Restaurants are in the midst of a technological revolution, with innovative software helping skilled restaurant professionals serve more guests faster and in better ways.
The good news is that there’s an abundance of technology available to streamline operations and enhance the guest experience. The bad news? It can be difficult to determine where to start. Prioritizing the right tech for your restaurant and choosing the ideal vendors takes time and effort that most restaurateurs simply do not have.
To help you out, we’ve outlined the three most important restaurant technologies that you should look at first for your business, as well as some recommended software providers for each.
Online Reservation and Guest Management Software
Scheduling and Team Management Tools
An Integrated POS System
Technologies to Better Your Restaurant
Guests need to feel valued at your restaurant even before they visit it – and 54% of diners say that online reservations are “extremely important” to their guest experience. This statistic makes complete sense when considering busy diners – guests want to plan ahead, and whether it’s for a night out with friends or an anniversary dinner, they want to be sure they have a seat at their desired time.
Moreover, 77% of diners will visit a restaurant’s website before visiting the restaurant itself. It’s no longer optional for restaurants to have an online presence, particularly as guests often use a restaurant’s website to make an online reservation.
More generally, this software should also be tied directly to the guest experience. If guests do show up without a reservation, they’ll want a realistic timeline for how long it will take for their party to be seated. Table management, guest seating, and walk-in waitlisting should all be managed with this software so that guests have a seamless and positive experience from the moment they decide to eat at your restaurant until the moment they sit down.
Since guests value reservations the most, it’s important for restaurants to have a reservation technology that meets diners’ high standards. For this technology, use Hostme. It accepts online reservations from multiple different sources – from Facebook, to Google, to your own restaurant website. Restaurants using Hostme also gain visibility into key reservation statistics – such as wait time average and reservation rates – to help improve online reservation operations.
You can also seat guests quicker with easy-to-use table management software. Keep track of your floor and know what’s happening at your restaurant from any device and from anywhere in the world. Pre-configure your server sections to spread guests evenly, block sections for parties or for walk-ins only, and pace your reservations to get the most out of every shift.
Not only creating a great guest experience, it’ll also help you keep your best employees around as it helps them in their positions.
Labor-related costs are often one of a restaurant’s largest expenditures, with most restaurants dedicating 20-30% of their revenue to labor. These costs escalate when factoring in scheduling and payroll errors, while labor noncompliance lawsuits can cost your restaurant thousands of dollars.
In addition, general team management software is engaging and fosters transparency. It’s a proven trend that when employees feel overworked, underappreciated, and unsupported, they’ll gladly take their skills elsewhere – and restaurants foot the bill with lower productivity and added hiring & training costs. Restaurant professionals estimate the average restaurant turnover rate is greater than 100%, while another study found that the average employee works less than two months at a restaurant. These turnover costs are immense for the hospitality sector, and it’s estimated that replacing an employee can cost up to $15,000.
This is where software for employee scheduling, labor management, and team communication tools come in. This suite of restaurant tech tools eliminates confusion about who’s working when, breaks down unnecessary barriers between employees and management, and helps control labor costs for the restaurant.
Here are a few of the most useful types of employee management software:
In a restaurant, shift scheduling without software is like a puzzle that never quite seems to come together perfectly. Things get even more complicated when you’re dealing with a large staff or are trying a new scheduling format like rotating scheduling. On top of juggling your entire team’s availability with the demands of your restaurant, you also need to mitigate overtime costs and comply with local labor laws to avoid noncompliance fees. Restaurant scheduling software handles all of these factors to create a cost-efficient and legally-compliant schedule for every hour of operation.
Buddy punching, early clock-ins, and other forms of restaurant time theft can quickly add up to take a sizable chunk out of your bottom line by the end of the year, increasing already sizable labor costs with no benefit to the business. Restaurants that use time clocking software save an average of $500 per week by reducing time theft and other payroll errors.
Finally, restaurant team communication software fosters communication not only between employees and their managers, but also between other staff members. Between task management and employee-wide announcements, this software increases collaboration opportunities and holds employees more accountable.
Everything comes together with an integrated restaurant POS system.
A POS (point of sale) system is rightfully considered the heart of a restaurant’s technological operations. At its core, a POS can operate as a simple cash register alongside a pen-and-paper ordering process. This method, however, robs restaurant operators of the opportunity to integrate their POS with the business’s other core restaurant technologies, like inventory, scheduling, online ordering, gift card & loyalty management, and kitchen tech.
These integrations easily tie sales to other key areas of your restaurant. For example, a POS system integrated with your scheduling software means you can automatically build weekly schedules based on demand, and a POS integrated with a third-party delivery app means your staff doesn’t need to re-enter an online order everytime one comes in.
Restaurant POS systems also come with innovative hardware like handheld ordering tablets, which enable servers to take orders and guests to pay right at the table.
There are a sea of options for restaurant POS systems – some like Lightspeed or Toast are built with the restaurant industry in mind and easily integrate with tools like Hostmeapp and 7shifts, while other systems like Square aren’t restaurant-exclusive, but have restaurant-specific functionality with the benefits of a more generalized system. You can also visit POSUSA.com to find the best POS system for your specific restaurant concept.
POS, team management, and online reservation software are just three of the many important restaurant technologies you should be implementing sooner than later. Start seeking out the right vendors and solutions for your restaurant, and your operations, efficiency, and profits will quickly change for the better.
7shifts Marketing Team