Our everyday life is becoming more and more digital: Whether paying at the checkout with your cell phone, ordering a taxi or looking at menus using QR codes, our smartphone and digital solutions have become indispensable. The digitization of everyday life holds new opportunities and numerous advantages for companies. In times like the current Corona crisis, reducing physical contact is all the more important, which is why clever solutions are also needed in the German hospitality industry.
We have compiled six points for you here which digital options are available for the hospitality industry, what challenges a changeover can entail and how you can best take the step towards digitization 4.0.
1. Digital POS system and accounting
About half of the companies that are active in the hospitality industry in Germany already work with digital POS systems. The systems help to keep track of incoming and outgoing goods and to be able to plan better. This means that invoices and receipts can be created more quickly, which will simplify bookkeeping. Especially since bookkeeping is always associated with a lot of effort and detailed work, one enjoys new approaches here. Digital solutions provide a remedy and also make it easier to record and organize different employment relationships such as part-time, full-time or temporary jobs for employees.
Investing in a new POS system is initially an organizational and financial stumbling block. But in the long term, this investment will pay off due to the reduced time and effort required and will have a positive effect on everyday work.
In addition, digital checkout systems are also predominantly linked to contactless payment devices. These are often offered as a combined package. So you kill 2 birds with one stone by having a simplified bookkeeping and at the same time allowing your guests different payment methods that are even more hygienic than traditional cash.
Our tip: When setting up the cash register system, make sure right from the start that you can accept tips by card payment. This makes it easier for your guests to reward the service when paying by card. If you still have to search for small change, you sometimes prefer not to do it. So prepare yourself for this little thing. If you are just starting your own business in the hospitality industry, it is always worth investing in a digital POS system right from the start. You can find tips for starting your own business in the hospitality industry here.
2. Digital menu and ordering
Around ⅕ of the hospitality industry already supports their everyday processes by using tablets, apps or QR codes. The menu can be selected on tablets and in some cases also ordered. This saves the service staff the walk to the table and thus time.
Whether you can order from you via tablet or not should of course also suit your ambience. For example, this type of ordering is ideal if you take advantage of an “all you can eat” offer. In a particularly exclusive ambience, you should place great value on service, which is why the option with digital ordering is not applicable.
In addition, since the Corona crisis, many businesses have integrated a QR code: by scanning with a smartphone, you can firstly enter the guest data and secondly view the menu. In this way, physical contact can be reduced and you don't have to wait until the menu is brought to the table, but can start reading the delicacies right away.
3. Archiving and analysis of customer data
In order to receive your target group, your customer base and also feedback on your business, maintaining your customer data is essential for your success. This is easier if you have stored the data of your guests digitally.
You can of course use a simple Excel list for this. But if you want to get in touch with your guests again, you can also enter this customer data in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. The advantage of this is that you have collected all the data and can therefore easily get in touch with the customers. At the same time you can create groups and subcategories. Examples of CRM systems are Hubspot, Salesforce or Pipedrive.
The topic of data protection came up separately in the current Corona crisis. In contrast to simple paper slips, these digital systems allow you increased security of personal data. In addition, you can protect yourself legally through direct contact with the guests by sending a data protection declaration by e-mail. Make sure you have an antivirus or protection program on your computer, which protects you from impairments and data theft.
Customer data and their feedback are particularly important in the hotel industry. A CRM system also helps you get feedback and ask guests about their satisfaction. For example, you can create a survey on sustainability and the associated customer satisfaction of your guests. You will find tips on how to initiate the green revolution in the hospitality industry and thus bring more sustainability into your ambience here .
Our tip: By evaluating this data, you can more easily track changes based on customer requests, spot potential pain points, and implement trends.
4. Online ordering and reservation
Out-of-house orders are increasing, especially due to the ongoing Corona crisis. It is advisable to offer customers access to the menu and the opportunity to order. In addition to the traditional print order card, you should also set up an option online so that your guests can see the menu and leave their meal preferences. You can either set up a contact form or integrate a shopping cart. You can get help from the online providers of your website.
