How hard do people have to work to visit your restaurant? To eat at Tiyagyoni – a pop-up restaurant on Mount Everest – people will have to trek for eight days to 17,500 feet.
Now, that’s a challenge you might be glad your diners don’t have to tackle!
The truth is, though, getting diners to choose your restaurant is a major challenge you do have overcome on a daily basis – and in some ways, it can be just as uphill a struggle as dinner at Tiyagyoni.
The good news is that modern software for restaurants is giving many dining establishments a real advantage, even in today’s highly competitive trading environment.
Providing restaurateurs with an unprecedented end-to-end view of their business and numerous ways to control costs and eliminate waste, they are giving digital-savvy restaurants the ability to delight their guests and bring them back again and again.
These systems can even help encourage positive online reviews…
In fact, there are no fewer than 8 great reasons to choose software for restaurants when seeking to make operations more efficient and increase both revenue and profit. They are:
1) Streamlined operations
2) Online booking
3) Better control of costs and waste
4) Best use of labour
5) Quicker table turn
6) Seamless customer service
7) Diner loyalty
8) Online reviews.
With costs rising constantly, labour hard to come by and trading conditions tough, anything that helps streamline operations has to be worth pursuing.
Today’s leading software for restaurants comes complete with a reporting suite that gives managers access to real-time data anywhere they have an online connection, via mobile devices.
Reports can include sales, stock levels, labour – and even let you know whether staff are dealing with potential social media criticism efficiently.
This business intelligence provides restaurants – even multi-location groups – with important information for making good business decisions.
For example, when the prestigious Temple Gate Townhouse hotel in Ireland installed an Epos system, reporting was a huge benefit.
“We’ve now got the data we need to better manage our operation,” Managing Director Paul Madden said. “Our key reports, such as product line mix and server performance reports, can be run instantly. This lets us focus on really important business management issues.”
Customers today demand easy access in all areas of their lives – and eating out is no exception.
They’re used to accessing services via their smartphone or laptop, and hospitality is following the lead already set by the retail, financial services and insurance industries.
With the rising popularity of apps such as OpenTable this is particularly true of restaurant reservations.
Modern software for restaurants now offers guests the opportunity to book a table 24/7 without making a single phone call – and it can be integrated with OpenTable if required. It’s convenient for diners and gives the restaurateur extra revenue for you because reservations can be taken 24/7.
Better control of costs and waste
Did you know: UK pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick service outlets throw away 600,000 tonnes of food every year, according to pressure group Wrap.
Who can afford to be that wasteful in 2018? Not only does it mean your business racks up costs, it’s also considered highly unethical. Food waste is a key hate for the frugal millennial generation in particular, and could even become a reputational issue for your business.
This is another area where restaurant technology can help. With comprehensive up-to-date reports available at all hours of the day or night, a business owner can make good procurement decisions based on real information.
Stock control, for instance, can be finely balanced thanks to accurate forecasting based on genuine sales figures and identified trends.
It’s helpful that this useful software for restaurants is now available as a rental option, which keeps costs down and provides an immediate ROI.
Best use of labour
We’ve been seeing the Brexit effect in hospitality staffing for some time, as labour shortages cause wages to rise.
Matching staffing closely to requirements is another useful feature of restaurant technology – by identifying the busy and slow periods, restaurateurs can make sure they have sufficient people on at any time to keep diners happy while minimising costs.
Giving those staff technology that is intuitive to use keeps training to a couple of hours and gives them the tools to make their jobs easy – which is good news in a time when staff retention is a real issue.
Seamless guest service
According to a new study, the biggest brand differentiator for any business going forward from now will be the quality of the customer experience they provide.
Today’s digital-savvy and time-poor customers require seamless service, particularly from restaurants where dining times are getting shorter and shorter.
Serving staff can take orders on hand-held devices or tablets at tableside. Accurate orders are sent directly to the kitchen where preparation can begin immediately and quick service is assured.
Staff can then follow up by taking payment at tableside too – today’s software makes splitting the bill even for large groups who have made additional orders during the meal.
Quicker table turn
When staff with restaurant management software at their fingertips welcome guests, they can seat them quicker thanks to real-time seating plans displayed graphically on their mobile devices.
Together with the advantages of handheld ordering and payment, it adds up to quicker table turn, a lucrative result. It also sends diners away satisfied that their valuable time has not been wasted and their dining requirements have been met perfectly.
Which leads us neatly onto diner loyalty, a hugely important factor in bringing guests back again and again to your establishment.
Personalised service is highly valued by guests, but to get it right requires a lot of knowledge about your customer.
Fortunately, leading software for restaurants including EPOS capture important information about each guest, building up a good picture of their preferences that enables restaurant owners to email them offers and rewards that stand a good chance of hitting the mark. Hello, loyalty!
Alongside online reservations, consumers worldwide have come to rely heavily on reading online reviews before they make their selection.
Your restaurant management system should have social media tools to help you monitor any online reviews of your restaurant – and they should be able to give your management team a heads-up whenever if a diner is posting a poor review.
It gives your team a chance to make amends before the customer even leaves his or her table – and that’s a huge positive for your reputation.
Sanj Naha is Head of Sales Support and Enablement, B2B Marketing and International Groups, at The Fork, a TripAdvisor company, and he says all feedback can help you to improve your business.
“You can use review feedback to enhance your value proposition,” he says.
“Track which review sites your online traffic is coming from, and learn exactly how people are navigating your website. Following that, you can use the information to optimise their user journey.
“In addition, you can use the review information to target messaging that will convert your online traffic into leads, bookings or calls to action.”