Restaurant businesses today are undergoing many changes associated with the experience digitalization, and even at this stage – almost the initial one – there is still room for improvement. On the way to meeting clients' needs and boosting customer satisfaction, business owners try to find the right balance between services and the way they are provided. The increased demand for contactless ordering and payment has spurred the growth of a range of applications and software.
Here is a brief overview of tools and apps for restaurant owners and managers to simplify processes.
Apply Flexible Point-of-Sale Systems
It can be said without exaggeration that the POS system is essential for the restaurant business. From the moment of its introduction to the present day, it has undergone many technical changes: it has become more user-friendly, embraces more options and strives for compactness and portability. So, modern POS systems are a mixture of a tablet/computer and cash register with a wide range of possibilities, able to cover back of house operations.
With a proper POS system, you should be able to:
- Calculate check and cash for each order;
- Store data on payment methods for each guest;
- Enter and store information about regular customers;
- Generate sales reports for different periods.
When choosing software for restaurants, owners or managers should pay attention to several key factors: ease of use, value for money, availability of necessary components and the ability to update the software. Point-of-Sale systems are often integrated with other applications, for example, restaurant billing software or more powerful analytical tools for better analysis of restaurant activities, customer needs, and preferences. When choosing or creating your POS system, take versatile integrations into account.
Implement Robust Accounting Software
Keeping track of cash flow becomes simple and easy with the right accounting software that allows you to not only enter data and generate reports but also make forecasts of future spending or profits.
Most companies use spreadsheets, manual labor and simple free software, which is still significantly limited in functions. Among state-of-art apps for restaurant managers, the large-scale accounting systems can be embedded in your POS system or other management applications, providing you with more reliable real-time information regarding finances.
Modern restaurant accounting applications are very intuitive, and a basic set of options allows you to:
- Receive information about the finances of your restaurant in real-time;
- Track payables and receivables;
- Integrate into other restaurant software (POS terminals and payroll systems);
- Receive information anytime and anywhere.
One of the best accounting software for restaurants is QueekBooks, which has the necessary set of features, accessible and with flexible pricing for different needs. However, you can get a custom accounting system developed following your needs and expectations.
Try Employee Training Applications
Many restaurant business owners complain about high turnover in their field and the difficulty of training new employees in a short time. In addition to basic responsibilities, restaurants can have distinctive features that new staff also need to learn.
To simplify, automate, or make the learning process standalone, you can use applications for restaurant owners that are flexible enough to contribute your courses and documentation.
As a rule, owners use pre-paid or free training platforms for various learning purposes. The research shows that young people use smartphones in the workplace, and since they are the majority in the talent pool for the restaurant business as well, it is more efficient and expedient to use applications.
The main options for such an app:
- Ability to add, sort, assign edit and delete educational content;
- The introduction of quizzes, surveys and exams (for advanced training or checking the level of knowledge of personnel);
- Tracking the success of each employee;
- Drawing up an individual growth plan.
Regardless of whether you are using a ready-made application or planning to implement your idea through custom development, start by identifying the main goals - this will be the starting point for choosing functionality.
Take Care of Your Employees with Scheduling Software
In pursuit of customers and creating convenience for them, do not forget about the convenience for your employees. While offering flexible scheduling to waiters, administrators, and kitchen workers, give them partial access to the schedule table so they can manage or track their own working hours.
This can be done in several ways: regular tables (not efficient and easy to get confused), online platforms (rarely have a sufficiently high mobile responsiveness or accessibility from any device), or apps for restaurant managers.
Also, software that manages the back office allows you to get rid of unnecessary paperwork (applying for vacations or exchanging shifts) and speed up decision-making because most actions can be performed in real-time.
Options you need:
- Flexible commented calendar;
- Standardized forms for filing requests for vacation, time off or sick leave;
- The ability to set extended rights and restrictions for each user;
The additional advantage of such an application will also be the ability to integrate with other restaurant business solutions.
