EPoS systems are the biggest driver of profit out of all the technology used in the pub industry, according to exclusive research from Zonal Retail Data Systems.

Tim Chapman, business development manager for the company, said 40% of licensees surveyed named EPoS systems as the technology that most helps drive profitability to their businesses, followed by digital marketing and social media (37%), Wi-Fi (17%), mobile ordering (4%) and digital signage (2%).

However, regarding mobile ordering he told delegates at the MA300 Business Club in Manchester to “watch this space”, adding that more food and drinks purchasing will take place through mobile devices as the technology gains trust among consumers.

He said digital signage will also be “fundamentally important” during the next five years and will be used to display in-house advertising and personalised messages to customers as venues become increasingly aware of who it is that visits their premises.

Regarding Wi-Fi, he said: “Once someone sitting in a pub and getting free Wi-Fi was a huge bonus. Now it’s simply an expectation. And there’s an expectation it should be fast and reliable. It really is the deciding factor on where people choose to eat and drink.”

Chapman added that while 80% of operators thought social media was key to customer interaction, only 16% of consumers said it was important, instead naming browsing the menu and making bookings as top of their technology list when visiting a pub.

He said the most common search when people are on the move is for pubs and bars, but 18% of venues don’t have a website, and 35% of those that do have no online bookings service despite the fact 38% of customers visit a website for booking information prior to visiting.

He said: “Thirty per cent of table bookings are made when venues are closed. People don’t trust voicemails when making a booking — if it goes to voicemail and there’s no online service, they will just go elsewhere.”