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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2021

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Each year Hotel Tech Report surveys thousands of industry insiders to find the best hotel tech jobs and employers globally. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the hotel industry.  The World Travel and Tourism Council predicts that 121 million of the 330 million jobs tied to tourism around the world will be lost in 2020.  Despite existential challenges, hotels and their vendors have proven resilient in the face of the biggest challenge ever posed to the hospitality industry by working together. But there’s always opportunity in crisis.  The pandemic has advanced digitization in the global economy by at least 5 years according to most experts.  Hotels that already had adopted technology like contactless check-in and guest messaging software have had a massive advantage since the pandemic broke out and the importance of technology for running a successful hotel business will continue to rise over the coming years meaning that demand for hotel technology talent will grow with it. Here at Hotel Tech Report, we’ve interviewed countless hoteliers about their journeys from being hoteliers into lucrative technology careers like Del Ross, Marco Benvenuti, Sameer Umar, and Kevin Brown. For hoteliers furloughed on the sidelines, there is an unprecedented opportunity to pivot into a technology career leveraging skills and knowledge from hospitality experience.   But which hotel tech companies should you apply to? Every year we do the hard work for you and survey thousands of hotel tech professionals to find the best companies to work for in the hospitality industry. We ask respondents to rate their employers from 1-10 on these key variables:  Work-life balance Personal development opportunities Gender equality Confidence in company direction Values alignment 2021 Bonus Question: Rate your firm’s COVD-19 crisis response Hotel Tech Report creates this list each year for two reasons: (1) to help industry professionals find the best hospitality tech jobs and (2) to help hotel tech buyers understand that it’s just as important to partner with great organizations as it is to find great software tools and products. Vendor culture is important to every aspect of a vendor relationship: Product: Great workplaces attract the best talent who make the best products Customer Support: Happy client reps give better service and stay around longer developing deeper relationships. Sales: When a sales team has high turnover, innovation gets strangled because there isn’t enough cash coming in the door to invest in innovation. Our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list features companies who foster wonderful work environments for employees.  In return, those employees deliver incredible products and services to clients. Without further adieu here are 2021’s 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech…     10. Siteminder (TIE) Right before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, industry leader Siteminder reached an incredible milestone earning itself unicorn status.  Under the stewardship of CEO Sankar Narayan the firm quickly composed itself when the pandemic broke out and began rolling out initiatives to support both employees and customers like its World Hotel Index sharing real-time data with the industry when historical data just wouldn’t cut it.  Siteminder has an internal slack channel called #stayingsocial dedicated strictly to team members having a social communal space in the age of remote work.  This is pretty typical for a small startup but much rarer in the world of 700 employee behemoths.  The great part about working at a large startup-like Siteminder is that there’s almost limitless upward mobility according to one employee working in operations at the firm, “They allow me opportunities to take on more responsibilities that are even beyond my scope to develop my skills and prep me up for bigger roles. They also give leadership training to enhance to continue developing my capabilities.”  If you’re looking for a fast-paced global startup on a world domination path - then you should absolutely be dropping a resume at Siteminder.  The best part is that they’ve got offices all around the world so even if you prefer the WFH life your colleagues shouldn’t be too far away no matter where you call home.     10. Atomize (TIE) This is Atomize’s first time making Hotel Tech Report’s annual Best Places to Work list but we doubt it will be their last.  In true Swedish fashion Atomize rates amongst the highest on the list for gender equality with a 50% ratio of men to women on its leadership team.  Atomize also rates very highly for culture alignment with a score of 97.8%.  Perhaps the biggest standout for Atomize was how highly employees rated the firm’s COVID-19 response and support for clients during a crisis.  “Everyone from finance to product development has chipped in to try to support clients. We have for instance developed a relief-program for those that are hurting really bad, we have updated the product to amend for the large drop in occupancy for hotels, etc,” one Atomize executive told Hotel Tech Report.  Atomize made it through COVID-19 without a single layoff which is a testament to the longevity of the business and its and commitment to team members.  During the crisis Atomize stayed calm, launched the 2.0 version of their core RMS product, and even found time to bring the team together for a BBQ this summer during a slow down in transmission rates.     9. Hotel Effectiveness Georgia (the U.S. state not the country) based Hotel Effectiveness is in the business of helping hotel owners more efficiently manage labor but the question is: how well do they manage their own labor? It turns out they do a pretty darned good job at fostering internal culture.  Prior to the pandemic labor costs were the biggest focus area for most hotel ownership and management groups - despite the shift in focus Hotel Effectiveness managed to grow through the pandemic all while placing a heavy emphasis on quality of life for employees.  Team members cite a high percentage of employees being groomed from junior roles into leadership positions, flexible PTO programs, and strong opportunities for women.  PTO is great but Hotel Effectiveness management goes one step further where they encourage team members to completely unplug and not even check email during their vacation.  Adding icing to the cake, employees raved about the firm’s response to COVID-19 where it was able to grow without any layoffs needed.  One engineer raved about the Company’s COVID-19 response, “Hotel Effectiveness immediately shifted priorities specifically to address the changing needs of our clients. Hotel Effectiveness provided new guidance materials, payment options, and built new features (such as Daily Wellness Check-In) under tight deadlines to meet the new needs of our customers.”     8. EasyWay Big congrats to the first-ever Israeli startup to make this list!  If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv or the Start-up Nation (Israel), perhaps a job interview with EasyWay is the excuse you needed to visit one of the most amazing cities in the world packed with beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a foodie scene that’s truly in a league of its own.  EasyWay is the quintessential startup with a mentality that so long as you hit your KPIs - the rest of your life is totally flexible.  An EasyWay executive’s quote to Hotel Tech Report about the last 12-months at the company says it all, “The work around the clock in the COVID-19 time was crazy.  We have developed so much stuff, that I almost miss this period. We've learned a lot from that, and staid on our feet! The rest of the team was great and it really gave me confidence in my own abilities.  