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5 ways tech can help pubs emerge from the pandemic smarter, fitter and more profitable.

As we exit the latest lockdown with outdoor reopening, the prospect of a pint in a pub is now finally here.

For many, safety will still be top of mind, however, and so technology continues to play a vital role – even in post-pandemic pubs, with 34% of consumers planning to use tech such as order and pay after restrictions have been eased.

That’s because the relationship between hospitality and technology has undoubtedly changed forever and is a partnership that is here to stay. Here’s why:       

1.       Consumer Expectation

The pub sector took a huge leap forward last year with the adoption of technology and customers have willingly embraced the change - before the first lockdown in March 2020 only 18% of consumers had used mobile order and pay, by September that had more than doubled to 43%.

 Our latest GO Tech report revealed that this is something consumers are keen to continue. In particular Gen Z and Millennials, with over half of 18 to 24-year-olds preferring to order online even after the country has been safely vaccinated. This cohort is also likely to be at the front of the queue once venues are reopened with more than half of those planning to spend more time in venues after reopening aged 18 to 34, according to CGA’s Consumer Countdown to Reopening Report.

 Of course, there will be those that prefer to order at the bar again but equally, the convenience of ordering a round of drinks from a mobile and chatting with friends, rather than joining a lengthy queue, will not be forgotten. Operators will need to cater for both these sets of consumer needs and integrated technology will be the solution.

 2.       Enhanced experiences

A long-held reservation around technology has been that it will replace the human interactions that makes hospitality so, well, hospitable. Yet this past year has proved that technology enhances rather than replaces this face-to-face service.

 Our GO Technology report from November showed that 86% of consumers think their interactions with staff had either improved or stayed the same compared to before lockdown. This is because clever technology empowers staff giving them more time to engage with guests and create better experiences.

 3.       More efficient

Order and pay is the most prominent tech arrival on the hospitality scene as result of the pandemic and it is a great example of the long-term benefits technology can have on a pub business. For example, contactless order and pay gives pub operators the potential to streamline and speed up service, turn over tables more quickly, and drive revenue and sales.

 And that’s just one system. Taking the time to step back and look at all of the tech systems in your business, and then finding a solution that allows each one to talk to the other will hand your business even greater efficiency and benefits. For instance, integrating order and pay with your stock management, will update stock levels in real time. Online booking linking to your table management system can simplify the booking process with customers able to see exactly when tables are free. That system can also enable you to redistribute pre-assigned tables during busy periods to maximise covers and drive revenues.

 4.       Powerful Marketing

Each interaction a guest has with tech in your venue opens up a world of opportunity to further understand them. Technology gives you insights into customer preferences that can turbo-charge your marketing and ensure you’re not marketing a steak night to vegetarians or your real ale selection to wine afficionados.

 Marketing can often be put on the back burner for busy publicans but an integrated technology system and the data it provides makes engaging, bespoke campaigns easy to execute and gives operators a head start when it comes to future proofing their businesses.

 5.       The Big Picture

The future still poses many challenges for pubs and the task of recovery for the whole sector is substantial. In order to navigate this, operators will need to take a strategic approach. An integrated technology system can give full visibility of a business – from stock management, to evaluating the strongest trading sessions, to evaluating the value of new channels such as click and collect or delivery.

 The data empowers pub operators to make the correct decisions for their business and assess opportunities and identify pain points. The hospitality sector has always been competitive and dynamic, by using tech effectively publicans can make the right decisions to drive their businesses forward.

Download The pub operators essential guide to tech here.