Business Focus is a weekly column providing at-a-glance statistics and commentary on spending priorities and trends in particular sectors. This week we look at the hotel and catering industry.
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IT spending in the hotel and catering industry is relatively low compared with industries such as financial services and telecoms, whose core operations are dependent on IT-based processes.
The sector spend of £2,241 per desktop per year for small caterers and £5,554 for larger enterprises is, in both cases, lower than the UK-wide industry average by nearly a third.
Despite this, the industry has in recent years become a growing user of technology. Investment has grown as tailored back-end and front-end systems based on common desktop business productivity software have become increasingly widespread.
Following the relatively smooth transition to chip and Pin payment technology, which led many hospitality operators to update their point of sale systems, the main focus for the industry's technology investment has shifted to improving customer service and driving operational efficiencies.
The next wave of payment regulation affecting any business with checkout facilities is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which raises the minimum standards for storing and transmitting customer credit card data. This is likely to lead to extra IT security and data retention investment among caterers.
Self-service and mobile technologies, such as kiosks and handheld order handling/point of sale devices, are some of the latest IT trends to catch on. Further down the line, there may also be a place for biometric identification, following a trial in a Scottish school of a palm-reading electronic point of sale system in its canteen.
The analysis is based on Computer Weekly's database of more than 60,000 IT budget holders, twice yearly user IT expenditure survey, CBI/Kew senior executive surveys, government surveys, government demogratphic data, HM Treasury economic forecasts and Cambridge Econometrics industry sector forecasts.
Further details: www.kewassociates.co.uk
Business Focus: retail