Invest In Inventory Management Systems
Many POS systems offer inventory management options like other apps for restaurant owners. However, if you have a large business or a franchise, you need something more serious.
Effective inventory management allows you to spend more time developing your business, strengthening other areas and services. However, choosing the right application for this can be tricky. Firstly, automation costs a lot of money, be prepared to allocate a significant part of your development budget for this implementation. Secondly, at first, you will still need third-party help in setting up the process.
The functional features you need:
- Real-time tracking;
- Efficient filling system (forms and checklists);
- Products notification system (too few or too many);
- Product life tracking system.
If you are completely re-equipping your warehouse, you may need to implement additional sensors for IoT and more complex software.
Introduce Convenient Online Ordering Platforms
In recent years, the demand for online orders has grown significantly. Customers are willing to pay more for delivery from their favorite restaurant if they'll have such an opportunity. Plus, online ordering is a great way to expand your customer base, boost sales and profits, increase brand awareness, and give your loyal customers more options.
One of the most popular ways to implement online ordering is to create a website platform where the consumer can select, customize and pay for food from a restaurant. This is convenient for both parties, especially if it is thought out to the smallest detail: from the chosen CRM system to the design and payment methods.
Another option for restaurant owners is to create their own app that is easy to install and use anywhere. Ordering food in several taps on the screen has been one of the main trends in the food industry for the last couple of years.
What you will definitely need in this application:
- Convenient catalog and the ability to customize each dish;
- A thoughtful and easy user journey;
- Fast payment (integration with payment systems);
- The ability to track the execution of the order;
- Possibility to contact the operator;
- Integration with your internal management systems.
An online ordering system can be an independent or an integral part of a large restaurant management system, and its options will depend on this.
Enable Payroll Programs
Accounting applications and POS systems with an extended set of options allow you to calculate the salaries of employees. On the one hand, it can be convenient for small cafes and restaurants, on the other hand, it can cause inconvenience due to the confusion of data. Many will appreciate the apps for restaurant managers - applications or integrated add-ons to management services - with a wider set of options and capabilities.
This can be a more efficient choice due to the possibility to:
- Track same-day direct deposits;
- Automatically calculate, pay, and file payroll taxes;
- Get access to advanced reporting features.
If you’re looking for the best payroll software for restaurants consider investments in ShopKeep or QuickBooks Payroll. Or, if your needs and ambitions go far beyond the functionality of these apps for restaurant owners, go ahead and develop a custom mobile or web app.
Use Third-Party Delivery Apps
The popularity of restaurant food delivery apps is growing exponentially due to the changing lifestyles of consumers. Third-party applications combine dozens of restaurants in the vicinity of the customer at once, offering them a wide range of cuisines and prices. This can be a good way to promote your restaurant and reach customers in remote areas if your restaurant doesn't have its own delivery service.
The downside of using third-party apps is likely high fees. If you still want to use this delivery method, remember that such an application should easily integrate with your POS systems or other management applications so that you can quickly and easily find order and prepare it for delivery without delays.
A few more important aspects to consider when choosing a third-party delivery app:
- Simplicity and convenience of the interface (your dishes should be clearly visible);
- Possibility to add composition and information about allergens;
- Integration with payment systems;
- Rating and reputation of the application (this will also affect your reputation).
- Remember that delivery is just as important a stage in customer service as cooking a dish, so you shouldn't skimp on it.
And a little tip at last: while introducing technical innovations into your restaurant management services, remember about bonuses, both for customers and for employees. Loyalty programs can be part of an app for ordering food or training employees. You may think that it carries more marketing value, however, the more bonuses and discounts customers receive, the more they are willing to spend.
Building an app for restaurant owners and managers, or a digital business management system can be time- and budget-consuming. Choose a reliable partner with broad capabilities and experience to bring all your ideas to life. If you are ready to discuss a new project, do not hesitate to contact our specialists.