Enjoying food, technology and success in the UAE
By Stuart Barnett - Account Manager at wi-Q Technologies
I have just completed two long weeks of quarantine after returning from my trip to the UAE, giving me plenty of time to reflect on my experience.
Not only did I have the opportunity to taste some incredible food but also meet our customers, explore their venues, watch wi-Q in action, and of course, sip cocktails by the pool (someone has to do it!).
It was touch-and-go whether I was going to be able to fly out to the Middle East this year, but I’m so pleased it was possible. Despite current circumstances, it was my best trip yet, for even more reasons than listed above…
For starters, it made me realise how incredibly far wi-Q has come. This year has seen the world change; it has been a roller coaster for us all. Like most, wi-Q has gone from being a team of people in an office to all working remotely and even worried about our livelihoods at one point, to now exponential growth.
My time in the UAE brought to light how incredibly proud I am of what the team have achieved in the last six years and even more so, the last six months. It has also confirmed to me that we are operating in exactly the right market.
Let me tell you why…
The Middle East is so far ahead of the rest of the world in terms of food consumption and digital transformation. I did not touch one paper menu on my visit. Everything is digital and, before you ask, it’s not because I spent all my time in wi-Q venues. It’s because paper menus are now banned. Going digital is no longer a choice but a necessity. Even independent coffee shops had a QR code on the table to scan for a PDF menu.
Most importantly, I could get any food, at any time, delivered to my hotel within 15 minutes via a home delivery network partner. This way of ordering is the future and we have already started to see the shift in other countries, with demand for digital services only set to grow from here.
Between eating and getting scorched on the beach, I spent each day in several different wi-Q enabled venues watching customers use our software to order their meals. It was a pleasure to see the restaurants operating so efficiently and embracing effective marketing strategies to highlight their new and improved method of ordering and payment. Of the venues that had recently on-boarded wi-Q, most had a staff member outside on hand to tell customers about mobile ordering upon arrival; something so simple, yet very effective.
wi-Q is now live in over 50 fast-casual dining venues in the Middle East and taking an average of 20% higher order values than people going to the counter!
For us, with challenge has come great opportunity, and while the world navigates a new normal, wi-Q will be on hand to help the hospitality industry back to its feet. Roll on 2021.