If you're the kind of person who likes to work hard and play hard - you’d be wise to check out EasyWay’s open positions.      7. Asksuite This is Asksuite’s second year making the list and true to their commercial team’s motto “rockets don’t have reverse”, even a pandemic couldn’t slow down this high flying Brazilian startup.  Florianopolis may not be a hotel tech hub (yet) but the Asksuite team has access to lessons in language, hospitality and other training to upskill their way into global domination.  During the pandemic, leaders have made themselves available for 1:1 meetings to support all colleagues and perhaps it’s this close communication that leads Asksuite employees to rate 98% confidence in the future success of the firm.  Asksuite employees frequently cite an onboarding process that makes all team members feel like a part of the family in short order.     6. RoomRaccoon Despite the pandemic RoomRaccoon doubled the firm’s headcount in 2020 and achieved a major milestone in reaching 1,000 clients.  Employees frequently cite similar aspects of the culture as differentiators like their annual international week at the Netherlands headquarters and an inclusive onboarding program.  One employee within the marketing department told Hotel Tech Report, “This year RoomRaccoon decided to start hiring more new colleagues against the market trend of furlough and letting people go. To smoothen the onboarding process of our new hires we've created an E-learning program and two intensive onboarding weeks. So far we've onboarded 15 new hires since July 2020 that immediately are getting results. Something I'm really proud of!”  If you’re looking for an ambitious organization with a strong remote culture and complementary annual trips to the Netherlands - don’t hesitate and check out open listings at RoomRaccoon.     5. Alliants The Alliants story is the cure to the common venture funded business gone wrong story.  Alliants built the business developing custom software for ultra luxury hotel brands like Four Season and Jumeirah before ever dipping their toes into the SaaS world.  That means they’ve got killer products, an eye for design and engineering to back it up.  Starting in a consultative role for luxury brands has afforded Alliants a luxury not many early stage SaaS products have - cash flow.  How would this impact you when you apply for a role there?  Alliants employees are given a $5,000 stipend to invest in their own education and training.  Whether it’s a paid marketing course or intro to Ruby on Rails - at Alliants you will be able to create your own journey and take control of your destiny.  Have you ever had a boss block your calendar so people can’t book meetings with you? Well, Alliants employees have.  During winter months with less daylight, CEO Tristan Gadsby blocked the entire team’s calendars from 11:30am - 1:30pm to encourage team members to get outside, walk or simply catch some rays.  If that doesn’t sell you I don’t know what will.     4. ALICE This ain’t ALICE’s first rodeo, well it’s their fourth if we want to be precise about it.  ALICE has made Hotel Tech Report’s Best Places to Work list 4 years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).  ALICE is an incredible place to work for former hoteliers because employees truly act as a strategic extension of their partner properties.  During the pandemic, ALICE quickly pivoted to rollout closure checklists and other free assets to help partners quickly reconfigure their operations for the new normal.  “The most memorable achievement while working at ALICE this past year was being able to provide support for our employees during the pandemic. The pandemic-related fatigue and anxiety impacted everyone and in different ways. We were able to provide support to our employees through group therapy sessions, health and wellness initiatives, increased one-on-one check-ins regarding fatigue, increased opportunities for learning and connection with one another virtually. I am so proud of how the leadership at ALICE has led us through the most difficult time in our industry's history, and with such care for both our customers, our industry as a whole, and our employees,” says one ALICE team member in an HR role.  Just as important as supporting clients through COVID-19 is supporting colleagues.  ALICE team members were constantly comforted that management understood the stress and challenges they were facing during this historic yet tragic year, encouraging an environment of transparency and honesty about how to cope with natural distractions from work in times of stress.     3. hotelkit Austria-based hotelkit is another repeat visitor on this list moving up from 4th to 3rd place.  Founded in 2012 by hotelier Marius Donhauser, hotelkit is a majority female-run business that’s growing rapidly but responsibly throughout Europe.  hotelkit’s team motto is “one team one dream” and while the team had to work remotely for a good portion of the year, colleagues are hopeful that 2021 will bring back the annual hotelkit Christmas party famous for great eats and poker.  Under Marius’ leadership, hotelkit has fostered a culture that feels like family so it’s no wonder that employees rate the culture so highly across every single vector.     2. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds may be the fastest-growing hotel tech company right now so while their headquarters are in sunny San Diego the Company has got Silicon Valley energy pumping through its veins.  Not to mention, Cloudbeds is extremely global with local managers in 40 countries. On March 11th (yes that’s right when COVID-19 took the world by storm) Cloudbeds announced the closing of an $80M funding round.  Cloudbeds employees tend to share two main things in common: (1) they are extremely performance-driven and (2) they LOVE to travel. One Cloudbeds employee within the operations department told Hotel Tech Report, “I managed to get promoted on my 1 anniversary day at Cloudbeds, I was so happy and everyone was so attentive to me during this process. Cloudbeds is an amazing company, full of amazing individuals, it's so nice to see the owners in our calls and engaged with us all at all times. I used to think I had worked at good companies, till I met Cloudbeds. This is where I want to stay and grow. It will be hard for any other company to take me from here.”  Cloudbeds has TONS of openings so make sure to browse their career page if you’re in the market.     1. Mews This is Mews’ 3rd year making the list ranking #2 in 2019 and #3 in 2020 - but this is their first year topping the list which is a testament to the strong culture at the firm.  Like most fast-growing companies, the pandemic wreaked havoc on projections and business plans for Mews leading to some difficult decisions needing to be made.  Mews not only came through what was maybe the darkest moment in the history of the hotel industry but came out stronger than ever before.  Mews leadership set a strong course for the business cutting expenses, reorganizing the team, rebranding, focusing on remote deployments, and even making an acquisition.  Quite a busy year - even if things had been normal.  Mews management has created one of those infectious startup cultures that can almost feel cult-like at times often intoxicating entire trade show floors (pre-COVID).  It’s not often that employees at an aggressive high-performance tier 1 venture-backed business get to see their founder dancing through a town hall (affectionately named Mews Con) in a silly costume.  Mews pivoted from hyper-growth mode into a sharp focus on profitability right-sizing the business and is poised to come out of the pandemic far stronger than it went in.  Lots of open roles to check out and we’re sure that list will continue to grow over the coming months.  

