Avoiding Back-Office Pitfalls with Restaurant-Specific Tech
John Moody, co-founder of Restaurant365 Software offers insights into the problems that can be caused by investing in the proper, targeted solutions to run a restaurant.
One of the most overlooked aspects restaurant companies often don’t consider is the accounting of restaurant business to be unique. It’s different than a lot of other industries – from the way inventory is handled, to fiscal periods, to the way financial reports are shown and many other facets, there are nuances to the restaurant space. Most companies have used a generic accounting system, and at times even generic accounting help. The restaurant industry has a uniqueness to it, and while other companies get by with generic accounting and accountants, there is a whole area of optimization that can be done with restaurant-specific accounting technology.
Consider the accounting team a profit center, not a cost center.
Companies should move past the inefficiencies of general accounting, and instead look at the factors that make the restaurant grow. Increasing sales, optimizing labor and controlling food cost are three areas that any department in the organization should be focusing on, and accounting is no exception. Accounting is generally not part of the discussion, but everyone should be looking at the same set of numbers.
One problem this causes is accounting becomes mired into double entry and/or mundane activities that do not have an impact on the business. Some companies think to fix the problem by hiring more people and using QuickBooks to save money. Some believe the monthly cost is cheaper than other options, but they don’t account for hiring two-to-three times the amount of staff to get the same accounting throughput and financial reports that they could get using the right technology. Restaurant365 believes using restaurant-specific accounting technology is the first step, rather than trying to solve the problem with more labor.
Getting buy-in from franchisees.
Franchisees want a good recommendation on technology from their franchisor. In some cases, franchisors have not done a good job of getting those options tested or confirmed for their franchisees. Some franchisees may even feel a little burned from previous bad experiences.
- The franchisor needs to take a leadership role in driving the recommendation of good technology for their franchise community. They need to do their own homework and be a leader on any technology choices or questions. Franchisors need to know and be prepared to fully explain the benefits of any technology they recommend.
- There also needs to be a collaboration with franchisees. So along with the leadership role, there is a balancing act to include the voice of your franchisees. Grab a few of your best franchisees and incorporate them into the review and decision making process for technology recommendations to the whole franchisee community.
- Lastly, there should a thoughtful rollout strategy. Be clear in the approach. Roll it out in a few of the corporate stores to validate it. Include some key franchisee as part of that initial phase. Once the details have all be worked through, deliver a more elaborate plan and options on a broad rollout to the entire franchise community.