Building a new hospitality tech stack: which approach is best?

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March 25, 2024

Discover the two approaches to building a hospitality tech stack, and understand which one is best for ensuring growth and confidence for your operation.

Walk into any hospitality operation today, and you’re likely to see multiple tech systems in play.

The right tech makes businesses more efficient, more profitable, and better equipped to scale. A smooth-running tech stack also provides the best experiences for guests. It helps ensure that you’re providing a service that delights them and that they’ll want to shout about.

But as the industry has changed and evolved, so have the different options for building a tech stack. 

So when you’re looking at changing the tech you use, how do you decide the best approach to take?

Let’s explore the two main approaches to help figure out which one is right for your business. 

What are the two approaches to building a hospitality tech stack?

Every operation – and as a result every tech approach – is unique. But most approaches fall under one of two ways to do things: a POS-centric approach, and an Order-centric approach.

The traditional approach has Point-Of-Sale (POS) at its heart – with various integrations being added to the system as time goes on.

The second option takes an order-centric approach – one that unifies everything so the complete order cycle can be managed in one place.

Read the full guide now...

Our full Hospitality Technology Buyer’s Guide equips you with everything you need to make an informed and confident decision when buying new technology, including:

  • Step-by-step guides on understanding your tech setup and business goals
  • Over 40 questions to ask potential tech vendors
  • A vendor scorecard to help you compare different providers
  • Quotes and insights from industry experts

How does a POS-centric tech stack work?

The traditional approach to hospitality tech starts with your POS as the foundation of your tech stack. 

When you want to bring a new tool on board – for instance, a dedicated mobile app or third-party delivery service – you add this extra functionality to your existing system with integrations and point solutions.

Advantages to this approach include partnering with providers who are experts in the single-point solution they deliver.

But the drawbacks to this approach start to become obvious quite quickly.

The level of integration each of these separate tools require can vary wildly. This results in a fragmented tech stack made up of multiple point solutions, all of which have to integrate perfectly to work. It makes for an inconsistent experience for both your staff and your guests.

A fragmented tech stack made of seperate systems

What is the result of fragmented tech?

Ultimately, fragmented tech is inefficient tech. 

Even quite simple tasks such as changing items on a menu can be time-consuming when it has to be done across your POS, your separate app, your delivery services and more. You also run the risk of typos and errors across all of these separate updates.

This POS-centric approach to tech can cause chaos in kitchens too. Restaurants suddenly find they are running multiple iPads and screens in an already busy environment. With no single source of truth, it can quickly become confusing for chefs and servers when the very point in installing the technology in the first place is to make life easier for them.

“It was manic. We used to have a huge variance of what Deliveroo said we’d made vs what the till said because the team would easily miss off a drink or a side when keying orders into the POS.”

Deep Blue Restaurants Logo
David Ellison
Chief Operating Officer, Deep Blue Restaurants

And it follows that anyone trying to make sense of your customer data (to drive growth) won’t be best served by this approach. 

All of this results in a chaotic and inefficient operation that feels impossible to grow.

What is an Order-centric system?

An order-centric system is a new way of doing things.

As the name suggests, the order lifecycle is at the heart of this approach. Rather than a tech stack made up of your POS and many third-party integrations, the order-centric approach is about simplifying, streamlining, and ultimately unlocking growth.

Order-centric means bringing together the individual elements – digital ordering, POS, omnichannel loyalty, menu management, data – into a single platform. Restaurants can take and fulfil 100% of orders from across a range of channels in just one tool. It is unified. And it’s a single source of truth.

A single order management system

What are the benefits of an Order-centric tech system?

One benefit of this approach is that it helps banish kitchen chaos to a minimum, allowing your teams to fulfil increased orders accurately and with confidence.

 It also centralises all of your data – making it easier to access, and ultimately use, when it comes to driving the strategies which will help your business grow.

Menus can be updated in just one place, too. This will undoubtedly please your staff, but also guarantees consistency across channels as well. This means guests can be sure they are seeing the most up-to-date items, offers, and prices, no matter where they are ordering from. 

“We used to work through the night to make menu updates because there was no way to update everything in a simple way during trading hours. We were using three separate, fragmented systems to do what we can do now with just one platform. Moving to one provider has completely changed the game.”

Deep Blue Restaurants Logo
David Ellison
Chief Operating Officer, Deep Blue Restaurants

A seamless, consistent, customer experience goes a long way to ensuring your customers are delighted with your service.

There is also the risk of downtime. If we take the conservative estimate that any third-party solution may be down 1% of the time, across many separate tools, we can see how the likelihood of some downtime affecting your operation grows significantly with the addition of every extra integration. 

The order-centric – one system, one partner – approach helps minimise the chance of downtime and the devastating effect it can have on your business.

Do you want your restaurant to grow?

In the last few years, we have seen the hospitality industry evolve at a pace few of us expected and in ways that are hard to predict.

We know change is good. And in a digitally transformed world, change is simply part of keeping ahead of the competition.

Having the right technology in place is about having the solutions that we need today. But we also have to be future-proofing our businesses for what tomorrow has in store.

Hospitality businesses want to be increasing profitability and they want to be growing their customer numbers. The most successful leaders in the industry are also agile in the face of any disruptions that come their way. 

Having the right approach to building your tech stack is fundamental to achieving these goals.

Check out our full Hospitality Tech Buyer’s Guide, which takes a deep dive into approaching building a new tech stack that will unlock confidence and growth for your business.

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Talk to the Vita Mojo team today and see how our technology can elevate your brand, drive sales performance and increase efficiency across your business. Just leave a few details and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.