TRENDS TO INFLUENCE MENA HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN 2020

With the Year 2020 around the corner, the hospitality industry is all set to welcome the New Year with great optimism & even greater goals for growth. As per a UAE based Hotel Management Company – Aleph Hospitality, the following 5 factors at large are going to impact the development & performance of the MENA hospitality industry in 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s New Visa Regulations

The impact of Saudi’s new tourist visa shall continue to bear positive changes on the Saudi Arabian economy especially the Hospitality Industry. The opening of the vast Kingdom has incited interest in the leisure travelers from GGC & beyond. For Hospitality Industry, this will lead to a flow of huge investment opportunities & also prompt hotels to diversify their product offerings to meet the needs of the new demographic.

Profitability As A Center Of Focus For Hotel Owners

Expenses shall continue to be a point of stress as hotel owners will continue to seek high profitability from their assets. In order to protect the bottom line, the hotel owners will be open to new management models ranging from white-label to franchising. Expect 2020 to witness a spike in such agreements to manage costs and stay profitable.

Adoption Of Smart Solutions

With Digital Transformation making sweeping changes in many industries, the Hotel Industry seems to be a bit slow towards the adoption. The advent of facial recognition or biometrics boarding now enables passport-free travel which has made the travel, thus the life of tourists easy. Hotels businesses should think on similar lines for customer service and make activities such as hotel reservations, check-in or check-out personalized and easy. After all, convenience is key for the ultimate guest experience.

Commitment To Reduce Plastic Usage

 The initiative of plastic-free UAE taken by UAE Government is finding increasing popularity & foothold across the emirates.  Big chains like Jumeirah, Marriot, and Hilton announced plastic-free initiatives this year and the trend is expected to intensify in 2020. The Hotels & Restaurants can help a lot in the coming year if they decide to go full throttle on this.

Lucrative African Market Penetration

Africa is not just land with exquisite natural beauty; it’s full of opportunities to grab as far as the hospitality & tourism industry is concerned. Ethiopia, for instance, saw a growth of around 48.6% in the travel & tourism economy in 2018 and this growth is expected to continue. So, Africa is going to be an investment magnet in 2020.

PRAXIS: ERP TAILOR-MADE FOR HOSPITALITY & RETAIL

Enterprise Resource Planning is a centralized system that allows tight integration between different departments of an organization & enables them to work as one. ERP system tracks business resources such as cash, raw material, payroll, order, purchase & so on and facilitates the information sharing between different departments such as HR, Sales, Accounting, Purchase etc.

There are a number of ERP software programs efficiently designed to tackle the demanding everyday operational needs of a business. Among them, the one to reckon with is Praxis ERP.

Praxis ERP is designed specifically to cater to Hospitality & Retail. Developed with the best industry practices, it’s scalable to meet the evolving demands of the business. Here are the key benefits

1. Replaces Multiple Systems as One Scalable ERP Solution 2. Eradicates Interface Issues 3. Lower Vendor Maintanenace Fee & Server Storage Cost 4. Delivers Quick Return on Investment

STANDOUT FEATURES

1. Multiple Location Control 2. User-Friendly Interface 3. Modular Design 4. Universal Standard of Design & Coding 5. Highest Security 6. Fully Integrable with POS Solution

COVERAGE

1. Integration With POS     2. Financial Management System 3. HR Management System 4. Fixed Assets 5. Employee Self Services 6. Financial Budgeting System 7. Manpower Budget

INTEGRATION WITH POS  

This module is designed to integrate the Sales System of a POS with the Financial System. The Functions are as follows:

a. Import of Sales and Collection information from POS Software as per the defined schedules. b. Generation of extended reports related to sales and collection.

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

The Financial and Accounting System are tweakable to meet the needs of a customer. Following are the major modules here:

Chart of Account-It entails features to setup organization structure, company, subsidiary company, cost center, units and income expense groups. Further, the nominal accounts enable to maintain five levels of account details.

General Ledger-General Ledger allows a user to input Journal Vouchers in the system. A user can also read data from other integrated modules such as Payroll, Accrued EOS, Vacations and Food Cost. Then one can generate vouchers for Accrued Expense / Accrued Income or use Period Control to close financial month and year. Batch generation of monthly reports in pdf is also available which saves time.

