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How a future-proof infrastructure can serve yours and your customers needs – The Caterer

TalkTalk Business explains why a rock-solid network infrastructure should be top of your organisation’s wish list.
There’s no denying how hard hospitality has been hit. It’s felt more turbulence than most sectors in the past few years, between shuttering premises, staff shortages and the sudden shot-in-the-arm of schemes such as ‘eat out to help out’. With barely a chance to catch their breath as they come blinking out of all this change, hospitality businesses now find themselves in another relentlessly busy time.
Punters are piling in once again, but how can you capitalise on the opportunity without buckling under its pressure? Future-proofing business is especially important for an industry where profitability pivots on the tightest of margins. Without the necessary network infrastructure and digital experience in place, your business can quickly become perceived as out-of-touch with customers’ expectations or simply unprepared for the level of demand.
We know that ‘digital transformation’ is nothing new. Hark back to the heady pre-pandemic days of 2019, and it was already a little dated. But digital platforms underpin your service significantly more than back then. Now, they very much are your service.
Your digital offering is therefore critical. For your customers, your technologies – from the app they order on, to the contactless platform they pay on – are one and the same as the interactions with your front-of-house staff. In some hospitality businesses, they’ve even replaced those traditional waiting staff altogether. The digital experience therefore needs to be totally seamless.
When you look at how far the hospitality industry has come in terms of technology, it seems like we’ve reached ‘the point of no return on tech.’ It’s quite literally table stakes. Digital solutions are an expectation rather than a nice-to-have. QR codes and ordering at the table, for example, have gone from being a necessary safety measure to a commonly preferred convenience.
Having a best-in-class digital experience is the new competitive edge, and it depends on your network infrastructure.
Let’s face it, the hospitality industry is a mightily saturated one. To stand out, the key is to make the customer experience smooth, efficient and delightful.
To make the most of how technology can help, it’s time to drill down deeper than simply offering app-based ordering. To take things to the next level, with a future-proof network infrastructure that can offer solutions that scale. And ideally, from a provider that’s trusted and experienced (ahem). This is how you’ll stay on top of the surge and cut through the competition. In other words, may the best network win.
Your network infrastructure has a direct impact on how much your customers are likely to spend and whether they return.
Put yourself in their shoes. You sit down, open the app and start ordering. But it’s taking ages to load the menu, navigating it quickly is a nightmare, and it’s throwing up payment errors on top. An app that’s nifty, responsive and backed by a super-fast, super-reliable network, however? Now that’s going to make you place more orders and stay longer, improving dwell time.
The same goes for Guest WiFi. It’s always been a nice-to-have for the customer experience, but creates more frustrations than benefits if it’s not up to the speed they expect, especially if you’re hosting an event. Then there’s the extra pressure your own WiFi faces. Network resilience is a must to avoid card machines going down, apps glitching out and fed up customers deciding to give it all a miss. Connectivity drops can be even more detrimental if you’ve taken on a takeaway offering, with orders going astray and compensation issued in their place.
Hospitality trade isn’t steady and consistent, so your network infrastructure needs to flex the same. You don’t have to just imagine being able to tweak things like bandwidth as influxes flow in and out; bandwidth on-demand can be a tactic you rely on. Then you’re not only giving a better standard of customer service, you’re also only ever paying for what you need.
Legacy networks just aren’t designed to deliver hospitality without a hitch. Your network needs to deliver the flexibility and resilience for coping with the increased digital load and the sudden, variable demand that defines the hospitality industry. As the Full Fibre rollout continues apace before the copper switch-off, now’s the perfect time to take stock of your network, and reassess whether it’s meeting your current and future needs.
In our new whitepaper ‘Keeping Up With Demand for Digital: How to Transform Hospitality Post-Pandemic’, we discuss some of the key trends in hospitality tech and how to ensure your business has the right foundation in place to scale. Read it here.
By Ian Cairns, enterprise sales director, TalkTalk Business
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