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The Tech-olution - Keeping IT Socially D i s t a n t

Posted 15 September Josef Hoccom

2020 has thrown some serious curveballs our way, and the settling of the new normal has got us thinking in a new way. Firstly, where is my mask, secondly am I social distancing, and thirdly, how can I touch as fewer things as possible. 

When it comes to Retail and Hospitality, it’s innovate or fail. In both industries, we used to modestly believe tech was the future and we would get round to it at ‘some point’, now if you do not have a digital offering, you are suddenly floundering. 

Investing in the right tech is not by any stretch of the imagination a new thing, but it has raised the question if restaurants were unprepared for consumer digital shift pre-COVID, will they really understand the opportunities of being a tech-savvy eatery now and how can they suddenly play catch up? 

The fast-food restaurant market has progressed so much in the past few years towards consumers expecting a digital interaction when going into a store in every case. Compared to even 10 years ago, the fundamentally basic process of ordering and paying has completely evolved. 

Kiosks, tablets, phone integration, in-app ordering, scanners, loyalty, drive-thrus, bot-delivery and even tipping have all gone through a tech-olution over the last few years. Big brands such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Wagamama’s, Pret a Manger and even Wetherspoons have all heavily altered and trail blazed different solutions to digitise their experience. And it was not surprising that and these mainstay brands were the quickest to reopen and make the best of a bad situation when the time came to easing lockdown. 

So why did other restaurant giants begin to fall through the net even though in 2019, 59% of restauranteurs believe their business could be under threat due to mobile-savvy competitors (Oracle.com, 2019). The need for restaurants to start utilising the digital shift to their advantage was palpable even before the lockdown. 

A further 2 out of 5 Brits (40%) would use technology to optimise their dining experience, such as choosing the exact time meals are served and nearly half of us (42%) would use technology to pick the precise restaurant table we sit at before arriving at the venue. A fifth of UK food lovers (2%) would opt to pay and order meals more efficiently by using mobile payment services (Bookatable.co.uk).

It also goes without saying over the last couple of months both Retail and Hospitality have taken a battering financially and we have observed many either going into administration, drastically changing operational processes, or making huge cuts in workforces. With these relentlessly and tragic changes, digital seems to the beacon of hope to stay operational. 

Those with kiosks have supported social distancing, those with delivery apps have continued to serve meals and those with online table booking and mobile payment devices have operational been able to open much quicker. The future of fine dining is probably going to be digitally fast-tracked and the beauty of Celestra is we know how to get you to their quicker. Find out what we do here.  

Although glamorous new tech is great to have, it’s also important to identify from these stats that consumers are not looking for a tech ‘gimmick’ when dining. They are wanting technology to ease their experience. Restaurants need to capture the attention of consumers but need to create an experience that increasingly makes for easy re-visits. 

Although changes have been exasperated by the current ‘new normal’ path of everyday life, it’s important to make sure the solution is right for you. A Star Solution is where Celestra comes in, call us today.


McDonald's exterior building
Read about how Celestra helped McDonald’s transform their customer experience here.

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