Roundtable Focuses on the Intersection of Revenue Management and Technology

Oct 27, 2015

Contact: Carol Zhe, 607.254.4504, 

Roundtable Focuses on the Intersection of Revenue Management and Technology

Held in September, the 2015 CHR Restaurant Revenue Management roundtable focused on the role that technology plays in driving restaurant revenue at different restaurants. About 30 leading industry practitioners and faculty joined Sheryl Kimes, professor of services operations management and Menschel Distinguished Teaching Fellow, and her restaurant revenue management students for in-depth discussions on reservations, online and mobile ordering, the in-store experience and mobile payment. Kimes moderated all sessions.

The roundtable kicked off with a lively discussion on reservations, where participants agreed that the industry is expanding the idea of what a reservation is. This no longer needs to be simply a first-come, first-served process in which restaurants reserve tables but still have the risk of no-shows that continue to be a significant cost.

A key issue in the session on ordering and delivery was who is paying and who is ordering. As one of the participants noted, “Often the person who is making the reservation isn’t the person who pays.” With a wealth of information available to restaurants, there still isn’t a clear method of creating accurate profiles of each person at the table. How do we gather data so that we can accurately determine who is at the table and what their spending habits are like? 

Participants agreed that high-tech should not replace high touch, as they discussed the experience in the restaurant. A particular issue was the “creepy factor,” that is, how can the restaurants compile data about the customers and use it effectively while minimizing mistakes and making customers feel more comfortable. The personal touch is always appealing to guests; however, sometimes it can also be disconcerting. 

By far the most painful part of the meal–the part that both the staff and the guests would prefer to avoid having to deal with–is payment. In addition to being an action that is uncomfortable for many to talk about, it is also the part of the meal that always seems to take the longest to the guest, potentially causing complaints and a poor experience. It is the final step in an evening of service, the last thing the customers base their experience on. As we look toward technology for a solution, the ultimate question will be what can we do to encourage guests to use service technology?

All in all, it was an exhilarating day for the participants and for the 31 students in the restaurant revenue management class!

About the Center for Hospitality Research
The purpose of the Center for Hospitality Research is to enable and conduct research of significance to the global hospitality and related service industries. CHR also works to improve the connections between academe and industry, continuing the School of Hotel Administration's long-standing tradition of service to the hospitality industry. Founded in 1992, CHR remains the industry's foremost creator and distributor of timely research, all of which is posted at no charge for all to use. In addition to its industry advisory board, CHR convenes several industry roundtables each year for the purpose of identifying new issues affecting the hospitality industry.

Center Members: Accenture, Access Point Financial, Cvent, Inc., Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, Duetto, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, Hilton Worldwide, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Infosys Limited, Intel Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Marriott International, Inc., NTT Data,, PwC, The Rainmaker Group, RateGain, ReviewPro, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Talent Plus, Inc., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., TripAdvisor, Wipro EcoEnergy, and Wyndham Hotel Group