So you’re starting a food business — you’ve already drafted a business plan, established your branding, finished your ads, found a location and hired your team. Now, you’re thinking about the technology you need for smoother business operations.
Fortunately, your options are endless. From machines that create custom honey jar labels to automated packaging machinery, technology offers countless solutions. But what do you need exactly?
Here are some technologies that can help your business excel in terms of reducing labor costs, streamlining operations and giving you a competitive edge.
Employee Scheduling Software
The good old-fashioned phone chain is a thing of the past. Instead of calling up every single person individually, use your employee scheduling software. This software is your one-stop-shop for arranging your team’s shifts, organizing employee information and keeping communication — all on one platform.
If you’re not tech-savvy, fret not. Most employee scheduling software comes in user-friendly apps. You can easily manage and update schedules no matter your location. Plus, your team receives a memo as soon as you send the update.
Point-of-Sale (POS) System
Think of the POS as your business’s motherboard. In a restaurant setting, the POS is where your servers will record their orders, where the cooks will receive them and where cashiers will invoice the purchase. The POS also contains your product prices, inventory and menu, as well as the individual performance of your staff. The system connects your entire establishment; you need not track revenues on a ledger or scribble orders on notepads.
Many systems also offer analytics, enabling you to generate sales reports and track business performance remotely. Stay in-touch with your establishment’s comings and goings whenever, wherever.
When shopping for a point of sale system, look for a cloud-based model so you can access your system at all times. Also, choose a system that offers technical training and support.
Online Ordering Platform
Although online food delivery is gaining popularity with quick-service restaurants, it has become a must-have option for full-service restaurants, as well. The current COVID-19 pandemic has also encouraged customers to use online ordering platforms to limit physical contact.
When selecting a platform, you may want to consider an aggregator platform, which is a system that combines offers from multiple restaurants on a singular portal. At the same time, you are also raising awareness for your business.
Inventory Tracking Software
This tracking software simplifies your management of stocks, costing of menus and purchase of orders. The best part: it also goes beyond analyzing the ins and outs of your restaurant since most inventory tracking software comes with portion control and predictive forecasting features. This system enables you to fine-tune your portions, place more accurate orders from your suppliers and keep a closer eye on your products to ensure the quality is of the highest standard.
Quality inventory tracking systems easily sync with your current POS system. You can also build them right into your POS system.
Rewarding your customers is a smart marketing technique. Apart from getting repeat customers (who can transform into brand promoters), loyalty programs can also help you generate more revenue. Studies reveal that customers spend 39 percent more on their order when they are about to unlock a loyalty reward.
A good loyalty reward program, however, isn’t just a business card that you add stamps whenever customers purchase meals. Go digital with your program. Merge your program from an app to enable customers to track their progress and personalize their offers according to their preferences and behavior. These reward programs are mutually beneficial: your customers get rewarded for their loyalty while you collect data on them.
Your choices for reward programs are endless: from developing your app to existing apps. Whichever option you prefer, make sure the program works well with your POS system.
Self-Ordering Tablets or Kiosks
Self-ordering kiosks do not just belong in fast-food restaurants. This technology is applicable in all types of establishments — whether it’s just a tablet or a full-sized kiosk.
These tablets and kiosks come with several benefits:
- Menu flexibility. Digital menus enable you to easily change and switch menu prices and items daily. You can also change the order of your products; place high-margin menu items up to easily catch your customers’ attentions.
- Reduced service times. Kiosks free up front-house staff and reduce service times, as well as reduce labor costs. This doesn’t mean you should immediately replace your staff. Use the kiosk to complement their service, as well as augment your overall service.
Depending on the type of foodservice business, you can invest in one or more of these different technologies. Determine the need of your business first before you purchase or invest in foodservice technologies.