The world of hospitality tech is vast. There is a seemingly never-ending list of technologies that can fit into our businesses to help do things “better” than before. Over the last 10 years we have been spoilt for choice. There are solutions out there for recruitment, rotas, communications and team engagement. Not to mention solutions for payroll, produce orders, tracking financials, marketing and customer engagement. Our tills have all become more automated, more accurate, and more compliant. You want a robot serving your guests, juggling dishes whilst telling jokes? Not a problem. We even have excellent data guys like Tenzo and Tahola that pull all the data we have stacked into our businesses into one place, giving clarity and visibility of all the benefits gained from this technical revolution.
Is all of this technology a good thing? Is it good for the customer and, critically, is it good for our businesses? Clearly every business is different. Even though I don’t see my local traditional Italian rolling out waiter bots or my independent watering hole taking on a business analytics suite just yet, there is a different mixture of hospitality tech that is the right fit for most of us. This will depend on the scale, style and priorities of the business. However, most businesses have come to understand that doing nothing will likely result in being less efficient, less productive and being left behind our competitors.
When looking at what tech is right for your business, one of the key places to start is by considering what your priorities are. Maybe it’s labour cost saving, growing sales, marketing, or a smooth EPoS system. As technology has become better and more critical to our industry, so has its consolidation. There have been some excellent innovations in hospitality that tackle the unique challenges we face. Yes, there’s still a significant amount of innovation and solutions being developed. We’ve also seen some giants of the technology service sector who can offer most operators pretty much everything – all under one roof as a multi-purpose tech supplier. You can now get your schedules, payroll, tills, F&B platform, analytics and more from just one supplier. This sounds like a positive thing for the industry: everything you need in one place and on one bill. Big tech has recently been on the acquisition trail, snapping up some of the best and brightest prospects in the hospitality tech world. In the last year, we have seen hospitality’s leading providers in training, compliance and ordering brought under the same roof as event booking and labour planning platforms in one big tech.
The question to consider is: can innovation, value for money, customer service or user flexibility ever be improved by the consolidation of tech? Unlikely. Innovation happens when specialists in their field are given the freedom to continually perfect the areas that they excel in. Customers benefit most when they can form close relationships with their suppliers, acting as the external voice that feeds into the product development.
The consolidated approach works well for those who want the mediocracy of everything. The under one roof offering tends to give operators one outstanding product, but a disappointing “everything else”. An operator can get one incredible piece of kit, but they’ll miss out on the best of everything else. Take Yapster for example: it’s brilliant and integrated with everything. If you want the best for team comms and leadership, go speak to Yapster. Yapster is an independent business with the best-in-class tech. Even though you could get a product from a consolidator, who can put team comms and EPos on the same invoice, there’s a sacrifice. You’ll likely end up with a weaker team comms platform in your business and a mediocre EPoS.
S4labour is 100% focused on being the best people system in the market. There is no other leadership, development or account management team more ingrained and experienced in hospitality productivity than S4labour. Over half of the winners at this years Publican Awards use S4labour, showing just how the best in the industry, who value the productivity of their teams above other tech, use S4labour. S4labour is also integrated with everything else in the category of market leading products. You can have the best people system, integrated with the best till systems, integrated with the best ATS, forward pay, training platform, marketing, comms, tipping etc and seamlessly link it all with S4labour.
By taking a sidestep around the “under one roof” consolidations, you will find a sea of the best of the best and you won’t need to compromise on any part of your technological priorities. The wonderful thing about everything that doesn’t sit with the consolidators, is just how well it all works together and how good we have all become at making the customer experience seamless and integrated with each other. Hedging your tech suppliers really is the only way to ensure you get an uncompromised solution.