With the latest national lockdown ending on April 12th and nearly 40% of the UK population having received their first dose of the vaccine, a sense of normality potentially beckons. Yet, tempting as it may seem, a return to normal is not enough, because the world has changed, and what is ‘normal’ has changed with it; welcome to the new different. While compared to the US market, UK hospitality has been relatively slow to adopt new technology in the last decade or so, this year’s unprecedented changes to behaviour and consumption patterns have been accompanied by major adjustments in both consumer expectations and hospitality business models. Fish and microchips is finally on the British menu.
In reality, the demand for digital was there before the pandemic, but health concerns have acted as a catalyst for the adoption of hospitality tech. Last summer, there was an initial rush for contactless ordering, given the understandable desire to adhere to the strongest possible safety protocols and install consumer confidence. Hand sanitiser, perspex and masks can only go so far; Order & Pay made perfect sense in terms of limiting physical touch points, reducing contact between staff and customers, and generally mitigating the risk of transmission. Yet the possibilities go far beyond hygiene and epidemiology.
That original impetus now has formidable traction, because tech can not only be a recovery strategy, but a growth opportunity too, boosting revenue and efficiency. Ordamo’s research indicates that average customer spend increases by 11% when customers use Order & Pay technology. This is all part of an improved customer experience: there is more time to browse the menu, and the power of ordering is now in the customer’s pocket. Rather than entirely removing the human element of service, contactless tech instead improves the pinch points of service: no awkward attempts to meet the waiter’s eye to order another drink or get the bill, no waiting in line, and no sharp-elbowed jostling at busy bars manned by overworked staff.
Processes are essentially streamlined: table turns goes up while staff costs go down. Automation and optimisation means that business can simply do more with less: @WarwickUniversityStudentUnion took their operations almost entirely online with Ordamo in September, maintaining operational capacity in the face of changes to physical and staffing infrastructure. According to research by @NutriSlice, 80% of students said that they would be more likely to order food from a venue offering digital ordering and payment, with QR code-based menus the preferred option among 44% of respondents. Customers now have technology requirements, and operators can meet them.
Combined with Order & Pay, there is an ever-growing stable of intuitive software on the market to ensure guests can enjoy a seamless experience and hospitality can join the tech revolution: Point of Sale systems, customer reviews, reservation management, table booking, contactless check-in, property managements systems, membership clubs, loyalty schemes, event management. At Ordamo, we pride ourselves on our integrations: none of us are as smart as all of us. With different digital systems all working in tandem, you can gain a holistic, 360 view of your customers and your venue. Ultimately, you can save money, stay engaged with guests, and drive more revenue with a sophisticated mobile app.
At the beginning of last year, it might have been easy to say that this tech is the stuff of the future, but, after twelve months of disruption and the innovation it has necessitated, the future is now.