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Rob Jones
Written by Rob Jones
February 27, 2018

Foodservice Management, Cloud Architecture, and Apps: A Perfect Match

The foodservice management space is competitive and demands that organizations adapt quickly. Leadership teams in foodservices technology are rising to the occasion by investing in the right tools to empower staff and to better serve guests.

Replacing legacy systems in favor of cloud-based applications like POS, enterprise management, and self-serve kiosk technology in business & institution, healthcare, and education settings is a necessary step. 

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What do cloud-based architecture, and data collection and analysis offer to managed foodservice operators, particularly in day to day operations? Here are some ways that make forward-thinking foodservice management operations and cloud-based technology the perfect match.

Greater cohesion between multiple concepts and revenue centers

When various foodservices concepts are in the mix, creating operational unity between them is vital. With a platform based on native cloud architecture and its near-real time connection to enterprise management tools, foodservices organizations can connect all revenue activities together much faster than legacy infrastructure with fewer barriers between revenue centers. This makes the patterns across multiple transactions and concepts easier to identify and easier to compare to each other. This helps indicate where to make improvements that will make the most impact on revenue and profitability. 

Because of this cohesion between revenue centers, organizations can more easily analyze the data in a wider view and translate those insights into actionable strategy across multiple properties. This includes knowing where to expand a global menu or to streamline one, how to reduce waste more effectively, how to better forecast costs, and where to develop new concepts. Analysis that allows organizations to take site-wide patterns into account means a greater potential to create better processes overall that result in greater revenues. 

Seamless student and/or employee card and meal plan integration

Meal plan card integration for university campuses and employees at businesses and healthcare facilities allow users flexibility in how they pay. Integrations with cloud POS and kiosk like this also have a halo effect on how efficient foodservices operations are by standardizing those transactions. Seamless integration with meal plan applications at the point-of-sale removes the friction when it comes to service, and also from how that data is managed once the order is placed. 

Data collected from transactions via third party applications like these become a part of a whole in the cloud, not as a separate stream. When it comes to transactions at the consumer level, This seamlessness creates a sense of fluidity for the user between concepts, i.e. lunch in the school cafeteria, a snack in the student union cafe or dorm, and then dinner in an on-campus food court, all using the same integrated application. A native cloud architecture platform that connects these transactions together at all of these revenue centers creates easy use, but also a makes for more unified data analysis.

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Better item tracking and analysis via item harmonization and global menu management

Item harmonization is a particularly powerful tool for foodservices operations in all kinds of sectors to improve the quality of item tracking and analysis. With multiple concepts comes multiple item naming conventions to match the respective concept, even if those items are the same SKU. This causes fragmentation that can affect the hygiene of the data that's collected. Item harmonization eliminates this problem. This function allows administrators to assign multiple names when creating and managing menus across multiple concepts while always being able to track the data under the common SKU number.

Similarly, global menu management functions enabled by cloud-based enterprise management tools also plays a vital role in efficient foodservices management. Near-real time updates deployed across all concepts mean fewer disparities when it comes to daily or weekly specials information, daypart considerations like breakfast menus, and time-sensitive price changes. All of these important elements can be standardized connected to cloud POS and kiosks, becoming a fulcrum for better operations and better data analysis. From there, silos and fragmentation become a thing of the past.

Easier ways to manage operations in the event of outages and failures

No matter what kind of technology platform is in place, outages and terminal failures are a fact of life and very often beyond our control. Historically, the options available to operators on a hosted platform have been limited when an outage occurs. When a master terminal fails or network connectivity is lost, service can be severely impacted, or even ground to a halt. With POS enabled in the cloud, foodservices operations can avoid this scenario.

One benefit of cloud infrastructure is the ability for the system to maintain normal operations while offline. That means that even if there is an outage, transactional data can still be collected. It's just held in queue until connectivity is restored. Once that happens, the data is pushed live in the cloud without service being affected. In the event of master terminal failures, a cloud-based system makes similar allowances, flexibly switching to a client terminal which then becomes the new master until the original master terminal is repaired or replaced. All around, there is greater flexibility and fluidity in the cloud, even when things go wrong.

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Greater deployment agility to serve guests’ shifting expectations

Expectations of how to meet guest needs through technology are changing fast. Development and implementation of new technologies and consumer perceptions as to what makes for great service are constantly feeding each other. This dynamic underscores how important it is for operations and the technology platforms that support them to be able to scale as new technologies emerge and as guest expectations change in parallel. A cloud-based platform makes this easier.

Once again, this is because native cloud architecture is designed to incorporate new applications more easily by way of API as mentioned above. Organizations can more easily scale when new applications need to be introduced to a technology platform to meet an operational need. They can do so much faster because deployment is more straightforward. This helps to shape company strategy around meeting the ever-changing demands of consumers within a much shorter timeline and therefore with greater agility.

More scalable no matter how big an organization gets

Legacy technology platforms were designed to serve present day needs defined by when they were deployed. Conversely, a cloud-based platform is designed to be adaptable and flexible over time as new concepts are added, menus are expanded, technology evolves, or as organizations take on an increased level of data management and analysis. That kind of flexibility can do wonders for operators looking to stay ahead of the technological curve. It can transform organizations by making them more adaptable.

With a cloud-based platform that connects applications and environments, it’s the technology that does the heavy lifting so that operations can concentrate on serving consumers better. And all the while, cloud-based POS, kiosks, and other management tools in foodservices settings feed into a common framework instead of standing as individual data silos for each revenue center. That unified framework is very scalable, as it needs to be.

Cloud technology and foodservice management operations

The cloud has changed the rules when it comes to managing a technology platform to support more user and staff-friendly foodservice management operations. The cloud unifies data collection and analysis from multiple sources and streams. The technology makes it easier to onboard new partners and to remove barriers to integrating new applications. A cloud-based platform more easily allows for centralized control and standardization of process instead of managing locations and systems individually. 

All of these benefits give way to greater scalability and agility in an industry that is rapidly moving away from old, static technologies. Being more maneuverable than a competitor has never been more important. Cloud-based technology is the key to achieving that goal.

What's your story?

At Vivonet, we deploy cloud-based solutions for thousands of foodservices locations across North America, partnering with industry leaders like Sodexo and Delaware North. We understand the demands of the industry and the vital role that cloud infrastructure and applications play as those demands evolve.

We’d love to hear your story and share thoughts on how cloud technology can help your organization. To continue this conversation, get started by clicking the button below.

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