October 6, 2022

Tech Transformation in Hospitality, Food and Beverage, and Retail Industries

By Waqqas Mahmood, Director, Strategic Consulting, Marcum Technology

Tech Transformation in Hospitality, Food and Beverage, and Retail Industries Strategic IT Consulting

The U.S. economy is being buffeted by socio-economic forces (including Covid-19, inflation, and high staff turnover), and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT), unlike anything we have seen in the past. These sometimes-competing forces are combining to transform the hospitality, food and beverage, and retail industries, creating both challenges and opportunities for business operators, real-estate managers, and board members to realize tangible business value.

By sheer nature, these industries are extremely competitive, and it is essential to keep up with the very latest technology trends to maintain market position drive operational efficiencies, increase revenue, and improve customer experience. But the persisting labor shortage, and the challenges of maintaining legacy IT/ technology systems and practices have also unveiled some key opportunities by creating operational efficiencies through automation and other technologies; attracting and retaining top talent with innovative and collaborative organizational structure; and by having a data-driven inventory management approach where both business operations and technology are aligned.

Intelligent Business Operations

Intelligent business operations refers to advancing the operating model through technology, processes, data, and people. It drives new ways of creating efficiencies and better experiences for both customers and employees, resulting in faster, smarter products and services.

Integrating core IT systems for F&B organizations, such as Point of Sale (“POS”), Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”), and Human Resources Information Systems (“HRIS”), can provide benefits across the entire operation. When combined with standardized operating procedures (SOPs) and processes, operators and managers can see transaction-level details, which enable them to make better-informed decisions around product offerings, procurement, staffing, and well-governed financial controls and management.

An intelligent IT system integration provides a central system that is built around a scalable and secure IT architecture, SOPs, and well-defined financial controls – allowing managers to achieve operational and cost efficiencies.

Innovative and collaborative organizations

The hospitality industry, especially food and beverage (F&B) has deep roots in camaraderie among competitors, partners, vendors, and communities. When COVID-19 first appeared and the food service industry felt its devastating effects, restaurants turned to each other for support. In many cases this communal shift saved many small eateries from shutting their doors forever. From sharing costs on bulk food purchases to opening community pantries, the collaborative spirit is still alive and well and helping the industry as a whole bounce back.

Whether it’s collaborating with other F&B or hospitality organizations, adopting new menu items, or experimenting new digital channels, such as e-commerce, mobile-app, or third-party delivery services (GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats etc.), the key ingredient to long-term success is cultivating a culture of innovation. We have seen success in this approach when operators create a multi-skill team to analyze menu items, recipes, financial performance, and customer demands. To do this effectively, operators need to attract, hire, and retain the right people, especially in the leadership roles. Hiring a head chef who encourages junior culinary staff to come up with new menu items and collaborates with other areas of business operations can be conducive to creating a culture of innovation where it’s acceptable to make mistakes and learn to evolve.

Data-driven inventory management

Creating an overall business-led technology strategy where the inventory management system is designed to handle multiple vendors, categories, and Application Programming Interface (“AP”I) integrations to handle vendor management processes, such as Procure-to-Pay (“P2P”) is critical.

By understanding and leveraging data, operators of F&B and hospitality organizations can make smart budgeting and forecasting decisions in real-time to ensure that they are able to thrive in challenging economic conditions while staying relevant to their customers. Procurement in the F&B, retail, and grocery space is a critical success factor. Procurement in these industries tends to involve many suppliers, even for smaller businesses – including Quick Service Restaurants (“QSR”).

With the application of these advanced technologies, there’s an immense amount of guest/customer data that can help business leaders and operators to cater desirable products, menu offerings and grocery-retail items. Utilizing Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) systems and/or a loyalty program can also provide insightful data to help create overall business strategy, product mix, and capabilities to enhance and delight guests as digital customers.

By adopting these business-led approaches, selecting, implementing, and integrating core hospitality systems, such as ERP, finance and accounting, HRIS, E-commerce, and CRM can prove to be the secret sauce (no pun intended) needed for sustainable success. Technology needs a comprehensive digital strategy that is measurable and tangible for the operators, business leaders and board members.

Marcum advisors can help organizations through the highly complex process of building and executing Intelligent Business Operations. Marcum Technology employs a highly collaborative approach with IT leaders to leverage deep organizational and industry knowledge and ensure ownership subsequent execution. For more information, contact [email protected] #AskMarcumTechnology