Restaurant management is a complex task requiring a delicate balance of managerial skills and software. When either is lacking, it’s hard to stay competitive and grow your business. Technology can help, but knowing how to get the most out of it is also important. You need to understand how to use it to automate processes, save time, and ensure better accuracy, so you can focus on growing your business.
We’ve put together a guide you can use to help you choose the best technology for your restaurant and how it can help you run a more profitable business:
General Restaurant Management
» Set quality standards
In order to foster a loyal customer base, you need a combination of great food and top-notch customer service. This is the foundation upon which a successful restaurant is built. Make sure you clearly define your standards for both, and communicate them to your employees.
Beyond establishing these standards you need the tools to deliver them, which is where POS technology comes in. The right solution can provide better order accuracy, improve employee communication, and increase speed of service.
» Watch inventory
It’s important to monitory both inventory and usage. When your inventory isn’t under your control, you can risk disappointing customers when you run out of their favorite items before more has been reordered.
Inversely, you also run the risk of over-ordering items, which can spoil before they are utilized. This costly waste can be prevented by using your POS to auto-generate reorders when pre-defined levels are reached.
» Properly staff
When your staffing levels are optimized, your employees are able to devote better attention to each customer, which improves the overall customer experience.
To ensure you are utilizing labor to the fullest potential, pull reports from your POS and monitor sales data and employee performance. That way, you can identify your top performers and schedule them during busy hours. You can also see which staff members may require additional training to get up-to-speed.
Must-Have Restaurant Management Software Features
» Sales, labor, inventory data reports
Visibility is critical to your operation. In order to maximize your revenue, you need an in-depth view of current performance, and the ability to compare it to past performance to see which strategies are most profitable. This helps you to make informed decisions on future promotions and strategies. You can also compare data across locations to see any discrepancies and identify problem areas.
» Seamless integration with other business systems
Restaurant management relies heavily on a number of different technology solutions. These solutions should work together cohesively to provide a unified view of all your data, allowing it to flow between systems. Opening data pathways can eliminate the need to re-enter duplicate data, and ensures data is accurate across all your systems.
» Cloud-based infrastructure
Especially useful for franchises with more than one location, this feature allows you to be untethered from the computer. You can access critical data via any device with internet capabilities, from anywhere. You can make important decisions on-the-go and monitor performance in real-time.
Restaurant Labor Management
Labor is one of your biggest expenses, and depending on how well you manage it, can either positively or negatively affect the customer experience. Because your employees have so much influence over the customer experience, it’s important to ensure your management is sufficient.
» Set schedules
Proper scheduling requires accurate labor forecasting. You can use sales data to track patterns and see when your busiest hours are so you can ensure all shifts are adequately covered. Don’t arbitrarily assign a particular number of employees to shifts. Set up schedules using POS. Use sales data to track patterns and see when busy times are to better forecast labor needs.
» Optimize hours
Once you have determined when your busiest shifts are, you should review your individual employees to see which ones are top performers. Your POS software should allow you to view a snapshot of how many employees are working, and what they are doing on a given day. These top-performing employees will be better utilized during busy shifts, when your restaurant is hectic. Be sure to keep an eye out for employees whose performance is lacking—they may need additional training to get up-to-speed.
» Time and attendance tracking
Make sure you aren’t being short-changed by your staff with unauthorized overtime or buddy clock-ins. The right POS terminal will have tools to help you monitor this. Biometric fingerprint scanning can help prevent buddy clock-ins, while alerts can be set up to notify you of tardiness or overtime hours that haven’t been authorized.
» Theft deterrent
Aside from helping deter buddy clock-ins, biometrics like fingerprint scanning can also help deter theft. With it, only authorized employees can access cash drawers or POS terminals. This effectively keeps unauthorized people from stealing money or data, while ensuring each employee is held accountable for what happens during his or her shift. You can also track ingredients and sales to ensure employees aren’t consuming anything without paying/offering unauthorized discounts.
Restaurant Inventory Management Software
» Increase efficiency
Manual paper-based processes are time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies. Switching to automated processes can save time and increase the efficiency of order-taking and record-keeping. Processes that used to take hours can be completed in mere minutes.
» Ingredient type and quantity management
Invest in software that can be configured to auto-generate reorders when ingredient SKUs reach pre-defined levels. This prevents ingredient shortages while also keeping customers happy. Loyal customers expect that their favorites will always be available, so leverage the right software to make sure you can deliver consistently.
» Insight into food cost
POS software can help you track and control inventory costs. You can view various reports to identify ingredient usage patterns and pinpoint problems related to out-of-control portion sizes and employee theft. That way, you can immediately make the necessary adjustments to prevent these problems from continuing.
» Cut down on unauthorized food purchases
High-end establishments with fine ingredients and top-shelf beverage are especially hurt by employee theft. This is why you should set purchasing levels that staff can’t deviate from without your express permission. You can also prevent them from purchasing items from unauthorized suppliers that may not have established pricing arrangements with you.
» Spot billing errors and inconsistencies
Automating inventory orders allows you to easily compare what was ordered to what was received. By doing this, you can rapidly identify inconsistencies and discrepancies with your inventory orders. It’s important to ensure you have the right ingredients when you need them, and doing this prevents unexpected stock-outs while keeping expenditures to a minimum.
Restaurant Franchise Management
If running and managing a single location is difficult, managing a franchise is next-level. In order to juggle all of your responsibilities, you need powerful technology solutions that can allow you to monitor and manage all of your locations from one spot.
» Web-based reporting
Most importantly, you will need centralized access to all business data for all locations. Look for web-based or cloud-based reporting, which allows you to access customized reports on sales, inventory, labor, and more. Pull data from single stores to view details or compare data across multiple locations to get a bigger picture.
With central reporting, you can spot trends, identify problems, make informed decisions. Optimize all your locations. View in real time.
» Remote communication
It’s impossible to be omnipresent when you have multiple locations. When you can’t be in the office, you can bridge the gap between you and staff by offering a direct connection to managers through your mobile management app. This allows them to send daily reports on performance and notify you of issues that arise. POS data is great for management, but it helps even more to get context around the raw data from employee communications.
Managing a franchise already requires a lot of time. Using complicated technology only takes more time away from important tasks. An easy interface is crucial for managing more than one store. This also saves time for the rest of your workforce, as user-friendly interfaces cut down on time spent training and operating the POS. This effectively speeds up service and improves the customer experience.
» P2PE EMV compliant credit card processing
Franchises are especially vulnerable to hackers. More transactions means more data being passed through the server, which consequentially means a bigger risk if your solutions aren’t secure. Point to Point Encrypted EMV-compliant solutions protect franchises from fraudulent transactions on stolen cards, with the added bonus of making customers feel more secure.
The core concept behind running a franchise is that you want to expand. It’s important that your technology can grow with you. Invest in a scalable solution that allows you to use the same system across multiple locations. Make sure it has the ability to integrate with other solutions you may need, like mPOS, self-service kiosks, online ordering or more.
Food for Thought:
While the industry is as competitive as ever these days, managing a restaurant no longer requires the tedious manual processes of the past. As time has changed and innovative technology has made automation possible, the focus of restaurant owners has shifted. Carrying out simple tasks is taking less precedence, while strategizing, problem-solving, and innovation have taken its place.
To stay competitive, leveraging advanced technology is no longer an option. Utilize the right POS software to automate tasks, provide better visibility, and free up your time to focus on growing your business.