JUMP TO SECTION:
- General Restaurant Management
- Must-Have Restaurant Management Software Features
- Restaurant Labor Management
- Restaurant Inventory Management Software
- Restaurant Franchise Management
- Signs of Poor Restaurant Management
- Why Contactless will Future-proof Restaurant Technology
- Pickup and Delivery Tips for Restaurant Owners
- How Bar Managers Can Better Manage Pour Costs
- Why You Need a Kitchen Display System
- Restaurant Patio Seating and Its Role in Restaurant Management
- How Restaurateurs can Leverage Alcohol To-Go
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. With the industry’s shift due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for restauranteurs to be savvy when considering how to adjust their business to meet changing customer needs and demands. Technology is crucial to success, but only if you know how to get the most out of it. You need to understand how to use it to improve safety, automate processes, save time, and ensure better accuracy so you can focus on your business’s growth during and beyond the pandemic.
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
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, where POS technology comes in. The right solution can provide better order accuracy, improve employee communication, and increase the 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 can devote better attention to each customer, which improves the overall customer experience.
To ensure you utilize 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. 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 several 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 ensure that 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.
» High employee turnover
Overworking, undervaluing, and inflexibility are all causes of employee turnover. Employees also reflect the attitudes and work principles of their leader, so even if you offer various perks, your employees won’t stick around if you’re not a good boss in the first place. It’s essential to set a good example for your employees to follow.
To avoid high employee turnover in your restaurant, make sure to find out what motivates each employee, whether it be bonuses, recognition, job perks, or flexibility with their schedule. This will foster better relationships between you and your employees. Remember to reward them if you increase their workload and genuinely take their suggestions and concerns into consideration.
» Poor customer satisfaction
If you aren’t providing services like order accuracy, speed of service, delivery, and online ordering options, you could be driving your customers away. In a pandemic-stricken world, it’s difficult for customers to enjoy the same experiences they may have before, but you can work to give them the best experience possible. With the right restaurant management software implementation, you can offer high-quality delivery, online ordering, and curbside pickup options. These services will reduce the risk of spreading harmful pathogens and improve customer experience during and post-pandemic.
Illness resurgence or not, the restaurant industry is forever altered. Customers and businesses alike will continue to be aware of health cautions even when the pandemic fades. This is why implementing contactless methods and technology is important to keep your business prepared to operate under any conditions. It will be vital to have the ability to minimize face-to-face interactions and remove human contact from transactions with curbside delivery and contactless payments. With text notifications built into online order systems, delivery will become safe and easy. By leveraging mobile ordering apps and contactless payments, it is also a good idea to create more drive-through lanes to help redirect dine-in business and serve customers efficiently.
Leveraging pickup and delivery services is an effective way to stay in business while ensuring your employees and customers’ safety. It’s good to designate specific areas for delivery prep and packaging to streamline your operations and avoid face-to-face interactions between employees.
If you’re currently taking pickup and delivery orders over the phone, consider implementing technology such as an online ordering solution to free up your time and allow for car-side or door-side payment. Using a delivery dispatch and management solution will also help manage drivers and keep tabs on delivery operations. Since your couriers and delivery drivers are out on the front line, it’s important to treat them well and provide them with the equipment they need to do their job safely.
To keep your delivery and pickup operations efficient, create an assembly line in which each employee is designated a specific job in the process. For example, one employee should receive orders, another should prepare them, and another should ensure menus, coupons, napkins, utensils, and condiments are all in each bag. It’s also essential to choose packaging that keeps food hot, fresh, and safe. COVID-19 can live on cardboard for 24 hours and on plastic for 72 hours, so it may be a good idea to troubleshoot with different materials.
With bars operating under limited circumstances, it’s crucial to manage pour costs effectively. To optimize your revenue, you should maintain a firm grasp on your inventory. Make sure your POS tracks your inventory in real-time so you can avoid over or understocking, product loss, shrinkage, and employee theft. Keeping a close eye on your inventory also helps you know your usage rates and information you can use to ensure your par settings are accurate and keep your bar appropriately stocked. You’ll also want to make sure you’re carefully pricing your beverages, as 80% of your revenue comes from drink sales.
Another way you can manage pour costs is by putting pour policies in place. Keeping records of all spills and complimentary drinks is crucial to know where your inventory is going. Dirty draft lines can cause excess foam when pouring beer. If this is a problem you’ve noticed, you might want to make sure your draft systems are clean. As simple as it sounds, it helps to hire trustworthy people and train them well; 20-25% of losses can often be employee errors.
» Increased efficiency
A kitchen display system cuts down on time servers spend handwriting orders and deliver them to the kitchen staff. Instead, orders can be sent from a kitchen display system directly to the kitchen. Order slips can quickly pile up and slow your staff down as they attempt to organize and prioritize them. A kitchen display automatically organizes orders for you so your staff can prepare orders efficiently.
