As witness to the refurbishment of nearly 200 Pizza Hut Restaurants in the UK during the past three years, Keith Frimley, the chain’s IT director, is intimately familiar with the relentless pace of modernisation.
Teaming with an IT partner who drives innovation to meet ever-changing needs is essential in today’s marketplace, according to Frimley. That criterion explains Pizza Hut Restaurants enduring 12-year partnership with Oracle and MICROS Systems, which was acquired by the former in 2014 to establish the industry’s preferred solutions provider, Oracle Hospitality.
Here Frimley discusses Pizza Hut Restaurants partnership with Oracle whilst providing his top tips for choosing technology today that is ready for tomorrow’s challenges.
Choose software and hardware that’s engineered to work together:
“Fundamentally, we need a robust, effective restaurant enterprise system that enables us to take customers’ orders and process them to the kitchen to ensure that food gets to our customers on time and enhances the customer experience. A smooth restaurant system enables our team members to focus on service rather than worry about logistics or how the restaurant system is performing.”
The right IT can create efficiencies across the enterprise, from increasing staff productivity to improving process performance:
“If we didn’t have a good restaurant enterprise system, then we would be manning the restaurant with a higher number of team members. For example, with the tablet technology that we’re now introducing to our restaurant, it enables our team members to serve customers faster and more accurately, and they can deal with more customers at one time. From the order processing point of view, sending the order from the point-of-sale terminal to the kitchen and having KDS screens enable kitchen staff to see what they need to make – it’s far more effective than having pieces of paper flying across the restaurant.”
Continuously invest in technology not just to offer new services but to bolster brand relevance:
“The next work we are in early stages of planning with Oracle is to implement Oracle commerce platform
– giving our guests the ability to order and pay the
way they want to pay. Imagine if you’re a guest in our restaurant and you’ve already been served once, but you want to top off an order with another drink. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just order that drink on your mobile app? That gets fired to the bar, and it’s delivered to you. And once you’re ready to pay your bill, you can actually pay your bill from the mobile app, too. That’s something we’re going to implement in 2017. It’s quite an exciting element not only for our guests, but for our team members to show that we’re investing in this technology.”
Select POS systems with the ability to seamlessly integrate third-party innovations to meet evolving demands:
“We’re constantly trying to elevate the restaurant experience. In the near future that may be through targeted, personalized coupons. For instance, when you last came into the restaurant you ordered a margarita pizza and a Long Island iced tea. So we could then actually push a notification to you with offers for that order. Or we may move forward with beacon technology, so if we know that you’re wandering past our restaurant we can push a notification to you, saying, “Come in today – we’ve got these special offers.” It’s all about increasing customer engagement so they feel that they’re really valued. And I’m sure there will be integration with social media. If you’re on Facebook, and you fancy ordering a product, you can just press an icon – and it’ll order your (favorite) pizza.”
Plan for Cloud now – it’s adoption is inevitable:
Industry experts say the on-premise model is unsustainable, considering that 75% of expenses are drained by routine maintenance and integration efforts, leaving only 25% available for actual innovation. “With cloud, the overall administration and speed of change will be so much more effective. But that’s just one thing. There’s also the cost of ownership and financial impacts. The benefit is actually not to have to replace server technology, which is quite costly. Each of our restaurants has a back-of-house server; a cloud-based solution will remove it. It’ll also have central configuration so that’ll lead to great omni-channel enablement. Right now, when we create a menu in a restaurant, we then have to replicate that menu on a web interface and then on a mobile interface. What I really need is one system that can feed all of those channels. Ultimately, with cloud, we’ll enjoy a good return on investment. As yet we are some way from making the move to cloud but this is certainly in our longer term strategy”
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.