Updating your restaurant technology stack can seem daunting, but forward-looking restaurant brands are moving away from traditional, manual processes as they look for ways to gain competitive advantage and maintain profitability.
Many operators have been reluctant to move to more modern technology solutions for tasks like scheduling, inventory, and checklists because the current processes, while time consuming, seem to be effective. But as restaurants work to regain their footing following the disruption the pandemic has brought, many have realized those manual processes no longer work as well as they once did.
Reducing time to make the most of your labor hours, tracking health and safety efforts, monitoring every location for trouble spots, and saving money are just a few of the reasons growing restaurants are choosing to put a modern spin on traditional processes.
Keep Audit and Activity Logs
Health and sanitation have always been at the heart of a well-run restaurant. Line checks to monitor for safe food temperatures, supply chain tracking for contaminants and foodborne illness, and clear handwashing or gloving procedures help restaurants maintain customer safety and a strong brand reputation.
As COVID-19 protocols continue to change with new variants, your health and sanitation procedures will evolve too and the audit and activity logs that have helped you with food safety for so long can now assure customers or health departments of your commitment to risk mitigation. Using technology that tracks changes and automatically pulls temperatures gives you peace of mind when trying to avoid health and safety errors.
See Comprehensive Data
Compiling data and running reports from checklists entered on spreadsheets or clipboards is time consuming and prone to data entry errors. Modern restaurant management technology not only brings together data from one system but integrates with your entire tech stack for a comprehensive look at what is going on across the brand.
This means you no longer have a several week lag between when the data was collected and when you see it. It also allows you to look at data at every level of the business, from a single store to a regional or brand-wide view. You can better spot trends and potential problem areas this way.
Scale Winning Processes While Growing
As many multi-unit restaurant brands grow, they build a tech stack by adding single-purpose solutions, addressing each issue as it comes up and leaving the rest to more manual processes. While this is understandable, there comes a point where scaling a patchwork of disparate processes and technology becomes unsustainable and difficult to manage.
Restaurants committed to growth are finding success by looking to consolidate many processes under one umbrella. For example, a chain who is still doing manual inventory, but using online checklists, a scheduling app, and basic analytics tools for reporting could bring all those functions under one roof, save time, and get more sophisticated tools in each area.
Similarly, this patchwork approach to technology is costing restaurants more than they realize. In a tight labor market, the time spent doing inventory, scheduling, and reporting in a more traditional way, could easily be 10 or more hours a week.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the savings restaurateurs can find when using predictive technology to assist with previously manual processes. Modern software systems can help maintain proper inventory, avoid food waste, create schedules based on anticipated need, and support other tasks that keep food and labor costs down.
Clear, Consistent Communication
One of the biggest challenges for growing restaurant brands is maintaining consistency and clarity while expanding. Current methods of communication like taped up notes, group texts, and emails are easily missed by some employees, aren’t trackable, and aren’t controlled at the corporate level
Moving toward a team app allows corporate to push messages to employees, display notifications when clocking in, and ensure critical updates are seen by every employee.
Improved Employee Retention
As restaurants struggle to maintain staffing levels, anything that improves retention is a bigger win than ever. Reducing the amount of time spent on administrative tasks lets you reallocate that time to customer-facing help, or to cut back on costly overtime hours.
Modern scheduling tools help you avoid labor violations, keep hours within regular time, and make it easier for employees to see and manage their schedules. While these conveniences may seem small, they add up to a happier workforce that will stick with you longer.
As operators look for every advantage to drive growth while recovering from pandemic-related disruption, restaurant technology updates are picking up steam again. These transitions from manual processes to technology-driven ones can help you maintain margins in an ever-more competitive world.
Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information, please contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.