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Cloudbeds, SiteMinder & Room Raccoon Top People’s Choice Awards in the 2021 HotelTechAwards

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated hotel software in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the Top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity. The HotelTechAwards platform (by Hotel Tech Report) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products and companies that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “The People’s Choice Award goes to a single company across all categories who demonstrates the strongest customer relationships during the HotelTechAwards.  Cloudbeds had more than 550 hotelier customers come out to share overwhelmingly positive feedback about Cloudbeds products in the midst of a global pandemic.  To have that kind of support from clients during the most challenging market in hotel history says all you need to know about Cloudbeds’ commitment to their partner properties,” says Hotel Tech Report CEO Jordan Hollander. Here’s the Official 2021 People’s Choice List: Cloudbeds SiteMinder RoomRaccoon Bookassist OTA Insight ALICE IDeaS Avvio Hoteltime hotelkit The key factors used to determine the annual People’s Choice Award include total verified customer reviews, geographic reach of reviews, and overall review sentiment and ratings. The best companies know that the most effective way to communicate their value proposition is to empower and amplify the voices of their happy customers.  The People’s Choice Award recognizes companies whose customers really value the relationship and partnership. “Twenty years ago we lived in a world where hoteliers just used one of the three or four technology systems out there and typically just ended up using whatever system they had heard of before.  Today there are thousands of SaaS choices in the market and dozens of great options available for most use cases but the market is moving so quickly that it’s hard for hoteliers to identify and keep track of the best products and companies.  This award honors the companies whose hotel customers are the most vocal advocates of their products to make that process easy,” says Hollander.   About the 2021 People's Choice Award The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer-centricity.  Early on as a startup, it’s easier for companies to maintain strong customer relationships with a limited customer base. But as a company grows its install base and scales globally, maintaining high customer satisfaction becomes increasingly more challenging.  Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards acknowledging the achievements of top innovators across all categories who embody the values, transparency, and customer-centricity that lie at the core of truly great companies. View Ranking Methodology>>

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Winners of the 2021 HotelTechAwards Announced

