Running a restaurant is a demanding task and it requires coordination at all levels. Efficient restaurants are able to streamline their processes and for that reason are able to guarantee customer satisfaction and reduce chances of errors. With technology advancements and changes in customer demands, restaurant owners are employing tools to automate restaurant operations.
Here are some tools you can use in your restaurant to automate all essential operations :
An Intuitive and centralized POS system
An all in one point-of-sale system (POS) is one of the most vital and basic requirements of a restaurant which needs to take care of payments, orders, reservations, inventory, stocks etc.These systems require significant investment as they help you manage several areas of your restaurant with ease. Therefore, there are several factors that you should look at when choosing a POS for your restaurant based on your requirement.
Your POS system should be user-friendly and must offer offline capabilities to ensure the loss of internet does not mean the loss of business. Your POS should be easy enough for your restaurant staff to use without training and offer handy features like touch screen compatibility and inventory management.
A cloud-based POS system is much more scalable than a traditional POS system as it offers easy integration with new features such as reservations, online ordering, and payments, all on one interface. These cloud-based POS systems are much more cost-efficient as they eliminate installation, training and maintenance costs.
POS systems which have an inbuilt table reservation and online ordering system are great for keeping track of orders, customers and preventing overbooking at the restaurant. This not only helps you manage online and offline orders but also lets your customers track orders in real time, initiate payment and alert restaurant staff about orders.
Analytics is a crucial feature that your POS must have as it is one of the most important aspects of running and managing a restaurant. Be it transactions or sales data, it all needs to be recorded and reviewed regularly. These reports generated by your POS system will help you formulate strategies and predict trends.They provide you with information about your customer’s ordering habits and help you use this data to create customized deals and offers to attract your customers. Your POS system will help you calculate sales performance metrics, inventory reports and labour cost percentage which will help you to track your staff’s productivity. With the help of these reports and metrics, you will be better prepared for unexpected market changes.
Inventory Management System
Knowing what stock you have, where it is and how much of it is being used will help you lower costs, avoid wastage, streamline service and prevent theft. Having an inventory management system will help you maintain the right balance of stock for your restaurant and will immensely decrease your chances of losing a sale because you didn’t have enough stock to fulfill an order. By automating your inventory process, you will be able to take stock more quickly and accurately.
Stock monitoring is an essential part of inventory management as it helps in identifying discrepancies within your stock numbers and strengthening your pricing strategies. Your POS system will provide you information regarding the available stock at the beginning of the day and the stock closing at the end of the day. It will also calculate the balance stock automatically and tally it with your physical stock. You must always remember to organize your existing stock before bringing in a fresh stock and should adopt a minimal stocking approach specially for perishables.
A great inventory management system will notify you to reorder when you are low on supplies. It gives you the ability to set a reorder level for your raw materials and will notify you when you reach that level. This is especially useful in the case of perishable items that require frequent restocking. It is highly recommended that your restaurant use its raw materials on a First in First out (FIFO) basis. This means using the older stock first. Once the older stock is finished, you can use the newly purchased stock to prevent wastage.
Your inventory management system should also offer reporting and analytics. This feature would help you analyze inventory trends, provide you insight into the use of raw materials and reduce wastage. Using analytics, you will be able to keep track of stock and maintain accuracy while keeping track of daily and weekly usage. You will be able to cut down on waste by comparing your usage with what you forecasted and make adjustments accordingly.
Having a POS system that integrates with your inventory management system is handy as you would be able to load your menu onto your POS system and track ingredients based on orders. The first step in setting this up would be entering every single ingredient that goes into your food and defining the minimum levels for each ingredient. This will allow your POS to notify you whenever your stock gets low and alert you to order more supplies. The next step will be adding all your menu items, as their recipes would be based on these ingredients. By defining how much quantity of an ingredient your menu item requires, your POS system will update the quantity of any ingredient whenever an order is placed.
Reservations and online ordering system
Every restaurant needs to be able to manage online and offline orders at the same in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Having a reservations system is vital for your restaurant as it gives you the ability to manage customers based on seating capacity and avoid overbooking/ long wait times. It will also allow your customers to order food from anywhere and ensure easy placement of orders. Your customers will be able to choose pick-up and delivery time as per their convenience and it would avoid the issue of having to explain the order to the waiter/orders getting mixed up.
This system is great for restaurants as it also notifies customers about their reservation which helps in avoiding no-shows and also notifies the staff about upcoming reservations to avoid poor service experience. It is great for tracking repeat customers which allows your staff to provide a more personalized experience to the customer and offer customized discounts. For your customers who prefer ordering online, it would give them the ability to track their order status live, pre-order for a later date/time and provide feedback.
Like other systems we have mentioned in the list, your reservations and online ordering system must also offer reporting and analytics capability as it would help you understand if your customers prefer ordering online or in person. Using this analytics feature, you would also be able to get information on metrics such as revenue generated, average basket size and customer return rate. These metrics are extremely important to better understand your customers. The more you know about your customers, the better service you would be able to provide to them and which will eventually lead your restaurant to be more profitable.
The success behind every major restaurant chain lies in its operations and management. These tools will provide you with an opportunity to make your restaurant and life much easier. Not only will they help your restaurant expand, but will also make it more efficient at a lower cost.