The hospitality industry has come a long way in the last few decades. Faster processes and methods of cooking, different ways of ordering and delivering food and better methods of stock management, payroll, and other administrative tasks.
Here are some of the big changes that have benefitted the hospitality industry several other industries as well:
Fast-food restaurants are a great example of how signage has changed over the decades. From chalk signage, to stick on lettering, to lightboxes to TV screens and websites. The way menu items are displayed in restaurants has changed greatly over time. The effort involved in updating menus has become increasingly simpler. With this technology, restaurants can switch between their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with ease.
Cash registers and Point of Sale
Gone are the days of adding the price of items up in your head and dedicated mechanical buttons on the register for each item. Restaurants and cafes today are using tablets or touch screen monitors equipped with point of sale software that can send orders straight to the kitchen and even take credit card payments.
In the 1980s and 90s, ordering takeaway and delivery meals such as pizza became massively popular. They relied heavily on catchy jingles to help you memorise their phone number or would give away magnets or stickers to help you keep track of their delivery phone number.
This required the location to employ their own delivery drivers. As time went on many companies started taking their own online orders on their websites, and their own apps. The latest trend is to use a centralised service such as UberEats, Menulog, Deliveroo, and DoorDash where customers browse dozens or hundreds of local food locations who each share the same pool of delivery people. This includes people in cars, bicycles, mopeds, and motorbikes.
Ordering online has never been easier. However, some areas such as near capital cities may have so many options that they will take a great deal of time choosing what they order. So many places that never had delivery in Australia before such as McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s now have partnered up with these services. But for a consumer, being spoilt for choice is a great problem to have.
Even inside restaurants people can order and pay on self serve kiosks at major fast-food retailers. McDonald’s has been doing it for several years and KFC is catching up with its own self-service kiosks, including putting them into food courts, not just restaurants. By adding these new methods of ordering, customers can be tempted to order even more than they might if they were under pressure talking to crew members at a register.
Whilst letterbox drops and coupons are still somewhat popular and effective, a lot of marketing budgets have shifted to digital channels. Websites, Facebook, Instagram are all popular methods in hospitality. These methods can be used to get in front of your target audience if you have the right budget.
An interesting tradeoff for the fees that the delivery apps charge is that these apps market your business within the apps, potentially getting you customers who would not have otherwise chosen you for dinner that night.
Television commercials are still popular for bigger chains. Community television and local radio are still around as well, but digital display ads and preroll videos on YouTube can be targeted to people in your area or to remarket to previous visitors to your site.
It’s been an interesting few decades with so many innovations for the hospitality industry. Those who have adapted and kept up have thrived and many who couldn’t have behind. It will be interesting to see what the industry comes up with next in the upcoming decades.