It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended the world of business, even more so the food and beverage industry, which mostly relies on customer demand. With lockdown measures in place, restaurants and other food establishments quickly sought new ways to keep their business afloat.
One of the common ways that these businesses are still able to survive the pandemic is through delivery services. In the first few months of the pandemic, many restaurants in Hong Kong have closed their physical stores and instead opened kitchens in more affordable industrial areas offering only delivery services. This move is the restaurant owners’ response to the growing demand for takeouts and delivery services.
Data from Statista and Rakuten Insight shows that 56% of Hong Kong residents ordered more food through food delivery apps. It’s not really surprising, considering that food delivery apps have been around since the mid-2010s. This simple form of technology has made it easier for food establishments to accommodate their customers and increase revenue.
With mobile apps helping businesses stay afloat today, what other technologies can F&B businesses employ to streamline their operations and even thrive if situations become worse or when the pandemic finally dies down?
Online reservation programs
While online reservation systems have been around prior to the pandemic, they have been more instrumental today given that people are now more reliant on the internet as their medium for communication as well.
Most restaurants now have booking widgets that they integrate into their websites or their social media accounts. Customers simply have to choose from the available message options allowing them to reserve food anywhere at any time of the day. Having such a system also enables restaurants to keep a customer database, making it easier for them to track orders, important dates, and other details.
Having an online reservation system―automated to cater to customers even without the supervision of a restaurant receptionist or manager―frees up more time for employees to do other pressing tasks. They’ll no longer need to spend minutes or sometimes hours accepting reservations and clearing concerns over the phone.
Attendance and rostering systems
Evidently, F&B businesses wouldn’t be operational without their people. It’s the employees that keep the business running, even in times of crisis. But unlike corporate employees, workers in the F&B industry have different schedules and rosters.
HR tech providers such as Workstem make it possible for businesses to better manage their employees. Workstem’s attendance system, for instance, allows supervisors to track attendance in real time in a web portal, allowing them to finally ditch their traditional clock card machines or time recorders which they typically have to check and organize manually. What makes Workstem’s attendance system more convenient is it allows employees to clock in and out directly using their smartphone app, which is also equipped with a facial recognition feature allowing them to quickly input their attendance even without pressing a button.
Moreover, it’s common in the F&B industry for employees to have different shifts, especially in establishments that have longer business hours than others, such as overnight shifts. With Workstem’s flexible rostering system, supervisors can easily schedule shifts with different sets of working hours and break times. Additionally, supervisors won’t have to manually input the shifts of their employees as they can simply do so in bulk, making the scheduling process smoother and more seamless.
Inventory tracking and management software
Employees of F&B businesses no longer have to spend countless hours after, or even during, work counting stocks as they can now employ an inventory tracking software. With the power of technology, food establishments will be able to keep track of their assets, as well as seamlessly submit inventory counts to the cloud.
Having such a software would also help F&B business employees to easily check what products to replenish or stop offering, depending on customer demand. Not only does this system help business owners and employees save time and effort, but save money as well. It also sharpens their decision-making skills, thereby improving the way they run the business.
Overall, it pays to invest in technology, especially if they’re designed to make internal operations better and easier to manage. In this day and age, it’s important that businesses are able to both survive the pandemic and stay ahead of their competition.
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