The hospitality industry has slammed a controversial new government report on UK immigration prioritising ‘high-skilled workers’, saying it will make the existing staff shortage in the business even worse.
And with union action threatened as workers at a number of major companies press for higher wages, labour difficulty is definitely becoming one of the trickiest trends of 2018.
As Brexit nears and labour is predicted to become even more scarce, the most savvy UK restaurateurs are turning to advanced restaurant management technology to create efficient rostering to help them cope with the potential crisis.
EPOS software trends have shown this is an increasingly important part of good management technology, whether you run an individual restaurant or a group.
An EPOS system provides comprehensive business intelligence – a huge trend for 2018 after showing its worth in tricky 2017.
A restaurant owner can make sound decisions based on real information with up-to-date reports available online24/7.
It takes all the guesswork out of labour, for instance, because you actually know when you are busy and quiet, and the technology also makes accurate forecasts.
It means you never have too many staff on at the wrong time, saving hugely in labour costs. In a further benefit, the stock is kept under control thanks to forecasting based on genuine sales figures and identified trends.
A recent study says the biggest brand differentiator for any restaurant from this year onwards will be customer experience, and EPOS software trends point strongly in that direction too.
It means that while good food, surroundings, and service can all set your restaurant apart, the biggest factor is actually how your customers feel you look after them.
Customers who like how you treat them are more inclined to engage closely with your establishment and come back again.
It means that this 2018 trend is an important one for restaurateurs to take advantage of – and software that enables a great customer experience is a must.
Creating a satisfying customer experience requires a lot of knowledge about your dinner. Getting personalised service exactly right requires more than guesswork.
EPOS software trends for this year and beyond focus on the capture of important information about each guest, which allows the restaurateur to build up a rounded picture of their preferences.
Forbes says big data creates insights with uncanny accuracy – “there is no reason not to create a more personalised experience that caters to a customer’s individual needs.”
With knowledge gathered by the restaurant management system at their fingertips, business owners can email diners rewards for their loyalty, and offers they know will appeal to the customer.
EPOS technology also offers operational efficiencies when it comes to staff.
The 2018 generation of restaurant software is available as an app; staff training is simple and they can be processing orders within hours.
The technology enables serving staff to take orders on hand-held devices or tablets at tableside, sending them instantly to the kitchen. The system integrates with kitchen automation to make sure the order is processed quickly and accurately.
Payments can also be taken at the tableside, even when a complicated bill needs to be split. It provides a speedy visit that pleases modern time-strapped diners and also helps the restaurant to improve table turn.
One further important EPOS software trend for 2018 has been in catering for modern consumers’ demand for easy access to all areas of their lives.
Customers are now completely accustomed to shopping, banking, and ordering via their smartphone or laptop, and hospitality is joining the party.
Customers increasingly want to make transactions with a click, and that’s particularly true of restaurant reservations thanks to the popularity of apps such as OpenTable and Zapper.
This online restaurant reservations solution offers guests the opportunity to book tables 24/7 without even making a phone call.
A further trend that has developed over 2018 is head office management technology – this is important for multi-location businesses where it can be hard to keep track of business.
Enterprise technology provides real-time data via a mobile device, anywhere the manager has an online connection. Information includes stock levels, sales, and labour. It even provides insight into the organisation’s social media performance.
The final trend that EPOS software is responding to this year is the need in the industry for easy finance.
EPOS is now available to rent, which keeps capital costs down and provides immediate ROI – so important as food costs continue to rise, labour becomes a real issue and business rates are hiked.
2018 has been the year when restaurant management systems have moved into the must-have category for busy organisations.
It’s not just the efficiencies and savings EPOS creates, although they do give businesses a competitive edge – it’s the improved, personalised customer service they help restaurants to provide.
Even this close to Brexit, we can’t be sure of what the full effects will be. But if troubled times are ahead, any restaurant that can base its operations on fact and insight has to be in a sound position.