HITEC Toronto 2017 Recap

Team Harri traveled to Toronto at the end of June for HITEC 2017, the world’s largest annual hospitality technology event. Hosted and organized by the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), HITEC showcases the newest hospitality technology from around the world.

Great strides have been made in recent years in terms of innovation within the restaurant and hospitality industry; the driving force behind which is emerging technology.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re all going to be replaced by robots anytime soon. According to HITEC keynote speaker Dave Berkus - angel investor, speaker, author, and entrepreneur - technology cycles every 55 years. As we enter a new cycle, innovative disruptions are expected as long-familiar industries will evolve and possibly be replaced.

According to Berkus, positions that don’t exist today will be created in the future because of industry changes. The top jobs in the next decade may include augmented virtual reality, 3-D printing, alternative energy, and information technology.

The latter will be especially crucial to the restaurant and hospitality industry.

We spoke with many folks in IT, a growing field within the industry, and an important one to keep the flow of information moving smoothly.

The main concern of the IT department is connectivity and the flow of information between systems. What matters most is the how - such as how information travels from their company to their payroll provider.

Technologists in the restaurant and hospitality industry are eager to see an increase in the number and quality of partnerships forged between innovative technology companies and more established companies who operate at the highest level within their speciality.  At Harri, we’re fortunate enough to partner with many top companies like ADP, Upserve, and more.

As for new tech being introduced to restaurants and hospitality, much of it centers around generating revenue - however, we found that people were more interested in talking about labor and the concept of workforce management.

As was the case at this year’s NRA Show, most people were interested in scheduling efficiencies and managing labor costs more effectively.

Harri’s new TeamLive feature, TeamHub, continues to generate buzz for its beautiful, easy-to-use interface and functionalities.

TeamHub features a biometric time clock that helps employees eliminate wage and time theft (which is a huge problem in the industry - think about how much money you’ve lost to “buddy clocking.” It adds up over time!). TeamHub also has the ability to track digital time card adjustments and send push notifications to employees prior to their shifts to convey valuable information such as menu changes. Finally, TeamHub gathers employee feedback at the end of shifts to crowdsource information from the front lines that’s necessary in order to drive business and improve employee retention (like”‘How was the new special received?’ or ‘How was your shift?’)

Lastly, as HITEC is primarily a hotel-centric conference, we heard attendees express needs for things like live dashboards related to occupancy theft, labor costs for housekeeping staff, and more.

Leaving Toronto with a fresh perspective, we’re excited and encouraged to further our mission of  helping the restaurant and hospitality industry streamline and grow their businesses. 

See you next year!