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Hospitality – an industry of people, change and a new future…

I was recently invited to speak at the National Restaurant Conference at this years Foodservice Australia show in Melbourne. What a great event. It was insightful, thought provoking and fun. I spent the day networking with other Restaurateurs who were genuinely interested in having great conversations and meeting peers. I listened to speakers who shared wisdom, advice and I learned a thing or two which is always a win.

I could talk about restaurants and hospitality in general all day, so being in a room full of others who shared my passion and enthusiasm was like putting a kid in a candy store. We are after all an industry of people and as a panel member this year, it reinforced the importance of networking and getting amongst each other to share valuable information and insights.

Our panel was asked to discuss ‘making big data work for small business’. With absolutely no background or expertise in data I could only discuss my own experience and thoughts; plus the thoughts of other independent Restaurateurs that I quizzed before the event. In fact I think I spoke to anyone who would listen to me about data for weeks leading up to the conference. I was a joy to be around really!

What I did learn though was that big data really isn’t high on the priority list for a lot of Restaurateurs, particularly those of us who are not large hospitality groups with no resources or finance to access large data. What is important however is the data we can capture and own directly. The value in this is huge particularly for marketing, product development, service and staffing. This has been a big focus for us this year and already we have a list of customers whose information we now own that is growing into the thousands.

Other panelists, speakers and moderators also contributed absolute gold nuggets of information that I have captured below in an infographic to share with anyone who might find them interesting. I for one walked out of the conference with a renewed energy, some great ideas and most importantly some new friends who love to geek out on restaurant speak as much as I do…

My advice – get amongst it, network and get involved in the conversation. There are so many Restaurateurs and industry professionals out there having conversations at a higher level to influence change in our industry and who are working hard to make a difference. Learning is the new black. You can’t learn or be inspired if you never leave your venue. Invest in you and it will pay off in your business.

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