More than half of all of contract caterers (54%) want technology to give them more accurate predictions of food and footfall so they can solve their number one problem – food waste – a new survey shows.
In the survey, published by software and services company, Omnico, covering the attitudes to technology of 153 senior figures in contract catering and food services, 53% said reducing food waste is their biggest challenge.
When it comes to predicting footfall, 52% believe that being able to predict the customer and quantities numbers will be a major leap forward in operational efficiency.
Over half of the participants (58%) believe using technology to reduce waiting times in queues will improve footfall.
“The survey results show that the catering industry knows that technology can address the major challenges of food waste and queuing, which cost everyone time and money,” said Mel Taylor, CEO of Omnico.
“But there is also clear demand for a more complete approach to technology that encompasses loyalty, ordering, payment and promotions, as caterers see that this is the route to significant bottom line benefits.”
Of respondents in the survey, 48% said they want to use technology to offer personalised discounts based on what the customer has previously bought, with 41% wanting to offer a loyalty programme through a mobile app.
More than a third (38%) want technology to give them a unified system that connects bookings and the till points, with 33% believing that a more advance-booking system for customers will allow demand to be more accurately predicted. 40% said advance-ordering will improve footfall.
Nearly half (48%) said queues will diminish and efficiency increase if they can offer customers the ability to pay using a mobile app, a kiosk, or a tablet device.
“Caterers can now see they must give their diners a more all-encompassing, technology-based experience that extends beyond the canteen or dining room doors and works without hiccup or snag whichever touchpoint is used,” added Taylor.
“It this seamless experience that is the key to big improvements in revenue by reducing waste and queuing while increasing loyalty and choice. Up to one in five respondents for example (20%), can see that engaging with customers through a mobile app is a key method of boosting revenue.
“The efficiencies are there for the taking. The contract catering business just needs to be much smarter about using technology to unify experiences seamlessly across multiple touchpoints.”