Rob – Hi, Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and I’m very pleased this morning to be here with Tim Tang, Product Marketing Director for Hughes. So welcome.
Tim – Thank you.
R – And also welcome to Hughes as a global industry partner of the IFBTA.
T – We are very pleased to participate.
R – Is there something specifically that, in your knowledge and your view of other industries, is the up-and-coming trend that food and beverage people have not thought about yet but they’re going to be? Do you have a prediction for the next 6 to 12 months?
T – I do. What’s remarkable in the restaurant industry is the franchisor/franchisee dynamic. It’s a franchise business at its heart and there are fundamental tenants that say I want to let that franchisee run their business as much as possible. I don’t want to get into or put any more regulations or any more requirements than absolutely necessary. But as we look at this vast digitization, so much of the competitive advantage lies in the ability to use technology. Not only technology such as cloud best point-of-sale systems or tabletop or online and kiosk solutions in the restaurant, but even cloud, being able to drive down operational costs by leveraging inventory management and workforce scheduling in the cloud as well too. So all of these things are driving the restaurants to a greater and greater, more intimate relationship with the Internet at large.
R – But a lot of that’s because The food and beverage industry, traditionally as a franchisee, always had to buy their own systems, host them themselves, in the unit. They were the last guys to go to anything cloud-based or remotely hosted because they were afraid of what would happen when the power goes down, “I can’t take an order across the counter.” If the power goes down in a hotel, technically the people still staying there have plenty of hours to fix it and in retail, it’s the same thing. So, it was a different dynamic. But today, because that dynamic has moved off of the unit it’s self and that investment is now made in technology somewhere else, I guess that really changes have a franchisee would be what is offered by the franchisor and it enables the franchisor perhaps to offer a standard and consistent system that the franchisee wants to put in and needs to put in.
T – And that’s one of the key changes, the idea of saying you must do this because we need you to do this versus mandate – the M word. You have to do this versus I want this and I want this in order to be competitive. And I think we see a fairly dramatic volatility now. It’s very difficult to anticipate three years or five years out what the world is going to look like. It’s really going to be migrated to an agile world where we’re able to incorporate technologies as they prove themselves in terms of their business viability. So now that’s going to speak to an incredible flexibility as it comes to technology.