Updated: May 4
Maybe you got into the restaurant business because you just love to cook and feed people. The simple joy it gives you to know that your food is making people smile is payment enough for you.
For the rest of us, we're entrepreneurs and we want to make as much money as we possibly can but, in order to do that, we have to make sure that we don't cut corners. This is where using and selecting the right technology can be a big asset and here are a few tips which we think might help!
When it comes to POS systems there are literally hundreds of options and they're all competing for your business which is a good thing. But can a POS system really help??? I don't think we have to justify the use of a POS system in your restaurant but just know that without it, you'd be making a heck of a lot less money and with the right one, you just might make a little more!
Aloha POS - This is one of the most popular POS systems for restaurants throughout the U.S. and is also a favorite for those of you who don't like or feel comfortable with internet-based POS systems. Aloha has been on the market for decades. You might find that this system is a bit more expensive compared to some of its competitors. Plus, things like upgrades, maintenance, and support can all be challenging and expensive depending on your area of operations. But despite all of this, Aloha still remains one of the most popular POS systems on the market. And if you're not a fan of internet-based systems, in addition to Aloha other choices might include Micros, Focus, Foodtronix, and FuturePOS among others.
Toast POS - Cloud-based POS systems are slowly but surely consuming the market and the current leader in this space has to be Toast. Since its inception in 2013 Toast has raised nearly $1 billion dollars in investor funding and they've made it work. Compared to fixed systems like Aloha and Micros, the cloud-based POS systems can be less expensive with more features, greater access, and more readily available benefits. With that being said, note that Toast isn't the only cloud-based system in this space. Upserve, Revel, Touchbistro, and Clover, just to name a few, are all cloud-based systems that are also very competitive and oftentimes, will provide you with more features than you'll likely use.
Online Ordering and Delivery
Based on our statistics, you're probably reading this on your mobile phone. Guess what.... you're customers are probably looking at your menu on their mobile phone as well, therefore, optimizing your online ordering experience is essential.
Menufy - An online food ordering system that restaurants can use to improve and support their online ordering experience. Menufy is basic, simple, and inexpensive. Other players in the space include Bentobox and MenuDrive
OrderMark - For those of you that use multiple pickup and delivery services like Uber, Caviar, Doordash, and Postmates, systems like Chowly and Ordermark combine all of these systems into one which makes it easier to manage multiple services.
Customer Relationship Management Tool
We get it..... in a perfect world, your customers will visit, have the time of their lives and return every day for the next 50 years. This of course isn't going to happen but you should feel comfortable in knowing that at least 20% of your guest will return on a regular basis but the other 80%, you'll have to fight for!
Resy - Tools like Resy and SevenRooms are often overlooked by the smaller independent restaurants but they shouldn't be! Even if your restaurant doesn't take reservations, having the ability to reach your customers before they visit and get feedback after they depart is essential!
Aside from Google, Facebook, and Instagram when it comes to marketing, it doesn't hurt to get back to the basics!
Wix - When it comes to building a website, it probably can't get much easier than this plus it's free! Although a Facebook page is often used to replace a website, having your own website and domain can help to improve your brand and better showcase your restaurant. In other words, a website can help funnel more customers to your restaurant, and sites like Wix, Godaddy OpenTable and Squarespace can help you get set up and running in no time.
Yelp and Google Reviews - Getting your customer to give you reviews on Yelp and Google can have a bigger impact than most of us expect. People visiting from out of town are always looking for the best restaurants and quite often they'll rely on these two forums.
We've said it before and we'll say it again, "it's not about how much money you make, it's about how much of it you get to keep". Working to drive people through your door and deposit thousands of dollars into the bank isn't very fun if you ultimately end up spending more than you make, but can technology really help??
The real challenge when it comes to a restaurant controlling its cost is reporting....... yep, ...reporting!!! Yes, we know that the need to create a report is why you hired your manager... or is it??? Most independent restaurants believe that all they need to do is enter invoices then everything else will fall into place. Unfortunately, this is where restaurants start to lose because in our industry you have to go deeper much, much deeper!
XtraChef, and Skrible can help you save thousands on your inventory cost. We've selected these two companies because they decrease the need for your managers to do paperwork and create reports. XtraChef is the more popular of the three and has some pretty impressive clients. Their rates start at $79 per month. Skrible is relatively newer so they provide more competitive rates starting at $49 per month. Skrible also offers an inventory auditing service where they provide individuals to count your inventory for you (in select areas).
Jolt and 7Shifts help restaurants save thousands on labor cost. Yes, your POS system very likely has a timeclock but when it comes to scheduling and managing your labor cost, we tend to like companies that are hyper-focused on the problem we're trying to solve.
Owning a restaurant isn't easy but like anything else, having the right tools for the job can ALWAYS help!