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

Hotel Tech Report has announced winners in the 2021 HotelTechAwards, based on more than 10,000 hotel software product reviews contributed by verified hoteliers during the competition.  Winners are selected based on key performance metrics including product popularity, customer satisfaction, integration compatibility, customer support quality, and more.  Winning a HotelTechAward is the highest achievement in the hotel technology industry. “In the midst of a global pandemic, 318,466 hoteliers visited Hotel Tech Report from every corner of the globe contributing 10,227 verified new product reviews during the 3-month awards period to share insights about their favorite tech products to run and grow their businesses.  It has been inspiring to see this massive wave of hoteliers sharing technology insights and product recommendations,” says Jordan Hollander, CEO of Hotel Tech Report. “This is the most comprehensive dataset around hotelier preferences ever developed and it gives unprecedented insights into tech trends for hotels during a pivotal moment in history.  Winning a HotelTechAward is a huge feat with the 2021 competition being the most competitive year ever.  Every company on this list should be extremely proud of what they've contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.” During the HotelTechAwards, hoteliers from the world's leading hotel companies review the top tech products used at their hotels to increase operating efficiency, drive revenue, and improve the guest experience. This data is used to identify the best hotel tech products and organizations. "The HotelTechAwards  are the only prize in the industry that is completely and transparently customer-driven — it's the hoteliers that decide who is best, and it's their opinion that matters most." Gautam Lulla, CEO at Pegasus. "We at SiteMinder believe strongly in the essence of openness; it is what underpins the very core of what we stand for, and the HotelTechAwards, through the program's data-driven and transparent process, aligns firmly with this value.” - Sankar Narayan, CEO at SiteMinder “This honor has deep, personal meaning as it is decided upon by our clients and represents our passion and focus for providing the most sophisticated revenue technology and comprehensive support.” Dr. Ravi Mehrotra Founder at IDeaS “The HotelTechAwards are a powerful stamp of approval for any company to possess and for hoteliers to trust. We value the HotelTechAwards process, which collects thousands of verified reviews from around the world each year.” Alex Shashou, Co-Founder at ALICE “HotelTechReport is the leading platform for technology in the hotel industry, and its meticulous and impartial verification process makes this one of the most prestigious awards.” Moritz von Petersdorff-Campen, Co-Founder at SuitePad The competition spans core areas of hotel software & technology: marketing, revenue, operations, and guest experience. 2021 Voting included participation from major hotel groups including Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Accor Hotels, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Rosewood, and thousands of independents. "We originally created the HotelTechAwards as a democratized way to help our fellow hoteliers quickly determine best of breed vendors based on data they can trust and the scope of the competition this year is a testament to how far the industry has come in the last decade.  The HotelTechAwards rating process is simple, transparent, and unbiased--judging is based on time tested ranking factors, publicly available data, and crowdsourced insights from verified hoteliers who have hands-on experience with each product.” The HotelTechAwards are often referred to as "the Grammys of Hotel Tech" and winners were selected from the top technology products around the world. The HotelTechAwards are the industry's only data-driven awards platform with winners determined not by a handful of judges or popularity votes but by a global community comprised of thousands of verified hotel technology users across more than 127 countries.   Best Hotel Software Companies List >>

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M3 and Avero Announcing Integration Partnership

by
Nicholas Denmon
7 months ago

M3, the hospitality sector’s #1 cloud-based financial and data management platform has partnered with Avero, a restaurant revenue management software company serving the food and beverage (F&B) industry, allowing hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and positively impact their bottom lines. Currently maintaining over 100 integrations with the top point of sale (POS), labor and payroll systems, Avero offers restaurant analytics software that enhances M3 data, revealing powerful insights on server performance, labor and food costs, revenue management and more. “M3 currently integrates with numerous property management solutions in the hotel market” said Todd Rendle, Avero’s Chief Financial Officer. “This partnership allows M3 to extend its system integrations to over 50 different food and beverage point-of-sale systems and consequently improve data quality and efficiencies to drive financial performance.” Utilizing Avero’s F&B integrations and revenue management software, M3 customers can run a variety of successful enterprise-wide initiatives including increasing profit with menu engineering, reducing food costs and waste and improving server performance. M3 customers will also have the ability to integrate their back-office platforms with more than 50 F&B POS platforms, including Aloha, Micros 3700 and Hosted Symphony. M3’s dedicated integrations team additionally focuses on accumulating actionable data to help customers increase efficiencies, maximize data quality by reducing the need for manual entry and intervention, improve guest experiences and drive overall financial performance. “In our commitment to drive hotel financial performance through technology, M3 is expanding the industry’s back-office functions by modifying software integrations to allow the electronic capture of additional revenue streams beyond PMS,” said Scott Watson, M3’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “As M3’s customer base grows and diversifies, we will continue investing in and partnering with solutions like Avero to meet our customers’ specific needs and ensure our solutions consistently deliver to the highest of standards.” Access to Avero’s POS integrations and revenue management software can now be added to any customer subscription by contacting M3. M3’s customer base consists of more than 6,300 hotels, of which, more than half are among the top hotel management companies in the U.S., as ranked by Hotel Business.  

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The Complete Restaurant Software Ecosystem (2021)

