3 Technologies that can be Easily Implemented by F&B Companies in Singapore
F&B businesses want to increase profits, but aren’t employing the right technologies
Improving productivity and efficiency, and reaping bountiful profits are the top of mind priorities of most F&B business owners. Most endeavour to achieve them, but interestingly, not many are employing the right methods to do so. Some F&B companies are still using cash registers that do not provide critical data for analysis or cater for streamlined operational processes to improve productivity and efficiency. Others are still conducting stocktake processes through pen and paper methods, which result in a longer duration taken to synchronise information across outlets than it would have taken should digital means be used.
This is a puzzling phenomenon to me. It isn’t wrong to employ such methods to run F&B operations, but sourcing for new solutions becomes imperative when productivity and efficiency becomes stagnant or worse, go on a downhill. There are countless of IT solutions in the market that are catered to serve the needs of F&B companies, so why aren’t F&B business owners leveraging on them?
F&B businesses offer reasons for low technology adoption
To satisfy my curiosity, I asked F&B business owners whom I touched base with and these are what they have shared me:
- IT solutions are expensive. Cash flow is of paramount importance to them; it is needed to finance primary overheads and other necessary expenses. After monetary resources are channelled to these areas, there is already little funds left for what is deemed to be ‘good to have’ solutions.
- Change is painful. It is in our human nature to resist change, so understandably, many business owners would be daunted by the idea of migrating to other softwares/applications/systems. It entails significant downtime (e.g. staff training, data migration, system implementation, etc.) to business operations, and downtime equates to loss of profits. Most business owners would prevent such a situation from taking place.
F&B businesses must change or be changed
However, we have to understand that, our receptivity to change requires an open mind and a positive mind set, which opens the door to windows of opportunity for potential breakthroughs. Therefore, it is imperative for business owners to evaluate the pros and cons to decide if change is not only necessary, but beneficial for their businesses.
The reasons that these business owners have mentioned are definitely valid. Regrettably, it goes to show that not only did they fail to see the benefits, and also the potential return of investment that the right IT solutions can provide. The right solutions that cater to an F&B business’s intrinsic needs could be an enabler of productivity, efficiency and profits.
That being said, finding the right IT solution involves thinking out of the box, for instance, using what you already have, or searching externally. The fundamental question is this: How do F&B businesses leverage on technology to maximise productivity, efficiency and profits? Let us look at 3 creative ways that F&B businesses could employ to increase productivity, efficiency and profits.
- Point of Sales (POS) system. An industry-proven POS system:
- Accelerates operational processes. Time is paramount to F&B operations, especially when customers nowadays expect speed, quality food and exceptional customer service. In order to generate a quick service time, the POS system should be able to process transactions in the shortest number of steps. For this to materialise, a great deal of thought needs to be invested when brainstorming on the operational workflows during the product development phase. This is one aspect which F&B business owners need to look out for when sourcing for a POS system.
- Enables users to master it in the shortest time possible. Intuitive Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) will do the trick. The GUIs need to be so easy to navigate, such that staff can use it with minimal assistance required.
- Presents critical data in comprehensive formats for making calculated business decisions with greater speed and accuracy. Data intelligence gives business owners the edge over competition because in-depth data analysis entails informed and smarter business decisions.
- Purchasing & inventory system.
- Take a leap into the world of digital technology and embark on a paperless e-procurement and inventory system that spells productivity and efficiency. With redundant administrative tasks out of the way, operational processes will be streamlined. In fact, a digitised stock take process entails greater inventory management accuracy.
- Knowledge is power. Review inventory reports to ascertain the balance stock is on hand to prevent the case of over- or under-purchasing supplies and keep cost of supplies under tight control. Not only do these reports help to keep cost of supplies in check, they could help to prevent pilferage as well.
- E-menu Ordering system.
- The dining experience could be elevated with intuitive e-menu ordering systems for customers, especially the IT-savvy ones.
- With customers busying themselves with submitting orders on their own, the number of staff scheduled could be reduced. In the face of a prevalent labour crunch, this is one solution businesses could look into.
Attaining monetary resources to fund the chosen solutions require creativity as well. Many of my clients at Novitee have defrayed the cost of technology adoption by tapping on available government grants.
F&B business owners require brilliant foresight to sustain their businesses in the long run. There are plenty of resources out there that could be capitalised on. It is just the matter of: What. Who. When. How.
By Benjamin Yang,
Managing Director, Novitee