On this episode of Shiji Buzz, we connect with two industry experts, Greg Land, Global Head, Accommodation, Lodging, Casino & Cruise for Amazon Web Services, and Ryan King, Senior Vice President of Americas, Shiji, to discuss the current state of F&B Technology.
While the rooms side of the hotel business has been adopting technology at dizzying speed, the F&B department has been slower on the uptake. Yet with chronic staffing shortages and dwindling profits, the need for technology in F&B is even more acute. However, technology is emerging as a savior, offering ways to enhance efficiency, productivity, and profitability while elevating the guest experience. In our recent virtual discussion, experts in the field shed light on these crucial aspects.
See what these experts, moderated by Reknown’s Daniel Craig, have to say. Read on for a summary of their discussions.
Five Key Takeaways from the Discussion
- Embrace Technology
To overcome labor shortages and rising costs, F&B departments should embrace technology as a means to enhance efficiency and profitability.
- Cloud Migration
Moving to the cloud is essential for agility and cost savings, allowing F&B outlets to quickly adapt to changing conditions.
- Guest-Facing Applications
Implementing guest-facing applications, such as reservations and mobile POS systems, can enhance the guest experience, increase cover counts, and drive revenue.
- Employee Empowerment
Utilize technology to empower staff with tools like mobile devices for order taking, reducing order-to-serve times, and improving efficiency.
- Data-Driven Decision-Making
Harnessing data and reporting to track sales, food costs, and operational efficiency can lead to better decision-making and improved profit margins.
Chronic Labor Shortages and Rising Costs
Ryan King began by highlighting the significant challenges the F&B departments face today. Chronic labor shortages, exacerbated by the pandemic, continue to haunt the industry. Coupled with this are rising food and labor costs, which have contributed to shrinking profit margins. Customers are also changing their dining habits, often choosing off-property dining experiences. Additionally, guests have become more critical, leading to lower F&B ratings on review platforms.
Leveraging F&B Technology for Transformation
Greg from AWS emphasized the need for F&B departments to embrace technology to overcome these challenges. He pointed out that restaurants swiftly adopted technology during the pandemic, and it’s time for F&B outlets within hotels to catch up. The first step, he suggested, is migrating to the cloud, which provides agility and cost savings. With mobile, contactless, and self-service becoming the norm, hotels must extend these capabilities to F&B outlets to streamline operations.
Enhancing the Employee Experience
Greg also stressed the importance of improving the employee experience. Many technologies developed for the guest experience, such as mobile devices for order taking and service, can be used to empower staff. These technologies can help staff work more efficiently, reducing order-to-serve times, and allowing them to serve more tables with the same workforce.
Prioritizing Point of Sale (POS) Systems
Ryan discussed how POS systems are the backbone of F&B technology in hotels. He highlighted the need for integrated systems that offer agility. Cloud-based systems are crucial for quickly updating menus and adapting to changing conditions. Implementing guest-facing applications for reservations and table management systems can help boost cover counts and improve the overall guest experience. Mobile POS systems empower staff, allowing them to take orders at tables and expedite service. Self-service applications also play a vital role in attracting guests to room service, resulting in increased revenue.
Harnessing Data for Efficiency
Ryan concluded by emphasizing the importance of data and reporting. Tracking menu item sales, food costs, and operational efficiency across multiple outlets can provide valuable insights that lead to better decision-making and improved profit margins.
The challenges faced by F&B departments in hotels are multifaceted, but technology offers a path to transformation. Migrating to the cloud, implementing mobile POS systems, and leveraging data are essential steps in adapting to the evolving landscape. By prioritizing technology and embracing innovation, F&B departments can not only survive but thrive in the post-pandemic era, delivering exceptional experiences to their guests while improving their bottom line.