News Feature | December 10, 2013

Restaurant and Hospitality IT News For VARs — December 10, 2013

By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor

BSM-Mobile Device

Tabletop tablets, as well as ordering and reservation and recipe apps, are in the news as 2014 restaurant technology trends. “Flash travel” and mobile payments are also expected to be on the rise.   

Who Makes The Best Tablet POS For You?

Business Solutions worked with most of the legit tablet POS software providers in an attempt to create a resource for those looking to compare the available options. The results of this outreach, include easy-to-read product profiles, are available now. A retail comparison will follow soon.

Tabletop Tablets On The Menu For Restaurant Chains

Nation’s Restaurant News emphasizes the rising number of chain restaurants that have begun, or are planning to implement tabletop tablets in the future. These chains include Chili’s, Red Robin, MacDonald’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. The latest to do so is Applebee’s, which will be performing a yearlong rollout of tabletop tablets starting in March 2014. So why would your customers want to begin offering tabletop tablets? Applebee’s president Mike Archer says a common pain point for customers is having to find the server to pay a check. Implementing this kind of technology puts more control into guests’ hands and enables them to pay at their table. This move can also encourage more favor with the tech-savvy Millennial Generation. Tabletop tablet implementation is expected to continue growing throughout the restaurant industry as the technology becomes more affordable and customer-friendly.

Tablet Menus, Apps Trend For Restaurants In 2014

The National Restaurant Association has released its “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast” for 2014. As far as technology is concerned, chefs surveyed anticipate tablet menus will be the largest development in the next year. In addition, they also predict smartphone apps that enable customer ordering/ reservations capabilities, apps for chefs with recipes/POS tracking/table management, and mobile ordering/social media marketing to be prevalent. 

“Flash Travel” Apps On The Rise

Newsweek discusses the rising trend in the hotel industry known as “flash travel.” This trend is marked by the increasing number of last-minute, mobile-app-driven hotel bookings. Lately, the market has seen a surge in the number of flash travel apps being offered by companies like Hotel Tonight, Hot Hotels, and Blink. These apps often use geo-location technology to locate nearby hotels, boast quick reservation procedures that emphasize spontaneous travel, and offer rooms for discounted prices. The article cites a report from market research firm, PhoCusWright that projects by 2014, 20 percent of all hotel bookings will be made via mobile or tablet.

Global Mobile Wallet Predicted To Have Lucrative Future

Allied Market Research released a new report entitled “Mobile Wallet Market-Global Share, Size, Industry Analysis, Trends, Opportunities, Growth and Forecast 2012-2020.” By 2020, the global mobile wallet market is projected to reach $5,250 billion on account of rising smartphone ownership, increasing security, and growing mobile wallet awareness. To this point, growth of the mobile wallet has been slow due to higher investment costs and deployment issues. Security concerns and the “infancy” of the mobile wallet have led customers to prefer cash/credit payments. Analysts expect that Asia Pacific will be the fastest growing region for the market over the next seven years.

Restaurant Outlook Optimistic As RPI Hits High

The National Restaurant Association Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to a four-month high in October, achieving a 0.7 percent increase from September to 100.9. This is the strongest level attained since June. A majority of restaurant operators (54 percent) reported same store sales gains and 43 percent reported higher traffic levels for the month of October. The expectations index is up 0.4 percent from September, standing at 100.9, suggesting that restaurant operators remain cautious but optimistic about future sales growth. Indeed, the industry has continued growing, with 57 percent of operators reported making capital expenditures within the last three months.

Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points

Kristina Knight for BizReport interviews Peter Gorla from VOILA Hotel Rewards and Mark Dority for KULA causes about the rising importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). A Cone Communications/Echo Global CSR study has shown that customers are increasingly concerned with supporting causes and supporting businesses that show CSR. The interviewees discuss the rising CSR trend and what loyalty rewards have been most popular for hotel goers.

Stephanie Miles for Streetfight Magazine lists ten strategies for choosing the right loyalty incentives that will ensure your clients aren’t giving away too much or too little in their programs. Some of these include offering incentives that don’t contribute largely to overall revenue, going virtual, offering cash rewards or discounts, or giving away prizes at varying price points.

BSMinfo features a Merchant Warehouse guest column, “4 Things Every Successful Loyalty Program Solution Needs.”

 For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Hospitality Tech Center.

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