Food For Thought: Is a lack of interest and expertise in technology the secret threat to UK independent QSRs?

Our Sales and Partnership Manager, Paul Berryman brings us another 'Food for Thought' blog. This month he asks whether independent QSRs are holding their business back by not embracing the innovative tech available and if so, why?

Paul_Berryman2.jpg

Independent QSRs, including takeaways, account for the majority of outlets in the UK, totalling over 26,000 according to Statista. Established by a fair share of people in the first place because of their passion for food and hospitality – not technology, is this lack of technical interest and expertise a threat to many excellent restauranteurs?

As the new consumer thirst for digital, ultra-slick customer experiences and an ability to choose how they order, pay and receive their food – not to mention value, it’s time independent operators take technology infrastructure and investments seriously and wisely.

In an overcrowded restaurant tech marketplace, a myriad of similar sales promises and more features and applications than most owners even want to begin to digest, it’s easy for proprietors and managers to get distracted and procrastinate along their paths towards the best EPoS and integrated systems. Do they need online ordering and delivery? mobile apps? Click and Collect? self-serve kiosks? loyalty programs? The list seems endless.

This, coupled with a mentality of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” and given the nature of technology and its constant changing nature, many owners feel the costs are way outside of their budgets or ability to gain a financial return. However, this is not the case thanks to proven cloud-based products with built in advanced levels of functionality and application integration.

Technology investment: Pizza Union

As guest expectations and our industry continues to evolve, investment in technology is vital not only for big brand operator’ success but independents too. A long-term customer of pointOne, Spitalfields based Pizza Union, is a great example of an independent chain of outlets whose success has been driven by making the right technological investments as well as serving up great food and service.

According to Bobby Hashemi of Pizza Union, the pointOne solution has revolutionised the way they now manage their business from customer to back of house. With kitchen screens that enable fast and accurate food orders, to buzzer systems that allow customers to wait for their order from the comfort of their table and be buzzed when ready for collection; through to click and collect online ordering, stock control and detailed management reporting. Pizza Union’s highly integrated IT infrastructure is all about driving efficiency and revenue to create enhanced levels of customer service, value and convenience.

And it has paid off with Pizza Union continuing to see year on year growth.

Customer Engagement

In today’s consumer world driven by a total demand for heightened expectations, instant gratification, convenience, speed and with functionality such as app ordering, payment and push notifications, operators are finding that they can engage up to fifteen times more with their customers. And with the rise of click and collect, no doubt these levels of engagement will rise further in the QSR sector.

It’s not surprising that more and more of our customers are now using Como Sense’s advanced CRM applications that are seamlessly integrated into the pointOne platform. Offering an effective customer engagement platform that uses data to personalise customer experiences. The powerful built-in marketing automation is powered by AI and can grow visits and spend by up to 48%. Fully integrating with the EPoS and online ordering, all customer transaction data can be turned into opportunities for sustained customer growth and omni-channel engagement.

This ability of the EPoS platform to collate data in real time from all touchpoints is crucial in making marketing and strategic business decisions that enable independent QSRs to stay competitive in an  challenging market. From being able to identify which items to showcase for maximum profit, to drastically reducing management admin time and back of house stress points, getting the right EPoS and technological infrastructure is absolutely crucial.

Tech integration: The Dodo Pub Company

Four years ago we installed the pointOne EPoS solution into the Dodo Pub Company which is a great example of harnessing the right technology for multi-site operational efficiency.

pointOne’s one login enables the management team to access site-level information across stock, sales, product and staffing, The Head Office module provides Dodo’s pub managers with granular reporting to help with their day-to-day operations and to assist them in meeting sales targets. Management use Head Office access for more refined and bespoke multisite reporting to help with forecasting, stock control and wastage management plus remote actions like menu and price changes.

pointOne also set up the integration with S4Labour ensuring that sales data automatically populates into S4Labour giving real time updates vs. labour spend and ensuring that Dodo is operating as cost effectively as possible.

For Dodo’s operations manager, Fred Turner, the system has allowed the Dodo Pub Company to be proactive rather than reactive and tap into extensive information to enable efficient and cost-effective multi-site operations, which in the current competitive market is key.

Dodo has also taken advantage of the Como loyalty integration for all of its pubs, enabling staff to scan QR codes from the Dodo loyalty app and offering returning customers valued rewards and incentive. All of the data is fed back into the EPoS data hub giving Dodo crucial customer behaviour information and to continue to develop its offering in-line with its customer’s needs.

Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of possible tech applications and integrations for restaurant technology to ease operational management, drive revenue and customer experience, but more food for thought for those independent operators aspiring to new, smarter ways of restaurant management.

As we move towards an even more connected, digital, AI and data driven world and a new 5G environment, if there’s one question always worth asking when selecting a new EPoS partner, it is “would you be open to integration with other business software and how would you support the API required?”

To find out more about choosing the right EPoS solution to future-proof your business download our “Restaurateur’s Guide to the Right Solution 2019 & Beyond”

To understand more about third party integrations for your EPoS check out our eGuide: “Is your EPoS system open for business?”