5 October 2017, Smart Machines
The hospitality industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented period of significant cost inflation. Factors such as rising business rates, increasing labour costs, Brexit uncertainty and ever-increasing rents, to name a few, have created a perfect storm that’s ravaging the bottom line of hospitality businesses. Some analysts are even reporting that businesses need to hit a 5% increase in like-for-like sales just to stand still!
In this challenging climate, it’s more important than ever that businesses scrutinise their entire operation to identify ways in which they can mitigate costs. This could be smarter scheduling of staff, reducing energy consumption, or identifying an optimum price point to sell your coffee. The easiest and most robust way is by collecting data, analysing it, tracking performance and then making informed decisions.
Collating real time data from your business gives you a window on how it is performing and highlights areas that need improvement. Some industries, like Formula One, have been implementing this approach for years, fine tuning elements of the car based on statistical analysis of a range of variable factors to shave milliseconds off their lap-time. Hospitality operators need to be more like F1 teams.
It has already started happening and the demand for smarter solutions across vending and coffee machines are expected to double by 2020, with over 3.4m coffee, snack and cold drinks machines predicted to be connected online. Nailing down the right coffee offer is very important for caterers as it boasts a very keen price point with a high profit potential that gives operators a great opportunity to grow revenue – this is where data can help.
How can data be collected from coffee machines? It’s simple, with telemetry devices – a little black box that can be easily inserted into any automatic coffee machine (whether in the showroom, or in the field). Once fitted, they feed real-time information via the Internet of Things to a dashboard that gives operators total transparency across their estate of how machines are performing.
Tech aside, the smart part is what operators do with this information. We have invested considerable time creating a robust platform that renders data into user-friendly graphs to allow businesses to make informed decisions that will improve their performance.
This could be tracking consumption patterns to ensure the machines are situated in the right place and selling the right products at the right price; or limiting machine downtime and increasing sales by improving service efficiency and flagging machine issues before they arise.
In its simplest terms, this would mean that a service engineer will know when a machine is about to break down and proactively arrive with parts they need to bring to fix the potential issue before it happens. Not only will this save your business money by reducing machine downtime and subsequent lost sales but it also saves you money on unnecessary service visits.
Many catering operators have large scale estates and demand forecasting and ordering coffee stock can be a tricky procedure – the last thing you want to do is run out of product during a peak period. If you have been collecting data on coffee sales you can better predict what stock is needed, based on cross referencing previous sales, against variables such as weather and events.
It doesn’t stop with coffee machines. Telemetry devises can be inserted into any piece of equipment, such as cookers and fridges, to track how they are performing across large estates. In the end, it all comes down to giving operators the tools they need to make informed business decisions that can improve their bottom line.