Holiday season is over, and the world of technology for hospitality is certainly being rustled by the winds of change. The wider hospitality market continues to feel pressure, but we have plenty of interesting new concepts reaching out to us, and important Kobas news too.
2018’s third quarter saw plenty of Kobas installations, but sadly enough venue closures to prevent any growth. Our silver lining is that we haven’t lost a single venue due to a client choosing to fulfil their Kobas needs elsewhere; venues are simply closing their doors due to market conditions.
Venue closures, especially in the casual dining and wet led pub markets, are all too often in the news. Competition for consumer spend is strong, labour and ingredient costs continue to rise (the dry summer is the latest bogey-man), rates are punishing – though there are perhaps signs of a correction in the rental market.
As a result we’ve seen more closures than usual this quarter, and while some have been less surprising than others, a handful have been long standing Kobas clients who’ve been squeezed out of business by market pressures.
The team here feels every one of these closures, and not just because we try to remain familiar with the teams in every Kobas venue out there. Kobas is designed to help optimise hospitality businesses, and we are determined to continue to improve its ability to and grow stronger, better hospitality enterprises.
The forthcoming quarter will be very interesting politically and just might give some clarity and stability to the sector – but we could also easily be no clearer when I next summarise at the end of the year. In the meantime, with Kobas client like-for-like average takings so far in 2018 trending 1.5% below 2017, we’ve clearly got our work cut out – which allows me to segue nicely into the fruits of our labour this summer.
Top of the Product leader-board must be our August announcement about the arrival of Loyalty Point Boosters. This loyalty feature is the perfect way to fill your venue at quiet times, and to promote the sale of high-margin or end of run items you need to shift. Given all the other pressures on your business, the Kobas Loyalty Point Booster system should let off some steam! If you aren’t yet running our Loyalty system, please do get in touch with our support team who’ll help you climb on board.
Our focus though has been on creating an all-new stock control system. We had hoped to have it live and in use by now, but the world of large software projects is notoriously difficult to navigate, and we have had to negotiate some unforeseen hurdles. We do expect to cross the finish line in a month or so, and our Product team will be increasingly vocal on this blog when more sections are finalised and ready to publish.
While the stock section is a large and detailed system, it is just one of many facets of Kobas, each justifying a significant fee on its own. This in itself is a great example of the benefits of a system like Kobas which is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). We will have spent over £100,000 on our new stock system. A single venue can pay us just £360 a month for a Kobas licence, granting ongoing access to all our innovative and easy to use hospitality tools. SaaS makes enterprise grade tools accessible to smaller businesses, and we’re very happy to help level the playing field in this way.
In terms of technologies, I’m pleased to confirm that all of Kobas, including our Cloud services and every in-venue EPoS system, now runs PHP 7.2 and MariaDB 10.2, so we are nicely up to date in that respect.
Kobas Cloud achieved 100% uptime in 2018 Q3. This brings us to 99.9999% so far this year, exceeding our 99.99% target.
The Kobas office has just been modified to make it more open plan, granting us more space for team expansion. Right now the view from my office is a little strange – there used to be a big white wall there where the red and white tape is!
We are now also entering exhibition season, as the industry recovers from summer and focuses on – I’m going to say it – Christmas. We’ve recently had a great time at The Restaurant Show – here’s Gregor on our stand.