Accounts Payable-Account payable offers functionality to maintain complete payable sub-ledgers information. It’s integrated with the Material Management System (MMS) to book the supplier invoices using material receiving from inventory and includes posing of all MMS transactions to financials

Accounts Receivable-Account Receivable is used to maintain complete receivable sub-ledgers information. Customer ledger, statements, aging, and other reports can be generated.

Cash Management-The module deals with Bank & Cash related transactions entailing customer receipts, cash receipts, daily sales receipts (integrated with POS sales system), supplier payments and GL to GL Payments. 

Reporting-Comprehensive reporting is available to meet the business intelligence demands of users on different levels.

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

HRMS module is coded considering the local and customized requirements of Multiple Markets. Following modules are included in HRMS:

Employee Personal-Employee Personal system is for maintaining Employee Related Information including Employee Personal Information, Government Documents, Education/Experience, Dependents, Administrative and Employee Assets. A robust reporting module is available to generate admin and legal reports.

Leave Management-Employee leave Module provides facilitates maintenance of Employee Vacation Information including employee travel destination and ticket information.

Payroll- Payroll Module maintains employee salaries data with a full cycle of payroll generation. The major processes include earning entitlements, due deduction, loans GOSI module, monthly timesheets, and payroll generation.

FIXED ASSETS

The system offers a complete module with Asset Tracking System. It allows a company to maintain asset information and capacitates it to classify Asset-based different factors such as Asset Types, Categories, Physical Location, and Integration with GL Chart. The System can generate and post depreciation on an actual basis.

FINANCIAL BUDGETING SYSTEM

Budget System provides a forecast of revenues and expenditures i.e. enables the construction of a financial model depicting the business performance if certain strategies, events, and plans are carried out. It's efficient in the following ways: a. Ascertain the difference between the actual & the forecasted business trajectory by comparing actual financial operations against the forecast.  b. Maintain monthly financial budget on multiple levels such as cost center, department/unit, and nominal account.

MANPOWER BUDGET

The payroll system has the capability to maintain manpower budget based on departments and positions. Here are a few pointers on the significance: 1. Manning Charts 2. Retention Support Scheme 3. Learning & Development 4. Downsizing 5. Succession Planning

RISE OF SELF ORDERING KIOSKS

Automation! The very word has fascinated us and continues to mesmerize with the spectrum of possibilities. Every Industry seeks automation that can lead to enhanced customer experience. And the restaurants have found their answer in the form of Self Ordering Kiosk.

Self-Ordering Kiosk is a piece of technology that allows customers to order and pay on their own. So the entire hassle of standing in a queue, if there is one, is circumvented. On top of that, the kiosk has an interactive screen that is ideal for running promotions or upselling.

Coming to the architecture of the Self-Ordering Kiosk, it consists of an interactive screen encased in a robust case, a scanner, a printer and finally a payment module. The customer journey is pretty simple.

The journey involves customers taking a series of easy steps to place an order followed by making the payment on the kiosk. A payment receipt is printed along with the order number. The customer can then simply present the order number at the counter to collect the order. The interactive screen also offers a perfect medium to run a number of promotions for enticing customers or upselling an offer while they are placing an order.

Talking about the kiosk software, it shall possess the following must-have features:

Single App & Multi App Modes, Web-based Kiosk Lockdown, Control Peripheral Function; Access to Enterprise App Store; Custom Branding; Remote View & Control; Lock, Swipe, Shutdown & Restart over-the-air; and so on.

Self-Ordering Kiosk has been immensely successful & popular in fast food chains like McDonalds & KFC. And its popularity among customers is also on the rise. More restaurants are opening up to the idea of placing the kiosk at a strategic position on the premises. The self-service kiosk market is expected to reach an estimated $30.8 billion by 2024, as per new research from Tillster, which surveyed 2,000 QSR and fast-casual customers with the assistance of SSI.

The self-ordering kiosk is an evolving technology and is expected to bring more functionality onboard. So, there eventual dominance in the restaurant vertical especially QSR is eventual.

SOCIAL WI-FI AS A GREAT CUSTOMER LOYALTY & RETENTION TOOL

Online business always had an edge over a physical one in the sense that it can better track and analyze customer behavior. However, brick and mortar businesses are quickly catching up. Among the multiple technological advances that are taking the physical businesses to the next level, one that particularly stands out is Social Wi-Fi.

