Covid has accelerated digital adoption in hospitality: why you should transform

Prioritising digital systems to build a more effective business is the way to not just survive, but to thrive.
Joe Cripps
Dec 2023
4 min read

The digital transformation occurring during the pandemic is undeniable, especially in the hard-hit hospitality industry. Part of the industry response has been a rush to adopt a host of new digital tools, from ordering apps to delivery services. Harnessing the right tech at the the right time is essential.

I’ve highlighted the key changes I see businesses facing right now, and 5 strategies I suggest to help embrace this new reality.

Key changes:

  • Communicating change rapidly and clearly. In times of crisis, an overriding problem for business leaders is communicating change. Policy can shift every day. Clear, rapid communication is key to embed new processes within your teams.
  • Quick pivots to drive new revenue streams. Replacing a percentage of lost sales isn’t enough; you’re going to need strong processes and systems to underpin ongoing innovation and change.
  • A radical and permanent shift in labour deployment. Implementing new policies for customer safety has meant more front line staff, head office cuts mean fewer managers. With less people to drive action, you need to adopt the right tools to bridge the inevitable gap.

5 Strategies for hospitality businesses right now:

  1. Work out what’s in your way: examine your existing set-up and simplify it. Target old habits, slow systems, and broken kit - ask your team on the ground what’s wrong with their tools and systems. Look at the 5 whys as a way of uncovering issues.
  2. Create your blueprint: work out what the perfect working day looks like. How do you translate this into your sites? How do you know which sites are following it and who needs help? With less managers, paperwork is no longer a valid answer. Ask our team about how to do this using Trail.
  3. Plan, Do, Review: your new processes should be a continuous cycle of improvement. Look for data-driven results you can fine-tune. Feed changes into the plan and cascade again. The HSE have a simple framework here.
  4. Cascading information: are you able to communicate new and existing policies clearly to sites and remote teams? Can new team members get up to speed without direct training? Having a project management tool or agile ops management system in place is invaluable.
  5. Create new habits: combine simple cues with easy-to-follow processes and cultural recognition. You can flex and change habits in a crisis with the right tools and process. Read The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg.

We’d love to share how we’ve approached this at Trail. Rapid change and innovation are part of who we are as a start up, but the same method can be applied to any business. We can also offer support through Trail; you can be live in hours, ensuring your team navigates rapid changes smoothly to succeed in uncertain times.

Resource List

Recommended hospitality tech:
StoreKit's guide to restaurant software




Wireless Social


Useful frameworks:
ICE scoring

HSE Framework

Help funding tech projects:
CBILS & Bounceback Loans

R&D Tax Credits

Leadership support:
Hospitality Mavericks

Training tools to free managers up:


McManus Pubs customer testimonial

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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