Hop Vietnamese will be launching its “Hop 2.0” digitalised store this year, founder Paul Hopper revealed at MCA’s Hostech event last week.

The food to go concept, which currently has five sites in London, will be opening its new digital-focussed store in April-May ahead of rolling out the new trial technology across its estate.

In the current model, the brand offers a click and collect option but customers must collect their orders from a separate collection zone to those ordering in-store. The digitalised store, Hopper explained, will unify these collection zones.

“We are going to embrace digital, through Vita Mojo, because we’re convinced that the same collection point does work if both customers follow a similar journey in that they can both walk into the store and see if their order is in process or ready, whether they’ve ordered through click and collect or in-store on an iPad.”

“If you keep the journey fluid and you keep the operational flow simple, then it keeps the signage and everything in-store more straight forward,” he said.

Hopper announced the move as part of Hostech’s self-ordering and personalisation panel, which also included Maurice Abboudi, executive director of K10 restaurants, and Nick Popovici, CEO of Vita Mojo.

Whilst enabling customisation, enhancing personalisation through data collection, and facilitating order influx were mentioned as technology plus points, the panel highlighted a number of potential problems facing operators choosing to embrace the integration of click and collect.

“At the moment we’ve got tills and there’s a limit to how many people you can serve,” explained Abboudi. “When you do click and collect, the potential orders that come through become unlimited. It’s going to become about kitchen capacity, rather than just about till capacity. It’ll fundamentally change how we design sites.”

Ahead of its upcoming store, Hop is looking to tackle this issue with Vita Mojo’s capacity management layer, which Popovici said will “help operators limit and manage the expectations of customers so the kitchen doesn’t get overwhelmed.”

With the average order value of click and collect 15% higher than an in-store purchase, the benefits, for both Hop and K10, outweigh the cons.

Hopper added that whilst the brand will look to re-allocate traditional till labour roles and “change the complete mindset of how the kitchen is set up” in its new store, it also feels that a shift away from the traditional queue system could enhance the end product.

“At the moment we’re obsessed with waiting times being a problem, but the new age isn’t really like that. If you look at people in the waiting area everybody’s got their phone out, they’re checking Facebook or checking emails. It buys the operator a lot more time for either customising or just making dishes better than they used to make them,” he said.

“It’s a win-win for both sides if you get it right, but the customer journey needs to be incredibly well thought through.”

Earlier this week Hop closed its crowdfunding campaign after raising over double (205%) of its initial £750k target. The brand has said it will use the funds to both expand throughout the capital and implement the Vita Mojo technology.