It’s no surprise that the restaurant business is a fierce business to be in. With the technological power that exists in the world, there are a lot of apps that support us now. The advancements in technology are developing, our tasks as managers have now become that much easier.

There are 6 powerful apps that I’ll introduce to you. These apps will enhance the productivity and efficiency of your restaurant business. Let’s take a moment to think of the common issues restauranteurs are facing on a day to day basis.
  1. Stock & Food Wastage
  2. Staff Management
  3. Suitable Point of Sales System
  4. Marketing

The above-listed issues are common issues that restauranteurs face on a regular basis. Let’s explore the available apps in the AppStore that you can use to solve some of these issues.

Stock & Food Wastage – Pocket Inventory App, Free

Food wastage and stock is a huge deal in restaurants. Minimising the wastage of food is important for several reasons.
  1. It costs the business money and time
  2. Poor use of ingredients
Within the world of point of sales systems, it’s rather surprising that a lot of these systems have a poor way look at stocks. Some do not even have this as an option. So how do you manage this?
There is an app called Pocket Inventory available on iOS. This allows you to segment and categorises your kitchen. List your items in the categories you great along with quantities, names and dates.
For example, in the fresh produce fridge, you may have 1 container of tomatoes.
It’s quite simple and intuitive. Sharing the same iCloud account can allow synchronisation across your devices.
This is helpful because you’ll be able to check stock levels from anywhere. Also, even carry that list with you when you go shopping or place an order for ingredients etc.

The iOS store is full of great apps. Get your shopping organised, open up the Shopping UK app. Start ticking off that list whilst you’re at your wholesalers.

Staff Management – RotaCloud, Starting at £5/month

 
Staff can be tricky. Especially when they are working part-time or on zero-hour contracts. Being able to prepare and have staff team aligned and ready for their shifts means planning it right.
With the perfect app, being able to:
  1. Manage staff
  2. Send notifications for shifts and updates
  3. Staff requesting holidays or time off
  4. Overview of the monthly staff run as well as the costs to the company for staff
Is the ideal position to be in. Running spreadsheets and tables can often become tricky. As well as sending WhatsApp messages to all staff for their shifts.
Discover RotaCloud. RotaCloud allows you to ease through the above list of challenges. Spend once a: week or month scheduling your staff and their shifts. It’s simple for staff to request time off with a few taps, it’s even easier for you to approve or disapprove too. Add in their wage package for your reference or block off days they’re unavailable. There is a web platform as well as an iOS & Android app to use, it works cross-platform. How perfect is that?
Their packages depend on the number of employees that you have. If you have 0-10 employees, it’s £5/month, 10-20 it’s £10/month and so on. Play around RotaCloud’s website and see what works for you. We use this at Urban Guj for our staff management and it works great for us.

Suitable Point of Sale System

 
Point of sales systems is the heart of a restaurant management system. It is the very machine you’ll use to take orders from your customers. There are loads and I mean loads of systems that are available to you out there. We’ll explore two very different options and you may like neither but, you can always find something more later.
In the end, I’ll provide you with a list of the top 5 industry players for you to explore before choosing or upgrading.
The question to ask yourself about any technology that you put in place is, will this system scale with my restaurant business?
If the answer to the above question is yes, brilliant! If you’re looking to run a small scale café then something a lot simpler will do the job.

iZettle POS

iZettle is a brilliant piece of hardware and software. It’s designed to help small-scale business for payments as well as an order taking system. They’ve made it available for businesses in retail and for the restaurant business too.

Urban Guj uses iZettle as a payment provider as they have low commissions and no extra costs. As their technology develops, they’ve enabled iPad applications for you to use. Feel free to explore more with the iZettle POS system for food and drink.

Shopify POS

A lot of restaurant owners would never explore Shopify POS as a possible system to use, why? Well, it’s focus is on retail that is why. But, technology can always be adapted to serve a particular purpose.
So, why am I suggesting Shopify is it’s aimed at retail? It’s the perfect platform to use if your restaurant business strives of clicking and collecting. It’s POS system can also is available for use in-store as well. Synchronising your data is essential. In the long run, it will help you make accurate business decisions.
Urban Guj ran a beta test with Shopify POS during the Covid-19 lockdown period. In May 2020, we implemented the system to allow our customers to click and collect from us. It enabled us to reconnect with our customers and provide them with our delicious vegetarian food. It worked like a charm.

Marketing

Businesses struggle the most with marketing. It’s 2020 and people now more confused than ever on the idea of where to focus their marketing efforts. Do we Instagram, Facebook, Tweet, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Email and everything else?
Every platform serves its own purpose. They all have a different set of audience that is available to connect with. Collecting the data of your customers is so important, how else will you connect with them? We’re going to focus looking at Email Marketing and Social Marketing.

Email Marketing – Mailchimp

If you’re looking at a new system, start looking at ways to collect customer data. When your customers buy online from you, how will you use their information to communicate with them?
Sending weekly emails out to your customers will remind them of the new dishes you have, offers and events you may be hosting.
 
Most POS systems allow you to export customer information. You can upload this onto your Mailchimp account and organise them into a list as ‘Restaurant Diners’. This will help you focus on your visiting customers and stay in touch with them.

Social Media Marketing – Facebook & Instagram

Some of you may have tried using Facebook and Instagram but may have found no luck. There could be several reasons for this, see the list below.
  1. No posting often enough
  2. Not targeting the right audience
  3. Not familiar with social media and you do not understand it
These are three possible reasons, there could be more. Social media is a gradual system. It takes time to connect and communicate with your customers.
 
Trying to sell all the time is what deters your customers, find a new way of engaging with them. Information, offers, competitors, new food items. Consider soft selling rather than hard selling.
 
If you have the budget or resources, you can always hire a social media manager. You could also try hiring a social media intern to learn the ropes. You’ll discover that your customers will engage with you more, they may even reserve a table or even order. Also, there are a lot of free training resources online that you can discover and learn from.
 
Remember, it’s a gradual build-up. It’s not going to work overnight but the effort is required.

Restaurant Business: Summary

There is a lot of technology that you can use to enhance your business processes. Start thinking about where your difficulties sit. Think about you can make your restaurant business processes simpler.
 
POS Systems to explore:

From this list, the most sophisticated system for restaurants is Square. They have a simple POS for the front of house management and a brilliant KDS (kitchen display system) for the back of the house. This enables them to see the orders as they come in.

Comment below and let us know if this technology is working for you, are you using other tools? Share below.

Something To Try!

Author nand

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