From One IT Exec to Another: It is Possible to Simplify Your Tech Stack
The restaurant industry is currently in a state of significant change, as more and more companies try to drive business performance through technology investments.
Systems now exist for back-office operations, customer satisfaction, payroll and much more. And all of these systems collect data that can be harnessed by businesses to glean insights that can improve productivity, increase revenue or bolster customer loyalty.
Those systems can be a blessing and a curse, however. According to an industry research report, Building an Insight-Enabled Infrastructure, Hospitality Technology found that 53% of restaurants said they have more than 10 systems or applications to power operations and another 7% said they rely on 30 systems or more.
The Disadvantages of Fragmented Technology
Overly complex tech stacks are costly in more ways than you might realize — they cost money, yes, but what about the stress in managing them? There is the cost of maintenance; the time spent analyzing data from multiple sources, the loss of corporate productivity. As restaurants grow their tech stacks, they also need to think about hiring IT staff to manage those systems. The problem is that approach is not always scalable.
Furthermore, system fragmentation creates data decentralization and a lack of insight. In the new report, Hospitality Technology reports that 40% percent of brands agreed that a lack of integration was a major hindrance to leveraging their data. Another 11% of respondents noted there was simply too much data. Every brand executive has KPIs they want to see, but that data needs to be digestible. Often times, there is so much data given to operators that the biggest barrier for operations is simply knowing what to look at or what is important.
Finally, it is very difficult to gain the level of employee adoption needed to run productively and profitably when there are too many systems. Restaurant managers are already overwhelmed with the amount they have to manage within their stores, including the store’s technology. Record-high manager turnover only amplifies the issue, because every time a manager moves on from your store, they walk out the door with their systems training.
If you think you have too many systems, it is always useful to get your vendors in a room together. Having the visualization and documentation of how your disparate systems work together — or don’t — could help you determine whether it’s time for a new technology approach.
Empower Managers with Integration and Automation
The industry needs a path to simplified, integrated systems that enable teams with actionable insights. According to HT’s Infrastructure report, brands agree that automation and integration help reduce human error on the job and enables better corporate visibility into data.
Most importantly, integrations ease data flows, save managers time and provide a better user experience for restaurant employees. Imagine handing employees only one username and password! This is key — it empowers employees when they know they are getting the right information they need to succeed.
Restaurants need that central source of truth, one that is more than a business intelligence solution. Managers need store data presented to them in actionable ways that drive decision-making.
According to the HT report, increasing sales is the top strategic objective for data strategies for 40% of restaurants. Before that can happen, restaurants need to have the right technology solutions in place — solutions that serve actionable insights from the wealth of data collected that managers can use. And that starts with the right partner.
In this business, the right tech partners are restaurant industry vets themselves — people who know how restaurants operate and who understand that the restaurant is on 24/7. It is time to make your data work those hours too.
Mary Hamill is the Vice President of Sales Solutions at HotSchedules, provider of Clarifi™, the first cloud-based intelligent operating platform for restaurants. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Hamill and her team help some of the world’s largest restaurant brands solve workforce and back office challenges through HotSchedules’ innovative technology solutions. She is also a recipient of Hospitality Technology’s Top Women in Restaurant Technology Award.