As more and more restaurant owners look for ways to cut costs, improve customer service and drive loyalty initiatives, application modernization including cloud applications, mobile apps and predictive data modelling are featuring at the top of their personal “must do” menus. Software companies and ISVs that serve the restaurant and hospitality industry are in a race to offer more, by migrating older legacy apps to the cloud and taking advantage of real-time data analysis tools to offer more features and functions to their customers – all while ensuring security and data privacy are still the “special of the day”.
Patrick Albrecht owns and operates four restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia. At one point, he says, he had tens of thousands of receipts, invoices, health department documents and payroll data stuffed into the various offices in his restaurants.
By subscribing to [i] a cloud-based mobile app that could organize his overwhelming mountain of paperwork, he figures he’s now saving 2% each month in overhead costs from his four food operations. He can find any document in a matter of seconds and he can compare vendor delivery prices to determine who is giving him the best deal.
Albrecht is one of a growing number of smart restaurant owners who have embraced and employed some of the new cloud-based technologies to make operations more efficient and cost-effective.
Restaurant chains and food companies that own various restaurant brands know how tough the business is. Competition is fierce, customer loyalty is fickle and profit margins are skinny. The difference between red and black on the bottom line is often as thin as the edge of a knife. Having the right information at the right time from POS, loyalty, vendor management and surveying systems is critical for owners who need to make decisions that can mean the difference between remaining in business and shutting the doors.
Social, Mobile and Data Drive Transformation in the Restaurant Industry
Cloud technology and third-platform innovation accelerators[ii] like social, mobile and big data are changing the landscape for the restaurant industry. Large chain firms and independent operators have experienced how mobile apps can boost business simply by making it convenient for customers to order, pay and review their experience, all with a smartphone.
For many restaurants, they have either directed their internal software developers to modify existing applications or they are looking to their existing POS vendor to do it for them.
There’s just one problem: many of these existing applications were designed long before cloud, social and mobile were part of the landscape. Moving a legacy application into the cloud while taking advantage of new functionality AND ensuring that security and data privacy are paramount is tough to do.
It requires specific skills and knowledge. Few companies can say they are masters of all the aspects needed to modernize.
What to Expect with Application Modernization
The ability to use cloud to amass multiple points and sources of data is making an enormous difference in the restaurant industry today. Cloud enables data pools to drive data analysis, unavailable before now. Restaurants can profile their customers in fine detail and then design promotions targeted specifically at them. Many legacy apps can’t achieve this sophisticated level of analytics because they weren’t written with current analytic models in mind.
Roughly 60% of consumers are making a restaurant selection – and a reservation – based on what they find on apps like Yelp and OpenTable. Because these apps are using cloud technology, the data these restaurants collect can determine booking patterns, eating tastes, the age of their customers and even their income levels. That’s valuable information for restaurant owners, who can harness this data and use it to drive promotions, communications, messages and offers.
Some cloud-based apps alert a restaurant when a customer is in the area by using what’s called geo-fencing. This creates an opportunity to immediately transmit a mobile ad to that customer.
A POS Cloud Facelift Cuts Costs, Boosts Sales
POS systems are another instance of cloud technology reducing costs.
According to Restaurant Insider[iii], cloud-based POS works for any size of restaurant. Updated sales, inventory, customer feedback and other real-time data can be accessed from the cloud via a mobile device, anywhere. In other words, there is no need for costly on-premises servers, holding valuable and often confidential data.
But moving your legacy application to the cloud is not as simple as a “lift and shift”. You need to assess the code base, making changes to it to take advantage of cloud services while also optimizing the application so that it runs more efficiently in the cloud.
The right upfront efforts mean greater agility and cost savings while taking advantage of trends such as machine learning and blockchain.
Mobile Ready Everywhere
mPOS is a payment system which allows customers to pay by using a mobile wallet – simply a smartphone that contains encrypted credit or debit card information. Such a system appeals strongly to tech-smart millennials, who control more than 30% of gross income today [iv] and who eat out frequently.
When a food company fails to keep up with the capabilities that modern technology can offer, they are at risk of losing clients and profits very quickly. These restaurants will look for software vendors who can help them.
Software application companies that have legacy applications and cannot quickly make the shift to the cloud will fall behind the technology curve. Their clients will either fall behind as well or abandon them for another vendor.
Plan for Success
Because modernization technologies for the restaurant industry offer so many opportunities that you can take advantage of, it is vital to talk with a company that works in this space every day, delivering custom-tailored solutions and driving cost savings for clients.
Optimus Information delivers cloud-supported application development for the restaurant and hospitality industry. Optimus works on the leading edge and provides your company with full software development and testing, mobile development on any platform, and business intelligence designed to suit your needs and wishes.
Contact us today for more information and let us show you how we can employ our skill with cloud technology to drive your business forward.