Australian hospitality industry turns to tech to survive, Lightspeed reveals

Peter Dougherty, General Manager of Hospitality at Lightspeed

Lightspeed’s 2022 Global State of the Hospitality Industry report reveals that hospitality businesses are implementing technology and automation to save time and streamline operations while navigating the challenges and trends of the industry and in the economy.

What were the findings of the Lightspeed report?

Australian hospitality businesses are turning to technology to help save time and streamline operations amidst staffing shortages and inflation, according to the 2022 Global State of the Hospitality Industry report released by Lightspeed Commerce Inc., a one-stop commerce platform for merchants to simplify, scale, and create exceptional customer experiences.

Lightspeed surveyed around 1,100 hospitality owners, managers and operators, and 7,000 consumers from the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands, to get a pulse on and to understand the challenges and trends across regions, to further gather insight into customer experience and expectations, and also to identify how industry leaders around the world are navigating modern industry challenges and trends.

As Australian restaurateurs grapple with rising inflation, staff shortages, and overall economic uncertainty, technology seems to be a key tool in battling these macroeconomic conditions.

The ability for hospitality operators and restaurateurs to do more with less is essential, with survey results noting that a majority of industry respondents credit the adoption of a POS or restaurant management software to help with streamlining shifts, including new or expanded online ordering systems or the use of new technology to automate daily business tasks.

The rising cost of food and supplies is among the top obstacles and challenges that hospitality businesses are facing, with 35% of hospitality business owners surveyed in Australia indicating this as their biggest challenge. While it can be daunting to raise menu prices (for fear of losing customers), many Australian merchants indicated that this is how they are combating inflation – particularly hospitality businesses like Cafes & Bakeries (79%) and Bars & Pubs (70%).

While inflation, in Australia appears to be the dominating issue, followed closely by hiring new staff (26%) and staff retention (8%), sustainability has become an emerging consideration that cannot be ignored. Nearly half (48%) of Australian hospitality owners surveyed by Lightspeed agree that implementing environmentally friendly initiatives will attract more customers.

What were the tactics used to combat the challenges?

Lightspeed Commerce Inc. surveyed around 1,100 restaurateurs and 7,000 consumers around the world with OnePoll in 2022 (from September to October 2022). The Australian industry respondents noted the following tactics to combat current economic and industry challenges:

  • Bars & Pubs are facing some of the biggest staffing challenges with 60% working with less staff than they need. As a result, 70% are raising staff wages to attract and retain talent and half have adopted new technology to streamline employee shifts.

  • Seventy percent of Bar & Pub operators and 63% of Upscale Casual venues improved food costing and inventory practices to ensure they are spending correctly and wasting less.

  • Upscale Casual (63%) and Cafes & Bakeries (50%) were most likely to limit the number of days and/or hours of operation, especially in slower months, to help offset costs due to inflation while also preventing burnout when working with an understaffed crew.

  • To ramp up sustainability, two-thirds of multi-location venues (67%) are adopting food waste policies while more than half of Fine Dining restaurants (54%) are now offering more vegan options.

  • Australian venues across Bars & Pubs (50%), Cafes & Bakeries (43%) and Fast Casual (37%) categories were most likely to integrate more local, farm-fresh foods to their menu compared to their global counterparts.

What are the customer trends impacting the industry?

  • Aussies love to dine out with 75% of respondents surveyed stating they are most likely to socialise with family and friends in a restaurant.
  • Cash is no longer king with the most popular payment choice among Australians being debit card (40%) while only 13% pay with cash.

  • While many Aussies (40%) want to support venues during this tough economic period, inflation is putting a strain on spending for some. Almost a third feel they are unable to show any support to the industry as a result.

What were the executive remarks of the report?

Over two thirds of restaurant operators surveyed noted that technology adoption over the last two years has been critical for their business. “Digital adoption has been an important lifeline for Australian hospitality businesses, and it is very clear that there are greater efficiencies to be realised with new technology adoption,” said Peter Dougherty, GM of Hospitality at Lightspeed.

“Our main goal is to partner with our customers and clientele, sharing all the necessary insights at every level, from industry, regional, also the customer perspective, right down to what is performing best on the menu. Our flagship hospitality product, Lightspeed Restaurant, is an easy-to-use, omnichannel solution that uses reliable tracked data to deliver actionable insights to restaurant operators, helping them make smarter decisions about their business.”

Restaurants like Mr Miyagi, in Melbourne, have implemented tech to help streamline service which they say has resulted in a better customer experience and helped them reduce costs.

“We implemented pay-at-table and now our servers have iPads that they take to process your order tableside. And that’s reduced our labour costs by about 30%. If you order a glass of wine, we hit two buttons and that wine is on the way to you. It has freed everything up so much in terms of time and efficiency and ability to spend time with the guest, which is the most important thing for us, keeping in touch,” said Kristian Klein, Director of Mr Miyagi.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.