News Feature | December 18, 2017

Restaurant And Hospitality News – December 18, 2017

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


In news this week, Starbucks opens its second Roastery, located in Shanghai China and featuring immersive AI technology; and a new report shows that 44 percent of hotels plan to create a comprehensive guest mobile experience in 2018.

Starbucks Employs AI Technology In New Roastery In Shanghai

Starbucks has announced the opening of Starbucks Reserve Roastery, a new multi-sensory retail experience in Shanghai, China that offers customers an immersive manufacturing and cafe environment including roasting, packaging and brewing; an integrated offline and online augmented reality (AR) digital experience; and a debut of food freshly baked onsite by Italian food purveyor, Rocco Princi for the first time ever in China. China is Starbucks fastest growing market with a store opening every 15 hours, marking immense opportunity across the country which is unparalleled for any other global consumer brand.

The new Shanghai Roastery is the chain’s second of its kind, opened three years after the inaugural Seattle Roastery. Starbucks also has plans for a New York City Roastery and one for Milan, Italy in the next year or so.

Customers enter the Roastery and step through the front doors of the 30,000-square-foot building, immediately greeted by the stunning sight of a two-story copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese chops, or stamps, hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee. The Roastery hosts many attractions including three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, specially-crafted teas at the 3-D printed tea bar, freshly baked Italian artisanal food by Princi, and the ceiling made of 10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles, inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine.

The Roastery also boasts an augmented reality (AR) experience throughout the journey, making this store one of the most advanced digital locations for Starbucks in the world. As Starbucks explained in a press release, “The Shanghai Roastery will become the first Starbucks location, and the first-of-its kind in China, to seamlessly integrate a real-time, in-store and online customer experience. Roastery customers are invited to immerse themselves in the first Starbucks augmented reality (AR) experience – accessible through the custom-designed Roastery digital web-app platform or on Alibaba’s Taobao app – by simply pointing their mobile devices at key features around the Roastery to bring to life information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story.”

“To help customers create their personal Roastery discovery journeys, the Roastery digital web-app platform also incorporates a digital menu and will, intuitively through AR technology, share details of the coffee bars, brewing methods, as well as other not-to-be-missed unique online and offline experiences. Each step of the way, customers unlock a virtual badge and once all badges are earned, they receive a custom Roastery filter to commemorate the moment and share on social media. The Shanghai Roastery digital experience is designed by Starbucks and powered by Alibaba Group’s scene-recognition technology.”

“The affinity we have built with our partners (employees) and customers over the past 18 years in China is special and we knew we must bring the Reserve Roastery, our boldest, most premium store ever, to Shanghai, China’s bustling metropolitan hub and one of the world’s most dynamic retail destinations, as well as a gateway to customers from across Asia and the world,” said Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company. “We’ve created a space that both recognizes and celebrates our 46-year history of coffee leadership and retail innovation with China’s rich, diverse culture."  

44 Percent Of Hotels Anticipate Creating A Comprehensive Guest Mobile Experience In 2018

According to the 2017 Customer Engagement Technology Study, the convergence of mobile and social has been at  the epicenter of the customer engagement technology (CET) movement, fundamentally altering the very nature of consumer behavior and modern service delivery in hotels and restaurants. Among the predictions are the fact that 57 percent of hotels say they plan to increase IT spending and 52 percent said that improving digital customer engagement and loyalty was their top priority for technology. EMarketer found that digital booking is on the rise, with an anticipated $190 billion in revenue by the end of this year, with nearly 40 percent originating from mobile devices. That means that hotels must respond to this trend by leveraging the smart use of CETs and CXM.

Additionally, almost half (44 percent) of all hotels anticipating creating a comprehensive guest mobile experience in 2018, responding to changing customer expectations and demands. The report also found that 1 out of 3 hotels don’t have a formal CXM strategy in place, while 54 percent said that they are investing significantly in technology to support CXM, and 49 percent say they are committed to increasing employee training and awareness in support of their CXM strategies. And 23 percent reported that they are adding positions like chief experience officer or director of guest experiences to help boost these interactions.

This study offers readers 2018 Predictions: Hotels & Restaurants Reveal Planned CET Adoption; Exclusive Customer Insight: Tech that Influences Dining & Booking Decisions; and Gap Analysis: Identifying Opportunities for Hotels & Restaurants to Meet Consumer.