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Retail Technology canvassed vendor opinion on the most important considerations in hospitality and foodservice retail IT next year

imon Pont, chief executive of ECR Retail Systems, said: “Retailers need to pick their technological investments carefully in 2013 to ensure they remain competitive and directly in sync with the rapidly changing demands of their customers.” Although claims that mobile phone


payments are the future for the retail industry have intensified, he said there has been little said about the feasibility of it as a long-term solution to justify the high levels of investment needed to make it a reality, despite the experiences of pioneering companies like PizzaExpress and its PayPal mobile collaboration (page 26). Pont added: “Retailers need to take these points into account when looking

at how they can enhance their customer service offering.Mobile point-of-sale (MPoS) technology solves this problem,” he said. Supporting his view,MPoS projects certainly feature heavily in this annual Retail Technology sector feature. “If you can equip your staff with portable

payment terminals, which provide stock and sales information to head office and personal service to customers from any point in the store, you’ll be able to capitalise on potential lost sales caused by long waiting times,” Pont added, highlighting the work his company recently completed for Rail Gourmet Ireland (page 31). As an MPoS enabling technology, it is not surprising that Wi-Fi also emerged at the

top of hospitality IT shopping lists this year. Wireless connectivity is now perceived as a standard service by restaurant, bar and hotel guests. Hospitality companies need to adapt to this requirement and provide guests with the robust Wi-Fi network, according to Steven Glapa, senior field marketing director at Ruckus Wireless, which is supplying the Marston’s chain with new wireless network systems (page 27). Glapa added: “[They] face a number of technical and infrastructural challenges to deliver wireless internet access with the capacity to service the diverse needs of multiple guests in a designated area. Adopting a managed services model can provide cost efficiencies and added commercial benefits.”


on selected drinks. Designed and developed with IT specialists GS Systems


and run via Baa Bar’s electronic point-of-sale (EPoS) solution, the swipe and save Essentials card costs £3 allows cardholders to earn points every time they buy drinks. “This is a really great added value scheme for all our customers. If they spend £1, they automatically receive ten points.Once they have accumulated 750 points they are sent a voucher for free drinks or special Baa Bar merchandise. The cards also enable Essentials members to beat the queues on busy nights,” said Iain Hoskins, Baa Bar’s marketing and brand manager. “The cards easily pay for themselves many times over.

Once they’ve bought the card, they manage their accounts online via the Baa Bar Essentials dashboard. All they have to do is sign in to the account and enter a valid e-mail address and password. Once logged in customers can view their points total, update personal details and most importantly redeem points for vouchers,” he added. The scheme was also used to promote the Baa Bar brand to thousands of university students across the northwest

orth of England-based bar firm Baa Bar recently launched an Essentials loyalty card to offer customers exclusive offers and benefits, including big discounts

during freshers’ week earlier this autumn. GS Systems installed over 70 EPoS touchscreen terminals and a head office central management solution for the eight-bar chain earlier this year to improve cash and stock management and business reporting. The deployment enabled the activation of the cloud-based customer loyalty package when the Toshiba A10 EPoS terminals were fitted with card swipes. The chain is not only using the loyalty scheme to directly

target and reward customers, it is also able to track its success in real-time and adapt it to meet immediate sales requirements, while saving on expensive paper voucher printing, production, distribution and advertising costs.


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