20 ways to fix your restaurant: how technology streamlines ops, saves money and thrills diners

  • As a restaurateur, are you feeling like Jamie Oliver today? Hmm – OK. Is that in a good way, or in a bad way? If it’s the good version, your business this week is packed with happy guests enjoying your unique food. If it’s the bad version…well, you know how that panned out for poor Jamie.
  • In these tough and competitive times, many great restaurant businesses are suffering. It’s common for owners and managers like you to have the uncomfortable feeling that things are not really quite as they should be within the operation.
  • So here, we’ve compiled 20 ways your business might be going all wrong – and we explore how technology (combined with great food, talent and expertise, of course) can give you the kind of control that makes it all go right.
  • After all, according to figures published in 2018, around 43% of UK consumers eat out at least once a week; you want to be their first choice.

So go on – admit it. Do any of these issues make a familiar chill run up YOUR spine?

My issue is about: controlling operations/costs

I just don’t know where my profits are going

You’re not alone (although that’s really no consolation, we know).

This is one of the number one issues for any restaurant, and particularly for large groups, caused by the sheer complexity of any hospitality business. With so many elements to control, from reservations to staffing to stock levels, it can be a near-impossible job to track the operation from end to end.

The technology fix? A good restaurant management system that provides you or your managers with an end-to-end view of the business online, in real time, any time.

Backed up by in-depth reports on all aspects of the business it allows you to genuinely keep track of what’s going on – and take action immediately if anything is going wrong.

My front to back of house workflow is terrible

Can any team work well if it isn’t able to pull together? To provide a great customer experience it’s crucial that your customer-facing front of house team and your BOH staff ranging from the executive chef to the pot washer communicate well.

Obvious, maybe. But there’s often a huge gulf between the two that creates missed orders, delays, frustration and – in the end – angry diners.

Modern restaurant epos software helps enormously by replacing little bits of paper with electronic orders sent direct from hand-held devices at tableside to the kitchen. No room for human error, and no delay in getting started on delivery.

Chef isn’t arguing with the serving staff, either, which is always a big plus…

My issue is about: customer service

Customers can’t make a reservation online easily

In a recent survey for UK Hospitality, food service managers rated online apps as one of the top technological levers for change in the industry, with other factors including smart payment and social media.

As customers demand increasing levels of convenience, and the youngest generation of diners in particularly do more and more online, restaurants can’t afford to miss out – quite literally.

An online restaurant reservations solution offers guests the opportunity to book tables 24/7, often using a popular app such as OpenTable.

We sometimes double-book diners

Well, a messy paper reservations book can be an imprecise tool. Online booking via app cuts out human error so there’s no possibility of selling a table twice – and there’s no need for staff to get involved, which saves time too.

Getting people seated takes ages

This is easy to solve – restaurant management software not only provides graphical seating plans on a tablet or handheld device, guest management functions enable your staff to give guests a genuine idea of wait time, preventing walk-outs.

Our service is slow...

We make too many mistakes with orders

  • Again, human error is hard to eliminate when you leave it up to humans…
  • Servers using epos software can use handheld devices including smartphones and tablets to take orders and send them straight to the kitchen., where it can link with kitchen automation.
  • There’s no possibility of mistakes, and delivery can get underway immediately.

Table turn could be quicker

  • Turning more tables is lucrative, as Stuart Ralston, chef at Edinburgh’s Aizle, found when he moved to four-day opening and still increased sales by 7%. The measures he took included putting in more seating to gain four extra covers and opening at 5pm.
  • We’d suggest that restaurant epos software boosts table turn in your restaurant by getting guests seated quicker, served quicker and taking their payments quicker.

Taking payment is a nightmare, particularly with large groups

Diners hate this. They’ve eaten, and they want to go.

But remember those epos handheld devices? Your servers can take payments on them too, splitting bills easily and sending the invoice to a remote printer.

Repeat business just isn’t there

Dealing with a lot of the issues I’ve just mentioned will improve this situation. But your software will also capture important details such as diner preferences so you can do targeted email marketing of offers that will genuinely tempt them back.

You can’t put a premium on loyalty – although one leading restaurant group recently told us that customers on their loyalty programme spend up to 42% more than non-loyalty diners.