» Improved order accuracy
Handwritten orders and even printed tickets can often be misplaced and lost amid the kitchen hustle and bustle. This can lead to delayed and forgotten orders. Handwritten tickets can also be difficult for kitchen staff to decipher if sloppy or written in shorthand. A kitchen display solves these problems by providing clear, easy-to-read instructions so that orders are accurate and prioritized.
» Better visibility
A kitchen display system’s various reporting features can help you accurately track the time it takes to fulfill orders, allowing you to identify areas of improvement and pinpoint any bottlenecks in the process. By tracking how long it takes employees to complete an order, you can determine which staff members require additional training.
» Smoother operations
Kitchen displays also simplify operations, making them smoother and more efficient. By setting up different displays for different prep stations, staff can prepare orders in an organized fashion by being assigned to one station at all times. Kitchen displays can also alert staff when they are falling behind so that they can immediately focus on areas in need of improvement.
» Reduced costs
Order errors don’t take long to pile up and cost you money in food waste. Implementing a kitchen display system will minimize order errors and avoid dishes having to be remade. Switching to a digital alternative can also save you money by allowing you to reduce paper waste from order slips and receipt paper.
» Get familiar with restaurant patio laws and regulations
Each locality is different in what it allows. It’s important to become familiar with the laws and regulations that your area has set, such as if you can serve alcohol on the patio or what the noise ordinances are in your area. You will also want to consider if you will allow smoking on the premises or make your patio dog-friendly. These factors will ultimately affect your business’s success, so it’s crucial to do your research beforehand.
» Consider customer and staff safety
With the concerns of COVID-19 still looming, it’s important to optimize your patio area to limit the spread of harmful pathogens. Ensure there are at least 6 feet between tables and provide your staff with supplies like masks and gloves. Ensure there is a clear sanitization schedule and encourage your customers to wash their hands thoroughly and often. These practices will let your customers know that you’re prioritizing their safety.
» Get creative with your patio layout
To make your outdoor patio area unique, consider adding special touches such as cozy patio furniture, a space for live entertainment, or even a full-service patio bar. These ideas can transform your patio into more than just an outdoor dining area and bring in more customers.
» Choose the right technology
Choosing the right technology is crucial for your outdoor patio area to achieve the same productivity level as your regular table service. Utilizing tablets for tableside ordering can save your staff the time it takes to travel inside the restaurant and enter orders manually. Tableside ordering paired with pay-at-the-table functionality can reduce customer wait times as well as improve safety measures.
» Prepare for poor weather
Your outdoor patio area will leave your customers vulnerable to the weather, whatever it may be. Make sure that you provide adequate shade for your customers on sunny days with additions such as umbrellas or awnings, which can also double as a shelter for rainy days. You can keep customers cool during the summer with fans and keep them warm in the colder months with heaters. These details also allow you to keep your outdoor dining area open longer.
» Think about pest control
Since it is outdoors, your patio area is likely to encounter pest problems. Make sure you have cleaning routines to keep pests from flocking to spilled drinks and uneaten food. Store fresh fruit away in sealed containers and cover juices. You can also strategically place bug zappers to keep pests from bothering your customers while they dine.
» Select the right furniture for the outdoors
Depending on where you’re located, your patio furniture may have to weather the occasional snowfall or rain storm. While your furniture should be comfortable, it should also be made of materials that won’t rust or become ruined over time from being outside. If you opt to use cushions, store them somewhere dry and secure overnight to keep them like new.
» State regulations—does your state allow alcohol sales?
Regulations aren’t entirely uniform across all states. Certain states allow alcohol to be ordered with food for pickup, delivery, and drive-thru, while others only permit wine, beer, and spirits to be sold to-go if the container is opened and resealed prior to being provided. Others don’t allow the sale of alcohol to-go at all—whatever the case, it’s essential to check with your state before making any decisions.
» Create alcohol to-go processes
Implementing alcohol to-go will be easier if you have a license to sell alcohol. You’ll also want to think about if your software is set up to manage pickup and delivery or if you will have to integrate with a third party. If most of your alcohol sales before COVID were mostly on-premises, you might need to reorganize your efforts.
» Put the right technology into place
The right technology will be instrumental to the success of your alcohol to-go operations. Offering online ordering and delivery services will provide convenience to your customers and keep them safe amid COVID. Orders placed by customers are sent directly to your POS, saving you time. Delivery service technology can offer added convenience as well as allow you to keep tabs on your drivers.
Since you are selling alcohol, it’s crucial to implement ID scanning for delivery and curbside pickup to make sure you don’t sell alcohol to minors. It also helps to review your POS system data to analyze popular drink and appetizer combinations. This can help you make decisions for promoting certain drinks on days they are most popular.
» How it can help recoup lost sales
Offering alcohol to-go allows you to stay connected with customers by providing them the services they desire. Since customers cannot do many of the things they used to—like going out to grab a drink with friends at your restaurant—they will appreciate the effort and keep coming back. That way, alcohol to-go helps you stay competitive and profitable.
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, restaurant owners’ focus has shifted. Carrying out simple tasks takes 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.