My colleague and I recently attended the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show (NAPICS) in Columbus, Ohio to get a read on the latest trends affecting that segment of the foodservice industry. Beyond the seemingly endless delicious ice cream and pizza samples were similarly endless POS and technology company booths.
As we met with exhibitors to discuss their technology offerings, I couldn’t help but ponder how a small business owner – be it a pizza shop or frozen yogurt store – would shuffle through the options and determine what’s best for her business. She may have just opened her first store or perhaps the first store is doing well and she’s ready to open her second location.
It’s the tech company’s job to stand out from the clutter.
Some pitched the latest technology.
Others touted free software.
The latest social media integration.
Tablet and smartphone compatibility.
No doubt these are all impressive features. But the number one benefit to a small restaurant owner is how technology is going to affect the bottom line.
Can the latest technology increase customer orders?
Will the monthly charges that come with the free software decrease profit margin?
Do I have enough time to manage new social channels?
Will purchasing tablets and smartphones for my store and employees do more than just make my store look trendy?
It’s fair to say that the small business owners that consider – and the tech companies that answer – these questions will be the ones that survive and thrive. As one exhibitor correctly stated, “it’s still about keeping ice cream cold and heating up pizzas. And that technology hasn’t changed that much in the past 50 years.” The challenge for foodservice equipment and ingredient manufacturers is to focus on their products’ cost-effective means to greater productivity and profit. Make it clear your products promote busier Thursday dinner crowds, increase check averages and create more loyal customers.