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Hospitality at tech threshold

Thursday December 20 2012

Retail Technology canvassed vendor opinion on the most important considerations in hospitality and foodservice retail IT next year

Retail Technology canvassed vendor opinion on the most important considerations in hospitality and foodservice retail IT next year

 

Simon Pont, chief executive of ECR Retail Systems, said: “Retailers need to pick their technological investments carefully in 2013 to ensure they remain competitive and directly in sync with the rapidly changing demands of their customers.”

 

Although claims that mobile phone payments are the future for the retail industry have intensified, he said there has been little said about the feasibility of it as a long-term solution to justify the high levels of investment needed to make it a reality, despite the experiences of pioneering companies like PizzaExpress and its PayPal mobile collaboration (Retail Technology November/December 2012, page 26).

 

Pont added: “Retailers need to take these points into account when looking at how they can enhance their customer service offering. Mobile point-of-sale (MPoS) technology solves this problem,” he said. Supporting his view, MPoS projects certainly feature heavily in this annual Retail Technology sector feature.

 

“If you can equip your staff with portable payment terminals, which provide stock and sales information to head office and personal service to customers from any point in the store, you’ll be able to capitalise on potential lost sales caused by long waiting times,” Pont added, highlighting the work his company recently completed for Rail Gourmet Ireland (page 31).

 

As an MPoS enabling technology, it is not surprising that Wi-Fi also emerged at the top of hospitality IT shopping lists this year. Wireless connectivity is now perceived as a standard service by restaurant, bar and hotel guests. Hospitality companies need to adapt to this requirement and provide guests with the robust Wi-Fi network, according to Steven Glapa, senior field marketing director at Ruckus Wireless, which is supplying the Marston’s chain with new wireless network systems (page 27).

 

Glapa added: “[They] face a number of technical and infrastructural challenges to deliver wireless internet access with the capacity to service the diverse needs of multiple guests in a designated area. Adopting a managed services model can provide cost efficiencies and added commercial benefits.”