There’s the age old saying “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen” regarding tough environments and finding those with the grit to get through it. While it is true that not every person is fit for any job out there in the hospitality industry, it is possible to make people feel comfortable to push themselves to surpass their preconceived limits.
It’s yet another day, another extensive shift. New employees in to be scheduled in training rotation, a dinner party to prepare for and your daily huddle topics to rehearse, but before all that you still haven’t started figuring out how your beverage inventory isn’t reconciling, and shortages in different category areas may just be conclusive for the controller to be breathing down your neck. The task-list, although full of daily excitement, is naturally never ending. And then, there are the guests, the sole meaning of your professional existence, and the importance of the power of positive service and first impressions.
It’s always easy to explain the impact of adhering to company SOPs to your employees. Equally as parents trust in the guidance that was deliberately infused while the kids were still under close supervision, in hospitality management we expect the best training results. In reality, the ‘kids’ go through the motions until they are done with the discovery training just to talk to the more senior ‘siblings’ how things really work, and where the loopholes are. Realizing that employees have created their own SOPs for an encountered issue, often leads to more questions and problems than it actually resolves. It’s no news, and with numerous of industry studies to justify it, employees who understand and follow SOPs are the primary control mechanism in ensuring consistent increased revenue generation, or a fail. Slow and inconsistent service, unaccounted food and beverage sales, embracing and displaying company and personal customer service values, are all a glimpse into the long list of factors that impact the customer experience and the critical aspect of loyalty. Once this behavior settles in, it’s hard to get a grip on it.
More troubling, it requires an even greater financial and time investment to identify the problems, retrain, discipline, or rehire, and move your team in the right direction. Yes! It would be so much easier if they understood and followed SOPs to begin with. More importantly, however, if management enforced them every single time and with every single guest, with a lack of process tracking and enforcement, large cash loss that is endemic in bar operations, low motivation and high turnover of employees and managers, despite endless training cycles, leads to poor customer service and consistency. With the battle for share, most operators surrender in today’s hospitality marketplace!
For some time now, retailers have adapted video-camera technology to learn consumer behavior, traffic volumes or product utilization, all in an effort to streamline marketing strategies and enhance the customer in-store experience. Generated data is long being utilized to drive product placement and seasonal campaigns to help stores achieve increased revenue expectations. Digital billboards integrate video camera analysis to tailor advertisements for passerby’s based on gender, age, or other factors or simply measure the time spent looking at an ad. Most importantly, these solutions required no training for employees or management, little overhead cost, and were quick, effective solutions that improved the revenue stream and overall business performance.
With rising expectations in today’s hospitality market, surprise and delight has been replaced by the expected and assumed. To meet escalating guest expectations, provide more accurate control in operations and reduce losses to keep businesses longer profitable, we have turned to technology. Unlike past trends in the hospitality industry, the modern operator has increasingly developed a sense for adopting technology into their operations and understands now the importance of shifting priorities in technology spending.
Due to a surge in the past decade of interconnected devices and services offered, operators are taking more advantage of untraditional methods to achieve higher productivity, time management and operational accuracy, only to conclude that these are engineered to ease daily processes but do very little to reduce operational losses. Outsourced inventory counting services for instance do not provide more information to the operator than you already could self-conclude by analyzing your purchase orders, sales and transfers. Wireless pour spouts measuring real-time alcohol usage represents hardware that is easily lost or vandalized, with operational changes and training required and more so attention and management enforcement.
With all this investment in technology, the true value of digital images goes largely unrealized. While service organizations struggle to deploy and integrate best practices, continuous improvement, employee recognition, as well as loss prevention techniques, actual imagery of interactions between their service providers and valued customers go largely unutilized.
Glimpse’s Proprietary Performance Insights software, brings these camera systems and their digital imagery to the forefront of the service industry’s performance management efforts. Built on the philosophy of leveraging powerful insights ‘hidden’ in video-camera data, Glimpse developed proprietary software that filters large amounts of captured images by relevancy, conceptualizing how data is being aggregated within hospitality operations (bars, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs etc.), analyzed and then turned into meaningful information for hospitality industry clients, while simultaneously challenging ‘human error’. At its foundation, the Glimpse system revolves around a cycle of continuous improvement, working seamlessly in the background as the management’s ‘eyes in the skies’. On a regular frequency, the team prepares a performance insights report, which they review with the customer, consulting them on ‘at-risk’ behaviors and opportunities for improvement, while at the same time building a historical record of performance.
With cameras positioned in unobtrusive areas and aimed at transactional areas where items are being served, images are collected randomly in two to three hour sessions, analyzed, cataloged and matched to your preset parameters as well as industry benchmarks. Irrefutable statistical reports show audited sales transactions highlighting those that were not accounted for on time, or not at all, and informs you on the speed and quality of the service delivery. An administrative dashboard highlights the transactions seen in video images, as green, amber, or red, allowing management to review the most high-value interactions between the customer and the service provider.
After successful implementation of Glimpse technology, attributed to instant employee behavior change, ongoing targeted guidance and direct loss reduction, clients of Glimpse in different market sectors experienced a 10 per cent to 40 per cent reduction in ‘at risk’ transactions and are displaying SOP compliance improvements, resulting in a revenue increase of 10 per cent or higher.
Ultimately, Glimpse delivers the technology infrastructure that helps reduce bottom-line costs and increase top-line revenues, while improving both customer and employee satisfaction. Service organizations can now create rewards, built around competition and personal development objectives, aligned with corporate goals.
Without a doubt, video analysis will dominate market trends as confidence in reliability and accuracy increases, and the benefits are repeatedly proven.