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How technology is helping the hospitality industry whip up a storm

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When done right, digital transformation initiatives can help you retain valuable talent, shape a personalised customer experience (CX), and use data to rethink your products and services.

Restaurants are a crucial part of our social fabric. One we missed dearly, when the pandemic drove diners into isolation causing the industry to suffer losses that have yet to be fully recovered. But it isn’t just citywide lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine requirements that restaurants have had to endure. Since March 2020, the hospitality industry has faced existential threats, including a labour shortage and a cost of living crisis. For the restaurants that have survived bankruptcy and closure, the impetus for change has never been more compelling.

There’s hope: serving up a side of tech could turn things around.

Salesforce has helped businesses across different verticals adopt agile, customer-focused strategies. So when we say that the right digital tools can reduce your financial losses and help you find new ways to thrive – we’re speaking from experience. What’s more, with the right strategy, digital transformation doesn’t have to be a tall order.

Delight customers and guests, encourage loyalty, and increase your competitive advantage.

Read more about how we help hospitality businesses.

Plating up progress

When done right, digital transformation initiatives can help you retain valuable talent, shape a personalised customer experience (CX), and use data to rethink your products and services. The key to accessing these outcomes? Understanding that it isn’t just about new technology.

It’s about changing how you do business. But digital transformation can be intimidating for many businesses – especially because less than a third of these projects succeed. But the odds of success can be flipped by focusing on investment more intentionally.

How do you ensure your digital transformation initiative is successful? Read our quick tips:

The key is to be specific. That could mean improving a tedious, inefficient, and CX-sapping process (like replacing a clunky booking system that puts diners off) or it could be about expanding your offering to meet customer demands (like offering click-and-collect).

Think about what’s adding pressure to your margins. Start your digital transformation there.

A digital buffet

Digital innovation in the restaurant industry can involve more dramatic changes like enabling contactless ordering via a kiosk, offering delivery through third-party apps, or launching new loyalty programs. But there are also more subtle and incremental changes that can have just as big of an impact.

At Salesforce, our San Francisco culinary team needed a tool to source ingredients, update menu items, and organise how they prepare and cook the food. We turned to Quip – the Salesforce productivity platform – to cover these core functions.

Now whilst this might not seem as big or flashy as other digital innovations, the impact it had was truly transformational.

By uniting our kitchen team’s work and communication, we gave everyone from the Head Chef to the Purchasing Manager the data needed to keep our kitchen running smoothly – day in, day out. In a fast-paced, high-stress environment, having all that crucial data in one place improves efficiency, accuracy, and clarity. No more mistakes or confusion.

In the long term, by tracking and logging every detail of each bespoke event, Quip gave our Senior Culinary Manager a broader perspective of how our kitchens work. This allowed our teams to be even more predictive and productive in their relationships with staff and vendors in the wider Salesforce supply chain.

“Being at Salesforce, we feel compelled to use food and drink to communicate the company’s values. We came into kitchen management with a tech mindset and it’s helped us engineer menus that are more competitive,” said Cedric Touny, Senior Culinary Manager. The system has been so successful that Salesforce kitchens in London, New York, Atlanta, Tokyo and Dublin are all changing how they work around it.

Digital technologies to create smarter and safer kitchens.

Learn more about how we have done this for Fredman Group here.

Feeding the future

The rise of meal kits, click-and-collect, grocery delivery, scan-as-you-go, and self-checkout are signs that dining has changed. But tapping into the power of the latest digital tools isn’t just about meeting changing customer behaviours. It’s about allowing your restaurant to thrive in the face of extraordinary challenges.

The time that servers once spent taking orders, delivering them to the kitchen, disbursing a physical check, collecting payment, and entering all of the details into a POS system can now be spent serving more tables, faster.

Efficiencies like that could make all the difference. And, most importantly, it can help restaurants become robust enough to face tomorrow’s challenges with confidence.

Digital dining success is changing.

Find out more about how digital dining is changing the restaurant experience as we know it by reading our blog.

Michael Pichler

Michael works with Salesforce Travel, Transportation & Hospitality customers across the continent to uncover potential for innovation and growth. Before joining Salesforce he worked with IBM Consulting in a number of leadership roles. His clients included railways, logistics & hospitality businesses and airlines. He managed a design agency, a software development organisation, and even wrote a book about software performance.

More by Michael

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