Regardless of the benefits, going digital can seem like a daunting prospect. But while there’s no denying digitization requires investment, time and patience, I’ve witnessed how even the short-term benefits far outweigh the initial outlay.
In a rapidly evolving business landscape, the question for the hospitality and QSR industry shouldn’t be, ‘can we afford to go digital?’ but rather, ‘can we afford not to?’
The barriers to digitization in hospitality
For our purposes, when I say digitization, I’m talking about not only having digital processes replace all paper ones, but choosing a piece of software that can unify all your data streams in one platform and structure this data as digestible business information.
This is a wholistic digital solution, which can be expanded and integrated for almost any business need.
Is digitization too expensive for the hospitality industry?
There are several reasons why firms may be reluctant to make the digital leap, but the cost is usually the first. The initial price, plus subscription or development fees can make the real cost opaque and the electronic devices needed for implementation don’t usually grow on trees.
But these are drops in the budgetary ocean when you consider how expensive mistakes can be. In 2021, several major retailers received fines in the millions for out of date food on the shelves and some caterers found themselves on the wrong end of viral social media stories.
The cost of hospitality compliance
It’s not just money and reputation that is at risk, but people’s safety: Natasha’s Law has now been implemented across the food and drink industry to better protect customers against allergens, and we have all had to adjust to the new mandate.
Going off these examples alone tells us all that even large well-established companies with solid processes can be caught out because compliance is both complex and ever-changing, and it’s this that makes a digital solution essential.
Mitigate your risk
Having a digital solution that’s configurable will also make it far easier to implement new guidance or legislation.
Mobile workflow systems such as mpro5 make health and safety checks much easier to manage. Digital logbooks, for instance, are date and time-stamped, meaning staff cannot miss crucial checks that could result in breaches like those mentioned above. And, unlike paper logbooks, digital records can’t be falsified or misplaced.
If the decision is between paying for a digital solution or risking a serious incident, I certainly know which one I’d choose.
Won’t implementation and adoption be difficult?
Cost isn’t the only concern. Many firms don’t feel prepared to roll out major operational change, while others are worried their employees won’t buy into a digital system.
Moving to a digital platform does require plenty of planning and it’s also true that changing the attitude and behaviour of staff can be a challenge.
But there are steps you can take to help make the roll-out and adoption process much smoother. As I discussed in my last post, understanding the end user and finding the most effective training technique is key to increasing employee engagement.
Disruption can be minimized if you have clear goals and work with a software provider who can implement digitization gradually throughout your business, starting with one or two problems and expanding from there.
The benefits of digitization for hospitality industry
I’ve already discussed how a digital solution can help to prevent costly health and safety breaches, but the benefits don’t stop there. Digitization has many other advantages, including:
- Safer sites – using a digital platform to record key actions makes it much easier to spot potential problems. It means that leaky fridge or ripped doormat can be remedied before it causes an accident. It also demonstrates your commitment to keeping your customers safe.
- Compliance is simpler – a digital system removes the need for multiple paper logbooks (one supermarket I work with had over 160 separate logbooks per store!). With all of this information streamlined into one cloud-based platform, compliance becomes simpler and more efficient.
- Greater confidence – a digital platform provides tangible proof that the necessary steps have been taken, so business leaders can be confident that they’re complying with the relevant legislation.
- Improved accountability – as essential checks are time and date stamped, employees may take comfort in knowing that they can’t be blamed for an incident that wasn’t their fault.
- Better for the environment – with some companies spending thousands of pounds on paper, a digital solution is better for both the planet and your bottom line.
Ultimately, it’s the businesses that adapt and embrace technological change that will thrive in today’s digital landscape. Digitization may seem daunting, costly and non-essential, but with the right provider, clear goals and careful planning, all of these problems can be mitigated. What’s more, a fully digital platform will ensure compliance on all processes, empower your employees and transform your business through greater visibility that enables better decision making.