From maintaining enterprise-wide control to ensuring the consistency of product across multiple locations, managing a large, growing restaurant venture can be a challenge for even the most experienced foodservice operator. To minimize these headaches and position your business for success, you will need a restaurant management system with four features that are “must-haves” for every growing restaurant organization. These essentials encompass:
1. Enterprise-wide access to sales, labor, and inventory data. When your restaurant management system has such a capability, you can not only get an in-depth view of current performance, but compare that performance against historical patterns. You can also assess how individual locations match up against each other in terms of sales, labor usage, and inventory consumption. This, in turn, will allow you to make informed decisions which, because they are based on facts, support growth rather than potentially impede it.
For example, if a comparison shows that a particular entrée is selling poorly at only one location, you can remove it from the menu at that location alone or make different changes without affecting other units. If an enterprise view of labor data shows usage discrepancies among stores with similar attributes (e.g., an identical traffic pattern), adjustments can be made accordingly to achieve greater consistencies.
2. Seamless integration with other business systems. Opting for a restaurant management system that seamlessly integrates with other business systems allows for a unified view of all data, from the point of sale, to the back office, to the accounting system. Seamless integration means data “flows” between systems, reducing data entry requirements, enhancing accuracy (because data is entered only once, and because everyone has the same view of it) and bolstering efficiencies. Drilling down into data to find correlations (e.g., a relationship between sales and labor usage) becomes a simple process as well.
3. Detailed business reporting capability. As a busy restaurant owner, you more than likely do not have time to search for information about how your business is performing in any given area (e.g., sales, productivity, etc.) and whether individual goals are being met. The business reporting feature of your restaurant management system should be flexible enough so that you can set it up to create and automatically send to you alerts and reports based on predetermined, user-defined key performance indicators (KPIs). In addition to saving you time and yielding you increased control over all aspects of your operation, it will allow you to identify early any areas in which goals are not being met. You can then proactively address any problems that could potentially interfere with the growth of your establishment.
4. A cloud-based infrastructure. When a restaurant management system is built on a cloud-based platform, there is no need for you or other designated personnel to be sitting at a computer in order to access detailed business reports. With a cloud-based solution, detailed business reports can be accessed via any device—laptop computer, tablet, or mobile phone—at any time and from anywhere. Whether you are in the back office of one of your restaurants, at home, on the run, or on vacation, you maintain tight control of your restaurants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Investing in a restaurant management system clearly is the right move for most, if not all, restaurant operators as they expand their businesses. By implementing a solution that provides an enterprise view of data, integrates seamlessly with other business systems, features detailed business reporting capabilities, and is built on a cloud-based platform, you are certain to remain on a growth trajectory.