The Right Blend Of Taste And Technology

Pooja Parameswaran, Marketing Manager, GRT Hotels & ResortsFor more than 50 years, G.R. Thanga Maligai, popularly known as GRT has pioneered the art of combining unparalleled craftsmanship and rich heritage to create timeless designs. Branching out from GRT Jewellers, GRT Hotels & Resorts features 16 upscale hotels and luxury resorts in the most desirable destinations across South India.

The food business is ever growing; this can be substantiated by the numerous outlets that are being opened across the cities on a daily basis. The outlets have also become all the more accessible with technology through Swiggy, Zomato, Uber eats and other similar players, big and small. While the food aggregators may not have an all positive impact even when it comes to the star hotels, the platforms like Dine Out etc has made a significant effect on the market reach and visibility of these outlets. Be it through their widespread Marketing tactics or listings to drive reservations and orders.

Current F&B industry revenue is US$254mn and with an expected growth rate of 16.7 percent in 2020-2024, we are looking at a market share of US$472mn by 20204 (Satista, 2019) When it comes to a Star hotel, F&B also includes banquets and events making this segment a key revenue contributor for well established hotels and groups. Needless to say F&B is growingly becoming an integral aspect that drives the numbers. With their restaurants, the Hotels focus on creating innovative concept or themed restaurants and bars to keep the customers interested and ensuring healthy foot falls come through to their outlets despite the influx of standalone competitors. People today are in the lookout for experience combined with good food, and of course the instagrammable moments and these are the captive audience for luxury
dining. Today, the F&B individually contributes to about 42.3 percent of the total revenue of hotels.

The other side of this picture is the cost and expenditure involved in maintaining the f&b operations. One main aspect of the outflow is manpower required for the F&B operations, as the customers who opt for Star hotels for their functions or even dining expects a star service, ambiance and simply a star experience. And nothing else would do. The second main area of concern is the perishables - raw materials and wastage of daily operations. The rest would include the hardware of the outlets, maintenance, equipments and software solutions etc. Controlling the expense would form the key focus area of the whole department, failing which their department GOP percentage gets alarmingly hit which inturn effects the whole hotels GOP margin

People today are in the lookout for experience combined with good food, and of course the instagrammable moments and these are the captive audience for luxury dining

The cost efficiency can be controlled to a level with constant tracking and analysis of the day to day operations, which F&B specific software have facilitated. Technology has been a part of F&B operations for many years, largely in the point of sale, payment and accounting, inventory, payroll, business income report and analysis purposes. But off late Tech firms have seen opportunity in backward integration and many a start ups are investing in specific AI driven software solutions that can predict your demand and lull periods based on which you can control your stocks, reduce wastage and even allot manpower optimally, all solely focused on improving efficiencies in F&B operations. A seamless Tech platform that can facilitate all the different F&B related software solutions to integrate and help pool all information into a single dashboard has been the latest need of the hour. This space is being heavily invested in and explored by many Tech firms.

AI has impacted the food business same as any other industry today. Cross selling and up selling to the in-house customers with the help of AI tools has seen a significant impact on the total footfalls to the F&B outlets. As has AI driven B2C marketing and listings helped in generating more enquires for the event sphere and footfalls to outlets from the non-resident guests.

Suffice to say, apart from the brand philosophy, values and standards, technology has significantly impacted on the overall business growth of the F&B industry and the owners or operators who get their right tech partners will benefit substantially, sooner the better.

On a side note - Further to AI and other tech based solutions, for marketing the F&B operations the growing trend of influencers, food critiques, reviews and ratings can be a whole new topic of discussion but for sure are avenues that have direct impact on the customer decision making process.