This month we learn that Smartphone separation anxiety is actually a thing – and it’s on the rise, self-order kiosks aren’t just for the big, well-funded chains and that integration, engagement through loyalty and focusing on incremental revenue are keys of mobile app success for operators. Here are some more of the top Hospitality tech stories for August:
Innovation is the only path to restaurant loyalty
The author of The Franchising Handbook, Charles Reader, says that brands that strategize, innovate and create new ideas as quickly, fluidly and constantly as innovations demand, will truly thrive. His key takeaways as reported by Fast Casual, include:
- Only sustaining innovation substantially improves restaurant brands enough to equal business success over the long haul
- Sustained innovation is needed to meet consumers’ demand not only for ever faster service but different types of service as well as different products that contribute to health and well-being
- Areas to consider for restaurant innovation include:
- Audience participation opportunities such as personalisation
- Virtual reality
- Augmented reality such as the ability to scan a plate of food to obtain health benefit information
- Subscription service models
Smartphone separation anxiety on the rise as consumers see mobiles as an extension of themselves
Smartphone separation anxiety or ‘nomophobia’ is on the rise according to The Independent and it has little to do with the ability to make or receive calls. Smartphones have become so advanced and personal to us that they’re becoming an extension of ourselves. Smartphone and app development means greater personalisation and customisation which inevitably leads to greater user attachment. Although nomophobia isn’t a specific mental disorder, studies have shown that having a smartphone, even when turned off or face down, within reach reduced cognitive capacity.
Non-integrated app listed as 1 of the 10 things to avoid when launching a mobile app
66% of companies that have seen a decline in customer loyalty over the past year did not have a mobile app according to Appetentive and reported by Fast Casual. Mistakes to avoid when launching an app include:
- Non-integrated app. Have a plan to train your team and integrate the app into operating processes. Leverage existing marketing channels to promote it.
- No back-end capabilities. Work with a partner that has experience in all areas of the app ecosystem.
- A templated app with no brand identity or a costly in-house development. Consider a feature set solution with white labelled app as a central part of your integrated marketing program.
- Not knowing the standard that should be achieved with a developer.
- Being afraid to switch from your old app.
- No customer tracking capabilities. Try launching an engaging loyalty program to encourage customer interaction.
- Unengaging and expensive loyalty program. Make sure your program achieves your business goals.
- Poor visual engagement. Use an image based kiosk-like ordering menu to draw customer in.
- Static user interface. Get inspiration from what the most successful mobile apps are doing and consider a dynamic interface.
- Not focusing on incremental revenue generation. Set goals across the entire team for sales and resulting ROI.
Self-service kiosks don’t just benefit the big chains
According to Fast Casual, although it might be the big chains that are moving forward with self-order kiosks, independents and chains that are not as well capitalized should not be left behind. Some smaller operators are deploying self-order tabletop kiosks that are proving affordable, reliable and have improved sales and made operations more efficient. When considering a kiosk solution, it’s important to do due diligence. For example, choose a provider that grows with your business. Staff might be sceptical about self-order but operators have found kiosks actually gave them more time to interact with customers leading to greater tips. Kiosks can also lead to great check value as it automatically suggests additional purchases.
Restaurants are increasingly being designed for customers’ social media feeds
Stylish restaurants, cafes and bars are taking advantage of free advertising that social media affords by designing their stores to encourage customers to shoot, tag, geotag, share and like. Fast Company also reports that it’s not just the food itself that’s drawing an audience but little design touches such as putting items in store that give people places to take interesting photos. It doesn’t stop there. Restaurants aren’t just telling customers what hashtags to use, Dirty Bones in London help diners get that perfect shot by offering LED light, chargers, wide-angle lens, tripod and selfie sticks.
Kiosks, AI and other tech is helping restaurants build long term relationships with their customers
Tech innovation is helping the Hospitality industry improve the customer experience, increase speed of service and gain insight into customers’ habits enabling them to amplify their brand identity according to Restaurant Tech Live. Delivery apps let operators to receive more food orders without the need for manpower to cater for more guests. Wi-Fi offers convenience and can give restaurants greater customer insight. Kiosks are helping restaurants deal with recent wage hikes and some operators are looking into virtual reality technologies to improve both the online and offline experience for guests.
Spend in UK hotels, restaurants and bars rise 6% according to Visa
Despite overall consumer spend falling 0.8%, Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland MD at Visa said, “…there were still some bright spots with hotels, restaurants and bars reporting a 6% increase. The sector is likely to have benefited from an early surge in summer staycations as the weak pound made holidaying at home more attractive.