Social Wi-Fi is a technological leap that allows physical outlets to turn casual visitors into loyal customers and enhance customer loyalty by offering free Wi-Fi services. The customer simply logs into a portal by sharing some credentials to avail the free Wi-Fi services. The details furnished by the customer are saved in the process after he or she agrees to certain terms and conditions for data privacy. The data thus obtained is highly valuable with the potential to further customer numbers and enhance customer loyalty. 

Social Wi-Fi allows a business to target customers through different types of campaigns be it SMS or Email. One can also schedule birthday campaigns to better the business relationship with a customer on a personal level. The customer retention campaign is also a good way to transform a casual customer into a loyal one.

Social Wi-Fi comes with a platform offering a variety of business intelligence. The analytics gives an in-depth overlook of statistics like the number of people who visited a business entity, the peak hours of visit, the male vs female ratio, the frequency of a customer visit and so on. The analytics thus obtained from Social Wi-Fi can indirectly validate the success of a marketing campaign. Say if a restaurant is running a promotional dine-in campaign and sees a spike in the number of visitors logging into Social Wi-Fi, the boost in number sort of validates the good reception of the campaign by the audience and thus a jump in the number of visitors.

Most Social Wi-Fi technologies require access points and software licenses depending on the coverage area of a business unit. The Wi-Fi login page can be branded as per businesses’ objective and liking. Say a restaurant can have motion banners of their discounted dishes or simply an introduction to the restaurant’s rich history or food culture and so on.

So, Social Wi-Fi is among the must-have innovations for most business genres who want to better serve & retain their customers!

DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND ITS APPLICATIONS

Digital Signage Solutions have revolutionized the way business presents itself to its audience and has been a leading force in Digital Transformation. The invention has been a great leap towards providing a brand with a platform to get maximum exposure and visibility. There is a spectrum of products that fall under the umbrella of Digital Signage, commonly known being Digital Menu Board, Video Wall, Indoor Digital Signage, Outdoor Digital Signage and so on.

Digital Signage Solutions are mostly used in Restaurants, Shopping Malls, Hospitality, Retail, Cinemas, Transport, and Education.

In Restaurants, The Digital Signage works in the form of a Digital Menu Board showcasing mainly the menu with different formats of promotions on a rotation basis.

In Shopping Malls, the Digital Signage is used as a directory or a map for facilitating informed navigation of the mall. Digital Signage as a wayfinding Kiosk with an interactive screen is replacing the traditional models at a fast pace and is being used for running various promotional activities as well.

In Hospitality, Digital Signage plays an important role as a virtual assistant offering information ranging from restaurants in a hotel to navigation details about a particular location within the premises.

In Retail say a supermarket, the digital signage as an interactive kiosk can help customers to find the information on various selling items including the location within the premises.

In cinemas, the digital signage takes the shape of a ticketing kiosk and has proved to be a great comforter to moviegoers who can avoid long queues and collect their tickets in a very short span of time.

 Similarly, the Transport sector is increasingly using Digital Signage as a wayfinding and promotional tool.

Finally, In Education, the Digital Signage can be used as a Digital Menu Board in cafeterias and as an informational & promotional tool inside schools or university campuses and so on.

Every Digital Signage solution consists of 2 basics architect elements – Hardware & Software. The Hardware mainly comprises HD screen which might be encased in a temperature & weatherproof casing as in Outdoor Digital Signage. Software must be scalable enough to adapt as per the need. The choice of both Hardware and Software determines the productivity of the solution. Hence, thorough research is absolutely crucial before zeroing in on one.

DIGITAL MENU BOARD AND ITS PERKS

Digital Menu Board (DMB) offers an ideal platform for a restaurant to showcase its gamut of products or marketing material to a wide audience. It’s cost-effective, has versatile applications and is an exponentially improved version of its traditional predecessor.

An apt Digital Menu Board is expected to display all kinds of rich media in an aesthetic way. As the name says, the crucial role is to present a restaurant menu in the best possible fashion such that it has a pleasing influence on the customers.

