Casual Dining Group, the parent company of Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas and other restaurant brands, has this week completed the roll-out of new point of sale (PoS) equipment across its UK estate.

The group's 300+ restaurants now have the new technology installed, following a deployment programme that began in March this year. The PoS tech used is from Zonal Retail Data Systems, which can deliver insights to Casual Dining's stable of brands including real-time information about restaurant performance.

The investment comes as part of a period of significant change for the company, which until last spring was known as Tragus Group. The name change followed Bella Italia and Café Rouge being placed into company voluntary arrangements and the group selling off high street eatery, Strada.

Now restructured, the group plans to open 70 new restaurants and update its existing sites between 2015 and 2018. Other Casual Dining brands include La Tasca, Belgo and Huxleys – the former was acquired last year in a deal worth around £25 million.

Tim Doubleday, Casual Dining's CFO, said: "In the past two years, the business has been transformed. We've expanded significantly, investing in our existing restaurants, opening new sites and acquiring two businesses."

Reflecting on the new tech investment, he added: "With a commitment to creating fantastic and memorable customer experiences, and recognising the growing importance of technology, we are keen to be at the forefront of technological innovation.

"We needed a solution that would future proof our business, give us new tools to engage with our customers, whilst providing robust management information."

Over the last few years there has been a shift in the retail and hospitality worlds that has resulted in companies introducing mobile PoS (MPoS) equipment to serve customers away from fixed till points. Retailers say it is part of the process for improving the customer in-store experience.

A study from analyst group Juniper Research published this week has predicted that smartphone and tablet-based MPoS terminals will take on an even more significant role in businesses in the coming years, handling 40% of all retail transaction value by 2021. This will be up from an expected 12% in 2016.

Juniper forecasts the use of MPoS systems will account for more than one in three PoS terminals by 2021, driven by larger retailer adoption of this technology.

Research author James Moar said: "We are seeing several vendors tailor their software to the needs of specific industries, integrating MPoS capabilities as part of broader cloud-based business software.

"These additional services can then make use of the sales data directly to manage inventory, monitor staff performance and other functions, which can all add more value to a business and justify a higher margin."

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Zonal Retail Data Systems

Juniper Research