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Left: One of Systopia's cashless payment systems allows employees' to use their security badges to buy items in the cafeteria

“Technology can be expensive to integrate, particularly if there are legacy systems in the hotel chain. What we need is better collaboration between vendors and their customers. Often vendors have a solution that is looking for a problem, but there is a lot of interest from both sides in finding solutions specifically for the hospitality industry,” says Toms. “In the hotel sector there are many areas where technology

for operators. “Using iPad tills, for example, gives you more standardised data that you can cut into data cubes and analyse in any way you choose,” says Doughty. “Operators can look at any aspect of their operation at whatever level of detail.”

An integrated and intelligent approach

The convenience of tabletop ordering or cashless payment, along with the value operators can glean from data to improve planning and management processes, has repercussions. Servers will engage with customers in a different way. “No one chooses a restaurant because it has iPad menus. The technology must engender some customer loyalty and with tabletop ordering that comes from freeing up staff to deliver other types of service, namely a more personal interaction with customers. Mobile payments solutions that allow people to split their bills, which helps groups of diners if people need to leave at different times, and revenue management is an important area for the hospitality industry,” says Hannah Toms, Arena International’s senior producer for the International Hotel Technology Forum (IHTF). “We have seen how much revenue F&B contributes to

hotels. In the big hotels it can be up to 60% of total revenue and technology can make a big different in how that revenue stream is managed. For instance, real-time data analytics can look at profit, stock and usage to help operators plan better and improve customer service,” she remarks.

The IHTF will run the Hospitality Food & Beverages Forum conference in London from 24-25 November, which will bring together F&B, operations and technology directors from Europe’s biggest hotel and restaurant chains to learn about tools and techniques that can help to improve efficiency and profitability of F&B outlets.

The aim of the conference is to provide an environment in which leading hoteliers and restaurateurs can meet suppliers and solution providers from the hospitality industry in pre-arranged, private business meetings, to address specific challenges that directly affect their bottom lines. There will also be keynote speeches from top hotels and restaurants, workshops from industry leading suppliers and a revenue management training session.


can help, such as EPOS systems, revenue management or table-top ordering. It needs an integrated technology solution underlying it, but each hotel is different and requires a solution tailored to its needs without costing the earth. We are hoping that the event will help people find opportunities to increase the number of covers, improve operations and raise the level of customer satisfaction, as well as making important connections in the industry,” she adds.

Front and back Technology is not only changing front-of-house processes, but also improving efficiency in the kitchen.

“Induction has been used in Europe for a much longer time than it has in the US, and it is a very efficient way of cooking, but people are intimidated by it. What we will see in terms of technology development – in the kitchen, at least – is a lot of little tweaks rather than a big game-changer,” says Reggie Daniel FCSI, a consultant with Camacho Associates. “One technology I have seen is a fryer with a magnetic

motor, which helps to ensure there are no leaks, and in which the oil is constantly filtered so it has a longer life. This is a piece of equipment that saves time and money,” he adds. For foodservice consultants, there is clearly a need to stay informed about advances in technology, whether they are looking at equipment for the kitchen or systems to improve planning and procurement. “As consultants we must keep abreast of new technological developments, but many don’t because they feel that what has gone before can simply be done again. Ultimately, you can use the technology if you choose to,” says Doughty. “Foodservice customers are promiscuous, so the challenge is to engage them and retain them.”

GET APP-Y On the subject of cutting edge, innovative new technology – have you downloaded the new Foodservice Consultant app yet? Easy to navigate, beautiful looking and with a host of extra features, including the ‘find a consultant’ global search function, this intuitive app enables readers to view the latest magazine content on Apple devices and phones plus Android tablets later this year.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores later in 2014.

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