Running a successful restaurant business isn’t just about preparing tasty food and serving it to your diners. Today’s consumer wants a unique, personalized food experience that may not even take place in your restaurant. So how can you make sure you streamline your operations so you can give the customer what they want, while managing your business in the most efficient way?
The answer is restaurant technology. From managing reservations and planning work schedules to streamlining online delivery and kitchen processes, to fighting food waste: here are some tech solutions and platforms that will help you manage, optimize and monitor your business, easily!
Nowadays, the online world holds more of a central position in our lives than ever before. Not only do we watch television, shop or book holidays digitally, but we also plan restaurant visits more often in this way. Looking for a nice restaurant? We search Google. Booking a table? Also done digitally, nice and easy from the comfort of our couch. The more a restaurant stands out in the large online offer, the better. Digital tools that help restaurateurs therefore make all the difference.
The importance for restaurateurs to position themselves online becomes clear from the very beginning. After all, the days when people opened the Yellow Pages or a local advertizing leaflet looking for a good spot are long gone. Search engines are now the tools that lead future customers to your restaurant. Your restaurant’s online presence is vital to allow customers to quickly land on your website or on an external booking site where your business is listed. Positive feedback from other customers only plays in your favor. Because let's be honest: you too prefer to book a table in a restaurant where the previous guests were very enthusiastic about the decor, the service and the food... don't you?
Once customers have made their choice of restaurant and landed on your website, they would prefer to reserve their table immediately and, if possible, without picking up the phone. Does your restaurant have an online reservation system? Great! It allows your customers to quickly and easily book their table at any time of the day. They select their time of arrival, their party and even their favorite table in no time at all. In addition, customers can inform you in advance about any food allergies they may have, or whether there is a birthday boy or girl in the group. Useful facts for you as a restaurateur, which you can easily pick up in order to provide your customers with a personal, but above all, unforgettable restaurant experience.
Finally, when making an online reservation, customers also have the possibility to subscribe to your newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to keep them informed about your latest creations or interesting promotions. Great bonus: customers automatically receive a confirmation email with their reservation details, which they can easily change at any time. Thanks to reminder emails, credit card guarantees or advance payments, you also ensure that the chance of no-shows is reduced to a minimum.
In short, by putting your restaurant in the spotlight online, running a restaurant will not only be a lot easier, but it will also increase your turnover. Resengo is a restaurant solution that facilitates all these elements and also links with the most commonly used digital for staff, cash register or CRM systems.
When restaurants position themselves online, it’s crucial for them to also provide their customers with convenient online ordering options.
Today, it is hard to imagine the restaurant industry without delivery and takeout. In some countries, 60% of dining experiences are already off-premises. Online food ordering is here to stay, and jumping on the delivery bandwagon can help your restaurant expand its reach and visibility, and increase sales.
But before you start packing your meals and selling them online, it’s crucial to streamline this powerful sales channel. By connecting your third-party delivery services, such as Uber Eats or Deliveroo, to your POS, you can make sure you avoid common delivery pitfalls while using your time and resources in the most efficient way.
When your restaurant automates its delivery order flow, all your online orders are automatically transferred to your point-of-sale system, so floor staff doesn’t have to punch in delivery orders anymore. Additionally, each order is automatically sent to the kitchen and printed there. Harnessing this POS integration helps restaurants save a lot of time - for each incoming order - while reducing the risk of human error.
You can also connect your ‘click & collect’ shop or online ordering system with your POS, so all the benefits mentioned above apply to your take-out operations, as well.
And what about ‘tablet hell’? Restaurants working with multiple delivery partners have to juggle dozens of partner-specific tablets, which each have their own specific notification sounds and software. When you use the right food delivery management software, all your online orders can be managed in one single platform, so you can stuff all other devices in a closet!
In a nutshell, by offering online food delivery and/or takeaway, your restaurant can add a valuable sales channel that is only getting more popular. Automating the online ordering process will help you to efficiently manage this channel, so you can enjoy all the advantages of food delivery without having to deal with operational issues.
It’s true that having good staff is worth gold, but seamless and smooth planning is essential for your team to contribute to the success of your business.
The hospitality sector depends on flexibility, and the same rule applies to both your customers and your staff alike. Digitization and automation of your personnel management can help you save time and money, while remaining agile.
Solutions like Strobbo can help your business thrive, saving time and money in the planning and payroll of your staff management. And thanks to the integration with your reservation system (like Resengo for example), you never need to worry about staffing again.
