Operators should choose technology solutions that compliment their brand’s DNA, rather than adopting tech because “it’s the right thing to do”, Mitchells and Butlers’ head of digital transformation told MCA’s Hostech conference.

Discussing technology’s transformation of causal dining, Richard Whitehouse said while vanilla software platforms could form a foundation for innovation, it was vital individual brands differentiated.

With 62% of consumers expecting their online experience to match that on-site, he said was not enough to launch an off-the-shelf app, and hope it’s going to work.

“Would we put a pay kiosk in premium table service brand? no,” he said.

“You have to consider how it ties into the brand DNA, as well as the experience you’re trying to creates.”

Whitehouse explained that enhancing the customer experience through personalisation was key, and that tech takes a multifunctional role.

“All our tech channels provide us with data that we wouldn’t usually have through a brick-and-mortar experience,” he said. “We can use that data to personalise. It allows us to harness more accurate campaigns and helps us make more robust and better decisions in the business.”

“If you asked us a few years ago what one of the most important element of our business was we’d have said location, location, location.

“If you asked us today, we’d say data, data, data”

With 13 branded apps across its estate and a rate of circa 2.5 million downloads a year, Whitehouse said that knowing your App customers is important as they are often some of the most engaged and tend to purchase more with increased frequency.

“Providing a VIP factor helps drives sales growth. Never neglect your app users, and never neglect your review scores. If there’s one thing that we’ve done over the past few years that’s made the most difference, it’s getting on top of our online feedback.”

“Listen to your guests, listen to your consumer, listen to your frontline people and make sure that any tech solution is right for all of them.”