Like almost all other industries, computers have revolutionized the food and beverage industry. Computers have had a positive and measurable impact on the front and back ends of the hospitality business. The computer system improves employee performance and improves the quality and consistency of food and beverages. In the food and beverage industry, there is no longer the question of which technology should be used, but the question of which technology to use? In the food and beverage industry, computers can be used.
In the hotel industry, customer service is an absolute key to success. Computers are helping in this area in many ways. In many restaurants, waiters can handle various payment methods at the guest table, which allows guests to leave the table directly without stopping at the centralized checkout station. This eliminates long and unsightly routes that plague customers and disrupts the traffic flow of food and beverage companies. This service can be achieved through a small handheld computer that uses wireless technology to process credit card transactions, or through a remote point-of-sale system that interacts with a central computer system. This can improve the customer’s dining experience, which should be the goal of any catering service company.
The main management concern of any food and beverage business is profitability. In this vital business area, computers have also proven to be essential tools. The computer system can help manage the entire catering service process, from ordering the ingredients needed to make menu items to predicting the number of items prepared for each meal period based on historical patterns. This helps to reduce wasted food, which is very expensive, and profit from the business. It also helps to prepare menu items beforehand, thereby reducing customer waiting time. The computer can also predict the expected business volume with high accuracy, so that managers can arrange their business appropriately. This is crucial, because too much on hand can consume unnecessary wages, and insufficient on hand can cause customer service problems.
Some food and beverage companies also use computers in very innovative ways. For example, Darden Restaurants, which owns and operates the “Red Lobster” and “Olive Garden” chain stores, uses computers to help select new construction sites. This computer system uses a software program called Darden Site Analyzer. The software collects key information needed to select a site, such as demographic information, distance to other restaurants, and customer information for Darden’s business model. The program will then analyze the site and provide a series of reports to help Darden make the final decision. Darden plans to improve the software so that it can evaluate whether a new Darden restaurant will have a negative impact on other Darden restaurants in the same area.
Computer systems have become an important part of all aspects of the food and beverage industry. They help make purchasing decisions, inventory control, employee planning and training, and customer acquisition and retention. A major indicator of this growth trend is that many hospitality training programs now include computer and technical courses in the curriculum.
Every year, innovators are creating more unique ways to use technology to improve the overall commercial dining experience. Computers make dining out of the home a more enjoyable experience for consumers, but a more profitable and manageable experience for business managers and owners.
(C) 2006, Marcus Barber (Marcus Barber)