Annual Restaurant IT Study Highlights Continuing Impact of the Economy

| April 08, 2010

For the past twelve years Hospitality Technology's Restaurant Technology Study has been tracking foodservice information technology (IT) trends in an effort to provide readers with a historical chart of industry heath. Since 2006, restaurateurs reported experiencing positive business metrics year after year, a trend that ultimately made a turn for the worse in 2009 as a result of the recession. Last year's Restaurant Technology Study revealed not only a negative shift in business metrics for the first time, but predicted a reduction in IT budgets for the year ahead. Twelve months later, these predictions have come to fruition.

According to the 2010 Restaurant Technology Study, the economy continues to tightly grip the restaurant industry. Business metrics continue to be down, more so now than in 2009. Of those surveyed, only 33.6% of respondents reported experiencing positive gross revenues in 2010, as compared to 54.3% in 2009, 79% in 2008 and 92% in 2007. Similar downward trends were also reported in reference to average guest check amounts, same store sales growth and guest counts. As a result, the impact of these negative trends is being felt by foodservice IT departments, as companies choose to journey down the conservative path when it comes to IT investments and plans. The percentage of respondents dedicating 1% or less of their total revenue to their IT budget increased to 43.3% in 2010 as compared to 36.2% in 2009. Furthermore, the percentage of companies spending 5% of their revenue on IT dropped significantly from 9.6% in 2009 to 2.9% in 2010.

Moderate IT spending means that companies are placing their focus on projects that will foster an increase in productivity/efficiency, and the promise of restaurant cost-savings. In fact, these two drivers were the top reasons behind IT efforts in 2010. Sixty-eight percent of respondents reported productivity and efficiency as a top driver for IT investments, followed by 62% of respondents who cited cost-saving measures.

What's more, economic factors are influencing point of sale (POS) investments and the perceived importance of POS features and functions. The number of respondents who are likely to replace their POS system in the next 1-2 years has decreased to 23.2% in 2010 as compared to 31.6% in 2009, 37.4% in 2008 and 47% in 2007. And almost one-third of respondents anticipate a POS replacement in the next 3-4 years, when compared against 28.2% in 2009, 22.6% in 2008, and 14% in 2007. On the features and functions front, accounting/financials and labor management lead the pack when it comes to their perceived importance, followed by take-out/delivery, enterprise management, customer relationship management and business intelligence.

To download a complementary copy of the 12th Annual Restaurant Technology Study, click here.
 
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