Mobile technology has been upending businesses and industries around the world for years. The launch of Apple’s iPhone precipitated the now ubiquitous ‘App’, leading to changes in the way we book taxis (Uber), date (Tinder), work out (Passport Asia) and more. The F&B scene is no different, and in 2016 restaurant managers will need to adapt to survive. Here are three trends we see developing this year:
Gone are the days a waiter would take your order, then leave to re-type your requests into a computer point in the corner of the room. While they have been available for a few years now, advancements in quality, consistency and (most importantly) durability means that service staff taking your orders on mobile platforms which instantly communicate your orders to the kitchen will become much more frequent. This will improve service, and allow data to be mined and analyzed more easily.
These will become more and more popular among patrons, and restaurants will need to start providing mobile payment options or risk alienating a portion of their customers. Even older generations nowadays are more used to using mobile to conduct everyday activities, from booking cinema ticket, ordering groceries and even managing their financial affairs. It is only a matter of time before the majority of restaurant-goers forego their wallets in favor of their iPhone when ordering their next salad.
Asia is known as a ‘mobile first’ region, in that the mobile infrastructure is now more advanced that the ‘traditional’ WiFi and Internet networks. Younger generations – those most likely to work in restaurants and bars – are more comfortable reading and learning from a smartphone than they are from a book. Mobile learning has been proven to produce more results, quicker and cheaper than traditional classroom-based learning. Pedagogy has improved to the point that vocational service skills can now be taught via mobile, creating massive opportunities for service institutions in the region.