Foodservice has been slow to embrace the cloud, but such technology not only harmonizes a restaurant’s operation, it also shores up business against future disasters.
Most people are now familiar with cloud-based technology and probably interact with cloud platforms nearly every day. But many restaurants have still been slow to adopt these solutions for their businesses. The right technology, however, offers many benefits for running a restaurant, especially in the wake of COVID-19. In today’s climate, restaurant owners are having to do more with less: fewer employees, lower budgets, and sluggish supply chains. By moving management and security to the cloud, restaurant owners can streamline their operations and create more adaptable and scalable businesses.
As restaurants search for new ways to grow and recover from the pandemic, scalability of operations is essential to success. When looking at how technology updates impact your restaurant or chain, keep in mind these considerations for how cloud-based solutions help create more sustainable restaurant operations at any scale.
Supervise operations remotely
Especially for multi-location restaurants and full-service chains, remote management has become a must-have for leaner, more agile operations post-pandemic. Upgrading your technology stack to include cloud-based systems for people management, security, restaurant access, and customer experience management ensures you’re able to view, control, and adjust your operations from anywhere. Harnessing the power of interoperable tech, through APIs and Internet of Things (IoT) integrations, allows for more customization and automation, too.
Security remains a top concern for restaurant owners and operators, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Making sure you find the best cloud-based access control technology that integrates with your restaurant management and video surveillance systems is the only way to have a complete picture of what’s happening at all of your locations. Through this holistic approach, you can utilize automatic alerts to notify local managers of any issues and easily check who was there and when, thanks to combined access logs and video footage. Because these systems operate in the cloud, all of this can be done from anywhere, saving time and improving incident response for your restaurant.
Taking advantage of automations, a growing trend in 2021, is key to better remote management. Automating processes that were previously manual helps free up your staff for more important tasks, and can improve the overall customer experience in your restaurants.
Restaurant and foodservice have a notoriously high turnover rate in comparison with other industries. Utilizing cloud-based technology reduces the headache of making sure new hires are onboarded quickly and that terminated employees don’t pose a security risk. A directory integration with restaurant mobile access control systems gives new employees access to their location instantly, without having to distribute keys or a fob. Similarly, if you need to revoke access for an employee, that change is instantly reflected: their credentials won’t unlock the door as soon as the employee directory is updated.
Another benefit of using cloud tech for your restaurant security is that ability to adjust access permissions and remotely unlock the door at any time. During COVID-19, schedules are constantly shifting. Your front-of-house staff may need access to an office or food storage area they normally wouldn’t have access to. Thanks to the cloud, it’s quick and easy to adjust their access permissions, or do a one-time unlock from anywhere in the world.
Increase safety and security
While hygiene and food safety have always been a top priority for full-service restaurants, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a slew of new safety concerns. Restaurant owners and operators need to ensure their staff are healthy and that people feel safe in their facilities.
In addition to increased sanitization, social distancing, and new workplace safety guidelines, requiring digital wellness forms and waivers is a great way to increase peace of mind among staff. Mobile and web-based applications help automate this new process. With all forms digitally stored, there’s an easily accessible record. Plus, with these forms tied directly to employee access, only staff who complete a waiver will be able to unlock the door.
Safety and security go hand-in-hand. Your restaurant’s cloud-based security system should come equipped with real-time reporting and automated alerts to keep you informed of any issues the moment they happen. Being able to react quickly—whether it’s opening the door for an employee who’s locked out, or triggering a site lockdown in the event of an emergency—is key to providing a secure, safe environment. Plus, the cloud makes it easy to generate customized reporting if you need to audit the system, provide access logs for law enforcement, or conduct quick contact tracing efforts.
Future-proofing operations as you scale
You already know the value of data for your business. As you grow and adjust your operations in the new normal, cloud-based technology provides you with more data at scale. Every restaurant and location is unique, but you still need the ability to view your business as a whole, in addition to more granular views.
Cloud platforms are unique in that there’s almost an infinite amount of data available. With connected systems in the cloud, restaurant owners and operators have more data and information at their disposal than ever before. Spotting trends in shift schedules, occupancy, purchasing, and customer ordering habits is key to staying ahead of the competition, on a local level as well as for national and global chains. Restaurants that are proactive, rather than reactive, will be more likely to succeed in the face of new and emerging challenges in the industry.
When choosing technology for your restaurant, it’s vital to find partners that prioritize security and data privacy, without compromising on convenience or ease of use. Always look for cloud-based technology providers with open standards for seamless integration and automation between platforms, as well as stringent security practices to protect your information.
With intuitive tools and new features rolling out automatically, investing in cloud-based technology for restaurants is a smart way to add value, increase efficiency, and improve operations across any number of locations.
Andi Krebs is the lead copywriter for Openpath Security, a provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions for business and commercial spaces. With more than eight years of experience, Krebs has a keen eye for identifying upcoming security trends and intuitive software solutions for the commercial real estate and enterprise market. Learn more about Openpath, visit openpath.com.