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The data challenge for pubs: App ordering

Is your product data ready to take App and mobile orders and initiate contactless payments? Here’s Comma’s advice on the importance of good quality product data in enabling App ordering to maintain social distancing in your establishment.

In our last blog we looked at the data challenge facing pubs as they attempt to support the government’s test and trace scheme (if you missed it, you can read the article here).

But a full review into customer data handling isn’t the only thing on the menu for pubs as they adapt to socially-distanced opening hours. Contactless ordering is encouraged under the new guidance, in the hopes that it will reduce face to face contact between staff and customers and create a safer environment. And let’s face it, in the long run, contactless ordering is probably going to be more effective than the alternative of ‘making sure people don’t linger at the bar’.

How can you get started with App ordering in your pub?

The good news is that starting an app-ordering service is simple. You could build your own, or use existing app like OrderPay or App2table

The bad news is that any app will only be as good as the data you put into it. That means good quality, reliable, accurate and comprehensive data on all of your products – from your beer fridge to your Sunday roast menu.

So how do you know if your data is ready for a seamless transition from ordering at the bar to a fully digitised menu-to-table process? Is your product data really good enough to create a smart, streamlined app-ordering service, or is it going to create frustrations for your customers (and staff)?

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Is your data ready for app ordering?

Think about the way your staff use your data compared to how your customers will use it. Those small till-point idiosyncrasies that your bar staff learn in training – “it says blackcurrant cordial on the system, but it’s actually a Fruit Shoot” – will become much more difficult to manage when every customer is ordering via app. Even discrepancies between brands, like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, take away from the customer experience.

Data quality is also going to become vital to maintain menu options, stock levels and reordering processes. While app ordering can allow more automation, it also allows for less on-the-spot human insight. How will you manage low stock items, or make sure the app notifies customers that the Chicken roast has run out? Is your allergen information up to date and visible to everyone? Will customers be able to specify menu changes (no bacon, extra onion).

Again, data governance and data quality are key to enabling app-ordering without a hitch: and you’ll need to address them from the get-go in order to avoid mistakes. A data quality exercise is the first step, to ensure your data is accurate across all data platforms. Data governance or data transformation is then needed to make sure it stays that way.

Chucked in at the deep end of digital transformation? We can help.

In short, this pandemic has thrown the hospitality industry in at the deep end of digital transformation, but you can get your product data in shape relatively quickly with the right tools and processes.

At Comma, we’ve worked with a lot of pub and hospitality companies, including Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers, to make sure that their data was up to the task of digital transformation.

If you’d like some data advice, or want to take immediate action with a Data Quality, Data Governance or Data Transformation programme, give us a call on 01926 911 820 or email info@comma-group.com.