I’ve recently returned from the Murtec (Multi Unit Restaurant Technology) conference in Las Vegas.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Murtec, it is the coming together of company Presidents, CEO’s, CTO’s, COO’s and IT Directors prepared to share their own personal knowledge of wins and failures across many workshops and networking events.
We chose to launch our xchangexec suite of software to the hospitality / franchise industries in the USA at this event. There were people with 200 to 20,000 stores all prepared to share and swap notes and experiences. It certainly is not the biggest conference in the world but, in my opinion, it is the most comprehensive.
So what were the top 5 takeouts from the Conference, and how do they apply to QSR’s in Australia…
1. For those of you looking to expand to the US there is finally some good news - The US is in a rebound in their economy in the Hospitality space and subsequently there is new interest in the IT sector moving forward with new IT investment strategies to not only gain efficiency, but also add funds back to the bottom line, engage customers and drive growth. Feedback from our Australian customer’s is that average weekly sales are up by 14% against stores that don't have our software. Customer count is up by 8% and the transaction value is up by 9%. These sort of numbers generated huge interest in xchangexec at the event.
2. QSR’s are looking to embrace cloud based computing solutions and moving away from traditional client/server architecture. A prospective client said "I have 1200 stores and 2400 servers plus all of the POS terminals to maintain upgrade, support and I never want to do that again. The cost to manage this and manually do software upgrades to that many computers is madness.” The cloud based technology xchangexec delivers, fixes all of that, whilst maintaining a true fault tolerance to continue trading as normal should an Internet outage occur.
3. There was continued prominence; growth and acceptance of digital marketing solutions at MURTEC. This is just one of the many innovations that will help the franchise communities. Digital menu technology allows QSR’s to manage and maintain 1000's of menu boards, in store marketing, and many 1000's of different prices per business over breakfast, lunch and dinner automatically and wirelessly. It just makes more sense to have one solution to manage, not three separate ones.
4. It’s clear there are many rules and regulations surrounding PCI-DSS (US Credit Card security compliance) and how that affects clients and vendors. Over the last few years we have seen fraudulent EFTPOS activities in Australia in places like McDonalds in Perth; well it is worse in the US with some POS vendors being sued for non compliance allowing credit card fraud unfortunately due to old hardware technology. Some of the largest POS vendors today are still producing proprietary hardware making it very difficult for them to be innovative using the latest Microsoft software tools that are on the market.
5. Mobility is a buzzword, whether for queue busting, remote stock taking on-line, mystery shopper with PDA’s or remote mobile store management for security monitoring and store reporting on the fly.
The very interesting thing that I have known, learnt and felt, with over 30 years experience in this industry, and now has been confirmed, is that it doesn't matter where you go in the world, franchise industries are all the same with the same issues. They may speak different languages but they all face similar challenges and are seeking advice and idea sharing, even though outside the event, they too are competitors in the food service industry.
Our commitment at Task Retail Technology is to listen to our customers and continue building better software platforms, to service the ever changing needs and requests of our customers whilst improving the shopping experience of their customers.
We received a lot of interest in our introduction of new technology innovations allowing franchisors and franchisees to quote a famous line “To work smarter not harder”. It is true that new technology is now the new policeman in the cloud, trapping fraudulent activities and reporting them instantly to the boss’s phone, eliminating theft and avoiding under reporting.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSR Media. The author was not remunerated for this article.
Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.