Homeย โžพ Blog โžพ Accelerated technological development in hospitality after corona!

Accelerated technological development in hospitality after corona!

Marco Louters Auteur

Marco Louters

June 17, 2023 | 6 minute read

Versnelde technologische ontwikkelingen in horeca na corona
Marco Louters Auteur

Marco Louters

June 17, 2023 | 6 minute read

Corona has accelerated technological development in the hospitality industry. In particular, QR codes have gained a firm foothold. Joost of Jamezz sees QR as the ultimate outcome for businesses. Japan gives us a glimpse of the future!

When corona just broke out in the first quarter of 2020, people had different ideas about how it would affect the hospitality industry. Perhaps even permanently.

A well-known voice in the world of hospitality is that of Gijsbregt Brouwer, founder of the Buik en Food Trendwatcher. In an interview around April 5, 2020, he said the following: “From e-bikes to ordering apps… and from dark kitchens to paying with your cell phone: through this period, the development of technology is accelerating.” (Entree)

The key word in the quote is ‘accelerating.’

So… This blog post was originally intended as a chapter in a larger blog: Coming Soon. However, this would make the whole thing too long, so I split it up.

That is okay too, because there is a lot to say about the technological developments alone in the hospitality industry. Let’s get started!

1. Corona as a catalyst

‘Required’ digitisation in the hospitality industry ๐Ÿ•

Corona was the changemaker. Corona was the trigger. It was the catalyst that changed the familiar and trusted way of doing things.

It gave a huge boost to the digitalisation trend in the hospitality industry. Multiple companies began experimenting with order kiosks, apps, and delivery services. As little human contact as possible, but still running a business.

In these circumstances, we saw the emergence of several alternative concepts – and often a mixture: (1) Takeaway, with counters at the front door, (2) use of delivery services by quality restaurants, (3) QR codes on tables to order via smartphone, and (4) ordering kiosks.

By now, more than a year after corona, we know that not every change was permanent.

The counters at the front door have disappeared and many restaurants have shut down their delivery services. Yet, the ordering kiosks and QR codes remained…

Being curious about the current state of digitisation within the hospitality industry, I contacted Joost Putters, Head of Partnerships at Jamezz. Jamezz is a Breda-based company that has clearly made name for itself, even internationally.

A headline from Entree Magazine in 2022:ย “Ordering-app Jamezz wins award for fastest-growing software company.

2. Jamezz’s phenomenal success story

Leaders in technological development ๐Ÿš€

Jamezz experienced a clear switching trigger early in her existence. Conditions had changed; the old way of doing things was no longer enough.

When the founders, Mitch and Sander, came up with an idea where guests at restaurants would be able to order and pay – via QR code – with their smartphone, they took this concept further into their own company: Jamezz.

It all started with cold sales and only a few new customers a month. In 2019, Joost approached many a catering establishment to show entrepreneurs the advantages of working with QR codes.

Then corona happened. From outbreak… to pandemics… to lockdowns.

Everything had to be closed.

At first, they worried as much as anyone else in the industry. All their customers were closed. Only later, when the strict government measures were slightly relaxed – and restaurants were allowed to reopen (controlled) – did the software they had developed prove to be a huge godsend.

The QR codes on the table and ordering via smartphone ensured fewer contact moments and that they could properly comply with the one-and-a-half-meter rule.

Jamezz changed instantly from startup to scaleup. The phone was never off. It was impossible to call back all the waiting customers. Even in the middle of the night, Jamezz was still on the phone, and Sander was coding; briefly putting his head on the keyboard, to catch a few hours’ sleep, and on again.

Jamezz had found product-market fit; the proof that a new product is in high demand, often accompanied by such tremendous growth that it is almost too much for a startup.

3. How is the QR code doing now?

Is it not too distant? โœ‹

I was curious how the QR code is doing now. Was it just a way to get through the corona crisis? Is it still widely used? Doesn’t it take away from the hospitality of the service? Is it not too distant?

At the beginning of the conversation, Joost already quickly opened my eyes. And Gijsbregt Brouwer was indeed right in April 2020.

The corona period accelerated technological developments in the sector. The embrace of technology was not just a hype, only to later fade back to the old normal. These developments were there even before corona. They simply accelerated.

