Q&A: Tom Litchford, industry solutions director for Microsoft’s U.S. Retail and Hospitality Group, discusses key trends in the restaurant industry and the importance of empowering people with innovative technologies proven to strengthen customer service and drive operational efficiency.
With economic factors such as the sub-prime mortgage crisis, rising gas costs and inflating food prices, all putting pressures on disposable spending, the race for a bigger slice of the consumer spending pie has become more challenging than ever. Nearly 1 million U.S. restaurant and foodservice locations are facing fiercer competition each day from both inside and outside of their industry. In addition to staying on top of consumers escalating expectations for service, quality and trendy menus, foodservice operators must also grapple with a wide range of issues from food safety and wellness to payment card industry compliance and government regulations.
Despite all of these factors — and studies showing that 60 percent of new restaurants close within three years of opening1 — it is possible to survive and thrive in this dynamic industry. Indeed, the National Restaurant Association forecasted that 2007 would represent the restaurant industry’s 16th consecutive year of real growth, with sales expected to reach a record US$537 billion2. Industry experts believe that the restaurants best positioned to harness that growth will be the ones that empower their people with the latest technologies proven to elevate the guest experience, while increasing productivity and profits.
Microsoft, FoodService, Press Release