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How cloud technology can help restaurant and foodservice brands enhance the consumer experience in a post-pandemic world

Operators are looking for ways meet the needs of three core issues facing the foodservice industry: safety, labor, and personalization.
Amazon AWS services
Photograph: Shutterstock

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Consumer priorities evolved, and operators continuously adapted to new challenges. Now, as the industry shifts to a post-response phase following widespread vaccine rollouts and relaxing of restrictions across the country, operators are looking for ways meet the needs of three core issues facing the foodservice industry: safety, labor, and personalization.

Amazon Web Services has a new ebook available that highlights how technology and the right partner can help operators, particularly with AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partners. These Partners provide cloud solutions and services to accelerate the industry’s modernization and innovation journey—from behind the scenes operational efficiencies to guest-facing customer experiences.

Here are three ways cloud technology helps operators better serve customers.

1. Safety

According to Technomic’s 2021 Value and Pricing Consumer Trend Report, 54% of consumers strongly agree that sanitation and cleanliness at restaurants is more important to them now than it was a year ago. And understandably so—as dining room closures hit restaurants across the U.S., diners turned to takeout and delivery. Now, though, as dining rooms have reopened and consumers head back to their favorite spots, they’re looking for indicators that the operators are placing safety atop their list of priorities.

AWS partner TensorIoT offers multiple solutions to help restaurant and foodservice companies effectively leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology to improve their business operations. According to a recent survey from Square, 91% of restaurants are looking to kitchen automation technology to help streamline their operations in 2021. TensorIoT’s SafetyVisor tool, for example, is a Computer Vision Monitoring solution that can be deployed in the cloud to ensure safety precautions are being followed. It can track PPE compliance (such as mask wearing), social distancing, space utilization, room/area occupancy, and sanitation procedure compliance.

This technology allows operators to get a close-up, real-time view of what’s going on with their operations, even if they aren’t on location. From a customer perspective, it supports the demand of heightened safety in the wake of COVID-19 that has changed our dining habits. According to a recent Deloitte Study, 80% of consumers said they’d be more likely to patronize a restaurant if they knew what steps it was taking to enhance cleanliness, food safety or guest safety, and when they did they would be willing to pay an average premium of 10% more. With this information in mind, making safety consistently visible can be a winning formula for success.

2. Labor challenges and efficiency

With current labor challenges, including shortages of workers, operators are forced to look for ways to automate and streamline processes so that existing staff is utilized in the most efficient way. For instance, if operators can reduce the need for employees to spend hours working on accounts payable and receivable tasks, HR matters, sales endeavors and more—and instead have them working to create the best customer experience possible, why wouldn’t they?

AWS Partner DocMX is specialized to enable hospitality customers to digitize and automate key operations in finance, accounting, and more. DocMX technology automates manual administrative processes like daily audits, accounts payable or receivable, and HR. Implementing paperless, remote collaboration to keep staff safe, share resources across properties, ensure data security and compliance. By automating these different tasks, operators can ease the burden on existing staff and worry less about current labor shortages. By enabling staff to work on customer-centric tasks rather than back-of-house paperwork, they can can focus on creating personalized guest experiences.  

DocMX has a track record of automating finance and other back-end processes for over 75 hospitality customers around the world, saving each a significant amount of time and money.

3. Personalization

Personalization is a key element in creating great experiences for customers, and it’s never been in greater demand than today. By better understanding and acting on each customer’s needs, preferences and priorities, operators can increase visits among the 78% of consumers who say coupons and deals encourage trial, according to Technomic’s 2021 Value and Pricing Consumer Trend Report.

So how can operators incorporate technology solutions to boost personalization within their operation? Algonomy, another AWS partner, can offer the insights and data operators need. In the case of the No. 1 pizza chain in India, Algonomy’s Customer Data Platform and Journey Orchestration enabled personalized customer engagement on the chain’s mobile app, which increased customer acquisitions through increased app downloads across the customer base.

The chain needed a unified, 360-view of their customers across both online and offline channels, which would act as the foundation for successful campaigns to drive increased response rates and conversions. With the data-centric approach provided by Algonomy, the chain was able to do exactly that. To grow frequency of orders among existing customers, groups were segmented on multiple dimensions and content was personalized based on their preferences. Upsell and cross-sell approaches and strategies were deployed to add value to customers’ orders, and based on segmentation, 55% of the best customers who had downgraded to lower categories were targeted. Using these key strategies, those customers were brought back to the higher frequency category. Algonomy’s solution of targeting customers based on their behaviors and ordering trends resulted in 3.5% incremental revenue growth and 750,000 new app downloads per month.

By personalizing the customer experience, operators can foster loyalty and strengthen the customer-restaurant relationship and, in turn, grow their sales.

What's next?

Customer engagement through personalization, labor challenges, and safety are three areas that will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Amazon Web Services can help—to learn more, don’t miss AWS Travel and Hospitality’s new ebook, Building “What’s Next” in Travel and Hospitality.

This post is sponsored by Amazon Web Services

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