Starting a Food Business: What Technologies do you Need?
You’re thinking of starting your own food-related business and you’ve created an idea for your plan of business, brand you’ve found your ideal location, appointed your employees But now you’re wondering what tools you’ll have to invest in to keep the business going smoothly.
It may seem daunting (especially in the case of those who aren’t technologically adept) do not fret! We’ve put together six technologies that will aid your business in improving efficiency, cutting cost of labor and ensuring you stay just one step ahead of the competitors.
1. A Point of Sale (POS) System
A POS system functions as the central part of your restaurant. It’s where servers keep track of their orders, and where your chefs will get the orders and where your cashiers will issue them invoices. It’s the place where your menus as well as your inventory are stored. It’s also it’s where you’ll be able to see how your staff are performing and how much tips they’re receiving. With an POS system, the entire establishment is linked and you no longer have to waste time the tiny notepads that you use to write orders or keeping track of your profits in an account book.
A majority of POS systems also provide analytics, which allow you to monitor your performance and even produce sales reports remotely, meaning you’re aware of the happenings in your restaurant all the time.
When you’re looking for an POS system, make sure you choose one that is cloud-based so that you are able to remotely access your system. Also, look for an option that provides technical assistance and training.
2. Employee Scheduling Software
Do you remember the old-fashioned telephone chain, when you needed to call each individual person individually whenever you had news or an appointment to make? Now, thanks to software for scheduling employees you don’t need to do any of those issues. It’s the only place to schedule shifts of employees, organizing your employees, and keeping all your communications across one platform. They’re also available with a user-friendly format, so you can update and manage schedules from anywhere and also ensure that your employees receive the notification when they receive an update.
Research has shown that these systems are able to reduce the time spent by employees on scheduling by as much as 80percent. Particularly, since labor costs comprise about a third of the operating expenses of a restaurant and ensuring that you organize your employees’ schedules in a timely manner is vital
3. Inventory Tracking Software
Inventory tracking software allows you to control your inventory levels as well as recipes, purchase orders and menu expenses – and goes beyond simply looking at into or out of the establishment using predictive forecasting and portions control.
Inventory tracking software can assist you in placing more precise orders from suppliers, refine portions and, perhaps most importantly, keep an watch on your produce to ensure that no one’s getting their hands in the cookie bowl (no joke intended). The best inventory tracking systems will sync directly with the POS software, and be integrated within your POS system. Therefore, look for one that’s compatible with your current software.
4. An Online Ordering Platform
Although online ordering and food delivery are very popular among fast-service restaurants, it’s becoming increasing in popularity with full-service restaurants too. Take-away orders have grown by 8% in the past couple of years and those who make an online purchase are 95% likely of coming back to your establishment. Doesn’t that sound like an investment worth it? Online shopping can increase your visibility and make it easier for customers to locate you in the sea of competitors.
In the beginning, you might prefer an aggregator system – one that offers numerous restaurants via one portal – all while increasing the profile of your restaurant on the right track. Once you’re up operating, you may think about implementing an internal ordering system, since the aggregator platforms are extremely competitive and charge per order a commission that can be as high as 15 percent.
5. A Loyalty Program
Have you heard that approximately 70% of the income generated by restaurants comes from repeat customers? Did you know that those customers will be happy to share the joy when they are satisfied with your establishment?
Giving your customers a reward with loyalty points isn’t just an most prestigious thing to do – it’s also the right option to take. Programs for loyalty will not only result in frequent customers that become brand ambassadors and brand ambassadors, but also are likely to bring in more revenues. Studies show that customers are likely to spend 39 percent more on their purchases when they’re near to claiming their next reward for loyalty. It’s an investment worth making.
When we speak of rewards programs for loyalty, we’re not speaking about the old-fashioned business card you stamp or punch out each time a client purchases food – we’re talking about an online loyalty program one that is managed through an app, allowing customers to keep track of their progress, and also receive personalized promotions that are tailored to their habits and preferences. These kinds of programs are beneficial to both parties in that you are able to gather data about your customers, while they receive rewards with points for loyalty.
There are many reward programs available that range from existing apps to designing your own – however, no matter which option you decide on, you must ensure that it is compatible to the POS system.
6. Self-Ordering Kiosks or Tablets
There is a misconception that self-ordering kiosks belong to fast-food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King, but they’re not. self-ordering kiosks have been gaining popularity throughout all types of establishments, whether as a large-sized kiosk or simply tablets that are placed on the table.
They have many advantages:
- Service times are reduced: kiosks have been shown to dramatically cut down service times and free front-of-house staff, which reduces labor costs and allowing you provide superior customer service. However, this isn’t to suggest that they must replace your staff members, but instead enhance them to improve the overall customer experience.
- automated up-selling kiosks and tablets automatically prompt customers to spend on additional items or upgrades. McDonald’s discovered that the average size of checks for customers who ordered from kiosks were 30% bigger in addition, 20% of those who did not initially purchase drinks would purchase one simply because they could get it.
- Flexibility of menus Digital menus let you to modify and alter the menu items and prices on a daily basis or change the order in which you serve your menu items, putting the items with high margins higher so that they don’t get ignored by your customers.
Based on the kind of establishment that you run, you could decide to invest in anything from one or two to each of these technology. It is essential to select the most suitable solution for your clients and employees as well as the budget you have set. However, whatever you choose to do, make sure you do your research and be sure to make sure that your suppliers offer instruction to your staff, to ensure that they are familiar with the various systems before the day of opening.