While keeping one-and-a-half meter distance is no longer necessary, ordering via QR code or kiosk – and sometimes even a luxury tablet – offers many more opportunities.

Is the restaurant busy? Do you have to wait for a long time? In a hurry? Order via QR code.

Does this technology detract from the guest experience? “No, making guests wait half an hour detracts from the guest experience (and you miss out on revenue, by the way),” says Joost.

There are also additional benefits for hospitality businesses themselves. To name two:

1. Less staff dependence. Turns out to be a beautiful sunny day after all? Difficult to get enough on-call staff at short notice? QR.

2. Lower highest cost. Whereas the general business rule of thumb is 30 percent, the average labour costs in the hospitality industry are between 40 and 60 percent of revenue! Depending on the situation, QR can improve this ratio by 20 to 30 percent. (Jamezz)

4. Other technological opportunities

To stand still is to go backwards ๐Ÿง

The technological opportunities in the hospitality industry do not end with just QR codes, tablets, and ordering kiosks. There are many more challenges and improvements that technology can help with. Here is an overview:

1. Automation

This general term obviously has a link to all the other items on this list, but think of automation of typical if-this-then-that situations.

2. Menu engineering

Achieve the best results by constantly evaluating the menu with data input, including sales and food costs.

3. Personalisation

Consider, among other things, never communicating allergies and preferences, and getting personalised recommendations.

4. Dynamic pricing

Can help manage peak hours and in reducing food waste, among other things.

5. Stock management

Consider, among other things, a real-time overview with automatically generated recommendations to (re)order.

6. AI

Can increase efficiency by predicting required stock and staff, based on environment, events, behaviour of target groups, and weather.

7. Robotisation

A possible solution in case of staff shortages and reducing high costs. Can be in kitchen or service.

8. QR codes and ordering kiosks

A way for guests to order when in a hurry or when the business is understaffed. Also helps in cross- and upsell.

Developments in these technological areas are definitely worth keeping an eye on. To stand still is to go backwards.

It is not that technology automatically (pun intended) lowers hospitality in the hospitality industry. Technology and hospitality can very well go hand in hand.

Just look at Japan!

5. Ageing population in Japan forces automation in hospitality industry

The land of hospitality; omotenashi ๐Ÿค–

Japan is quite ahead of the West when it comes to ageing, with as much as a quarter of the population over 65 years old. A huge problem. A ‘demographic bomb.’

Although we in the Netherlands also face an ageing population, this is not (yet) commensurate with the situation in Japan. Almost half of unmarried Japanese under 30 say they do not want children.

At the same time, the elderly are actually doing well; Japan is among the world’s top performers when it comes to high life expectancy. (RTL Nieuws)

This has led to a significant staff shortage in the hospitality industry, leading to thinking about possible alternatives: automation.

Meanwhile, the hospitality industry in Japan has become relatively high-tech.

The ordering and payment process is highly automated, and at larger chains we increasingly see the food going to the tables by conveyor belt.ย (Maas) Japan is the world’s number one supplier of robotics. Therefore, it is not crazy to imagine that this country’s hospitality industry is home to a lot of robot implementations.

But not everything can be robotised. (1) Many tasks are complex, expensive, and difficult to implement. (2) In human-machine collaboration, safety is crucial. (3) Restaurant space is often limited, especially in expensive Tokyo. (4) Robots need regular and thorough cleaning to comply with hygiene regulations. (5) Finally, there is flexibility and variety. Different tasks need to be performed flexibly.

Does all this high-tech have a negative effect on hospitality?

In a country like Japan, this might be a concern.

Here, they know the word ‘Omotenashi,’ which represents the Japanese concept of hospitality. Yet, the true meaning is much deeper and more detailed.

Omotenashi is a way of life in Japan that focuses on providing the best service and hospitality, without expecting anything in return.

You can experience omotenashi everywhere in the service sector, from the staff at a department store bowing at the entrance to welcome the first customers of the day, to the baker who puts a packet of ice cubes with the take-away cake, to keep it cool.

Omotenashi is firmly rooted in Japanese culture, and the people of Japan are proud of their global reputation as pioneers of fantastic and unforgettable customer service.ย (Heartland JAPAN)

So, entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry are trying to make hospitality and automation go hand in hand as much as possible.

High-tech as well as high-touch!

โ„น๏ธ This research was 50% co-funded by the province of North Brabant.

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