by
Hotel Tech Report
1 month ago

As a restaurant owner or operator, you're constantly fielding calls from both new and existing restaurant management software vendors. Whether you're running an independent restaurant or operating one within a hotel, those calls are simply a fact of life. So it's no wonder that it’s hard to navigate the restaurant industry's technology ecosystem and its perplexing web of vendors serving as everything from a turnkey loyalty program to preventive maintenance and project management. That’s especially true when so many have overlapping functionality and similar features. How do you differentiate between each one? And how do you build a software stack that empowers staff, increases productivity and enhances the guest experience? It’s a lot to manage, in addition to everything else. Our goal here is to put some structure around this chaos. So whether you choose a master vendor that packages multiple tools in a single suite or opt to customize your tech stack with several vendors, this resource is for you. We've organized it into categories alongside recommendations on what to look for. As you evaluate the right solutions for your operation, keep a few things in mind: first and foremost is reliability. Cloud-based software is affordable and functional -- but for anything mission-critical, you’ll need an operational plan for when/if you lose internet connectivity. And when things do go south, you want a vendor with responsive and helpful support that never leaves you hanging. Second, think contactless. The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards mitigating limiting direct contact between guests and staff. Your technology should help not hinder the contactless experience. Finally, avoid feature creep. It's easy to get distracted by bells and whistles that you'll never use. This can be especially true when choosing a vendor that provides solutions to multiple industries and not just restaurants; there can be many unnecessary features. Stay focused! Take an honest appraisal of your operation and deploy technologies that serve your existing needs while giving you room to grow. This keeps software costs in check and reduces training time on confusing software.  And now, to the main event: this is the restaurant tech ecosystem in 2021!   Restaurant Management Software Categories Point-of-sale Multi-channel Ordering And Payments Guest WiFi Reservations And Waitlists Back Office And Inventory Management Staff Scheduling And Payroll Business Intelligence And Analytics Food Delivery Restaurant Websites Loyalty Marketing   Point of Sale (Restaurant POS System) Every restaurant needs a POS; it’s the heart muscle of the restaurant. But all POS software isn’t the same. As cloud-based software reduced development costs, the market was flooded with options. Most of them are decent. They do the trick. But a great POS can be transformative.  By centralizing essential operational functionality alongside labor management, payment processing, and kitchen management, your restaurant can operate smoothly and more profitably. The best example of this is integrated inventory management, where each order automatically reduces stock counts and updates orders. This saves a ton of labor and makes kitchen management less burdensome. That being said, a “do it all” POS (also marketed as a “restaurant management system”) may not be the best solution for your restaurant, especially if your chosen POS doesn’t excel at any one feature in particular. You'll end up with a point-of-sale that works well enough but doesn't provide the deep domain expertise and operational impact of a focused vendor. The key is matching your operation to a POS vendor that serves your category well. For instance, a small independent restaurant probably doesn't want to go with a multinational conglomerate that specializes in large restaurant groups or hotels. Not only is it cost-prohibitive but you’ll be a small fish in a big ocean. It’s best to go with a vendor that can provide the level of service and attention your operation needs. What to look for: Reliability is paramount. Most restaurants simply cannot function when the POS goes down. if you know that your internet connection is unreliable, a cloud-based POS needs an offline mode to keep your operation going no matter what.  Gift cards can be a sneaky way that POS vendors overcharge or lock you into a less-than-desirable ecosystem. Make sure to ask about how gift cards are handled, from securing physical cards to redemption costs. Gift cards are fantastic for incremental revenue, so avoid surprises!   Integrations are also a key piece of any POS system. Look for a vendor that integrates with the other technologies in your operation so that you have seamless sync and eliminate the hassle of manually exporting data from one system to another.  Lastly, hardware like iPads or self-serve kiosks is a major consideration.  Think through your guest journey and ensure that your vendor has the proper functionality to operate in your current or future workflows. Vendors to consider: This is the most saturated category of restaurant tech! Crave Interactive recently expanded into restaurants with its contactless experience ServeSafely. InforPOS is ideal for larger operators with multiple revenue centers. Lightspeed POS and TouchBistro are all-in-one solutions. POSLavu is tablet-based, which reduces the upfront cost of installation, and offers a loyalty app with in-store payment and pre-ordering.  OraclePOS specializes in hotel food and beverage operations. Also by Oracle is SimphonyPOS, a MICROS-based POS for restaurants that’s less clunky and more extensible than past legacy systems. Billed as restaurant management systems that do it all, HungerRush includes a delivery module, Toast has a modern look-and-feel and QSR Automations specialized in quick-service restaurants.  Enterprise brands, such as Oracle, have dramatically improved the look and functionality of their restaurant point-of-sale systems.   Multi-Channel Ordering And Payments The restaurant business has expanded beyond on-premise sales. There’s takeout, delivery, gift cards, merchandise, packaged goods and even DIY “cook at home” kits.  And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic put revenue diversification at the top of the priority list.  Since selling across multiple channels insulates your operation from unexpected dips in demand from a single channel, you’ll need software to support multi-channel ordering. You also need the ability to take payments seamlessly across each of your chosen channels. These channels could include your website, text messaging, or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. Equally important is safety; by offering a digital ordering system, you reduce touchpoints between staff and guests and keep everyone that much safer. Customers can order and pay on any device and your staff can focus more on fulfilling orders rather than answering the phone, swiping cards and handing receipts back and forth. What to look for: Cross-device compatibility. Any device, whether an Android phone or an Apple tablet, should be able to access menus and order easily across all devices. Depending on the size of your operation, a mobile app may be ideal so that you can give a centralized way for customers to interact with each of your locations. Payments should also be easy for customers and staff. Ideally, you want to eliminate the need to take any physical payment for online orders, Some systems offer e-wallets, where customers load money into a dedicated wallet so they don't have to enter payment information for each transaction. E-wallets were popularized by Starbucks, which made it super easy to order on mobile by offering seamless payments and auto-reloads when account balances drop below a certain amount. You also want to think about how people will order. Do you want to let people order via text message? Voice calls? Social media? Or only through your website? Or maybe you want an app for your restaurant to streamline all of these things? Do you need contactless digital menus and tableside ordering via QR code? Make a list of your must-haves and go from there. Vendors to consider: Olo and Tapmango are for bigger companies seeking a platform that can include branded apps, e-wallets, digital ordering and loyalty marketing. Pizza restaurants may find the ideal solution with ThrivePOS while other quick serves use Restolabs and restaurants in the Middle East use EatApp.  