New technology key to the industry’s success says KPMG

PUB AND restaurant operators must embrace new technologies in order to be successful in 2014 and beyond as the pace of change in the sector is going to accelerate even further, says Will Hawkley, Director in KPMG’s Leisure Advisory Group.


Hawkley says: “Most of that change is being driven by technological advances. 70 years ago the average life span of a company in the S&P 500 index was 75 years, today that has fallen to 15 years and in 2025 the expected life span will be five years. The winning companies of today could be losers very quickly if they fail to keep pace with the changes around them, no matter what industry or sector they are operating in.”


Hawkley believes that pub and restaurant operators need to adapt business models and he identifies five key areas businesses need to look at: social media and mobile apps, Big data, mobile payments, wearable technologies and funding.


Hawkley comments: “Many operators are embracing Facebook and Twitter and developing their own branded applications but I believe more can be done and those that develop innovative long term strategies in this area will gain significant competitive advantage.


“Operators who can generate and analyse their customer data most effectively will be able to generate long term relationships with their customers to drive repeat visits, increased spend and higher net promoter scores.


“As consumers become increasingly comfortable with cashless payment such as Oyster, people will wish to pay via their mobile devices without having to use an app to do so. The major mobile phone companies have joined together to develop a universal mobile payment platform and the major banks will be launching their mobile payment platform, Zapp , in 2014. Operators who want to succeed need to be ready to accept mobile payments sooner rather than later.


“Consumers are now wearing technology and using apps that measure everything that they do on a daily basis producing huge amounts of data. However this data is generally lifestyle and fitness related and could impact negatively on consumers’ food and drink consumption as they will measure every calorie consumed in real time. Have you thought how you will deal with customers wearing Google glasses in your outlets? Will other customers take kindly to being videoed without them knowing?


“Crowd sourcing developed as a way of engaging customers and out of that concept crowd funding has developed. The crowdfunding market is forecast to grow to $5bn globally by the end of this year. Companies that are willing to seek alternative sources of funding may find crowdsourcing is a good alternative to traditional sources of debt.”