Feb 23, 2020 03:50 PM EST
Owning or managing a restaurant can be incredibly rewarding for a variety of reasons. The adrenaline rush captures some, while the thrill of serving gets to others. The restaurant life can be glamorous, and who doesn't like playing host to several hundred happy people a night? But running a restaurant is difficult at times, and there are obstacles and stresses along the way. We're fortunate to live in an age when technology exists to make your life easier every step of the way. Run through this list of services to see if any will improve your day-to-day restaurant operations.
Google offers a productivity suite of cloud-based office tools for electronic mail, word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, and file management. It's called GSuite. You might ask why you should switch from productivity applications that you may have been using for 20 years or more. First, many of the people you hire to help you run your business may not be quite so well-versed in the proprietary applications you use to write documents are manage data. However, they probably know how to use Gmail. Doesn't everybody? Second, it's likely that you store your applications (and their data) on a local network or drive. With GSuite, all of your data is backed up in the cloud, where it will not be affected by equipment failures in your restaurant. And third, it's relatively inexpensive to use Google's offerings; in the long run, you may save money on software licensing and upgrades.
While you're already working to maximize your in-house food and beverage sales, how do your to-go sales look? A common argument from many restaurant owners and managers is that they are just not staffed sufficiently for a large to-go business; however, if you get busier, don't you adjust staffing accordingly? It's not a bad problem to have. Since more and more of your customers are reaching for the convenience of food delivery apps on their phones, you might consider testing the space for yourself. (Try DoorDash for Business Owners, for example.)
The in-joke among restaurants is that POS doesn't just stand for point of sale. Some restaurateurs cling to outdated, clunky POS systems because they like to look at their data over time. This is great, but what does it cost your current customers in terms of service and time? The new breed of restaurant POS systems are built to be more user-friendly and to rely less on dated technology. Square is one popular point of sale system that can also serve as a clock-in management system and payroll provider, killing not two but three birds with one stone.
If your restaurant is not on social media, it's high time that you started. Many of your customers follow at least a few of their favorite restaurants on a platform such as Instagram. As a result, these customers are exposed, on a regular basis, to specials, events, and the enticement of their favorite foods and beverages, and this exposure influences their decision on where to eat. If you're new to social media, create an account and follow a few of your own favorite restaurants. Observe what they post, and how frequently.
While many restaurant buildings are equipped with security systems, those systems are often hopelessly dated. To set the alarm, for example, you might have to punch in your code on a keypad that is buried behind a speed rack in the kitchen, jog to the front of the restaurant (remembering to turn out the lights along the way), and hope to exit the building before the alarm goes off and shatters the sleep of everyone in the neighborhood. To watch video from the surveillance cameras, you might have to drive to the office in the restaurant. Times have changed, however, so you might consider upgrading your security system. These days, many companies provide you with an app that you can access on your smartphone; with the app you can set the alarm once you've already left the building, and you can view video footage live from the comfort of your home.
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