Lockdown: A time to future-proof your tech stack

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With the roadmap for easing Covid restrictions underway, the ongoing vaccine roll-out, and the doors of hospitality businesses looking to re-open late April/mid-May, we’re finally looking at an exit from the pandemic.

There’s no question that tech now plays a vital role in hospitality – not just to solve current challenges, but to future-proof pub and restaurant businesses too.

According to CGA, 94% of business leaders now believe technology is a fundamental part of helping them to successfully navigate in the current climate. 

The pandemic pushed new tech solutions such as click and collect and mobile order and pay into the spotlight last year as consumers were quick to embrace the technology as part of their new COVID-compliant, contactless guest experience. At Zonal we saw over 40 times the amount of orders go through these channels than pre-COVID.

But the benefits of these new ordering channels extend well beyond the pandemic, and with the consumer adoption of these looking set to stay, now’s the time to think about if, and how, they fit into your current business model, and which other technology solutions could add value to your business.

Now could a good time to review your current operations technology stack and make sure it is fit for the future. Ask yourself questions such as:

  1. Am I exploiting all the technology solutions that are relevant for my business and offer new revenue channels?
  2. Which other tools are out there, that we’re not currently using, which will help our business become more efficient, control costs and increase profits?
  3. Is our current tech stack delivering the benefits we expected? Are there any pain points that need resolving?
  4. Are my current technology providers giving me the right level of support or has it highlighted the cracks in our tech infrastructure? Has it put pressure on other systems showing they can’t cope?

Additional points to consider when undertaking your review:

1. Sharing of data

Do your platforms sit in silos or do they talk to one another, can you capture this data centrally to give you a single view of your operations? Is it giving you access to the insight and data intelligence that you need to help you make informed decisions?

2. Operations

Do your tech platforms offer everything you need to support every aspect of your operations? Are they adding more time pressure on your staff, for example do online orders need to be re-keyed into your POS or kitchen management system or accounting tool? How do you ensure nothing is missed and how do you account for human error? Are the systems giving you complete control of all your customer touch points?

3. Protect your brand

With more ordering channels now available, this brings more opportunities for customers to engage with your brand. How is this being managed, is the brand experience consistent or is it being compromised? How do you ensure you offer the same experience customers expect from your brand even if they are not in-venue? Do the new platforms allow you to add your brand personality and unique offering, but still allow for that personal touch when needed?

4. Availability

How are you managing your available stock items or even available tables on different channels? Can customers order things or book tables that are no longer available? Not only is this an additional task for your staff to keep on top of but also leaves a negative impression of your brand with the customer if they are left disappointed during their guest experience with you.

5. Right partner

You may have needed to act quickly in implementing new technology solutions over the past year, and not had time to complete all the research that you would normally do when choosing a new technology partner. How is your partner working for you, how are they supporting you during this time, if you need help can you contact them outside of the standard 9-5pm? Can they meet your growth plans and expectations, can they grow with your business? Ensuring a partner can provide solutions that can integrate into your existing technology infrastructure and scale with you as you grow, will stand you in good stead for a successful, profitable business in the future.

A full technology review will help you to answer all these questions and work out which solutions will help create a healthy business for the road to recovery and a platform for sustainable growth.

Integration is key

With customer touchpoints becoming increasingly varied and arguably more complex and a plethora of platforms now available to operators, seamless data sharing and integration between technology systems is vital to minimise the burden on operations and ensure the customer experience is not compromised.

The data available from a suite of connected solutions provides invaluable insight for business planning, operational efficiency and meeting business goals – not just for re-opening, but for the future.

Get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your tech requirements, or if you’re a customer, contact your Account Manager directly.

For a completely integrated approach to your technology stack, check out Zonal’s full range of connected technology solutions and list of our partner integrations.

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