Digital Menu Board comprises Hardware and Software. The Hardware must have a robust, durable casing harboring a glare-free HD screen. Software, on the other hand, must offer versatile menu templates with decent design options, have the capability to run all forms of rich media, enable split-screen functionality and so on.

Coming to the advantage of using Digital Menu Board over a traditional one, it mainly has to do with ease of doing things.  For instance, changing the menu instantly is just a click away in the case of DMB, unlike the traditional option. Similarly, displaying the specialties, discount offers or happy hour meals become a much simpler affair. Then the ease of reading is much more on the DMB compared with the traditional one. The customers can convincingly check the dish and its price from a distance.

Digital Menu Board now is a must-have product for restaurants especially quick-service ones and plays a core role in ensuring the optimal customer experience. The technology DMB runs on continues to evolve taking the solution a step closer to perfection.

So, upgrade your menu related operations, save on cost and significantly speed up pricing changes or image changes without impacting the customer experience. Lay the foundation for memorable visitor experience and let your visitors focus on relishing the taste.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CALL PAGING SYSTEMS

Paging systems brought a new wave of revolution way back when the first of its kind was created by Detroit Police Department in 1921. However, it was only in 1949 that first telephonic Pagers were patented and used in New York City’s Jewish Hospital. Then 1959 saw the name “pager” being coined by Motorola. Jump to 1960, John Francis Mitchell introduced the first transistorized pager to the world by combining Motorola’s Walkie Talkie & automobile radio technologies.

Tone and voice pagers were invented in the 1970s. In 1980 there were around 3.2 million pager users around the world and the same decade saw the emergence of wide-area paging and the rest is ancient history.

Paging systems continue to remain relevant in this digital age, significantly influencing the operations in both Hospitality and Retail Industries. It still is an efficient means of communication between staff & customers or among the staff. A call paging system allows a customer to call a staff member for placing an order or submitting a special request or paying the cheque. Similarly, in a hospital or a medical center, the call paging system enables a patient to move around freely without the need to wait for his appointment call until called back via pager for the appointment.

Here is a list of mostly used call paging systems out there:

1. Waiter Paging System

The paging enables a chef to press a button that sends a message to an appropriate staff member informing the meal is ready to be served.

2. Customer Paging System

An IQ pager is handed over to a customer who walks around within business premises to kill time until called back by IQ pager vibration, sound, led lighting or all of them.

3. Push Button Paging System

The Pushbuttons are efficient for contacting an on-site associate by means of long-range and reliable wireless call buttons. The buttons have easy to understand specifications to denote their applicability, thus lowering confusion. Push-buttons are of great use at restaurants, medical offices, dental clinics, grocery stores and so on.

4. Easy Call Paging System

The Easy Call, with a range of micro-buttons, empowers customers to summon staff anywhere on the premises. The solution is efficient in outside areas, restaurants, and retail stores.

5. Vuze Paging System

An efficient table services system that leads to better customer experience and quick order delivery.  

6. Medi Call Paging System

Medi call enables patients to wait anywhere within a suitable range for their medical appointment or at the pharmacy.

Praxis ERP Solution entails all kinds of management modules which makes it suitable for all genres under Hospitality & Retail. With the option of scalability, it’s perfect for a business with evolving needs.

A QUICK OVERVIEW OF A DRIVE-THRU SOLUTION

Drive-Thru changed the very definition of customer service in F & B Industry and now is increasingly finding a foothold in Retail, especially Pharmacy, too. A typical Drive-Thru System is expected to optimize the monetization of a Drive-Thru lane while significantly enhancing the customer experience. However, there’s another crucial piece of analytical data that is often overlooked. This has to do with ensuring the Drive-Thru works efficiently & gets the best out of the staff. And yes I am talking about the Drive-Thru Timer.

The Drive-Thru Timer basically monitors the moment of a car through the lane, offering stage by stage details about a car’s journey. When connected with the cloud, it even allows the performance comparison of different Drive-Thru stores. The data extracted from Drive-Thru Timer thus paints a clearer picture of a Drive-Thru’s overall run-time right from the moment the car enters the Drive-Thru to the point it exists after the customer pays & receives the order.

Now, the solution comprises Drive-Thru Speaker, Customer Order Display, Audio System, Drive-Thru Timer & Cloud Management.  Drive-Thru stores use menu boards to educate customers on various choices of meals to select from. There has been an increased liking for the Digital versions over the traditional menu boards for a number of obvious reasons.

