Operators who invest in new technology are reaping benefits
AS it posted its post-Christmas results this month, high street retailer Dixons revealed it had sold one tablet computer every five seconds over the festive trading period.
But it’s not just for consumer use that the technology is in high demand.
Technology suppliers told SLTN last week that devices like the iPad are becoming increasingly commonplace in the on-trade, with operators using them for a range of functions, from displaying wine lists to guests to highlighting special offers.
“In the past five years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in customer demand for mobile ordering such as iPad, Android and Windows tablets,” said Shannon Arnold, director of marketing at solutions supplier Maitre‘D.
“For the present day waiter, the iPad is not only for ordering but is now a multi-functional device used for up-selling, increasing table turnover and communicating menus and special offers.
“If a business wants to stay ahead of the times, it’s a worthwhile investment.
“With the decrease in price of tablets, the investment is minimal, but the advantages are endless.”
Tablets are just one example of the increasingly prominent role technology plays in the trade today. Other new kit on the rise includes contactless payments, which according to Zonal, the Edinburgh-based systems supplier, “delivers total convenience and flexibility for consumers and efficiencies for hospitality operators”.
The firm’s director of sales and marketing, Clive Consterdine, confirmed it’s set to trial a system with payment services provider DataCash and Coherent+, the payment terminal product designer, with selected customers early this year.
Consterdine said it will allow hospitality staff to “carry portable terminals on a belt clip, meaning that customers have the option of paying for their services on the go from wherever they are in an outlet”.
Zonal’s system also integrates with an iPhone app, he said, allowing consumers to order food and drink in bars and pay for it, without having to wait at the bar or leave the table; it also integrates with the till system.
Meantime, as operators get increasingly comfortable with technology, more and more are getting the best of their EPOS systems, whether it be for back-office management, stock control or building customer loyalty, suppliers told SLTN.
Ashley Sheppard of Call Systems Technology said the economic climate has focused operators’ attentions on what can be achieved with technology.
“Products that improve profits are always welcome, but right now they are at the top of the hospitality industry’s shopping list,” Ashley said.
Image – Zonal said its EPOS systems “have come a long way in recent years”, stating that they have become “complete hospitality solutions”.