Chatfood’s commission-free platform supports ordering on Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, while ChowNow and Checkmate are popular online ordering systems for restaurants. For on-premise contactless ordering options, Bbot Smart Ordering allows guests to order and pay right from their phones. Most all-in-one POS and restaurant management systems also include multichannel ordering and payments, so check out that category above.   Many restaurant website builders also make it easy for guests to order online (seen here on BentoBox).   Guest WiFi Wi-Fi has become a standard part of the on-premise guest experience. That's doubly true for categories of restaurants that serve a large proportion of work-from-home guests, such as coffee shops and some fast-casual restaurants. “Fast and free” WiFi can earn customer loyalty, better online reviews -- and even free press coverage. With so much bandwidth being consumed, Wi-Fi can also get costly. It’s a balance between guest expectations with the reality of providing fast internet access. One way to mitigate some of this cost is to go with an ad-supported model that requires guests to engage with advertising prior to access.  Another way is to use WiFi as a marketing asset that generates value by providing ongoing engagement opportunities with guests. You could require a sign up with email or social profiles, which can be used for future marketing campaigns. Or you could even ask for a bit more demographic information to build a more robust guest profile. There’s real value and longer-term ROI when this information is added to your POS and loyalty programs. What to look for: There are some serious security implications when offering Wi-Fi to guests. Your back-office systems should be isolated from everything else. There should be an ironclad firewall between both systems to avoid costly and embarrassing breaches of payment data and sensitive guest information held in your POS.  Your guest internet portal should be user-friendly, device-agnostic, fully customizable and adhere to all local data privacy regulations.  Also: Your employees aren’t IT support specialists -- and restaurant operations are already tricky enough. Keep it simple and functional, with a vendor that provides responsive support for troubleshooting issues. When guests expect the internet, and the internet is not available, it can cause conflict with staff and become the focus of negative reviews. Avoid at all costs! Vendors to consider: Facebook offers free Wi-Fi to businesses; customers can access free Wi-Fi when they check into your business, giving them a perk and you an organic boost on the platform. Social WiFi offers a responsive and customizable internet portal that combines special offers, social logins, GDPR compliance with customer communication and marketing segmentation. SpotOn focuses on simplicity with multiple social logins, analytics, marketing, and reviews, as well as “controlled access” plans that allow you to restrict time spent, connection speed and data usage at the user level. Another popular option is CLOUD4WI’s Splash, which is used by many global brands to provide Wi-Fi and deepen relationships with customers.   SpotOn’s simple interface makes guest WiFi easy and attractive.   Reservations And Waitlists Reservations and waitlist management have always been a chokepoint. Thanks to OpenTable, many guests are accustomed to the convenience of online reservations. But this convenience comes at a cost to restaurants, and not just in the fees paid to these platforms: reservations are made but not canceled. No shows mean empty tables, frustrated staff and less revenue. Combine no shows with a long waitlist and you get angry guests wondering why it’s taking so long for a table when there are empty ones available.  Some POS systems may include these features but often come across as afterthoughts. With something that your staff and guests interact with often, pick a dedicated solution that’s easy-to-use for everyone. Most software also manages table assignments to keep servers happy and reduce conflict around who’s next in the rotation. What to look for: With cloud-based software, table management is easier than ever. Hosts can walk around the restaurant to manage table statuses in real-time -- so much better than pen and paper! Even better: with POS integration, table statuses will automatically update and eliminate the constant circulation of hosts.  It’s also possible to ditch the costly pagers. Most cloud-based options will send a text message to guests, which not only reduces pager loss but allows guests more room to roam while they wait. “Range anxiety” is real and it makes the wait feel longer when guests are tethered to the immediate vicinity.  Reduce your reliance on OpenTable and look for a vendor that links your reservations portal into Google search, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor (as well as taking reservations on your website). Vendors to consider: HostMe has a neat way of reducing no shows: deposits and cancellation fees, all automatically debited when a guest no shows or cancels late. With SEVENROOMS, you can offer customizable reservation upgrades (chilled champagne on arrival? Of course!), store guest preferences and even share those preferences across multiple locations.  Yelp for Restaurants and OpenTable for Restaurants are appealing because they connect directly with these two most popular restaurant finders in the world (but you’ll still pay fees per cover). Your guests can send a text to join your waitlist with Waitwhile. There’s also Wisely and ResyOS which has adapted to COVID-19 by including capacity controls, curbside pickup management and remote waitlists.   Back Office And Inventory Management Accounting, bookkeeping and inventory management software may be the least sexy but most impactful software for your restaurant. It's how you keep track of your cash flows and monitor profitability, not to mention reduce overordering and theft. Running on instinct is never a good idea when it comes to inventory management. You should base orders on historical data and forecasted demand. The right software can take care of all of this for you so you’re balancing supply and demand. What to look for: Menu engineering! The only way to really know whether your menu is profitable is either manual menu costing via spreadsheet or to use software that inputs ingredient cost and calculates each item’s profit. Spreadsheets for cheapest but take a lot of time to manage. The software makes this process seamless and consistent, enhancing your profitability without sacrificing your chef’s sanity.  Vendors to consider:  apicbase centralizes your recipes, menus, kitchen training, food costs and inventory orders so you can see performance at a glance across all outlets. xtraCHEF has similar functionality, with an added focus on automating invoice management and making bookkeeping more precise. There’s also FoodNotify and Avero, which also offers business intelligence features. For accounting and bookkeeping, you can’t go wrong with Xero or Quickbooks for managing day-to-day bookkeeping and end-of-year accounting. Larger vendors such as Birchstreet, Long Range Systems and Adaco provide a full suite of tools that include key financial integrations, such as “procure to pay” that automates kitchen ordering and associated bookkeeping.   