Firstly, Drive-Thru Digital Menu Board enables more appealing promotions and thus prompting a customer to either add more to the planned meal or try new offerings.

Secondly, the Digital Menu Board allows running multiple rich media ranging from static images to gifs to videos which is not exactly possible using traditional means.

A successful Drive-Thru implementation should allow the customers to be served in less than 3 minutes and FAMA Technologies ensures such standards are met in almost its Drive-Thru every project.

To know more click – https://www.famatechnologies.com/drive-thru.html

ATTRIBUTES OF AN APT RETAIL POS SYSTEM

Retail Management Solution is the first thing that comes to mind once you think of retail business technology. It is at the heart of any successful retail set up. Hence, choosing an apt solution can be the difference between a silky swift and a severely rough start. With the hundreds of options to compare, the choice of the correct one becomes even more paradoxical. Let me share a few standout features of an ideal Retail POS System to make the job easy.  

1. Quick keys

Quicks Keys enables a Staff to access the commonly sold entity with just hit of a button.

2. Multiple Payment Facility

Cash and Credit Card payments are the norm. Now POS Solution can support Mobile Payments as well.

3. Accounts & Security

This is vital to allow restricted access based on the hierarchy of staff. Another benefit is the ability to track sales made by the relevant staff members.

4. Store Credit, Returns & Refund Feature

This is a must-have feature for a customer-friendly shopping experience. The POS must enable a customer to opt for the refund option or go with store credit.

5. Customer Facing Display

Display facing customer promotes transparency and enhances the order accuracy.

6. Product Variants

A must-have system attribute that enables products with multiple types be easily logged.

7. Bulk Product Imports

One can import the products in bulk using this.

8. Barcodes

A Retail POS System should be able to print barcodes for better tagging of the products.

9. Inventory Check & Stock Transfers

A Retail POS must ease & simplify the process of inventory count and stock transfers

10. Promotions

Important for encouraging customers to purchase and thus move inventory.

11. Searchable Customer DataBase

To allow staff to customers without a hassle.

12. Customer Profile History

This is to facilitate easy customer returns or keep a track of customer liking.

13. Customer Properties

This entails customer birthday and address.

14. Loyalty Programs

For better retention of customers and awarding their loyalty.

15. Dashboard & Reporting

Get bird’s eye view of all at once from the Dashboard. Reports such as Product Reports, Employee Reports and Customer Reports provide crucial insights into matrices like stock status, worst-selling items, top-performing employees and so on.

HUNTING RIGHT RESTAURANT POS SOLUTION

A Restaurant is frequently visited by people and performs an unending chain of operations on a daily basis. The output it achieves is determined by a number of factors one of them being the POS Machine incorporated. The Restaurant Management Solution ensures restaurant functions optimally. A wrong choice can seriously impact the business as well as the customer experience. Here is what a capable Restaurant Management System is or can do:

COMPACT & DURABLE

A durable ergonomic Restaurant Point of Sale System provides the necessary robust body for longer survivability and prerogative of space independence. A compact POS terminal is always a pleasant sight for a customer.

ADAPTABLE & SCALABLE

An efficient POS can adapt to scale new heights of technology. It should support upgrades to become a better version of itself. 

SIMPLIFIES THE COMPLEX

An able Restaurant POS should uncomplicate the enduring task of multiple floor orders while maintaining a keen eye on the dwindling Inventory. It must enable the reduction of waiters on the floor and ensure the delivery of food to the respective tables is on time.

SPEEDS UP OPERATIONS

The speed of service is an indispensable architect of exhilarating customer experience. An apt restaurant management system fastens the order processing time and thus leads to quicker flipping of tables. A typical process involves swiftly managing table reservations, taking orders on the go, make menu recommendations, change order quantity, apply loyalty code, apply pre-authorization, adjust refunds and so on.

FEW MUST HAVE FEATURES

An effective Restaurant Management Solution should possess certain typical features to function as an optimal tool to handle a variety of Restaurant Operations. Important ones being:

Table Reservation System, Order Management, Inventory Management System, Payment Data, Employee Management, Permission & Access Control, Cloud-Based, Theft Control & Security.