Creating a differentiated customer journey with smart technology.
The introduction of digital solutions has transformed the customer journey - from online reviews, mobile reservations, electronic menus to cashless payments. Digitalisation has altered the way businesses operate and this trend will continue to shape and evolve businesses, leaving companies little choice but to keep up or ship out.
Amongst the multiple challenges, Food & Beverage (F&B) operators are most affected by rising labour and rental costs due to their insatiable appetite for staff to support operations as well as the need for choice locations to attract traffic.
Digitalisation is the bridge to overcome these obstacles. It offers smaller Food and Beverage (F&B) operators a larger slice of the cake by making processes more efficient and reducing the reliance on human labour. Best of all, digital solutions are becoming more affordable with the help of government initiatives.
The Government is setting a target for 50 per cent of all F&B outlets - including coffee shops and hawker stalls - to adopt digital solutions by 2020.i
Particularly, the Government launched the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the food services industry aimed at accelerating the restructuring required for sustainable growth. Under the ITM, there is a pressing need to move towards manpower lean formats leveraging automation and technology. The upcoming Food Services Transformation Conference 2018 organised by the Asian Culinary Institute, a CET institute of Nanyang Polytechnic, will cover best practices from industry players and international speakers from Japan and Italy who have adopted innovative digitalisation & technology solutions and practices that brought about transformations in their companies.
A key highlight of the conference is the technology showcase, which will feature an exciting lineup of technology solutions curated for the food services sector from partners such as StarHub and Samsung. Technology solutions include in-store analytics & engagement, robotics, mobile ordering platforms etc.
Consider these factors to set yourself apart with a differentiated customer journey:
F&B operators need to ride on the mobile wave to stay competitive. Besides engaging diners via social media, they need to increase their online visibility by exploring food-related apps and sites such as HungryGoWhere and Makansutra where Singaporeans would go to check out new food options.
Having a seamless customer experience also means allowing for quick and easy online reservations and ordering process. The mobile ordering solution included in StarHub’s Smart Retail Suite for F&Bs integrates an online reservation feature together with a digital menu where diners can browse even before making a reservation. Not only does this cut the cost of having a waiter, it also reduces human error and waiting time, all with just simple taps on the screen.
Streamlining backend processes
Smoothening the front-end process is only half the battle won. To truly simplify your operational processes, you will have to sync it up with your backend system. Having orders automatically sent to the kitchen and subsequently notify the waiter when the dish is ready to be served will make the entire preparation process fuss-free and efficient. You can even consider opting for self-service to eliminate the need for waiters entirely.
As Singapore strives to become a cashless economy, usage of mobile payments is on rise, growing by 53% since 2017 which is significantly higher than in the United States (23%) and Australia (14%) and at the same level as Hong Kong (41%). In order to cater to the increasing demand of diners for digital modes of payment, F&B operators need to start incorporating these payment platforms otherwise they risk losing customers.
FavePay noted that "one of the biggest factors that hinders the adoption of mobile payments among F&B businesses is the complexity, high investment cost in both terminals and transaction fees in setting up a new payment platform". iii
To counter these challenges, mobile payments such as FavePay and GrabPay designed their systems to be hassle free and cost-friendly, removing the need for vendors to incur additional fees such as rental of terminals. Fave also provides a proprietary dashboard, FaveBiz, which allows them to get real time reporting, monitor performance as well as receive direct customer feedback.
Predict (rather than react to) customer needs
One key benefit of digital solutions is that they allow for collection of valuable business data that were not easily available in the past. Analytics such as bestselling items, peak hours, customer demographics help business owners draw deep insights into their diners’ preferences and behaviours. With such information, they can now make informed decisions based on a more accurate forecast of demand and hence improve their offerings to grow the business strategically.
The F&B industry is all about the customer experience. Harnessing the power of technology helps operators enhance their customer journey and simplify operational processes concurrently. Consumers also benefit from the convenience that comes from the adoption of digital solutions.
Forging ahead to disrupt, challenge and lead
Key strategies to keep your business ahead in the race.
How tech-ready is your SME?
Find out if you have the right tech capabilities with the StarHub Tech Readiness Assessment.