The Top Hospitality Industry Trends of 2018

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We may only be a week into 2018, but trends in the hospitality industry have been emerging since last year. Which will stay relevant in the new year, and which will fizzle out? Only time will tell!

In the meantime, check out some of the hottest topics and biggest trends set to take center stage in 2018.

Hotels Go High-Tech

With the advent of Airbnb and other home-sharing options, hotels are competing in a crowded space. In 2018, customization will be key. Experience-based hotels that incorporate technology are on the rise, allowing guests to customize their experience to be as much like home as they’d like (or not!)

‘Smart’ hotels will be huge in 2018, allowing guests to use personal tablets to control everything from room temperature to food service orders. Smart hotels will also employ automated technology, such as blinds that open and close depending on the position of the sun, walls that ensure optimal room temperature, and furniture that acts as a power source for guests who desire 24/7 connection. And expect to see more streaming services offered, such as Netflix and Amazon.

Hotel designs will change, too: gone are the days of the cookie cutter room. Hotel guests in 2018 may be delighted to find unique touches that remind them of home, with kitchenettes, diverse wall treatments, fabrics, textures, and furniture on the rise.

Lobbies will also see design upgrades, moving away from the standard check-in counter to more hospitable sofas with iPads (perhaps even freeing up guests to sip a beverage as they wait).

Finally, health-conscious upgrades like gyms, spas, retreat areas, and air/water purification systems will explode in 2018.

The bottom line is this: to grow and thrive as digital platforms, big hotel chains are moving away from the hotel owner model and towards investment in branding, marketing, and tech-related functions in 2018.

Fighting Food Waste and Going Green

Energy conservation and sustainability are hot topics across many industries, so it’s no surprise that the hospitality industry has decided to focus its 2018 efforts in this area.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the dollar amount of food waste (excluding fish & seafood) is $750B annually. Therefore, finding creative ways to reduce waste through food consumption is key. In 2018, this could mean using less-than-perfect fruit to make juice, or snack bars made from spent grain in the beer-making process. It could also apply to ‘nose-to-tail’ cooking, which many restaurants are adopting, meaning they find use for ALL parts of an animal in the meal preparation process.

Finally, expect to see more eco-friendly practices pop up in more hotels and restaurants, as establishments employ the use of natural light, solar panels, recycled wood, organic materials, locally handcrafted items, and repurposed furniture.

Data Will Drive Businesses to New Levels

The hospitality industry has seen a steady adoption of data-mining for years, but 2018 will be a turning point as to how they use it. Data will impact every area of operations, from marketing to menu suggestions to purchasing to production.

Restaurateurs and hoteliers alike will use data primarily in order to achieve a level of personalization that sets them apart. Employers who are able to capture customer data at multiple points throughout their journey in 2018 will be better prepared to pivot their strategy and plan for the future of their business.

Using data to determine a core customer profile will be key to gaining traction in 2018. Once employers know who their core customer profile is, they can better market to them, which will be a core piece of restaurant strategy this year.

One tactic you can expect to see more of is tapping into a micro-influencer network: people in a community with a few thousand to 10K followers on social media who can assist in evangelizing a brand (after all, 80% of people trust a recommendation from a friend or family member!) Another popular tactic will be geo-targeting, in which ads are served up to target demographics by location, which leads to higher engagement and a better return on investment.

Brands will also make the move to cloud-based systems in their workspace to capture employee data and tap into their workforce. For example, Harri’s biometric time clock enables employees to leave feedback upon clocking out. This type of data-mining from the “front lines” of a business is invaluable in determining how customers are receiving things like menu changes, specials, business hours, and more.

Across the Pond

We’re a global company, so we stay up-to-date on hospitality happenings across the world - and right now, everyone is talking about Brexit. Many factors are contributing to the potential restaurant disaster due to Brexit: qualified staff are too many years away, quality ingredients are becoming too expensive, and high-ranking employees are stepping away from brands. The establishments that want to survive will have to stay on top of trends and innovate. The risk of closure is currently very high: as many as 20% of restaurants in the U.K. could close due to Brexit.

