The tech every licensee needs to streamline operations and free-up time
Merely the word “technology” can be enough to strike fear into the hearts of some pub operators. It can feel like a distant land where the rewards are high but the path to get there is full of potential pitfalls; far too complicated, time-consuming or just prohibitively expensive. When you think about it though, nearly all hospitality operators have been travelling this path with success for years already.
You don’t see many black and white TVs in pubs anymore, do you? And old fashioned cash registers are now few and far between. The fact is that technological advances have already had a huge bearing on the way the industry operates and will continue to do so.
Moreover, the right technology – from the right supplier that understands the sector and the needs of pubs big and small, will save you not just money but also a significant amount of time, something we know is seriously in short supply at the moment due to the staffing crisis – particularly for independent operators with small to medium-sized pubs.
With all that in mind, here are five ways that technology can free up your valuable time by streamlining operations:
EPOS is boss
It starts behind the bar with a time-saving, data-collecting, report-producing till system but also extends out to the floor and the garden. Having an integrated EPoS system means that staff can take orders on handheld devices. The orders are then sent instantly to the kitchen, eliminating the opportunity for errors along the way. Fewer errors equals time saved.
Cash free payments at the table are also a time-saver and are only going to increase, in fact 57% of teenagers surveyed by us can’t see cash being used at all in 10 years’ time so investing in tech such as handheld readers, or app-based payments will certainly pay off.
Data day use
You may have a genius in your ranks who can recall everyone’s name, birthday, favourite drink and where they like to sit on a Sunday at 2pm. But not everyone is in possession of such sorcery. And what happens if that genius leaves? You can, however, have access to that information through a digital booking system, that can harvest valuable consumer data, enabling you to efficiently provide tailored and personalised offers and deals to your customers. Connecting a loyalty scheme, will build on this even further, offering tailored rewards based on habits and preferences. And we know they want it, with our recent research with CGA showing that 80% of consumers are interested in some form of personalisation when visiting pubs, bars and restaurants.
Having such an automated system not only relieves a little pressure on the old grey matter but also saves you paper and the time it takes to note everything down and refer to it.
The pandemic normalised pre-booking tables for food and even drinks in pubs, and an online way of doing this makes life so much easier for both you and your customers. Having a booking system that automatically updates as soon as someone books, allows you and your team to focus on other areas of the business. A system that also sends out automated SMS and email booking reminders to your customers will not only save the team needing to call every customer to reconfirm bookings, but will also cut down dreaded no-shows – something which costs the industry a whopping £17.6bn a year, according to our research – which can prove devastating for smaller businesses.
Taking a deposit ahead of a visit is something of a thorny subject in the pub trade. However, research we conducted last year as part of our #ShowUpForHospitality campaign suggests customers are mellowing on the subject – 51% are happy to pay a deposit. You can do this through a seat and redeem system, meaning that a pre-paid deposit can be assigned at the point of seating the guest. This has obvious financial benefits and, again, reduces the chances of a no show. But in this instance money also equals time, because you are reducing the manual steps in the process and have customer and payment details before they even step foot in the pub.
Show me the money
Smart systems not only make it easier to take money but they also keep a close eye on your cash flow. At the click of a button you will be able to see where money is being spent, how much you are spending on stock and wages, what’s being wasted and where you can make savings. That’s got to be quicker than looking through your ring-binders and receipts? And the admin time-saving doesn’t stop there. You can also use smart system to plan your rotas, identify trends that may need attention and much more. Having this all in one place without needing to jump around from place to place means fewer clicks and manifold benefits to you and your business. That could free you and staff up to spend more time on the floor or get round to those jobs that always seem to be on the bottom of the list.