Technology in hospitality 'not meeting expectations'

By Ruth Williams

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality technology: Kate Nicholls of the ALMR said this year was 'a milestone' for payment apps
Hospitality technology: Kate Nicholls of the ALMR said this year was 'a milestone' for payment apps

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Technology in pubs, bars and clubs is perceived as improving the customer experience by 52 per cent of people and as many as 67 per cent of people in the 24-35 age group, as consumers’ expectations have shifted to view technology as a necessity not a novelty.

That is according to a report by Orderella and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) on the use of mobile payment systems in the on-trade which found that 74 per cent of people have used chip and pin to pay in a venue and 19 per cent have used contactless payment.

The emphasis is on creating a friction-less customer experience that negates the need for a lengthy payment system to allow staff to spend more time speaking to customers and up-selling instead of handling payments, according to BigHospitality's sister publication M&C Allegra Foodservice​.

Queuing is perceived as having a negative impact on an evening out by 77 per cent of survey respondents who said long queues or slow service dampened their experience.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR called this a “milestone year for payment apps” following an explosion on the types of technology.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion on the role of mobile technology in the hospitality sector, Dennis Collet, chief executive of Orderella, said although some operators seem frightened about the use of technology, it is coming and should be viewed as an enabler not just used for the sake of it.

He argued that the payment process adds no value to the overall customer experience, technology could be used to create a frictionless experience and the staff can focus upon interacting with customers rather than being occupied by a lengthy payment process.

From an operators’ perspective Allan Harper, who heads up Burning Night Group, said the implementation of Orderella in his venues across the country is helping reduce the company’s bottom line by lowering staffing costs by up to 20 per cent.

The Payments Council has predicted a sharp rise in cashless payment next year – over the past year 7 per cent of consumers have completed a contactless payment but next year it is predicted to rise as more young people are becoming less cash reliant.

The response from ALMR members found many falling short of this demand for technology with just 24 per cent able to offer tablet or mobile device ordering and 59 per cent offering cashless payments

The report also highlights a discrepancy between what operators consider to be good service compared to their customers. 76 per cent of the ALMR venues believe staff interaction with customers is ‘very important’ compared to just 50 per cent of consumers. Likewise, operators ranked knowledgeable bar staff (75 per cent) as the most important element of good service compared to just 16 per cent of consumers.

In comparison, consumers rated quality of food highest (39 per cent) and short or no queues at the bar as equally important as having knowledgeable staff. Seventy seven per cent went further to state that a long queue or wait for service would negatively impact their experience at a venue. Lengthy waits are also impacting tips with 22 per cent of consumers saying they would tip more for quicker service in a bar or pub and 42 per cent saying they would in a restaurant.

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