La evolución de la tecnología para hostelería, por Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall recently joined our team as Chief Technology Officer of the MAPAL Group. We welcome you in this interview where you explain how you perceive the evolution of technology for the hospitality sector and tell us about the latest trends.


- Tell us a bit about your experience in the technology industries and in the hospitality sector:

For more than 20 years I have worked in software development for companies. It is something that interests me since I was a child. When I was little, I was lucky enough to have a lot of computers inherited from my older brothers that allowed me to perfect my programming skills.

I started my tech career in the music industry, founding a business that helped sow the seeds for one of the first music-sharing sites, PolyGram After the dot-com bubble burst, I worked in some exciting industries like healthcare, finance and banking, but time and time again I have found myself building hospitality management software.

One of the highlights of my career thus far is having played a major role in the growth of Bookatable, one of the first really large restaurant reservation aggregators, and later taking a leadership role in the rapid expansion of Planday. Both businesses gave me a deep understanding of how the hospitality industry works and what customers really need.

- In your opinion, what are the main trends and the evolution of technology?

Today, we are inundated with innovation and new technologies. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, real-time data understanding, or microservices are hot topics. But what I think is coming very soon is the simplification of some of these technologies and the return to a simpler way of achieving the same results.

I often see companies of all sizes investing huge amounts of money in things like data analytics, using very sophisticated technology offered on platforms like Amazon web services or Microsoft Azure to do weird and wonderful things. But, most of the time, the same capabilities can be achieved using perhaps less fashionable but certainly much cheaper technology.


- Why are integrations key for hospitality businesses?

Simply put, virtually any software vendor that has tried to build everything itself has failed. It is very difficult to be the best at automating each of your business processes. It makes much more sense to gather products developed by different vendors who are experts in their field. Integrations can allow a business to adapt to changing circumstances by bringing the right technologies into its business at the right time.


- What is your vision of the future in this sector? What challenges are we going to face?

Looking beyond the crisis that we are going through today, one of the biggest challenges that the hospitality sector will face in the near future will be to optimize the operating costs of business management. We have seen many companies fail due to the burden of heavy business processes and operational expenses that make their services unviable.

More and more companies in the sector will rely on technology to improve their optimization. Many will end up turning to a multitude of SaaS systems that will cover different functionalities. The challenge here is how to integrate these systems effectively to really harness their power and all the data obtained.

There is a hidden cost that many companies do not contemplate, that of integrating and maintaining data consistency through these products. This is precisely where companies like MAPAL can carry out a real work of optimization and efficiency.

The hospitality industry is crying out for an easier way to integrate technology and bring the power of data insight to its businesses. They are tired of the complexity of introducing and executing technology. What they want is best-in-class solutions, already fully integrated. And this is where we are not heading. The best systems are already preconfigured to work together in a fully integrated ecosystem. There is no need to manage multiple subscriptions or maintain more third-party integrator expenses. This allows you to activate and deactivate powerful solutions pre-selected to meet your needs at any time.

I hope to see many more advances in inventory management, which is an area where digital transformation offers a lot of room for improvement, but which is key to optimization in any company, large or small.


- Why did you choose to work at MAPAL? What surprised you the most when it arrived?

Before joining MAPAL, I spent a couple of years developing a technology consultancy. I also founded a company focused on the construction industry. The two are still going strong today.

It was during a consulting project that I met Jorge Lurueña, CEO and founder of MAPAL. After sitting with him for a couple of hours, I was totally convinced by his vision for the future of hospitality software and when he offered me the role of CTO it took me about 30 seconds to say yes.

What surprised me the most when I arrived was the depth of functionality offered not only by MAPAL's own software, but also by software the company had been acquiring to complement its own offering, such as Flow Hospitality or Cloud Reputation. I could see that they had made some very smart decisions that fit the vision perfectly. On top of that, although not a surprise, I was very happy to see a team full of competent people across the board.


