Strength Training for Restaurants
Hospitality and restaurant operators who have been nimble on their feet -- whether it is business model, menu or technology changes -- have been the most successful so far in navigating the pandemic. It's important to look for tech solutions that will tangibly make an impact during these trying times. Rather than narrowing margins, there is a new wave of restaurant tech that solve operational challenges and are ROI positive. All restaurants should consider these 4 categories of tech now and in a post-pandemic world to improve business operations.
The health and safety of employees is the most important consideration during these times. According to the National Restaurant Association’s reopening guidelines, “contactless payment systems, automated ordering systems, mobile ordering apps, website updates and simple texts can help you to communicate and conduct business with reduced need for close contact.” Contactless transactions are having their moment. Responding to this newfound demand, a variety of tech tools have been developed to minimize physical touchpoints between staff, customers and vendors. In the front of house, contactless solutions for customer ordering and payments include QR codes to replace physical menus and near-field communication (NFC) technology to process payments instead of credit cards. In the back of house, instead of supplier reps coming into the restaurant to take orders for inventory in person, ordering can be streamlined and tracked with procurement and inventory management tools.
Back of House
Given smaller staff sizes, teamwork and effective communication is key to smooth operations. Back of house technology can provide leverage here to provide peace of mind to the kitchen manager and allow restaurants to run even more efficiently. It’s worth spending some time to leave behind traditional pen and paper, voicemail or SMS. This makes sure the whole team is on the same page about what is going into the kitchen, while minimizing order processing errors and mis-deliveries. For example, in a restaurant group with multiple locations, managers at various locations must be able to communicate with each other and upper management to share best practices and adapt to new customer behaviors. Some restaurants have pooled together buying power to order ingredients in bulk to distribute among their locations while others are rotating staff to different locations throughout the week, so software that keeps communication in one place is a must.
Running a restaurant and turning a profit is difficult in the best of times. Restaurant tech that helps bring visibility into the state of the business and helps deliver insights to reduce cost and save time will be key. In the back of house, data analytics into food cost can help uncover areas of opportunity to improve the bottom line. A great example of the power of data is in re-engineering menus to improve overall margins on guest checks.
Many restaurants offer the same menus for delivery as their dine-in options, while mostly aiming to keep dishes fresh after delivery. However, after analyzing data from hundreds of restaurants, tech firm Agnoris shares that customer behavior is very different depending on the time of day, day of week, what app they use, where they order from and more, and with the typically higher food cost when delivery fees are included, there is no room for error on what restaurants should offer. Automated data analyses let restaurant operators get the benefit of thousands of reports and simulations from every segment of their business, letting them make quick and profit driven changes to their business, from pricing, menu adjustments and promotions specific to every day of the week, time or delivery app. This is just one way restaurants can take advantage of historical data to come up with entirely new offerings that can bring in the most profits for every sale.
Creating an online and social media presence that communicates to customers what you’re all about must be a priority for every restaurant. There are many affordable and free online marketing tools that can make your business look professional and modern. To stand out from the crowd, make sure to reflect the personality of your physical storefront and staff in the feel of the website. Design has become democratized with free tools, which make putting together posts for social media easy and seamless. Topics such as new menu items, changing open hours and product giveaways are some good ways to get started with building online traffic to your establishment.
Ultimately, technology is a tool to augment hospitality. Restaurants that embrace tools that can improve the customer experience, bring operational efficiencies and elevate the humanity in hospitality are who will survive and flourish going forward.
About the Author
Daniel Khachab is the co-founder and CEO of Choco, an app solving food supply chain inefficiencies by simplifying how restaurants order from suppliers. After starting Ecommerce and SaaS companies from scratch and scaling them to market leadership internationally, he decided to spend his life building something that can bring the biggest positive impact on the world. Food waste is one of the most prominent problems of the 21st Century and since 2018 Khachab has been building, inspiring and guiding Choco to solve that problem.