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The risk of dying of success with the new digital model


A few days ago I visited London, one of the most disturbing cities in the world and an epicenter of new trends in foodservice, where I could see how, in its crowded cafes, many customers already place their orders via mobile phone and pay with the same device with absolute normality. So much so that in most cases, the queues con una trazabilidad digital son bastante más concurridas que las motivadas por el tráfico natural o de paso del propio establecimiento.

This led me to reflect on the impact that the new digital model is having on many hospitality businesses, and how to manage this new scenario is essential to optimize space in the establishments and evitar que los “bottleneck” incidan negativamente en los resultados globales del propio negocio, during this process digital transition.

In September 2015, Starbucks, one of the world's major coffee chains, officially launched its service “Mobile Order & Pay on the Starbucks”. Basically it consists of the possibility of order and pay via a mobile application para posteriormente recoger tu pedido en la tienda seleccionada, without having to wait queue.

Customers can order those global products or those that are specific to each geographical area or each store, including nutrition information in order to customize the most of your product. The system It is available for both iOS and Android users, and the goal is the delivery time around three to five minutes.

But last March, during the annual meeting of shareholders, the company had to recognize that the successful use of this system is causing a huge congestion of customers in their stores during peak hours. Estos atascos They are negatively affecting sales of many of its stores.

Specific, sales at stores open at least a year only they grew 3% in the first trimester, representing a 7% less when compared to the same period last year.

Payment through mobile and represents for Starbucks 20% transaction in United States, and ordering system moving over 8% of sales.

And is that when compared with other processes fully digitized, como puede ser la compra de un libro o de música, en nuestro sector hay una diferencia trascendental porque una de las partes fundamentales de la experiencia del cliente siempre pasa por lo presencial. This occurs both in the case of “submit” as in the case of “collect”, Y It is a new challenge for the sector, que ha de gestionar esa convivencia con total naturalidad.

But, definitely, in many cases and at peak times, this relation of the on-line with off-line It is not easy, because it requires a perfect optimization of the following four elements:

1.- Design adequate physical spaces

redesign zonas exclusivas para la recogida de pedidos digitales not to hinder traffic those customers who choose to apply for your order by the traditional channel, and maximize the overall capacity of the restaurant. Starbucks customers in many confessed that they left without making purchase by the huge backlog of people who were in the shops waiting to pick up the order he had made through your smartphone.

2.- adequate training of staff

The new environment requires training of specialized digital service staff orders or redistribute the template to optimize the delivery in the most complex shifts. These new profiles have to know perfectly digital processes orders and new customer needs this It has over the traditional. Surely this happens by hiring new employees or hired personnel and recycling.

3.- Use of specific digital solutions

The restaurants, increasingly, They are to become e-commerce companies. Ello exige soluciones digitales que permitan administrar los pedidos entrantes con sistemas inteligentes que limiten en momentos puntuales la entrega de pedidos. This limitation should be based on the capacity of the restaurant or queue management, where the customer knows the actual time of delivery thereof to the acceptance of the final order, y evite que vaya demasiado pronto al restablecimiento, hindering the workflow the same.

4.- Data analysis systems through big data

All these transactions are leaving a digital trail with a huge amount of data that the new digital systems must be analyzed to streamline processes and create a better experience for customers. De esta manera sería posible predecir la demanda en los restaurantes en base al análisis histórico de series temporales, allowing adjust their systems concerning these data.

Definitely, la convivencia del sistema digital con el sistema presencial supondrá una necesidad de redesign the business model many companies catering. Estas tendrán que adaptar sus espacios, their staff and their applications to this new scenario, que supone una enorme oportunidad de multiplicar los ingresos, but also the costs. They must learn to manage properly “bottleneck” that the essence of the system generates, ya que muchos de los restaurantes actuales no fueron originariamente creados para abastecer la demanda del nuevo cliente digital.

Undoubtedly one of the major challenges which the hospitality sector faces It is to be capaz de gestionar este nuevo equilibrio entre lo on-line y lo off-line. Based on the famous phrase that once gave Darwin: “No es la especie más fuerte aquella que sobrevive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.

About the Author

Diego Coquillat

Director and CEO of, teacher, consultant, lecturer and entrepreneur incorrigible. If you can not find it here, search near the sea. Passion for new technologies and restaurants ... passion for life.



  1. Artículo muy interesante desde el punto de vista del Revenue Management para Restaurantes, dónde el análisis de datos, tales como los patrones de llegada/pedidos, la gestión de las colas, bottleneck…, serán la base del éxito (o fracaso) en los negocios de hostelería en el mundo digital.

    a greeting!

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