With a digital time registration module you can keep track of the number of hours worked per employee, so you can say goodbye to those pesky Excel timesheets. With the module on your cash register screen or tablet, you can easily consult your personnel’s hours. And if you are working with a (new) student or flex worker? The Dimona declaration is automatically forwarded - no stress!
Additionally, you can also easily link with your social secretariat for payroll processing, or with your interim agency for the deployment of students.
When a temporary worker starts, the tool automatically sends an email to the temping agency to create the contracts (also possible via API). With a link to your cash register, you can also get a quick overview of your profitability and productivity at the end of the day.
When the food orders are in, production kicks into gear. And its impact on your bottom line is massive: the food cost alone takes up 28-32% of revenue with peaks up to 45%. Kitchen management focuses on cost reduction rather than revenue optimization - more specifically avoidable costs. When costs go down, margins go up.
For an industry that is, broadly speaking, a low-margin sector, it makes a lot of sense to protect those margins with great care.
Let's have another look at food cost to show you what that means. In this example, we'll bring it down from 35% to 30%, a decrease of just 5%. Indeed, gross profit goes up by almost 60%. The question then is: how to control that 35%?
It's tricky, because unlike revenue, avoidable costs are mostly invisible. They are lurking in the shadows of stockrooms and between the folds of cost calculation sheets. You have to track them down actively.
Everybody knows to follow the money. But with so much going on in the kitchen, it's hard to keep track. No matter how many spreadsheets you throw at it, the back of the house remains a black box. Money goes in, and at the other end, a dish comes out, what happens in between is usually no more than an estimated guess.
However, to bring costs down, you need hard data.Without the proper tools, finding useful data is time-consuming, inaccurate and well, ... downright dull. Like with any industry, the more units you control, the better the monitoring has to be to prevent a potentially bigger loss.
Take inventory, for example. Overstocking leads to waste and waste skyrockets your food cost. That's a dangerous situation. To prevent overstocking, procurement needs to be just right. Order no more than you need, and only when you need it. For that, you have to have access to:
Current sales data
Real-time inventory status, and
A forecast of the number of portions required.
One piece of crucial information is missing in the above list, namely the recipes. Your recipes connect all the food-related data. Recipes translate 'the number of dishes sold' into 'ingredients used'. These have to be cross-checked with the inventory and subsequently turned into a well-defined procurement list.
Try doing all of the above three times a week. That is a lot of counting and calculating to go through. Not to mention the time lost for your most valuable people: the F&B manager, executive chef, operations manager and in many cases, the controller. It's no wonder restaurant professionals are happy with an estimated guess of what happens with revenue once it enters the BoH - even if that means taking a 50% profit loss.
With the right restaurant management software, however, securing your bottom line is simple. The system does all the calculations - taking into account every possible variable - and generates a precise bill of materials. Simply press send and your suppliers receive an email with your order list straight from the software.
Technology tremendously helps food services deal with their flow of clients and orders, and plan their supply of provisions accordingly. Technology also helps to make sure these services find the right people to match all the elements perfectly together. Thanks to easy-to-use tools, it is now possible to have a better grip on the supply to be foreseen, and account for an improved control on financial flows.
Yet, now even more than ever, demand and stock keep being unpredictable; leading, unfortunately, to food waste most of the time. Even though no one likes to see their hard work and precious products end up in the bin!
In the world, a third of all the food produced never reaches our plates, which represents around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste not only has a huge environmental impact - wasting lands, resources and energy - it also has an important financial and social impact. Actually, food waste is the third biggest global source of pollution. In Belgium, for instance, this represents around 345kg that is wasted per capita per year. Quite a number, right?
Every day, chefs, caterers, bakers, butchers, and supermarkets owners face the difficulty of matching their clients’ expectations, making sure they provide them with the freshest food and products while not throwing surplus food away.
To reduce the amount of food wasted, there exist several solutions: re-using surplus products into other recipes, distributing to local social organizations, or leveraging technology, using apps like Too Good To Go.
Too Good To Go puts consumers in touch with local businesses that can sell them their surplus food and unsold products for a third of the initial price. Consumers choose a store and buy the surplus available through the app directly, and then come pick up their anti-food waste bags within the time slot defined by the business itself. And that’s it!
The solution has been kept as simple and flexible as possible; making it easy for businesses to actively fight against food waste, and therefore contribute to a greener world, while limiting attracting new clients and generating extra revenue on what would have usually been thrown away. This is what we can call a win-win-win solution: less resources wasted, contributing to a greener world; reduction of losses for businesses, and affordable great food for clients!
Deliverect connects restaurant POS systems to delivery platforms and online ordering services, making online order management easy.
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