Choosing the tech that's right for your business

Choosing the tech that's right for your business

4th May 2022

It wasn’t long ago that the vast majority of hospitality tech was only available to bigger companies with deep pockets, an in-house IT team and sourced from a few specialist providers whilst smaller businesses relied on a low (or zero) approach to tech (Excel stocktaking, handwritten rotas).

Working as a consultant has opened my eyes to the myriad of tech solutions on offer these days with start-up and challengers threatening the established names. 

Areas of restaurant technology that sat on the fringes are now essential– who would have considered ‘pay-at-table’ a must-have in hospitality prior to 2020?

The big question this now leaves many operators is simple – which one(s) to choose? 

Historically the choice was: 

• Who can provide the tool(s) I need/think I need?

• Who do my competitors use? (Reduce the risk)

• What’s my budget? (What’s my return on investment?)

Modern restaurant tech now means we should ask:

  • Who can provide the tool(s) that I need now?
  • What do I really need (identify the ‘musts’)?
  • How long is the commitment – can the provider adapt/scale and/does it do the job for now?

In my experience more and more tech providers are offering an ‘off the shelf’ offer than can be (lightly) personalised with a low cost/low commitment model. These often have a low (or no) initial set-up fee and a reasonable monthly subscription charge compared with significant costs and long-term contracts we’ve seen from the traditional operators in this sector.

So let’s look at my three questions in a little more detail:

Who can provide the tool/the tools that I need now?

To help answer this you need to identify the specific need or problem that needs to be solved for your business currently (and for the next 3-6 months) – ask around, check out demos and create a shortlist. Factor in ongoing support – is there 24/7 support?

What do I really need?

Be as specific as you can but focus on the current business need - we’d all love a stock package that counts the stock for you and automatically generates a multitude of beautiful and detailed reports in exactly the format you’d like, however, in the same way we don’t need a top of the range mountain bike to cycle to the shops, focus on the basics – does it do what you need it to do?

How long is the commitment?

Operators often fall into the trap of trying to ‘future-proof’ their tech which is tough to predict and can leave us tied into contracts that don’t deliver what we need, when we need it. Look for flexible options such as monthly subscriptions – once you have new needs that can’t be met by your current provider, start again at step one and let your tech evolve with your business!

This is of course just my opinion – I’d love to hear yours and/or if I can help feel free to get in touch! 

This post was originally written for the Tech on Toast newsletter - find out more about Tech on Toast here!

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