By Frederick J. DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech and Mike Teng
Tablet PCs, including iPads are taking our hospitality industry by storm. About 140 million tablets are manufactured and shipped worldwide each year and this is projected to increase to at least 2017 (Statista, 2013).
We recently asked our capstone hospitality strategic technologies class here in the Lerner College at the University of Delaware to provide some examples of how the tablet/iPad could be used in a F&B operation. One interesting idea that was germinated was using the iPad as an ordering device from the table (not very new or novel these days), but the novelty was being able to view the entire preparation of your dish live via a camera in the kitchen (and see the step of the recipe in real time) from your restaurant seat as the chef prepared your menu item. We like this, as today’s consumers generally tend to be “culinary literate” but not as “culinary savvy” (in preparing menu items). So this video of the action of menu item preparation is a type of culinary education for the guest. Read more of this >>
By Dr. Fred J. DeMicco & Mike Teng, the University of Delaware
Pinterest is a new social media tool that can be used in your F&B operation. Since it is web-based, you can engage all of your customers and far flung global hotels using this tool. You can create your own hotel “group” on Pinterest for your managers and/or associates as a training and education device. For example, you can “pin” articles from trade magazines, any guest comments, new recipes with photos, etc., to share with your staff (anywhere in the world).
Think of Pinterest as a giant bulletin board for employees (and guests) to see. We have been using this here at the University of Delaware in our classes, for students to share Wall Street Journal articles with the class. You can also engage all of your operations to share new recipes, marketing ideas, and guest comments all in a very user-friendly and fun space on the Web. Read more of this >>
In a recent email, (August 27, 2012) Paul Cerrato examined 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013. He stated, look for growth in mobile health, telemedicine, clinical analytics, and personal health record. It is interesting to note that during our “great recession,” that healthcare and hotels/hospitality have continued solid gains in employment and profitability (two key drivers of our economy). In fact hotels and healthcare are becoming attractive partners as they hook up with Hotels Bridging Healthcare, we coined and use the term H2H. Our recent June 2012 conference in Switzerland offered solutions for these H2H “marriages” for the future, and provide opportunities for hotel F&B operations as part of H2H. Read more here on the H2H and Switzerland Model.
So let’s look more closely to healthcare and how some of these technology practices can bridge and advance hotels and hospitality (H2H). In Paul Cerrito’s article he discusses 11 Super Mobile Medical Apps Mobile Health. This segment of the industry offers the most promise. It’s no exaggeration to describe consumers’ and physicians’ embrace of mobile health apps, smartphones, and tablets as transformational. Read more of this >>
These days you have to be scanning the environment to see what guests are saying about you on social networks.
You have to these days to protect your turf. There are “best practices” for Online Social Media (OSM) management being used to scan to see in real time what quests are saying about you, both positive and negative. They boil down to (1) engage with all comments, both positive and negative ones; and (2) measure aggregate positive/negative trends over time. Everybody can do this, and everybody is trying to make their solution sound unique. Good luck with that. But what if we consider said “best practices” to be a mere baseline? Is there a technology that gives this conventional wisdom a good whack in the head? I believe the answer is yes.
It’s called Pattern Based Analytics (PBA), and nobody can do it but Quantum Leap Buzz (this has something to do with patents and a bunch of DoD work over the last decade). I have been working with this University of Delaware research-based company, and it provides the best tool (in real time) to stay on top of what your guests are telling to the world. Read more of this >>
Coffee, coffee everywhere and not a drop to drink. How often have you been in a rush to a meeting and plan to stop by the coffee shop in the lobby to get a coffee, and then as you approach the coffee shop, you see the line. This happens all too often now days. With specialty coffee consumption growing at 20 percent per year and the majority switching to latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, or some other combination of espresso, milk, and sugar, the stop at the coffee shop is no longer a 30 seconds per customer visit.
Recently we tested a neat new equipment product here at our student run restaurant Vita Nova on the University of Delaware campus. This automated coffee making machine was easy for our students to use and make espresso and cappuccino’s all automated and of high quality and value. It hooks easily to a POS (Micros in our case here) and automatically sends a signal to grind the beans and brew and go. It can even be self-automated for lobby areas, where one can swipe a hotel room key card, or a credit card.
“What is the impact to your bottom line?” I asked Jerry Leeman, CEO, Perk Dynamics. “What is the impact to customer satisfaction?”
Many properties are in the throes of addressing this issue. With espresso based drinks offering 300 to 500 percent margin markup, it is very attractive to add espresso based drinks to a coffee shop menu offering. The issue becomes training and time to serve. Starbucks, the king of the gourmet coffee world, says the drink is all about the “experience.” If the wait for your gourmet coffee is too long, there is no chance of enjoying the “experience;” replaced by frustration. When that same coffee shop only served filter coffee, on average a customer could be served in 30 seconds—contrasted by the two minutes a cup of gourmet coffee takes to serve. With 10 people ahead of you in line the wait was five minutes and now becomes closer to a 20 minute wait. Do you really have that much time? Read more of this >>
Labor management in the restaurant and hospitality industries can be a big time consumer for managers. Managers spend hours every week sorting through employees’ schedule requests and setting and assigning shifts. Employees jot down their schedules on the back of sales receipts and may make a dozen phone calls just to get one shift change covered. The old way is just that—outdated, inflexible, inaccurate, and often costly.
One product worth checking out is HotSchedules. HotSchedules offers an array of solutions designed to streamline the scheduling process by reducing controllable labor costs and increasing employee retention. By accessing the solution via phone, online, or mobile app, managers and staff are empowered with robust tools they need to be more efficient and effective. Service is also bi-lingual, supporting your diverse work force.
With HotSchedules smart phone apps, employees and managers can benefit from using new technology available today on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry app to quickly view their schedule, request a shift swap or release, see available shifts, pick up a shift, message managers or co-workers and see who is working. Managers in hotels or restaurants (or any retail outlet) can approve or deny shift trade requests, enter, read, or search Digital Logbook entries (an online communications log for shift notes and staff performance information) and check the schedule roster. Read more of this >>
In a previous Dr. Food Tech column, I wrote about the PIN and Chip payment method that was sweeping Europe. This device allowed the guest to control their credit card after receiving their check at a restaurant table. Among other things it would prevent an unscrupulous wait staff member from copying the credit account number or switching your credit card with another stolen card. The PIN (Personal Identification Number) and electronic Chip (imbedded in the card) allowed the guest to control the security of their credit card.
We have seen and heard the stories of lost or missing cards, mixed-up cards, identity theft, and card skimming at restaurants, hotel restaurants and lounges. Card theft continues to grow and the industry trend is moving towards better security of customer credit cards. Read more of this >>
I recently talked with Jerry Leeman, CEO of Perk Dynamics and formerly with IBM. Perk Dynamics makes KIOSK, an innovative automated “robotic like” espresso machine tied into a hotel restaurant’s POS. Jerry and I discussed KIOSK’s application to hotel food and beverage.
In 1939, Luther Simjian patented an early prototype of an ATM. ATMs are the first successful implementation of a KIOSK, and whether Luther had any idea of what KIOSKs would look like 70 years later is debatable. KIOSK technology has had many starts and stops over the years, but I think everyone agrees that they are here to stay. What forms they will take in the future is probably as clear to us as the ATM of today was to Luther when he filed his patent. Read more of this >>