Learn the difference between a restaurant tech supplier and a restaurant tech partner, and why a true partnership can help brands grow and scale with confidence.
Speaking at HRC 2023, Rosie Hill – Head of Ecommerce at GAIL’s Bakery – was asked what advice she’d give for brands starting their digital transformation.
“Take some time upfront to think about where you want to go in three to five years,” she answered. “Because in the early years, we picked partners that weren’t scalable, or that quite aligned to the needs that we had even then, let alone needs as they changed.”
This friction between GAIL’s and their old restaurant tech suppliers isn’t a unique story. Every operator dreams of a tech partnership that empowers them to achieve business goals. In reality, even a basic level of tech support is often more than they can hope for.
Using insights from our industry research report Hospitality Tech 2024, join us as we shine a light on how operators really feel about their relationship with tech suppliers, and what a true tech partnership really looks like.
What is the difference between a tech supplier and a tech partner?
Whilst these terms are often used interchangeably, the industry is seeing an increasing difference in the way tech is delivered to operations.
A restaurant tech supplier, for example, will offer a quick, out-of-the-box software solution to a specific problem in your operation. Beyond the initial setup and installation, though, support starts to drop off.
A tech partner will build and manage multiple solutions bespoke to your operation, and innovate alongside your business as it grows. They take a more consultative approach and are invested in your success.
“As pioneers, for us, it’s always a question of whether the technology would ever be or will ever be possible.
Change is hard as a business. So it’s critical to find the right partner, committed to building best-in-class tech together, constantly. The results then speak for themselves.“
Most operators have frustrations with their supplier
If you’re feeling unsatisfied with the level of tech support you’re getting from your suppliers, you’re not alone.
85% of restaurant operators value support more than any other service from their POS provider. And yet, more than half of those we spoke to have frustrations with the support from their current POS supplier.
This rises to a staggering 87% for the largest business size. Evidently the larger the company, the harder it appears for POS providers to deliver a consistent level of support.
Finding a restaurant tech partner that can scale with your business is essential for long-term success. The more point solutions your operations rely on, the more difficult this becomes. An ‘install-and-go’ supplier might be able to match where you are now, but what about in three years?
Fewer problems, faster fixes with a partner
And when things really go wrong, these frustrations can quickly turn into disasters. 36% of operators report that the biggest challenge they have with tech is experiencing too many errors and too much downtime.
Any downtime can be devastating to an operation. The risk of it happening is increased with each supplier added to a tech stack via a point solution. Your fragmented tech stack is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.
As ex-operators, we know the pain of being passed from one customer support agent to another in a different company. The chain of restaurant tech suppliers all blame each other for a problem. Meanwhile? The problem isn’t getting fixed.
Streamlining order management so it’s being managed by just one tech partner reduces the risk of downtime significantly. Your operation is no longer being held together by a string of different providers. It also means that if something did go wrong, you can rely on a single support team to get the problem fixed.
A partner is invested in your unique business
One of the most important elements of a true tech partnership is a more consultative approach.
Install and Go suppliers might get you up and running on a new channel quickly, but direct involvement and interest in your operation tends to dry up at launch. Almost a third of operators report one of the biggest frustrations with their POS supplier is a lack of support in how it can help with their specific business problems.
A restaurant tech partner is invested in your business’s success and growth, and will get hands on with the challenges unique to your operation.
This extends beyond launch. A true partner will help you make the most out of tech for the long run. They’ll also innovate alongside you to solve problems and elevate your business.
For instance 79% of operators consider being able to see all their data in one place from across their operation a valuable function their POS should deliver. But 40% of operators report their biggest challenge with tech is that their data is split across different parts of the operation.
79% of operators
report being able to see all their data in one place as one of the most valuable functions of a POS
40% of operators
report that fragmented data is one of the biggest challenges they have with tech
This is actively stopping them being able to make data-driven decisions.
A tech partner will identify these sorts of problems in your tech setup, and innovate new ways of doing things. A centralised analytics platform with all sales data in one place, for example.
“That’s something Vita Mojo were great at: building flexibility into the systems.
We knew we could input into the road map and would end up with a product that we were going to be genuinely proud of and that would actually solve problems.“