The Future of Bars and Restaurants – the lowdown

The Future of Bars and Restaurants - the lowdown
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Last Friday we welcomed guests from the bar and restaurant industry to an exclusive event at Gilgamesh in Camden, London.

Gilgamesh is a really beautiful setting; it’s a pan-asian bar, lounge and restaurant offering a unique Eastern dining experience with a relaxed, contemporary feel.

We discussed the future of bars and restaurants in a world where everything is becoming increasingly connected. It was great to see our partners, customers and journalists on the day, and we would like to thank everyone who attended.

Bill Williams, Sales Director for the UK and Africa, kicked off the event with a detailed Purple WiFi presentation. Bill shared valuable insights about how Purple WiFi is helping bars and restaurants to prepare for a future where customers are more connected than ever, and WiFi is a necessity. He gave a case study about Carluccio’s, who now have 80 venues running Purple WiFi across the UK. Since deployment, Carluccio’s have collected 137,000 customer email addresses and won an award for growth and engagement on Facebook.

Kerry Wright, our Director of Marketing and Alliances, discussed a case study with Camden Market. Kerry was joined by Jac Timms, the market’s Head of IT, who explained that due to an extension in the area that Purple WiFi covers, plus better signage, there was a 35% increase in logins between August and September. He said that in the last week alone, app downloads have increased by 14%, largely because of the vouchers set up by our Customer Success team. Next step for Camden and Purple is to beta test the new wayfinding product, which works in HTML5 without the need for any app downloads.

Next up was Abeed Janmohamed, who took us through a day in the life of Eagle Eye Solutions, a Saas company which specialises in validating and redeeming digital promotions in real-time. Abeed’s Q & A session resulted in some interesting discussion around the two different types of experience that millennials will expect in future – the first being a hi-touch, completely personalised experience, whilst the second is a low-touch, automated experience where there is no customer service involved, but products are cheap.

Mike Ryan, a Futurologist and our next speaker, added that these two experiences will be the only models that survive, and millennials will demand this choice.

The Q & A was followed by Mike’s presentation. Mike began by explaining what a Futurologist is, and saying that to become a Futurologist, you need to be able to match human behaviour with what’s possible in the world of technology. You can find Mike on Twitter @mikemanchester. Mike’s presentation focused on three key areas, which were:

  1. What’s happening with the world right now? This part of the presentation focused on future technologies that are already happening in countries such as Japan and South Korea, like 3D printed pizza. He used the example of the two types of customer service mentioned earlier; a 3D printed pizza is cheap to make, but it won’t replace the experience of having a chef make a pizza for you in a restaurant.
  2. Millennials. Mike said that you can’t look at the future without considering how the behaviour and needs of young people will change it. He gave an example centred around young teens and selfies, saying that the average teen girl spends around three hours trying to take the perfect selfies, but if it doesn’t get any likes on Facebook within 90 seconds, she will delete it.
  3. A look at the future of bars and restaurants. Mike used lots of videos to help illustrate the points in his presentation, but one example was digital tabletops. A digital tabletop in a restaurant could show diners the menu, recommend favourite dishes and allow people to order their food. Whilst we would still need a server to bring our food, a virtual waiter could ask you what you would like to order. All processes that could create savings through automation.

After the presentations, guests were treated to a craft beer tasting session with Jane from The School of Booze. We hosted a tasting competition, to see who could successfully identify all of the flavours in the beer. Two guys managed to do it and were commended for their olfactory prowess, but in the end Julian Rees from the Really Useful Company took home the prize.

Finally, congratulations to Tahir Sharif from Cisco and Steve Cole from NetPrimates, who won our prizes for the best tweets during the event.

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