If it is not possible to contact the website provider, simply leave your telephone number and the online menu on your website so that the guests can contact you by phone. In this way, you drive digitization forward and expand your sales opportunities.
In addition, you can also register your business and food offerings with delivery service providers such as Lieferando, Lieferheld or Owl2go to enable take-out orders. Make sure that you don't use too much packaging waste or use plastic-free alternatives like ours #IAMPLASTICFREE Bags changes. By July 2021 at the latest, the specifications for single-use plastic will change in Germany. You can find out what exactly is behind it and which products are affected read here.
By ordering online, many people also pay using digital payment options such as credit cards or PayPal. This means that physical contact between your staff and customers can be kept to a minimum. Our tip: Set up a pick-up station for those who pick you up yourself, which allows you to reduce contact and ensure less hustle and bustle within your company.
You can also use the contact form mentioned above to offer guests the option of making a table reservation online. This not only saves the customer, but also you time. Our tip: Check your e-mails once or twice a day to calculate both the number of guests and the food and to ask questions about reservations or to give feedback.
5. Online Presence
So that you can inform both your existing and new customers about news and changes, it makes sense to be represented on the Internet. You can use various channels to draw attention to yourself and provide customers with the information they need.
The first basic step is the creation of a website and a Google entry, which provide information about the most important information. This includes:
- name of your business
- opening hours
- phone number
- Reservation options
In addition, it is helpful for new customers to find information about the menu and what is special about your hospitality business. You can easily create a website with providers like Jimdo, Squarespace, Wix and others. The modular tools are easy to use with a little practice. We can recommend investing in your own domain, as this contributes to the professionalism of your business.
In addition to the website, you have the option of being present on various social networks such as Facebook or Instagram. Becoming a member of these networks is free and very user-friendly, so you will find your way around quickly. Make sure that you enter the most important information in your profile, that your pictures are of high quality and that the location is tagged. You can then show news, products or your team in your social profiles.
In the meantime, social media has also become a suitable platform for posting job advertisements and looking for new staff, as well as for maintaining relationships with your customers. You can also make your profile a "business profile" in the settings, which gives you more functions for interacting and promoting your business and products.
Our tip: Ask satisfied guests if they can leave a review for you on Google or another portal such as Tripadvisor, Lieferando, Vanilla Bean etc. For many people, customer reviews are one of the most important factors in choosing which restaurant/cafe/bar they will ultimately visit.
6. Digital quality and hygiene management
There are also numerous rules to be observed in the areas of product quality and hygiene and cleanliness management. Especially in the hospitality industry, where food and drinks are offered, there are stricter regulations to be observed.
The use of a digital organization and control system is also suitable here so that problems relating to food hygiene can be identified more quickly. These can help to create checklists for already used or still available food and to keep track of the product quantity and the use of food. This can also reduce food waste. If something has to be thrown away and you are unsure which garbage belongs in which bin, you can here Read our waste separation overview.
Thanks to digital organizational systems, you always have an overview of the merchandise management system. This mobile overview of the inventory, ordering and delivery processes and the food calculation will help you with your everyday planning.
At the same time, trends in guest demand can be identified through evaluations of these lists, which means that meals can be better calculated and the preferences of the guests can be better addressed.
Our tip : Especially in times of Covid-19, greater importance is attached to hygiene measures. That's why you need clever digital ideas for everyday gastronomy in the ongoing Corona crisis. You can find tips on individual digital hygiene measures in the “Corona hospitality industry”. here.
Opportunities through digitization in the hospitality industry
Even if some of the digital solutions are initially associated with (financial) effort, these investments are definitely worthwhile in the long term. It will not only make everyday tasks easier for you, but will also give you a comprehensive overview and analysis of your business processes.
This allows you to work on weak points and seize new opportunities to realize the full potential of the trade. Especially in the organizational and administrative area, these solutions offer a high potential for savings.
After a short familiarization phase, you will certainly have quickly gotten used to the new digital changes and integrated them perfectly into everyday business. We can only recommend that you think about digital solutions and consider the options mentioned.
What other concepts for digitization do you know and have you perhaps even had your own experiences? Feel free to let us know in the comments.
We wish you every success on the way to digitization in your hospitality industry!