well, good technology should enhance people’s experience in your restaurant or bar and can offer huge benefits to both brand and consumer.
Order & Pay technology is the most obvious example of this. Executed well, it allows people to order quickly, on their terms. There’s loads of data that suggests people spend more when ordering via apps / QR codes and that they enjoy the autonomy of it too – in the right restaurant setting. For fast-casual restaurants and QSRs it’s logical that people embrace tech more readily. But what about mid-market and premium restaurants?
Retaining the human element and ensuring personal service is critical for customers, and for operators too. Eye-contact, a warm welcome, pulling out a guest’s chair, all subtle but powerful moments of interaction. Running through the specials, making a personal dish recommendation or drink pairing – difficult (though not impossible!) to replicate digitally. But few would disagree that the perennial pain point of paying the bill definitely benefits from digitisation – mobile payments are quicker, labour-saving and guests love features like bill splitting and choosing how much they tip.
The key is balancing tech and the personal touch with a hybrid solution. Fuse allows you to choose what’s right for your business – order and pay, mobile payments only, or a hybrid solution, where mobile ordering supplements face to face service. Bar brands particularly love this hybrid solution, where a variety of dayparts and trading patterns mean that the customer service cycle isn’t always linear. Guests can place their first order from a member of staff, then add to their tab as and when they like, giving them complete freedom and flexibility (and no judgement on all those extra portions of fries!)
Critical also, are smart menu layouts. Uploading a print-style menu just doesn’t translate online. Customers need to be guided through the options – and signposted to the items you want them to buy – whether that’s seasonal specials, high-margin items, sides and add-ons on paired drinks. Digital menus allow you to offer dynamic menu content too, highlighting shots and Champagne on Saturday night and brunches and coffees the following morning. On Fuse, all of this is automated, based on your trading patterns and menu offering – digital menu psychology is here.
Of course the digitisation of restaurants doesn’t stop at Order & Pay. Innovative digital-first hospitality brands like Drake & Morgan know that they need to reach people all the time, expand their brand outside of their bricks and mortar locations and offer more reasons and ways for people to enjoy the D&M experience. The D&M Collection e-shop puts their brand into people’s hands 24/7. Event tickets, gift cards and all manner of branded retail products make their brand accessible in just a few clicks. It’s a slick, fully branded e-commerce ecosystem, designed to make buying inspirational and easy – and maximise sales.
The Data Revolution
Of course, e-commerce isn’t just about opening up new revenue streams. It’s a powerful source of consumer data. Gone are the days where hospitality data meant, basically, how often people booked with you. With Fuse Order & Pay integrated with your ePOS and running in the same platform as your Tickets, Gift Cards and E-Shop we can join all of the data points together – purchase frequency, spend, buying behaviour – we know exactly what customers are buying, how much they’re spending, when they’re buying – and very likely why they’re buying too. This fully integrated, omni-channel data is revolutionising how we understand our consumers, and how we can talk to them.
Of course what good is data if you’re not using it properly? Good data allows you to execute an incredible loyalty strategy, perfectly tailored to individual guests, based on their buying behaviour and preferences. You can reward loyalty, prompt repeat purchases or remedy lapsed users with perks or treats that are genuinely relevant and interesting to people. And not just based on their habits when visiting you in-store – but to their other purchases and interactions too – every event ticket they buy, every click and collect order, every gift card will contribute to their digital footprint with your brand.
This will be a golden age for loyalty and community building for hospitality. As technology continues to advance, and consumers seek more meaningful experiences and relationships with brands, the opportunity is ripe to diversify, digitise and hold your customers closer than ever before.