Is there too much focus on entrenched infrastructure?
The pace of change in dining guest expectations, and the technology required to meet or exceed those expectations, is rapidly accelerating. From online ordering to self-service kiosks and mobile apps; from wait-list messaging to real-time social engagement and mobile payments; diners are demanding new experiences – new ways to engage with restaurants. And they are voting for their preferences with their wallets. As a result, the solutions and technologies that meet today’s challenges may be too inflexible, not sufficiently integrated, or lack the agility necessary to secure a long-term competitive edge.
Ensuring the proper IT systems are in place is crucial to enable a superior guest dining experience. It encompasses everything from providing personalized guest interactions, to anticipating their preferences using predictive analysis. Restaurateurs should not solely rely on the past as a reliable predictor of the future when it comes to enabling technologies.
According to the 2019 Restaurant Technology Study, 54% of IT budgets will be spent on maintaining existing infrastructure, but is that too much to invest in existing IT systems? While some portion of that is for ongoing operations and maintenance, the same study finds only 17% of restaurant IT budgets are planned for R&D and innovation. Given the pace of change in guest technology demands, it appears that operators who spend more on innovation as early tech adopters will be the winners, gaining a sustainable competitive advantage that laggards may be hard-pressed to overcome.