Disruptive technology refers to any enhanced or completely new technology that severely impacts an existing technology, rendering it obsolete. It is designed to succeed similar technology that is already in use.
The speed of change is exponential. Disruptive and innovative technology is riding the wave of the future. But the future is much closer than you think. Just look at the publishing/media, medicine, manufacturing and transportation sectors, all of which are rapidly and profoundly changing into instant, personalized, autonomous and inexpensive products and service.
The speed of technological advancement is becoming so fast that we may have difficulty keeping up. In seven years, technology will have improved one million times since the year 2000. The next ten years could see an exponential growth rate of a thousand times or more.
Even though macroeconomic factors have squeezed the hospitality industry for profits, technology has the ability to reverse this trend. Technology is driving radical changes within the on-premise, from marketing materials and promotional campaigns to product knowledge, training and back-of-house operations. Earlier this year the VIBE conference had a technology center set up to share some of the new tools that are already available and in use within our industry.
Here are just a few of the disruptive technologies currently being applied within our industry:
AccuBar uses fast, durable barcode scanners to quickly count inventory, receiving, transfers and empties. The scanners feed data to a hosted database that then produces key reports and metrics that you need to manage your bar business more effectively. AccuBar is the most full-featured beverage inventory management system available, with a track record of serving thousands of customers since 2001. www.accubar.com
Uptown Network has grown from an iPad wine list provider to a fully scalable enterprise system providing digital menus, interactive staff training manuals, direct-to-consumer wine sales, and real-time business intelligence. Uptown has also created a mobile-to-web publishing system enabling real-time, constantly updated menus to be published for specific restaurant locations. Plus, this system is modular, so restaurants and chains can select the parts they need. Uptown Network is currently tracking about four million “touches” per month – there is nothing comparable anywhere in the hospitality industry. www.uptownnetwork.com
Uncorkd is an interactive iPad wine and beverage menu system for the on-premise market. The platform allows any restaurant to instantly update their menu, deepen engagement with guests and better understand their customers’ preferences through beverage analytics and intelligence. Instead of handing customers paper menus, restaurants give diners interactive iPad menus with pictures, tasting notes and recommendations. Large and small operators throughout North America, including restaurants, hotels, casinos and sports venues, use Uncorkd. www.uncorkd.biz
Napa Technology is the designer and manufacturer of the WineStation®, an innovative intelligent dispensing and preservation solution. The WineStation® is a breakthrough product designed to harness the untapped opportunities and recapture lost revenues for any wine program, large or small. The WineStation’s ability to preserve wines for a period of 60 days maximizes the profitability of each bottle, while enhancing the customer experience. The technology also extends to extensive product reporting, hotel room key integration, shared database capabilities and keg dispensing. The WineStation® has been widely adopted by the hospitality and food service industries as an improved way to serve and preserve wines, while increasing sales and capitalizing on valuable customer preference data. Today, clients include a wide range of on- and off-premise operators including Royal Caribbean, AMC Theaters, ClubCorp, Ruth’s Chris, Levy Restaurant Group, Delaware North Companies, Giant Eagle, Raymond Vineyards and Marriott International. www.napatechnology.com
TapHunter is two things: It’s an industry tool for bar and restaurant owners and a consumer-facing mobile app for beer, spirit and cocktail lovers! For the beverage industry, TapHunter provides on- and off-premise accounts with time and money saving tools that automatically update beverage inventory on social media channels, websites, print menus and digital displays. This exposure empowers their customers by helping transform beer, spirits, and cocktail menus into valuable revenue producers. (In layman’s terms, this means that a bar owner updates their beer, spirit or cocktail list on TapHunter and the software automatically updates their social media, website, print menus, digital drink displays and the TapHunter mobile app – or any combination of those, depending on that location’s individual needs. This not only drives customers into the location from the exposure on the mobile app, but it also saves the bar owner a ton of time that they would usually spend updating all of those outlets. Now they have more time to spend on other important business tasks.) www.taphunter.com
ABreez is a cloud-based management tool designed for minibar managers, which is simple to use and intuitive. The solution is designed to increase a hotel’s bottom line through more effective merchandising, controlled costs through more efficient posting process and increased productivity. Consolidated metrics and reports give managers full visibility over the department’s activities and labor performance. www.mobile-simple.com
Technology has crept into the bartender world with machines like Cocktail-on-Tap, which is a joint venture between Beam Suntory, Hamilton Beach and Lyons Magnus. There are also automated drink dispensers like Monsieur, which can make 300 different cocktails and take orders from mobile devices. And then there is the ultimate robotic bar by Makr Shakr that carries an installation cost upwards of $1 million.
What’s just right around the corner is Interactive Restaurant Technology (IRT); you can search the Internet if you are curious. The Nation’s Restaurant News featured an article recently on 2020 Vision, “The Future of Food Service,” which is worth reading. And finally, Hospitality Technology Magazine presented a restaurant technology study called “The Future of Service Tech.”
The technology we are witnessing now is but a speck of what will come. So when we talk about disruptive or innovative technology, just remember this: Get a broad view of the new technologies, decide which ones you need to incorporate, create a roadmap that takes advantage of the new paradigms and systems as they are slated to come out, reach out to new partners or new solutions, and then create your future.
New tech solutions from the NRA Show to give operators the edge.
Chip and pin credit cards to virtual restaurants tech providers were big at the show, from mobile ordering and payment systems, to point-of-sales tools and EMV technology (Europay MasterCard Visa).
OpenTable showcased their new payment app, which can be integrated with POS systems. www.opentable.com
PeachWorks announced their new POS Hub restaurant apps that can track inventory.
Oracle demonstrated its new Micros Workstation 6, a next generation POS terminal that allows content sharing.
Paytronix Systems unveiled improvements to its mobile app to allow guests to check in with a QR or ID number and allow checking on their rewards program points. www.paytronix.com
Groupon launched an app for its breadcrumb POS system that allows restaurant operators to manage the back of house from their iPhones.
Diner’s Dream offers an app that seeks to enhance guests’ restaurant experience by using their smartphones to call their server. www.dinersdream.com
Evocalize is a startup-marketing platform that helps restaurants create ads using comments from happy customers across social media channels. www.evocalize.com
And finally the big one: 3D Printing Systems recently announced the ChefJet Pro, the first professional-grade culinary 3D printer, which will be available in 2016. They also announced the opening of the 3DS Culinary Lab in late summer 2015, which will allow industry professionals, chefs and mixologists to experience the ChefJet Pro and explore the wide-open landscape of culinary 3D printing. www.3dprintingsystems.com