Love for tech has arrived

By Sam Ulph, founder and CEO of e-commerce tech company StarStock

- Last updated on GMT

Business building: StarStock boss Sam Ulph reveals how technology can help pubs now and in the future
Business building: StarStock boss Sam Ulph reveals how technology can help pubs now and in the future

Related tags: Technology, Coronavirus

Reinventing your business is one thing – doing it in the space of a week is another, especially in the middle of a global crisis ravaging your industry.

Many pubs have responded by pivoting to operate delivery or click-and-collect services. In recent weeks, by doing the right thing and providing support for some the most vulnerable in our society, pubs have shown the special role they have at the heart of their communities.

We at StarStock also pivoted; working out how to use technology to help the pub and wider food and drink industry during this incredibly difficult time. We came to the conclusion, very quickly, that by repurposing our technology from B2B (business to business) to a B2C (business to consumer) format, we could actively help pubs to continue to trade.

The progress made so far has been incredible. In just over a month since launch, mypubshop has almost 500 pubs and 6,500 customers registered, numbers that continue to grow. And it has got me thinking as to whether this period will be a defining moment for the adoption of technology across the hospitality sector.

An advancing trend is the improving perception of technology’s worth to society. In our sector, the influence of technology often gets a bad press, however, the pandemic has forced virtually everyone to adopt technology in their every day. Research by analyst Trajectory suggests there is a positive trend among Gen X and Y (those aged between 25 and 55) towards the benefits of tech and predicts the trend will accelerate when we emerge post-pandemic.

What might this look like? In food-to-go and QSR (quick-service restaurants), sectors known to be at the forefront of digital innovation, the current crisis will lead to a faster rollout of new technology, designed to help simplify operations, reduce labour costs and provide a more frictionless customer experience.

During my time working for a number of drinks companies, there was a frustration around why ordering stock hadn’t moved fully online and become automated, when it is more efficient and frees up time to engage with customers. But the landscape is rapidly changing.

Of course, we are in a period of great uncertainty and none of us truly know what the ‘new normal’ will look like. Consumer behaviour will change so operators will need to adapt.

Whether through the grocery convenience model or by augmenting the guest experience, technology will play its part in helping pubs evolve and in keeping them at the heart of communities. That’s a sentiment we can all raise a glass to once the doors reopen.

Related topics: Technology

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