Updated: Jun 7, 2022
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 that 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 just to name a few.
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. A large part of the appeal to Toast is the competitive discounted credit card fees. In this area alone they can save restaurants thousands. If we compare the legacy 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, Tabit and Clover, just to name a few, are all cloud-based systems that are also very competitive and can really get the job done.
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 phones as well, therefore, optimizing your online ordering experience is essential and if your POS doesn't offer this service, here are some outside options.
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, OpenTable, 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, knowing who is a returning customer, and getting feedback after your customer has departed can all be major game changers and ways to increase your regulars.
Aside from Google, Facebook, and Instagram when it comes to marketing, it doesn't hurt to get back to the basics! We've seen far too many restaurants ignore the marketing and just assume "if we open, they will come". That may be true, but the question isn't "if they will come", the question is "how many people will come?".
Wix - When it comes to building a website, it probably can't get much easier than this plus they have a free version 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 BentoBox, 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 are always looking for something new to try and although most people will typically rely on word of mouth, a lot of visitors will also rely on forums like Yelp and Google, especially if they're from out of town.
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??
One of the biggest challenges a restaurant owner can face when it comes to managing their restaurant is reporting and the constantly changing conditions! Creating a report that actually works for a restaurant is a bit more complicated than most people imagine. Although restaurant reporting isn't rocket science and can be learned, the manufacturing component that exists in operating a restaurant must be understood clearly in order for your restaurant to operate efficiently and your labor cost much be controlled!!
Programs like CooksTime can help your restaurant save thousands on both your food and alcohol cost as they boast being the first full-service restaurant inventory software program designed to actually seek out problems such as potentially missing inventory. And when the program locates a potential problem, it's designed to actually text the owner and manager. We're biased when it comes to CooksTime
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!