5 Top Tips for Maximising Tech Effectiveness
This year has been horrific & I think that if it wasn’t for our ever-improving smart thinking tech support services we would have seen so many more brands fail in the last 9 months. Tech has allowed us to turn our menus into online menus, add covers to a restricted footprint, provide confidence to our already concerned diners & communicate with the most important people, our teams.
During my career, I have sat in many pitches from the Technology sales team in the process of buying new technology and the one problem that I have always faced is how to do you get the full return on investment once I have a portfolio of sites already open. The tech provider will set out the savings and advantages that you will gain but this is always based on the operator’s ability to land the training and roll out the tech to its full capability.
Here are my 5 top tips on ensuring that your technology does what it says on the tin.
Does the Tech Fix a Problem?
A really simple question. What is your problem & why are you considering buying. Your problem may be that you have labour cost issues, team turnover issues & poor communications. That’s great as you have a cost center in that problem set and you can measure your cost vs what you were spending before purchase or trial. Always fix a measure next to your purchase, for example, if you are turning over 150% of your team every 90 days ensure that the tech you purchase can measure this and report on it ..otherwise how will you ever know you fixed the issue? I may sound a bit black and white but when you are spending or this case investing money you need to be sure that you get what you pay for and that you fix the problem.
Imagine making the investment and still having the same problem….it happens….A LOT!
Buy Now or Pay in Stress Later?
Your first site should be your success model, this is the blueprint for your estate and this is where you should buy tech now and form a relationship that will enable you to grow with a cost already embedded in your budget & ensuring a return on investment within months not years. This will then lead to removing barriers later in your growth & avoid making major financial commitments when you are in the weeds, we very rarely purchase technology to just keep doing the same thing, we nearly always buy to improve or enhance our situation, so get your blueprint right and test tech from day 1. The industry has most certainly come together in 2020 and I think that now more than ever speaking to your competitors about technology and the gains it can bring is vital, it will hold the technology companies to account and will enable the best to win more customers.
If I work for brand A and they have this very cool people system and I then move to brand B and they don’t have it does it influence my decision? Can I get my rotas on my phone, can I swap shifts, can I communicate privately with my line manager without using my mobile phone? All of these benefits are what this generation is used to …so if you don’t have that do you lose an edge in the recruitment scramble? …yes.
Plan the Training /Roll Out With Your Tech Partner
Sounds very obvious but if you don’t work together, likely, you will never recover this part of the roll-out, and likely that you will never see full ROI. I have rolled out several problems solving tech fixes and the most successful was when I worked closely with the development team to ensure that we rolled out promptly, checked learning, and checked usage every step of the way. It has to land correctly, I know that’s some brands have tech in place which may only be used by 20% of their workforce, and some brands where they have 100% usage of the technology but only reaching 50% of its capability as it simply hasn’t been trained in. This is just crazy. Everyone is busy so you have one chance in getting this right and the technology provider wants you to get it right as much as you do so make sure you work with them and keep them involved with all the ups and downs of rolling out tech. If you have 1 site or 100 you must hold hands until all are confident the tech is rolled out correctly and giving you the gains you need to justify your spend.
Test, Test, Test
Make sure it works!
Again I am stating the obvious and not doubting that the tech works in isolation but be sure that all of your Integrations can work with your chosen supplier and that again you can measure the problems to ensure that you are moving forward and solving those problems with your investment. Testing is so important so don’t get your ops director to check it, get someone in marketing, get someone in accounts and most important get someone in operations to check it works and I mean the guys on the ground who will use it every day. You cannot test a system with the senior management team, you must test it & trial it with the teams on the ground and they will tell you very quickly whether they like it. On that point I have always found that tech that takes man-hours away is a winner, I am not talking about replacing people with tech I am talking about replacing dead man-hours so your teams can get on the floor and do what they do best…making the guest happy & making the guest return. You MUST involve your teams in this testing process.
Are You Getting ROI?
Finally…are you getting a return on investment (ROI)?
Before you started this process you had an acute operational or financial issue you needed to solve. I worked for large brands and smaller brands & the care and attention taken by the smaller brands when buying tech is something to be admired, buying anything requires due diligence and careful thought, not just for the system you invest in but the why behind it,
Do you really need it?
What difference will it make and will you get your return in the next 36 months or 60 months?
It is vital that you “sweat” your tech to ensure that you get your money’s worth & also these clever developers have created this tech to fix your problem so nothing would please them more than for it to be trained in & rolled out correctly. Two-way feedback to ensure glitches are being fixed ( as they do happen!) & make sure you plan in periodic meetings so you can both share success and any challenges you may be having. Everything in our business is fast, we are moving quickly and so are the goalposts especially at the moment. To improve efficiency you will have to invest in technology to work alongside your awesome teams, it’s not a replacement it’s a tool and if you give tech a chance you may well see more gains than you had originally planned.