the Phygital Era of Food and Drink Business



The market is changing – there’s no denying it. The challenge is to stay ahead of the game and deliver a seamless and unforgettable service that will strengthen your brand, increase customer engagement and ultimately turn clients into regulars.

One of the largest and most fast-growing generations in history is coming of age and is about to reshape society, economy and technology, “forcing” businesses to rethink their good old strategy. Millennials grew up during a rapidly evolving time and have developed a mindset different from previous generations. Their purchasing path is fairly complicated, priorities and expectations are heightened and getting them to trust you is not as an easy task as it used to be.

But what about the other consumer segments?

Consumers in every generation group have their own expectations when dining out. But in the end, it all comes down to three key elements: Extraordinary experiences, excellent service and trust.
It is now clear that a strong brand is simply not enough. You need a different approach to engage customers and increase loyalty; one that is unique, fresh and relevant, enabling you to really stand for something in the mind of your customers.

So what can you do to stay competitive? How do you keep them coming?

You evolve.
You redefine the norm.
You personalise.
You interact.
You connect


Proximity Omnipresence is more than hype; it is the Holy Grail of today’s business, enabling us to connect with customers in a more distinctive, relevant and immediate way.

Prior to the digital era, a host, a fancy menu and maybe a telephone number for reservations were enough to engage with guests in the restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Following that, a basic web presence could make you look smart, with choices of how to connect and interact being straightforward and limited. In today’s “always on” society, digital has infused itself into all aspects of a consumer’s everyday life, to the point where physical reality often infiltrate the digital mega-space. At the same time, consumers require the option to choose and opt in and out of it.

This is where traditionally physical engagements making use of the Internet of Things come to the frontline, to create memorable phygital experiences.

Phygital: What we get when digital is incorporated into a physical, brick-and-mortar entity, to create an ecosystem across the two worlds and around the brand and consumers.

Bringing Proximity
and context into play


So, what exactly happened at ATCOM Next?

Going one step ahead, we showed that practice from theory stands just as far as your determination does. At ATCOM Next, bringing our vision to life, we set up a real-life Café/Bar Restaurant and invited our guests to join us in an extraordinary phygital journey.

The experience within this one-of-a-kind Food and Drink business began with the ATCOM Next companion mobile application, developed by ATCOM exclusively for the event. Upon installation and registration of the participants via social media, and through the innovative Low Energy Bluetooth Beacon technology, we were able to collect valuable data, accurately identify guests and unify their behaviour across channels and “in-store”.

On arrival, our guests were greeted on-screen and in person.

What awaited them, comes right

Coffee, anyone?

To demonstrate how technology can elevate physical experiences and smoothen day-to-day procedures, we were inspired to set a “no order – order” process during the coffee breaks.


Having already preselected their coffee preferences through the companion app, our guests needed only to approach the bar, for the Beacon-companion app pair to interact. Within a few seconds, the barista knew the identity and coffee preference of each guest, whose name and photo appeared on an LG curved screen set at the bar, proceeded to make the coffee and delivered it to one pleased – and quite engaged - “customer”!

Beacons are the most promising
microlocation-specific Proximity technology that, combined with contextually aware loyalty apps, can lead to impressive results.

The Future

Scenario 1

Imagine a coffee shop able to gather weather data and traffic info, estimate the customers’ time of arrival and deliver their coffee the minute they arrive, fresh, high-quality and in the right temperature

Scenario 2

Α coffee shop could reach out to its customers, knowing what they need and when they need it. Making use of location-based services, the coffee shop can send out personalised push notifications.

In-store Dining Experiences

It would be paranoid to think that a table can order food for you.
Wouldn’t it?


Well, not to us; and our interactive installation stands as a solid proof that a new era of dining out has arrived. ATCOM Next guests had the unique opportunity to experience first-hand ATCOM’s interactive ordering system, creating their own burger on interactive touchscreens placed around the venue or installed on tables.

As they made their selection, they were able to see their burger take form through the screen, change ingredients and place their order, simply by scanning with their smartphone the QR code shown on the screen.

Once the order was ready, guests were notified by a push notification to collect it, in a personalized burger box, hot and tasty, and with their name on it!

ATCOM’s interactive table is a fine example of how technology and ambient intelligence can work towards an innovative, effective and far more interesting customer experience in a restaurant.

The Future


Our ordering feature represents only a fraction of what the entire business can accomplish by employing our interactive solutions.

Making of


ATCOM integrating various technologies managed to create an innovative solution, that combines physical and digital interactivity.

Android App • iOS App • Microsoft Azure • Video Wall • Push Notifications



At ATCOM Next, attendees got - literally - their first taste of the new age of customer service in the Food & Beverage business. The project was very well-received, with an overwhelming number of over 100 individual orders within just the first 10 minutes of the phygital lunch!

Interestingly, despite the ever-growing concern of data privacy, we showed that today’s customers are willing to share their personal information within a two-way, meaningful communication with a trusted and transparent company or brand.

A new channel of communication was opened up, through an experience beneficial to all sides concerned: Our “Customers” found it interesting and enjoyable, while our “business” gathered additional intelligence, pointed towards an even more effective future approach.

The point proven is that the success of our interactive installations lies not solely in the interaction between humans and objects. It’s not only about the entertainment feature or the first impression and the wow factor either. The genuine triumph stemming from our installations is the establishment of a communication with essence, strong foundations and longevity, within the enhancement or transformation of an existing, well-known model.

In a time where conversion rate is overemphasised, we showed that the foodservice business should invest on the optimisation of customer engagement and context intelligence, rather than on the increase of sales.

Customer is king.

And now we have the tools to treat him like one!