Lately, the Hong Kong Food and Beverage (“F&B”) industry has been struggling as many have been forced to limit their dine-in experiences due to COVID-19 restrictions. Because of this, Hong Kong F&B businesses have been forced to adapt with many turning towards cloud solutions. Unfortunately, with the business environment, many F&B business owners do not have the luxury of taking their time to understand how these solutions can benefit them. In this article, we look to provide more insight as to how adopting these solutions can help F&B businesses evolve and remain competitive.
What You Will Learn
1. How cloud solutions result in higher productivity
2. How cloud solutions foster integration for seamless business management
3. How cloud solutions brings better control of finances
4. How cloud solutions can improve decision making
5. How cloud solutions encourages customer loyalty
1. Higher Productivity
The unique features of cloud solutions are well recognised in their ability to enhance the productivity of the businesses that use them. For F&B businesses, cloud solutions enhance productivity by improving the efficiency in how customers place orders and how staff can track the progress of the orders made.
Traditionally, customers of an F&B business will place their orders with the staff. It is the staff’s responsibility to then input the orders, and to make sure that it is delivered to the client in a prompt manner and with the highest quality. This manual process often result in errors with either incorrect orders, or as a result staff being overburdened.
Cloud solutions lets customers make tableside orders and payments via a mobile point-of-sale (“POS”) device. This diverts the responsibility of putting orders from the F&B staff to the customer. In addition, as these orders will be fed directly on the cloud, F&B businesses no longer have to worry about missing an order or not knowing the progress of fulfillment.
Furthermore, cloud solutions often provide means for business owners to track the productivity of their staff. Cloud solutions such as Eats365 have timesheet functions whereby staff can record the time spent on their work shifts. This allows companies to check the staff performance, assign them various tasks as necessary and have more accurate information when calculating their salaries.
2. Seamless Business Management
Cloud solutions can have their modules, features and functionality maintained through the same system. This means that data is shared and every component works together as one seamless unit.
While it is clear that these solutions can already integrate with accounting software to synchronise your sales, that’s not all this platform can integrate with! As everything can be integrated with existing hardware, such as receipt printers and payment portals, all aspects of your F&B business can be automated, allowing your staff to spend more time on revenue driving activities, rather than maintaining systems.
3. Better Control of Finances
For most F&B businesses, staff and inventory represent two of the largest costs in a balance sheet. Oftentimes, restaurants may order a surplus of inventory which must be disposed of if it is not consumed, resulting in unnecessary expenditure. Occasionally, staff may be overscheduled resulting in higher than expected salary costs.
While many cloud solutions help minimize the occurrence of these instances from happening, F&B businesses should focus their attention on solutions such as Revel which have been designed for businesses operating in F&B industries.
Not only is Revel a POS system, but it also provides a platform for businesses to manage their payroll and inventory. Business owners can more accurately calculate their staff salary by taking into consideration how many hours they worked. In addition, as these systems also help track inventory, there is greater clarity in regards to day-to-day stock levels. Business owners can use this information when putting in further orders with their suppliers for more accurate replenishment of inventory levels.
A cost that also goes largely unnoticed are the ones related to the adoption and maintenance of IT infrastructure. As these systems offer features that are integral to the operations of F&B businesses the use of IT infrastructure cannot be ignored. Such features include point-of-sale systems to facilitate payment processing, inventory management systems to help minimize expenditures and avoid unnecessary costs or even a payroll system that ensures employees are paid fairly and on-time. While the costs associated with the initial adoption of cloud solutions can be expensive, building your own systems and their ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs are comparatively more so.
By acquiring a subscription for a ready-to-use cloud solution, F&B businesses would be saving on their long-term maintenance and upgrade costs on their IT systems. Because cloud solutions are all managed centrally via the internet, F&B businesses no longer have the need to spend on maintenance and upgrade fees for each of their storefronts as they can upgrade all their systems through a singular cloud service subscription.
4. Improve Decision Making with Better Information
Decision making becomes incredibly more difficult when one does not have access to quality information. But sometimes, even having quality information may not be enough if the information gathering process is inefficient. Many Hong Kong F&B businesses suffer from these issues, especially if they rely on manual accounting methods or possess multiple store-fronts.
Tools like Eats365 change that. Cloud reporting services help F&B businesses consolidate their information instantly into a centralized platform, providing users with access to real-time information made available through their online devices. The ability to consolidate information makes this the perfect solution for F&B businesses who have multiple locations.
Platforms like Xero can consolidate a variety of information useful to F&B business owners for their business decision making. Possible information that can be used includes which dishes are most profitable, the levels of inventory currently being managed and sales reports across restaurants.
5. Improve Customer Loyalty
For businesses, sometimes it’s more efficient to spend time convincing existing customers to return through developing their customer loyalty. Instead of dedicating time to marketing to new customers, your interactions can be dedicated to improving their subsequent experiences with you.
Cloud solutions help foster customer loyalty through several ways. Firstly, by collecting customer data via a POS system, businesses can track customers shopping behavior, such as what they purchase, the costs, and whether that purchase was coupled with any others. All this information provides insights into customer trends, letting you personalize more promotions in the future that suit their specific tastes. Adjusting your offerings based on what your customers have been shown to enjoy, is a sure way to entice those who are familiar with the quality of your services / products
As your customers information is recorded on your cloud solution, you can begin rewarding them via loyalty programs. Loyalty programs offer customers with redeemable points or store credit every time they make a purchase and is a feature offered on many POS systems.
POS systems, like Eats365, can assign points / credit for each customer purchase, and store these points / credits under the customer’s profile. Customers can then collect and redeem these points at any time as a token of appreciation from you. Such rewards can help develop a closer relationship between a customer and a business by convincing the customer that they are getting more for their money with frequent returns.
Enhancing Your Cloud Accounting With FastLane
In order to successfully adopt a cloud system, proper care must be taken to make sure that all chosen systems can integrate and complement each other. Given the surplus of options available, we understand how difficult it is to make this decision.
As the FastLane Group has extensive experience assisting SME businesses, we are happy to help adopt and implement cloud solutions in the following ways:
- Implement POS systems for your restaurants / bars
- Integrate your POS system with other cloud solutions so that you can run your business seamlessly
- Handle the installation and sourcing of your hardware
- Provide training for your team to ensure a smooth transition onto the cloud
Book a call with FastLane now for a quotation or to learn more about the cloud based solutions we can help you implement!