The 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry Report by the National Restaurant Organization predicted elevated demands for consumer food services in the foreseeable future. Most restaurants, bars, cafes, and other similar establishments can expect larger volumes of customers in the coming years.
The keyword here is ‘most’. Not all will be as successful. The American restaurant industry’s value in 2017 was $799 billion, according to Restaurant.org. The National Restaurant Organization sees that number to reach $863 billion more or less in 2019.
As the restaurant business sector grows, so does your competition. And one sure way to gain a significant advantage is to utilize a more modern food management system. That said, just using any software won’t cut it. To succeed, you need to embrace and implement technologies and innovations that will give you a distinctive edge over your competitors.
1. Switch To A Modern Way of Restaurant Management
The importance of a food management system can never be overstated. But managing your food stocks and other items in your inventory using paper-based checklists and spreadsheets is simply an outdated practice.
You have to know in real-time which items you need to order, how much you have you left in your inventory, and when you need to restock your supplies. On top of that, you need to manage other aspects of your restaurant business, from financing and accounting, customer relations, sales and marketing, and more.
Selecting the best software to manage your restaurant can be a daunting task. There are so many options available in the market that filtering it down to a single choice can be quite confusing.
That said, you must consider, a modern restaurant software solution with a robust set of food management tools plus ERP and POS integration capabilities. This will help you manage your entire restaurant enterprise using a single, unified platform.
It centralizes all information, making it easy to store, capture, access, and share data to everyone in the team to help them streamline their tasks and processes, make quick decisions, and enhance all business operations.
Food Inventory Mangement Made Easy
2. Keep Your Stocks Fresh and Safe For Consumption
Among the many benefits of food safety management system is that you know when to dispose of the items in your inventory. In the foodservice industry, you need to ensure that the health of your customers is not jeopardized as much as providing them with top class service and product.
A food management software, whether a small business SaaS platform or an enterprise-grade on-premise software, enables you to monitor your inventory, providing you a clear picture of all the items you have in stock. This helps you effectively schedule orders for resupply, calculate food costs, make food plans, change the items in the menu, and more.
Since you can keep a close eye on your inventory, you can quickly take note of items that are due to expire and perform the necessary steps to limit wastage. If you have expired ingredients in your inventory, you can properly dispose of the items and prevent them from being used and served to your customers.
3. Improve Order and Preparation Process Using Touchscreen
Touchscreen technology is not a recent innovation. But it is a technology every restaurant must have in its disposal. Among its many cloud benefits, it streamlines the ordering process. Thus it speeds up the relay of the customer’s order from counter to kitchen without compromising accuracy.
Recent innovations now allow customers to order directly from their table using fixed (self-service) or waiter-carried (assisted) tablets.
Orders are then displayed in real-time via touchscreen devices in kitchens. This setup has helped improve order accuracy and efficiency, especially when orders come with special requests. Line cooks and kitchen staff can easily see the orders in the queue along with special instructions. Orders are marked fulfilled once they are delivered to the table.
Restaurants that have implemented touchscreen technology have seen their preparation time significantly accelerated and their sales improved. Such benefits should encourage you to invest in tablets and touchscreen displays, shouldn’t they?
4. Empower Customers With Self-Order Kiosks
There are numerous reasons why self-order kiosks are becoming popular and widely used across the world. For one, it eliminates errors in orders, if not reduce them. Customers are the ones who enter the details of their order. This erases any instance of misunderstanding due to poor communication between restaurant staff and customers.
This is important because order accuracy is the leading aspect of the customer dining experience according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) Restaurant Report 2018-2019. According to the report, 89% of customers would rate their dining experience on how accurate (or not) their order was when it was first delivered to them. Staff expertise/treatment and food quality are tied at 87%.
Self-order kiosks also help decrease the average waiting time in an order queue. Forty-five percent of customers leave the restaurant when the line is long and the order process is slow. Operating a self-order kiosk in tandem with a staffed counter helps speed up the ordering process. That means more customers for your business.
5. Offer Online Ordering
There is a huge market for customers who prefer to buy their meals online rather than take a trip to their favourite restaurant.
If you provide takeout/delivery services or want to spare your customers from long lines, then you need to consider offering an online ordering functionality. It is a component of the future of the restaurant industry.
You can provide such a service via your website or through a mobile web app that your customers can download and install on their mobile devices.
Restaurants that offer online ordering service to their customers have experienced a huge increase in their revenue. Order accuracy is high as well since customers don’t have to speak to restaurant staff and risk being misheard or misunderstood. Customers are not rushed, enabling them to enter the details of their order at their own pace.
Data capture and tracking is another benefit that stems from online ordering. Mobile apps can be configured to automatically capture essential data such as the customers’ name, phone number, address, and email contact. This can be utilized for analysis, sales, and marketing promotions among others.
Train Kitchen Teams Effectively
Address The Turnover Rate Problem
While the restaurant industry is slated for growth in the coming years, there is one major issue that many tend to overlook. For the late Anthony Bourdain and other professionals in the industry, it is an issue that requires immediate and decisive resolution – turnover rate. In 2018, the overall turnover rate in the restaurant industry is 73%.
Turnover costs restaurants money. Hiring and training costs aren’t exactly cheap. The National Restaurant Association stated during the 2019 National Restaurant Show that hiring and training a new staff member costs $2,000. That’s a lot of money.
And when the turnover rate is high, restaurants run at risk of providing subpar service to their customers. And that can be fatal.
From ritzy Michelin Star-rated foodservice empires to familiar fast-food chains and small restaurant operators, the turnover rate is a problem that remains to be unfixed. But with the help of technology, this can be addressed seriously and in scale.
Restaurants can create and maintain a safe work environment to effectively evaluate their performance and understand their prevailing sentiments. New technologies can be utilized to help restaurant operators decrease their turnover rate and maintain highly trained staff for extensive periods.
It won’t be a quick fix, but it is certainly a start.
Author: Finance Online