- What is the difference between MAPAL and other solutions? What advantages would you highlight of MAPAL's technology?

Each of our products solves customer problems with simple technology. This is not easy to achieve, but it is the main reason why all of our products have been so successful.

Focusing on a specific technology, our workforce management solution offers optimization characteristics far superior to the competition in terms of efficiency. Having the ability to optimize the schedules of hundreds of employees in near real time is not an easy feat to accomplish, it provides the ability to significantly reduce operating costs for our customers.

5 herramientas que te ayudarán a reiniciar tu restaurante

Si aún te preguntas cómo puede ayudar la tecnología a tu negocio en la nueva normalidad, aquí analizamos cinco herramientas que te permitirán trabajar de una manera más eficiente, segura y rentable:


Fichaje sin contacto: protege a tus empleados

El control de presencia en el lugar de trabajo ha experimentado una profunda evolución gracias a las nuevas tecnologías. Para adaptarnos a las circunstancias actuales surge un sistema de fichaje sin contacto que se activa a través del teléfono móvil del empleado. Para garantizar la veracidad de este registro de jornada se utiliza la geolocalización del dispositivo. Esto no solo nos ayuda a cumplir con la legislación, sino que además nos permite optimizar y organizar mejor la plantilla.


Monitor de salud: la seguridad es lo primero 

Disponer de información continua sobre el estado de salud de los empleados resulta muy útil para detectar posibles de COVID-19 y poner las medidas necesarias antes de que se inicie un brote. Además, llevar a cabo una evaluación diaria proporciona una mayor seguridad tanto a los empleados como los clientes. Los sistemas más eficaces de monitor de salud son aquellos que logran la implicación de los trabajadores debido a su rapidez y facilidad de uso, por ejemplo, los que se integran en alguna actividad habitual, como durante el fichaje.


Formación COVID-19: en el móvil y desde cualquier lugar

Los constantes avances científicos y la evolución normativa en torno a la enfermedad hacen necesaria una formación continua de los empleados para estar siempre al día. Si en el monitor de salud era imprescindible ofrecer una plataforma accesible e interactiva, aquí lo es más todavía.

Facilitar a la plantilla un entorno formativo online y móvil contribuye a tener empleados más eficientes y proporciona un ahorro de tiempo y recursos al sustituir a la formación presencial. Los contenidos deben abarcar diferentes aspectos de la reapertura y del negocio; desde la limpieza e higiene, hasta las medidas de distancia social, el cuidado del cliente o la operativa de nuevos servicios, como los pedidos para llevar o la entrega a domicilio. 


Monitor de mercado: conoce la evolución del sector

Hoy más que nunca, la información es poder. Acceder regularmente a unos indicadores de la evolución del mercado y las tendencias del sector de la hostelería ayuda a conocer el estado de cada negocio, a adaptarse a los posibles cambios y a identificar puntos de mejora.

Esto se traduce en una mayor capacidad para tomar las decisiones adecuadas en cada momento basándonos en datos actualizados y fiables. En este sentido, cuanto mayor sea el volumen y la calidad de los datos, mejor fundamentadas estarán nuestras decisiones. Por ejemplo, poder acceder a un análisis por segmentos, tipo de local, canales de venta, periodos del día, etc.


Auditoría COVID: cumple la normativa y evita multas

Controlar el cumplimiento de los nuevos requisitos en materia de limpieza, desinfección y distancia social, entre otros, será una de las labores principales para los gerentes de restaurantes. Esta tarea requiere tener en cuenta tantos aspectos que, sin la ayuda necesaria, abarcaría la mayoría de su jornada laboral.

Para facilitar su trabajo a la hora de reiniciar el restaurante, los sistemas de auditorías permiten un seguimiento exhaustivo de los nuevos requerimientos. Lo adecuado sería disponer de una herramienta que se adapte a las particularidades de tu negocio para llevar a cabo un seguimiento continuo de todos los procedimientos.