When times are slow, wait staff stare at empty tables, and the restaurant door sits idly in some strange, silent space where time no longer exists. You wish and pray for the busy peak seasons to arrive, but when it does, you’re hounded by challenges at the other end of the spectrum. More customers mean more revenue and profit, but it comes with proverbial delivery truckloads of stress.
If you’re not already bald, you soon could be – women managers not included, but hair loss is not unheard of! Long customer queues, staff shortages, tables covered with take away bags, endlessly ringing phone lines, order chits spilling out of the kitchen, multiple arms stuck in the air like flags waving in search of a waiter. You think it’s hot in the kitchen? Check the temperature between the manager’s ears!
Your Saviour? Restaurant Tech!
The 4 Holy Pieces of Restaurant Tech Required to Thrive in Restaurant Chaos
1. Restaurant POS
2. Self-ordering Kiosks
3. Online Reservations
4. Online Ordering Platform
It’s time to invest in your business, and in your wellbeing. These days, a negative review on Google or another restaurant rating platform can damage your brand’s reputation, and subsequently how many people visit your establishment.Customer service is of paramount importance and allowing it to suffer due to not being able to handle Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day brunches shouldn’t be tolerated any longer.
Read more to discover how these 4 restaurant technologies can knock out the problems caused by peak seasons like Mike Tyson in Round 1. Only put a clock on the wall if you’re willing to run your restaurant like clockwork!
1. A Contemporary Point of Sale (POS) System
This is your restaurant’s proverbial mainframe – its centralised transactional core. Forget old-fashioned cash registers; a POS system manages stock inventory, processes payments, monitors key data for reports, schedules staff, and tracks labour.
In busy periods, it becomes even more useful by integrating with other software systems to streamline operations. It’s mobile, includes ongoing tech support, and provides data reports for scheduling. This includes discovery of which staff are your highest performers, plus detailed no-sale reports and deleted items to make sure theft is kept to a minimum – great for when you’re too busy to keep an eye on every aspect of operations.
2. Self-ordering Kiosks
A self-ordering kiosk system is a terminal that allows customers to place orders without needing to speak with waitstaff. Aside from automatically sending orders straight to the kitchen, its other major benefit is the ability to ‘sell, sell, sell’ your menu items. Patrons can see dishes they may normally miss, and automatic add-ons are perfect for upselling.
In peak holiday periods, self-ordering kiosks help by boosting revenue, improving workflow between front and back of house, eliminating order input errors, and removing the need for a cashier by automating the order process. Be careful though! These kiosks often increase order volume, which can put kitchen staff ‘in the weeds’ when they fall behind on orders.
3. Online Reservations
Implementing reservation software in your restaurant provides you with a tool to manage dine-in table bookings, store customer data and send text message reminders to guests. You can also view reports and data to help you make informed decisions about your operating rhythm all from your mobile phone or any other device!
An online reservation system is your best friend in silly season when the number of bookings can easily get out of hand. Tracking your bookings, managing your waitlist (texting/emailing customers when tables become available) and inputting customer preferences ensure you never lose or mix-up a reservation, or forget to remind a guest about their booking. No more scowling patrons listlessly waiting for a seat!
Create and store unique customer profiles with notes about allergies, dining preferences, and special dates, while simultaneously targeting guests with tailored promotions. Even though it’s crazy busy, they’ll feel like they’re receiving special treatment while you boost revenues in turn. You can also take reservations from various locations like your website, apps, and other reservation software 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
This is about organised chaos! Reduce no-shows without wasting a staff member on making reminder phone calls, adjust floor plans to maximise space (and increase sales), and gain the ‘magic’ ability to accurately predict wait times for those desperately waiting for a table. People will think you’re Nostradamus, but you’ll know it’s the tech that saved you!
4. Online Ordering Platforms
An online ordering platform allows customers to order and pay from any device – a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop, which in this era of lockdowns means you can continue to make sales without people physically coming through the door. Seamlessly integrated into your POS system, it can be managed from the same backend portal, so making changes to the online ordering menu or adding coupons, promotions, and discounts are easily done on the single platform.
An online food ordering system for restaurants has a multitude of benefits, including the ability to connect third-party apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and DoorDash (and in the near future, Menulog and Easi) to grow the number of ways in which you receive and deliver orders. You can also strengthen your own brand presence by implementing your uniquely branded images and colour palette. The platform updates in real time, integrates with your POS reporting system, and can be embedded into your website, functioning for dine-in, takeaway, and delivery.
Online ordering enhances the customer experience, and it has been proven that customers who place online orders visit that restaurant more frequently. Have we mentioned it’ll take time off your service team while boosting the ability to cross-sell customised promotions, thus increasing your sales and profits?
Upgrade Your Restaurant Tech and Be Prepared!
Preparation is the key to handling busy peak periods (and many other challenges in life). By investing in the right tech like a restaurant POS, self-ordering kiosks, online reservation system, and online ordering platform, your ROI will be financial and psychological. These tools also save time on daily restaurant tasks like creating work schedules and analysing data reports.
Time is the one commodity you can lose and never get back, so reduce time spent on everyday tasks, as well as in busy periods where every single second counts. Contact Abacus now to learn more about the modern restaurant technology providing the momentum to break through to a life of preparedness!