Employee Management And Payroll Even though it can be available within your POS, a standalone staff scheduling tool is helpful in the foodservice space and broader hospitality industry due to high labor costs. Your staff is going to want mobile access because not everyone has a computer at home. And they’ll need a simple way to trade shifts. As you likely already know, trading shifts is a manager’s nightmare. Staff should manage this on their own, and a POS-integrated solution isn’t the most reliable or user friendly. What to look for: In addition to smartphone support and shift trading, look for a staff scheduler that puts shift management at its core. Managers should have a hassle-free experience and be able to pull reports to identify potential labor overages. Small touches like color-coded shifts can make a major difference for managers starting at schedules all day. Vendors to consider: HotSchedules, 7shifts and Schedulefly are employee scheduling software specifically made for restaurants. Many POS also include these features, such as POSLavu and TouchBistro. For payroll (including managing tips, which tends to trip up traditional payroll software), look at Proliant and Kitchensync. ADP and Paychex have plenty of restaurant clients too.   Business Intelligence And Analytics Business intelligence and analytics software is a companion to your accounting software. Whereas accounting software tracks your financial data, your BI and analytics tool makes sense of your demand data to give you key insights around future forecasts and menu profitability.  What to look for: Most smaller operations are well-served by the reporting tools within most point-of-sale systems. For larger multi-unit operations, it makes sense to have a standalone tool that automatically pulls data from multiple sources into a centralized dashboard.  The most important considerations are that the business intelligence tool integrates with your entire tech stack and that its dashboards are easy to understand.  it does no good to have incomplete information presented poorly. Insights should be automated and actionable; otherwise, the investment isn’t worth it. Vendors to consider: Womply is really interesting, as it turns your POS data and revenue analytics into a powerful marketing tool across email, digital ads and online reviews. In addition to sales forecasting, Avero surfaces granular operational data, such as which servers sell the most and which menu items are most popular. For larger operations, Adaco combines business intelligence with accounts payable and accounting features.   Sales forecasts, server performance and menu profitability are a few of the insights unlocked by business intelligence software for restaurants. (Avero shown here).   Food Delivery Food delivery has been a growing part of the restaurant business for years. This trend has accelerated during the pandemic, as consumers reduce the frequency of restaurant visits and see contactless delivery as a safe way to order out.  Statista found that nearly 42% of respondents are likely to purchase food online amid the coronavirus pandemic. As demand shifted, more restaurants than ever before joined third-party platforms like GrubHub, Postmates and UberEats. While it's great to have an instant source of demand, the associated fees are significant costs that eat into already-thin margins.  For many restaurants, the cost is an adequate trade for not having to support in-house delivery. But for high-volume operations, such as pizza parlors,  fees can be a major issue. High-volume restaurants can boost profit margin dramatically by using food delivery tech to bring delivery in-house. This isn't feasible for every restaurant type, as it requires not just a technology investment but also an effective marketing strategy that drives demand directly to your platform rather than third parties. But when it works, in-house food delivery is lucrative. What to look for: If you're not going with a vendor that integrates food delivery management into your existing multichannel ordering system or POS, then it really comes down to integration. You want to minimize disruption as you deploy new technology. Your food delivery tech should keep your kitchen organized with reliable order tracking and make it hassle-free to assign drivers for each order.  You’ll also need accurate reporting to track driver tips and performance during each shift. Efficiency is one of the main values provided by third-party services. They are constantly updating their algorithms to assign drivers the most efficient route. However, third parties have a lot of other factors to consider, such as other orders in the queue. You'll have a leg up with delivery technology that optimizes routes so your drivers can get to your customers quickly and safely. Vendors to consider: HungerRush (mentioned earlier) supports delivery management, both for third-parties and in-house, with order taking, kitchen production, and driver routing for peak efficiency. The pizza category has a dedicated solution for delivery management and point-of-sale with Thrive POS, while breweries have a pickup and delivery solution with 2nd Kitchen 2Go. GetSwift’s delivery management software starts at $0.29 per delivery.     Restaurant Websites Your restaurant website is your calling card. You want it to be representative of your brand and put yourself in the best light possible. Your website should be modern and easy-to-use across devices so that people can find relevant information easily. What to look for: Your restaurant website should be secure and SEO-optimized, with a user-friendly design that supports online ordering, easy menu updates, and loyalty marketing. You also may want reservations and an e-commerce module for gift card purchases. Vendors to consider: For restaurant websites, look past Wix and Squarespace and go for vendors like that specialize in the unique needs of restaurants, such as BentoBox, Upmenu, Let’s Eat, FlavorPlate, or GloriaFood. If you’re more tech-savvy you could choose your own WordPress template or a custom website from a creative agency, but this may be too costly and time-intensive for most restaurateurs.   Loyalty Marketing You also need tools to manage your guest relationships so that you can market to your most loyal guests without having to constantly pay third-parties, such as OpenTable, to put butts in seats. These tools can be loyalty marketing platforms based on building rich guest profiles or they can be specialized tools, such as text message platforms for engaging past guests on their phones. Many ordering platforms also integrate loyalty into their products. This makes a lot of sense, as all transaction data already comes through the multichannel ordering platform and/or your point-of-sale system. You then get a holistic view of your customers so you can segment and target campaigns to specific profiles. Many reservation and waitlist management platforms also include loyalty marketing, so look at that category above for more ideas! Vendors to consider: Boostly is an automated text marketing system that drives incremental visits without much input on your end. Thanx uses credit card numbers to streamline loyalty earning and redemption. Fivestars is loyalty for smaller operations that don’t want the hassle of a standalone app or loyalty program. Mobivity combines loyalty marketing via SMS and mobile with robust analytics. The guest experience platform from SEVENROOMS adds loyalty marketing to its reservations/table management system so you can market to individual guests. For larger chains and bigger budgets, Stuzo and Astute leverage Big Data and AI into 1:1 marketing and automated campaigns. PosIQ uses your POS data alongside its “guest tracking” technology to personalize marketing at scale.     Get to know your guests so you can personalize the experience and market more effectively. (SEVENROOMS pictured here)  

