Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Technology is replacing Front-line Foodservice Employees


Consumers are dynamic not static. Chain restaurants continue to look for ways to reduce cost and drive up profits while providing an incremental service, specifically for time-starved consumers seemingly always on the run according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.

Today remote service models are a proactive tool used my marketers to reduce menu ticket time, ordering times, and wait times according to Johnson and a success clue for 2021.  Technology is the platform of choice for remote services models, these are connectivity and limited data sharing, proactive service models, next to connectivity, more extensive data sharing and an intelligent correlation engine are needed.

Think about restaurant technology the way consumers do.  When asked if they wanted to cook dinner from scratch or assemble dinner from fresh meal components 91.1 % of Gen Z chose assemble from Fresh Prepared Meal Components and Millennials 83.6 chose meal components. So, getting the order, in and out the door is much the same.  Today, it simply needs to be driven more by technology then people.

 Technology that empowers consumer to solve their own pain-point the ilk of ‘self-service app or kiosk is quickly turning into a mission-critical process for consumers and retailers alike. This places much higher demands on self-service uptime and availability.

Think about it, by removing the buffer of the store associate, when a system failure occurs it will be first discovered by the consumer, which creates a tremendous loss of trust in the solution itself. So, self-service consumer journeys must be always available nonstop, full stop.

That said its easier said than done, since retailers are usually working with a diverse set of hardware and software solutions—typically provided by a wide array of disparate technology vendors. This leads to complexities in managing the end-to-end solution.

For international retailer’s operations, the puzzle is even more complicated: How to create operational standards on a multi-national scale while ensuring the swift delivery of local support services that truly understand the solutions?

Today, consumers increasingly expect a seamless, personalized and hassle-free shopping trip. Having the right self-service devices readily available in store significantly contributes to positive consumer experiences. Device availability has become a KPI for success. This means retailers no longer want to hold their service providers accountable for individual time-to-fix SLAs, as the technology should simply be up and running at all times!

 According to a recent survey Nielsen1, “73% of shoppers are very interested in—or already use—some sort of solution to call a staff member directly to the shelf where they need help. When asked about annoying shopping experiences like waiting in a queue or finding an item out-of-stock, 77% of shoppers indicated they would prefer to self-scan their items, and 78% would like to be able to check item availability online before going to the store.”

In order to meet their clientele’s requirements, retailers need to support and implement solutions that put the consumer in control. In this respect it is worthwhile to mention that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic many store owners have—almost overnight—implemented various self-service measures to reduce interactions between shoppers and staff.

Think about contactless payments, self-scanning items in store, online ordering, or curb-side pickups; all are examples of low-touch ways to conduct shopping that are suddenly being used by large groups of consumers. It is likely that many of these measures were originally meant for temporary use, but will actually remain in place, because they are more efficient, and because they increase the shoppers’ overall in-store experience. What will your business platform look like next year? Will you look more like you did in 2018 or will you be looking a customer ahead? Partnerships matter.

Looking for success clues of your own? Foodservice Solutions® specializes in outsourced food marketing and business development ideations. We can help you identify, quantify and qualify additional food retail segment opportunities, technology, or a new menu product segment.  Foodservice Solutions® of Tacoma WA is the global leader in the Grocerant niche visit us on our social media sites by clicking one of the following links: Facebook,  LinkedIn, or Twitter

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