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Technology key focus for investment and innovation

Published:  08 March, 2021

Technology is set to be a key focus for investment and innovation as hospitality opens up again, according to the latest CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey. 

Over nine in 10 leaders think tech will be fundamental (33%), important (39%) or fairly important (24%) to their operations after lockdown. 

Moreover, the research found that it will be prominent at both front and back of house, with more than half of leaders planning to deploy it to drive loyalty (68%), manage labour costs (60%), drive team engagement (58%) and gather guest insight (53%).

“Technology’s going to help across the board. Given the volatility of the market, labour scheduling is going to be key, and technology can really support that in the first few weeks of reopening,” said Charlie Mitchell, CGA’s research and insight director.

The survey also found that the pandemic has rapidly accelerated the take-up of technology in hospitality, with leaders feeling much more confident with it as a result. 

While half (52%) have experienced difficulties around integration, this has dropped 10 percentage points from from last year’s figure, while the numbers feeling frustrated with data overload (down from 57% to 38%) and the speed of implementation (down from 48% to 32%) have tumbled too.

“2020 was clearly a year of rapid adoption of technology, a lot of it driven by necessity, and frustrations with it have fallen dramatically. New technologies have been brought on board far quicker than before, and it’s really helped not just the customer journey but operational aspects as well,” said Mitchell. 

From a consumer side, CGA said it had tracked a “sea change” in use of technology over the last 12 months, with the number of people using mobile devices to plan, order and pay for food and drink having soared. 

Investing in those systems now would “really pay off”, said Mitchell. 

Supported by Fourth, CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey was carried out from 5 to 15 February alongside research for UK Hospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping, with a total of 726 responses.

Last month's CGA Business Leaders' Survey showed that hospitality leaders are optimistic about the long-term future of the sector and its role in the UK’s economic recovery, with many businesses seeking to grow rather than shrink.