With 2019 just around the corner, we wanted to share with you four of trends that the wi-Q Technologies team have spotted whilst working with venues in 2018.
1) Paperless service
Earlier in the year, we covered a story on Luckin Coffee, the coffee shop chain in China rivalling Starbucks. Their USP? Hyper-convenient, affordable coffee, with delivery. However, to meet the operational demands of their USP, the business had to drop something consumers around the world use every day... paper.
This means no menus and no cash – everything is processed through their mobile ordering app.
Outside of the obvious environmental benefits and associated cost reductions, there is an unignorable business case for going paperless, and we believe Luckin's focus on this is what has given them the edge. It is a similar case to the very first TV adverts. They weren’t TV adverts. They were radio adverts with a static picture. They didn’t make the most of the new format, unlike the cinematic adverts we watch now. What we have witnessed in the mobile ordering realm is something very similar. Businesses want to upload menus designed for paper rather than digital. Typically, this means they don’t make the most of the digital menus ability to offer personalised service – and to charge for it via upsells, cross-sells and AI-powered recommendations.
2) Tech-powered pop-ups
Never before has it been so easy to order and pay for restaurant prepared food and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. The takeaway industry has experienced a massive surge in growth – up 73% in a decade and with absolutely no signs of slowing up.
NPD, a data insights firm, says delivery will grow another 17% in the next two years.
Growth in the last few years has arguably been driven by lowering barriers to entry, such as wi-Q, which has allowed more and more businesses to implement mobile ordering and payment technology easily. In the coming years, we expect to see increasingly creative uses of the technology as hospitality venues become familiar with its agile capabilities. Such examples will include temporary pop-up restaurants, inspired by festivals or trends. Others will consist of more permanent services, where restaurants capitalise on underused kitchen space or even excess ingredients to create new revenue streams.
3) Immersive Experiences
Another way we expect to see hospitality venues differentiate themselves is by creating immersive experiences. Such experiences will draw heavily on augmented and virtual reality technology to tell stories and eventually transport customers to entirely new worlds. While virtual reality is perhaps still not ready – mainly due to the expensive and somewhat unpractical headsets customers have to wear – AR alters the existing environment with advanced 3D-projectors. For example, AR can be used to give customers a live preview of a menu item – including size and composition - on the plate in front of them. Current AR implementations vary from storytelling to enhancing the customers purchasing journey. We covered our favourites in a blog earlier this year - augmented reality for F&B.
The fundamental value proposition of blockchain is its ability to work across and independent from multiple or any organisation – securely connecting once siloed data.
“Blockchain resolves the problem of a lack of trust between counterparties” David Groombridge, research director at Gartner.
With no industry standards or agreements as such, blockchain is still a widely distant technology to many professionals in the hospitality industry. However, Gartner still recommends that all CIOs and IT leaders begin evaluating the technology's uses.
wi-Q Technologies are currently working with the world’s leading artificial intelligence and blockchain experts, Fetch.AI. The partnership will bring AI and blockchain technology to wi-Q powered venues around the world. In the hospitality use case, blockchain technology will allow wi-Q Technologies to connect transactional data with 3rd party data relevant to the transaction itself. A simple example is weather. In such an instance, wi-Q will learn that a 10% increase in the temperature creates a 15% increase in demand for iced cocktails. There are hundreds of potential applications relevant to both demand models and personalised upselling and cross-selling.
Thank you for reading and happy holidays from everyone at wi-Q Technologies. If you would like to talk to our mobile ordering experts about the implementation of any of the above trends - or would simply like a demo of wi-Q or Mi-Room - please Get in Touch.