My issue is about: controlling labour

I often don’t have the right number of staff on to meet demand

Brexit hasn’t helped the perpetual staffing crisis experienced by the hospitality industry, as EU workers leave the country.

Technology can’t solve your recruitment problems, but it can provide reports that reveal exactly how many people you need on at any given time.

I’m not sure my staff are working effectively

    Did you know:

  • 1. There are 240,000 hospitality businesses in the UK.
  • 2. They provide 3.2m jobs directly and a further 1.44m indirectly.

  • The British Hospitality says productivity in hospitality and tourism has been rising since the economic downturn, rising to an estimated Gross Value Added (the productivity measure) of £73bn.
  • That’s almost double what it was in 2008, and the BHA believes it could rise as high as £22bn by 2021, if the industry promotes the right conditions.
  • Making that happen with restaurant epos software can be as fundamental as using handheld devices to take orders and relay them straight to the kitchen so your staff are not running back and forth wasting shoe-leather and time.
  • Or it can be as sophisticated as keeping track of individual performances, seeing who’s upselling and who needs extra training to maximise their customer service skills.

I think my staff are defrauding me

It’s not something we like to think about, but we also knows it goes on. Epos software helps provide a fraud deterrent by tracking transactions in detail, and flagging up unusual behaviours.

I’m wasting money on duplicating roles across my group

Easily done, particularly in groups that grow organically. Enterprise-level restaurant management technology hosted in the cloud cuts this out by providing head office access wherever your key managers are, online. No need to duplicate roles at every branch.

My issue is about: controlling stock

I’m seriously worried about allergens

Allergy UK says 44% of adults in this country now suffer from at least one allergy, and the number is on the rise.

With several tragic deaths recently, it’s a huge concern for chefs designing menus. The savviest are turning to allergen-busting software such as Kitchen CUT, which works with your epos system to track allergens right down to the ingredient level.

Costing dishes is difficult, and we’re wasting too much food

Kitchen CUT makes it far easier to cost each dish precisely, and the restaurant management system collects data on what’s selling – it even advises on trends so your chef can respond.

As a result, less food is thrown away – a huge factor in improving your profitability (and also an environmental feather in your cap). Sensible procurement decisions and plans can be made, too.

My issue is about innovation

We’d like to try delivery but we’re not set up for it

“Home delivery in Britain is growing 10 times faster than the total eating-out market” – Deloitte, 2017

For today’s rapidly-evolving consumer, digital dining is now having an impact on eating right through the day – see this video.

Huge numbers of restaurants who were never able to offer home delivery now regard it as essential, using their epos system and services such as Deliveroo to provide a valuable extra revenue stream.

I’m struggling to get to grips with self-service

Self-service is another enormous trend, as anyone who’s visited a McDonald’s recently can confirm – but it’s also making its way into casual dining where customers are happy to choose themselves from a tablet menu integrated with your restaurant system.

Do I need kitchen automation?

Epos technology supports both self-service kiosks and tableside ordering, integrating seamlessly with kitchen automation systems where the order is split up and sent to the right preparation station – eg fries – at the right time. Everything comes together perfectly for quick and satisfactory delivery.

I’d like to invest in technology but I need ROI quick

It’s a biggie, we know. Which restaurant has money to throw around these days?

For that reason, the best epos software is available at a low-cost monthly rental, or as a cloud option that keeps hardware costs to a minimum and makes deployment swift.

The future is now

Just two years ago, a Deloitte report said:

“The restaurant of the future: Increasing use of digital technology is providing challenges and opportunities to casual dining operators, impacting the full customer journey as well as business operations.”

Since then, digital restaurant management technology has evolved rapidly, and now provides an unprecedented level of control for any type of restaurant business, casual or formal.

In other words, the restaurant of the future has already arrived. And with the help of technology, it’s all yours.

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Luis De Souza

Luis De Souza

Chief Executive Officer

Luis Desouza is CEO of NFS Technology Group. He has a proven track record in providing solutions for major international corporates, law firms, hospitality operators and venues. Luis takes a keen interest in technological trends and how they can be applied to space utilisation and improving occupancy and uses this vision to drive the development of our solutions.

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