A multi-faceted industry, there are more opportunities in hospitality to innovate, disrupt, and generally shake things up than in other business arenas. Innovating is exactly what hospitality leaders love to do. They incorporate new technologies in surprising ways, create inventive new processes and procedures, and break new ground wherever they go. LODGING recently turned the spotlight on more than a dozen executives and companies making a unique mark on the industry and influencing the course of its future. Below are four innovators in the hotel F&B space.
As the farm-to-table movement continues to evolve, hotels and restaurants are looking for ways for their chefs—and, by extension, their guests—to get closer and more familiar with their food and its sources. This is what inspired the minds behind Verdical, a technology-based platform that empowers food service providers to grow all of their own greens and herbs in a very small footprint. Verdical worked with engineers from TE Connectivity, a global technology company that designs and manufactures connectivity and sensor products for harsh environments, to design needed sensors, lighting, and connectivity that “eliminates the distance between farm and fork.”
LODGING caught up with Andrew Deitz, CEO of Verdical, Terry Murphy, global director, strategy & business development at TE Connectivity, and Mohammad Ahmed, senior manager of R&D at TE Connectivity, to further discuss this leading-edge technology. Read the conversation here.
The Ripple Maker is a WiFi-enabled countertop printer that uses either coffee extract ink or malt- based ink to print images, logos, or even selfies on beverages in as little as 10 seconds. Because these inks are made without preservatives or artificial colorings, images are printed in their natural shades of brown and do not alter the taste of the drink.
Ripple Maker devices have a built-in library of hundreds of different images for use, and more images are uploaded regularly. Guests can also upload an image of their choosing to the Ripples ChatBot through Facebook Messenger.
CEO of Ripples Yossi Meshulam says that the Ripple Maker offers the hospitality industry a new way to connect with guests, whether it be printing a message on lattes or stamping a brand logo on cocktails during a meeting. “Hotels can easily turn a guest’s drink into a one-of-a-kind experience that makes their stay more personal and even encourage them to share their customized drinks with their peers and social media followers,” Meshulam says. “It’s easy to mix a cocktail the way a guest likes, but it’s a completely different and special experience to print their favorite photo on their drink.”
A point of sale (POS) system developed by a women-owned business out of Denver and tailored to hotels is working to make grab-andgo retail easier for guests and more costeffective for owners. Impulsify’s ImpulsePoint is a front-desk POS system that transacts sales, retrieves correct product and price information, and eliminates human error. Solving front-desk losses alone leads to a 15 to 20 percent increase in revenue, says Janine Williams, founder and CEO of Impulsify. Impulsify’s inventory tracking system allows for easy reordering of product, and the system can suggest pricing based on a database of 25,000 products. Using these recommended retail prices leads to a 58 to 62 percent profit margin, rather than the industry average of 42 percent, Williams says. “ImpulsePoint provides them every report they need to quickly and easily replenish, optimize product mix, and improve their retail performance without really needing to know anything about retail,” she adds.
4Chicago Athletic Association
The Chicago Athletic Association hotel offers Shake Shack room service for guests—straight from the fast food stalwart’s location on the first floor of the hotel. The room service is offered daily from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for guests and can be ordered through the existing in-room dining system.