So, let’s talk 2018 trends that can remedy this issue. Lunchtime visits in the U.K. were down 80M in 2017, while breakfast spend increased 31% compared to 8 years ago. Therefore, expect a breakfast revolution! Street food will also continue to revolutionize city centers, with more than 2.5M people eating it every day. Events welcoming and promoting street food vendors will also be on the rise - like London’s Camden Market and the British Street Food Awards.

Similar to the U.S., healthier eating will see an uptick with ‘Veganuary’ (in which people commit to eating a Vegan diet during the month of January) and the rising popularity of local produce. Finally, of course, ‘Instagrammable’ foods (a.k.a. the colorful blue lattes and purple cheesecake you see on your Instagram feed) will continue to be popular in the new year. 

What are your predictions for the new year? 

2018 Minimum Wage Increases Guide

On the first day of 2018, minimum wage increases will go into effect (New York’s changes will go into effect the day before, on December 31, 2017).

On July 1, 2018, Maryland, Oregon, and D.C. will follow suit with increases of their own.

The ever-changing landscape of the hospitality industry can be confusing and overwhelming - that’s why we’ve created a guide to help you navigate your state’s changes.

Check it out below:

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New York State*:

  • $11.00 per hour in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester counties
  • $10.40 per hour in the rest of New York state ($11.75 for fast food employees in fast food places outside of New York City)
  • $12.00 per hour for 10 or fewer employees, or $13.00 per hour for 11 of more employees in New York City (*see below)
  • *Local laws may require different minimum wage rates. For more information regarding New York City, see below.  

New York City - Non-Fast Food Employers with More than 10 Employees:

  • Non-tipped employees, minimum wage: $13.00 per hour (min. overtime rate: $19.50)
  • Food service employees, cash wage: $8.65 per hour (overtime wage $15.15, tip credit $4.35)
  • Other service employees, cash wage: $10.85 per hour (overtime wage $17.35, tip credit $2.15, tip threshold $2.80)

New York City - Non-Fast Food Employers with 10 Employees or Less:

  • Non-tipped employees, minimum wage: $12.00 per hour (min. overtime rate: $18.00)
  • Food service employees, cash wage: $8.00 per hour (overtime wage $14.00 per hour, tip credit $4.00)
  • Other service employees, cash wage: $10.00 per hour (overtime wage $16.00, tip credit $2.00, tip threshold $2.60)

New York City - Fast Food Employers:

  • Fast Food Employees, minimum wage: $13.50 per hour (min. overtime wage: $20.25)


  • Alaska: $9.84 per hour
  • Arizona: $10.50 per hour
  • California*: $11.00 per hour with 26 employees or more; $10.50 per hour with fewer than 26 employees.
  • Colorado: $10.20 per hour
  • Florida: $8.25 per hour
  • Hawaii: $10.10 per hour
  • Maine*:  $10.00 per hour
  • Michigan: $9.25 per hour
  • Minnesota: $9.65 per hour for large employers (annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more); $7.87 per hour for small employers (annual gross revenue of less than $500,000).
  • Missouri: $7.85 per hour
  • Montana: $8.30 per hour
  • New Jersey: $8.60 per hour
  • Ohio: $8.30 per hour (gross receipts of $305,000 or more); $7.25 per hour (gross receipts under $305,000)
  • Rhode Island: $10.10 per hour
  • South Dakota: $8.85 per hour
  • Vermont: $10.50 per hour
  • Washington*: $11.50 per hour

State Minimum Wage Changes Effective July 1, 2018

  • D.C.: $13.25 per hour on 7/1/18
  • Maryland*: $10.10 per hour on 7/1/18
  • Oregon:
    • $12.00 Portland metro area
    • $10.75 urban counties
    • $10.50 rural counties on 7/1/18

*Local laws may require different minimum wage rates.

What Employers Can Do Now: 

Get Your Scheduling Down to a Science: Analyze your most crucial shifts and recognize the strongest members of your staff in order to strategically schedule your team (tools like Harri's TeamLive can help managers and operators with schedule alignment, labor costs, and budget).