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Food & Beverage Category Press Releases

M3 and Avero Announcing Integration Partnership

M3
7 months ago

M3, the hospitality sector’s #1 cloud-based financial and data management platform has partnered with Avero, a restaurant revenue management software company serving the food and beverage (F&B) industry, allowing hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and positively impact their bottom lines. Currently maintaining over 100 integrations with the top point of sale (POS), labor and payroll systems, Avero offers restaurant analytics software that enhances M3 data, revealing powerful insights on server performance, labor and food costs, revenue management and more. “M3 currently integrates with numerous property management solutions in the hotel market” said Todd Rendle, Avero’s Chief Financial Officer. “This partnership allows M3 to extend its system integrations to over 50 different food and beverage point-of-sale systems and consequently improve data quality and efficiencies to drive financial performance.” Utilizing Avero’s F&B integrations and revenue management software, M3 customers can run a variety of successful enterprise-wide initiatives including increasing profit with menu engineering, reducing food costs and waste and improving server performance. M3 customers will also have the ability to integrate their back-office platforms with more than 50 F&B POS platforms, including Aloha, Micros 3700 and Hosted Symphony. M3’s dedicated integrations team additionally focuses on accumulating actionable data to help customers increase efficiencies, maximize data quality by reducing the need for manual entry and intervention, improve guest experiences and drive overall financial performance. “In our commitment to drive hotel financial performance through technology, M3 is expanding the industry’s back-office functions by modifying software integrations to allow the electronic capture of additional revenue streams beyond PMS,” said Scott Watson, M3’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “As M3’s customer base grows and diversifies, we will continue investing in and partnering with solutions like Avero to meet our customers’ specific needs and ensure our solutions consistently deliver to the highest of standards.” Access to Avero’s POS integrations and revenue management software can now be added to any customer subscription by contacting M3. M3’s customer base consists of more than 6,300 hotels, of which, more than half are among the top hotel management companies in the U.S., as ranked by Hotel Business.  

Impulsify Announces Arrival into Grab-and-Go for Glamping Retail Stores

Impulsify
7 months ago

Retail technology company, Impulsify Inc., who provides cloud-based point of sale, self-service kiosk solutions, and data-driven retail design services to the hospitality industry, has just announced their arrival onto the Glamping scene. The Denver-based software company recently signed several Glamping sites and will soon launch the general store of its first luxury campground in Escalante, UT. A fusion of glamour and camping, "glamping" allows visitors to experience unique parts of the world without sacrificing the comforts and luxuries of home. With a mission to provide upscale, self-service retail "anywhere people live, work, chill, crave" – Impulsify's plug-and-play retail solutions and expertise extend seamlessly into the campground general store of some of the most desirable glamping sites in North America.  "Our experience designing unique and convenient self-service retail for discerning hotel guests makes our move to glamp-grounds a logical next step," says Impulsify CEO, Janine Williams. "Offering technology-driven, well-planned retail in campground general stores is an essential for any glamping site where guests crave both comfort and convenience - and owners seek proven, effective sources of incremental revenue!" Impulsify's software technology and revenue results present developers, owners, and managers an easy-to-implement solution designed to benefit both the glamp-ground and the guests who visit.  

Tock Named 2018’s Top Rated Food & Beverage Technology in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

Hotel Tech Report
1 year ago

February 12, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Tock 2018’s top rated Food & Beverage Technology based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “Tock is a game changer for guest and reservation management across hotel  F&B outlets.  Just as Airbnb has popularized the experience movement, Tock goes beyond just making great reservation software and allows for hotels to highlight and sell more of their F&B experiences.  In the end this increases average guest spend, reduces inventory costs and solves one of the biggest problems for restaurants - cancellations,” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Tock is poised for sustained growth in 2018. Hoteliers recognized Tock’s impressive return on investment where Tock exceeded the category average by 11%. One Chicago based F&B manager calls Tock “game changing” software that “increases revenue, improves the guest experience and provides outstanding support.”  Another Philadelphia based Corporate Director of F&B Marketing Strategy for a national hotel company says that Tock helps them bring their hotel and restaurant properties to life through events and experiences. To read the full review and more, head to Tock's profile on Hotel Tech Report