Restaurant owners and managers have limited time and resources. Learn how to use restaurant technology to optimize workflows and reduce expenses.
From smart tools that track food temperatures to automated marketing campaigns, restaurant technology can free up time and resources. However, many owners don’t take advantage of available features or waste time using tech that doesn’t integrate well with other programs.
The bottom line is that your software shouldn’t make more work for you. Instead, it should fit effortlessly into your workflows while supporting your management and staff. Discover the best solutions to keep your business running smoothly.
5 types of restaurant technology to run your business more efficiently:
- Restaurant management systems
- Employee scheduling software
- Accounting programs
- Social media tools
- Customer loyalty software
1. Restaurant management systems
Your restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, also called restaurant management software, gives you a central location for all the fine details about your operations. It speeds up customer service and inventory counts while lowering your labor expenses.
Manage your inventory with ease
It’s crucial to count your inventory regularly. But the process is time-consuming and error-prone. Restaurant POS systems provide functions specific to inventory control and offer reporting options as well. Your software helps by:
- Giving you access to usage trends and historical data
- Accurately accounting for store-to-store stock transfers
- Overseeing food production costs
- Tracking food waste
Oversee and reduce labor costs
Labor costs are unavoidable. And in the restaurant industry, these expenses may make up to 30% of your operating costs. Mismanagement can lead to high overtime expenses or cause staffing shortfalls during peak hours. Restaurateurs use a POS system to:
- Predict staffing needs by reviewing historical sales and labor data
- Highlight times where your labor costs exceeded your expectations
- Notify you when workers consistently clock in too early
- Send a reminder when employees exceed scheduled hours
Serve customers quickly
Your front-of-house-staff must quickly enter orders. In return, your kitchen needs easy-to-read tickets with all the relevant information.
Restaurant technologies with a straightforward interface that mirror your floor plan and direct tickets to the right stations save time while improving restaurant customer service.
After all, each second your staff spends searching for menu items or typing special instructions is time they could be spending delighting your guests.
2. Employee scheduling software
Many restaurant employees hold second jobs or are students, meaning you have to work around many different calendars. The process is time-consuming, especially once you add dozens of tiny request-off slips that are barely legible.
Fortunately, individual scheduling tools or integrated software, like Upserve Workforce, save managers time and can even help you retain staff.
Automate weekly schedules
Scheduling software allows you or employees to set up availability. When it’s time to build your schedule, you will see only free employees. For certain positions, such as management, you can create alternate calendars and tap your application to input a previous schedule automatically.
Eliminate time-off slips
Simplify the scheduling process with restaurant software that allows employees to submit time-off slips via a mobile application. You can quickly glance at upcoming availability or blackout-specific dates, like holidays.
Managers can also send a message to team members about open shifts, deny or accept requests, and approve changes.
Reduce employee turnover
Shift work, on-demand scheduling, and communication issues increase employee turnover. Scheduling software gives your employees control over parts of their schedule while making it easy to send messages directly through the application.
With restaurant tech that delivers better employee experiences, you can reduce turnover while benefiting from cost savings and improved service from team members who know your regular guests.
3. Accounting programs
Dumping manual accounting is one of the best things you can do for your business. Accounting software collects real-time data, helps you automate administrative tasks, and saves you time when filing taxes.
Moreover, cloud software with mobile capabilities means you can tidy up your accounts or make informed decisions from anywhere with an internet connection.
Gain visibility to help you increase profits
An integrated accounting program reconciles data from your POS system, payroll, and bank accounts to ensure accuracy. Furthermore, you can set up recurring reports to easily track business metrics.
Along with real-time sales and labor data, you can pull reports like:
- Profit-and-loss statements
- Cash flow statements
- Balance sheets
- Labor costs
- Sales forecasts
Avoid year-end headaches
Many accountants and online tax programs integrate with popular software like QuickBooks or Sage, making tax time easier. You might use software with native integrations or connect programs using a restaurant API or application programming interface.
With accounting tools, you can forget sifting through boxes of invoices and receipts. Instead, email receipts to your program throughout the year where the technology presorts and categorizes deductible expenses.
Plus, your accounting systems provide an audit trail. You can track figures to their source, such as your POS software, to double-check for accuracy.
4. Social media tools
No doubt, social media management can quickly turn into a full-time job. Yet few small business owners can afford to make this a full-time position. However, you can use automation tools to reduce the time you spend posting promotions or monitoring channels for mentions.
Save time and stay consistent
Consistency is vital to restaurant marketing, as is your social media presence. It can be tough to post regularly, especially when you’re busy running your restaurant. Social media tools allow you to create and schedule your posts days or months ahead of time.
Software like Hootsuite enables you to add other team members and set up an approval process. This is an excellent idea if you want to outsource parts of your social media calendar but still retain oversight.
Track customers and competition
Along with consistency, restaurateurs must keep up with brand mentions and reviews. But you can’t monitor your reputation online while working on the floor.
Fortunately, technology solutions can alert you to mentions on social media or spikes in search terms for new restaurant trends. You can also gather competitive research used in decision-making or for planning out new restaurant concepts.
With a tool like Sprout Social, you can practice social listening without letting it dominate your days.
5. Customer loyalty software
Customer loyalty software does more than reward customers. It notifies you when guests haven’t been in for a while, used coupons, or opened your emails.
Having this information helps you pare down your mailing list, which can save you money if you’re paying by the subscriber. Furthermore, loyalty software is an inexpensive way to stay connected and share targeted promotions.
Personalize and broadcast your latest offers
Have a new dish to brag about? Or perhaps you want to test out a promotion before dropping money into a full-fledged marketing campaign. With just a few clicks, you can text fans your latest special. But speed and ease of use are only two benefits of loyalty tools.
Customer loyalty software helps you segment audiences, making it simple to send custom messages. For instance, forward younger football fans an invitation to your Super Bowl party while promoting your family-style wing promotion to families.
Track guest information for efficient database updates
Guests move or change phone numbers frequently. With an online loyalty program, customers can quickly update their information online or verify new numbers. This saves you time in making corrections and can save you money by removing inactive members from your system.
You can also sync your loyalty programs with restaurant website analytics to map out a clear customer journey for more effective campaigns.
Increase efficiency using the right restaurant technologies
Overcome your restaurant business challenges by using technologies that make mundane or repetitive tasks simple. Not only can tech save you time, but it decreases errors, giving you accurate information anytime, anywhere.