Driving Innovation from the Back-of-House
Much is made of customer-facing innovation and how it drives businesses. In this exclusive executive Q&A with HT, John Moody the Co-Founder of Restaurant365 offers his thoughts on how the back-of-house is equally important.
Being nimble with technology has become more important with the current pace of change. What should restaurants ask of technology partners to foster flexibility?
MOODY: Restaurants should not only ask, but demand flexibility and innovation from their technology partners. A restaurant software executive from another company once mentioned they had a “mature” product and, subsequently, they didn’t need additional enhancements. This is unacceptable in my opinion, since the restaurant industry and individual restaurant needs continue to evolve. A partner should offer consistent updates and solutions that not only keep up, but lead with best practices and great technology.
Increasing employee productivity is a top strategic goal for 2017. How can technology help achieve this? What role should mobile play?
MOODY: Consistently measuring employee productivity and helping employees grow by using goals and budgets can happen with the right technology. You do not want employees to have to log into multiple systems to do the various components of their job. You do not want to have to pull data from multiple systems to track how employees, departments, or locations are doing compared to goals and budgets. You want to use a system that empowers employees through ease of use and with the right data and analytics to help them be more productive. Having a mobile app and universal access is a given. If your technology partner is not web-based and does not offer a strong mobile solution, then you should look at other options.
Much is made of customer-facing technologies, but how can smart investments for the enterprise impact front-of-house operations?
MOODY: One of the smartest investments the enterprise can make is in a strong accounting and back-office system that is built specifically for restaurants. Gone are the days of having to use generic accounting systems that are manually or partially integrated with multiple back-office systems to try and get a picture of the business. No longer do you have to rekey data into multiple systems and spreadsheets. Generic accounting systems don’t handle the restaurant industry very well, especially when it comes to inventory, financial reporting, and intercompany transactions. When the back-office system is also the accounting system, it provides true financial metrics for the front-of-house to take action.
Software continually gets the bulk of IT budgets and it has been said that “software eats the world.” This often results in disparate software being patched together across an enterprise. How can/should operators and tech suppliers work together to connect the dots while ensuring that the best systems are in place for a restaurant’s specific needs?
MOODY: Don’t expect your various software and spreadsheets to magically connect across your enterprise. It is never going to happen. Restaurants need to stop using so many disparate systems. A few key integrations may be necessary, so look for good restaurant technology partners that already have pre-built and proven integrations. The best advice is to look for a restaurant technology partner that provides accounting, inventory, labor scheduling, POS Integration, and reporting in a single platform. This ensures everyone is working of the same set of numbers, transactions only have to be entered once into the unified system, and all the reporting is real-time and actionable.