Consider Adjusting Your Hours:  By tracking your stores’ sales patterns, you may gain valuable insights to determine the working hours that are most productive for your business. For example, if you frequently experience a spike in customers/sales around lunch Monday through Friday, but find there's a slump during evenings on the same days, you may want to consider closing earlier during the week and focusing your marketing efforts towards weekday lunch. (Pro Tip: Your POS weekly and monthly reports should be a great indicator of these trends.)

Take a Close Look at Menu Item Prices: This is a last-ditch but sometimes necessary effort to combat minimum wage increases. Analyze each menu item and break it down by cost (with the help of your culinary team), and consider comparing vendors. Know that you may lose some customers at the expense of your menu changes. If you decide to increase your menu prices, communicate to your guests that your business has done so in order to stay open, pay your employees fair wages, and continue to serve them!

Product & Feature Updates: November 2017

It's the season of giving, and we're kicking it off by giving our clients a reason to celebrate: new product and feature updates! 

We're happy to share that effective Sunday, November 26, we rolled out exciting new releases that will enhance productivity and streamline the workflow of our clients. 

Are you a Harri client? These enhancements may affect your account! Visit our Support Page, which details each new release and provides step-by-step instructions on how to use them. As always, we recommend checking in with all appropriate members of your team to ensure you're implementing the updates that will best serve your business. 

In the meantime, check out the highlights below!

Global Search

We've added enhanced search features to make it easier to find employees in your system. In addition to searching by name, you now have the ability to search for employees by position, location, & document status.

TeamLive Availability and Time Off View

Approved time off and availability requests that have been approved by management now appear in one view.

Resending Offer Letter

You now have the ability to re-send a new offer letter to your applicant/new hire even after they have e-signed a previous offer. 

Card View with Location

An employee's hired, onboarding, or archived location easily displays on their employee card - no more clicking through the side bar locations!

Learn more on our Support Page!

Product & Feature Updates: Holiday Edition!

Are you ready for the holiday rush?

At Harri HQ, we’ve been prepping all fall for the hospitality industry’s busiest season of the year.

We’ve made some new upgrades to help you stay sane from Thanksgiving Dinner to New Year’s Eve. Learn more below!

Block Off Time Requests

Holidays call for all hands on deck. Although you’d like to be accommodating to personal requests, sometimes being fully staffed takes precedence.

To set expectations with your team and ensure they’re always available when you need them most, we've added the ability to block time off requests on specific days.

That means you and your managers will have more control over well-known busy days, such as Thanksgiving Dinner and New Year’s Eve.

We've also added a feature that allows you or your managers to control labor more effectively. For example, managers can require their team members to request time off 3 days ahead - giving you ample time to plan.

Shift Trade Settings

During the holidays, it's fairly common for team members to swap shifts with each other in order to attend personal events like family functions and parties.

Currently, employees and team members have the option to offer their shifts to another specific team member, or to ALL team members with the same position.

We heard from some of you that wanted more control over shift trades - so we built a solution. Now, schedule changes can be accommodated with a TeamLive setting that enables you or your managers to require that employees requesting shift trades must share their open shift with ALL team members in the same position.

Not only does this help prevent potential overtime issues and provides equal opportunity amongst your team members in each position, but it gives you peace of mind knowing that the issue is more likely to be resolved with a bigger pool of talent to step up and take the requested shift trade. Strength in numbers!

Tip Distribution

The holiday rush is real. The last thing your team wants is to be standing around at the end of another long night, splitting tips.

This season, give your managers the gift of easy tip distribution! With our new solution, Harri pulls tips from Revel and displays them on your timesheet. Then, with one click, managers can distribute tips to all tipped employees based on hours worked.

(Managers will also have the ability to edit this before approving and sending to a pay data sheet.)

Publish Schedules by Filter

During such a hectic season, schedules need to be crystal clear. Make sure your team is on the same page with the ability to publish schedules by filter, such as:

  • Category
  • Position
  • Revenue Center
  • Day Part/Shift

No more confusion, and best of all - no more missed shifts!

For more information on Product & Feature updates, visit our Support Page