Cloud ePOS, cashless models and data standardisation for hospitality

Taking notes hospitality roundtable

Cloud ePos, data standardisation and cashless – all important considerations for the future hospitality and the discussion points for our recent IT in Hospitality roundtable.

Attendees were keen to find out more about the current challenges and offerings of each topic matter.

Click on the sections below to find out more about each topic and what our attendees thought.

The case for a cloud EPOS

Cloud technology has been around for decades now, but hospitality has only just started to scratch the surface of the power of cloud.

The benefits of cloud lay in its capability in making businesses much more efficient. Automation is a key benefit, where you can save valuable time for your staff letting them focus on more business-critical issues. Processes like bookings, updating databases and payment updates can all be automated through a cloud POS

Many Cloud-based POS like Eposability build multiple functions including staff management, multi-site management, kitchen display systems, reporting, stock control and customer loyalty into their systems.

Our event attendees agreed that staff engagement is key when it comes to implementing cloud-based POS. The improved aesthetics offered by cloud POS was a key pull for attendees, in addition to the lowered cost and fast-tracked implementation improvements. Using cloud EPOS mean restaurants and hotels are not reliant on physical infrastructure such as a server. This means increased agility and security.

One of the main concerns preventing investment in new cloud POS was the investment pay-off. Typically, traditional non-cloud POS is seen as a massive investment due to the high set-up costs. Although the merits of cloud POS are clear, businesses that have recently invested in traditional POS are unlikely to move to cloud, even if they know the benefits.

Will cashless transactions be the future?

In 2006 62% of all payments made in the UK were made using cash. By 2016, this had fallen to 40%. UK Finance anticipates this will fall further to just 21% by 2026.

This perhaps isn’t all so shocking, especially if you live in a city. The answer to “Do you take card” is “yes” more often than not, even in the towns and some villages outside of UK’s major cities.

For hospitality, ‘going cashless’ is a contentious issue.

On one hand, cashless provides opportunities for faster sales and therefore increased revenue. It shows to stakeholders that you’re making efforts to show transparency, not to mention the health and safety benefits. Cashless sites mean break-ins and theft are less likely, and staff no longer need to handle cash anymore.

However, mandating order and payment methods means restaurants and bars potentially exclude different diners from their venues. Many consider it discriminatory and operators could be left neglecting a large chunk of the market.

The main concern of roundtable attendees was about the restrictions of cashless models and being unable to take payment from a wider range of customers. This model may work for city-based businesses such as UK salad-chain, Tossed. Tossed has rolled out a few 100% cashless models in some London sites – the first in Europe to do so – and has seen turnover increase by 13.6% since it implemented the change. However, it’s unlikely that such success would be seen outside of London when it comes to cashless sites.

Although it’s clear that using cards and contactless to pay for transactions is become more and more popular – such as pub chain Whetherspoon, who have reported a 5% YOY decrease in cash payments since 2012 – it’s unlikely that 100% cashless sites will become the norm any time soon.

Is data standardisation the key to success?

Okay, let’s be real –  many of us are struggling with paralysis by data analysis.

It seems these days that everyone is talking about data and collecting it, but do you really know what you need? Or are you collecting and storing data for data’s sake?

If this sounds familiar to you, data standardisation may be the answer.

The main concern from attendees was determining the type of data that needs to be collected and how it can be processed in an ethical manner.

Hospitality lacks a set standard when it comes to data. The complete interfacing of different data sets just doesn’t exist yet despite increasing amounts of API and SDK documentation being published.

Being able to centralise all data means empowering your business to make the right decisions based on hard, cold data.

Main benefits include saved time – no more wasting time pulling together data sources. Everything you need is at the click of a button, and you don’t have to spend half the time jumping from one system to another. A standardised dashboard could be tailored completely to your business and its requirements, event splitting out between different departments. You can experience “radical personalisation” that your business has probably never seen before, and assemble reports in the blink of an eye (okay, maybe not quite that fast).

An example is Deniham Hospitality in the US who used IBM analytics to marry transaction and customer data across chains with data like feedback and reviews left online. With this, they used the data to make an informed decision to better cater for different types of customers:

  • Helped front-line staff anticipate the requirements of guests (meals, tourist activities)
  • Provided real-time updates for housekeeping staff on room requirements (room service, extra pillows

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in implementing or finding out more about the above, give us a ring on 0800 292 2230 to talk to us.

Alternatively, to register to attend our future Hospitality Roundtables, sign up here.