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4 Pieces of Tech Needed to Run Your Restaurant Efficiently

Mar 19 2019 - 10:24am
Running a restaurant requires constant changes to your management style and workflow. It also requires technology that can quickly and easily accommodate these changes.

When it comes to restaurant tech, your business needs devices that can maximise your efficiency and communication while minimising human error and operational roadblocks.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen equipment or your inventory management, there’s plenty of useful technology out there that can you help you improve your restaurant’s effectiveness. To start, you should take a look at tech such as:

  1. A restaurant point of sale (POS) system.

  2. Credit card readers and payment processors.

  3. Online ordering technology.

  4. Mobile tablets.

These devices bolster your employees’ efficiency and your restaurant’s ability to handle customers. Let’s take a look at how these improvements happen:

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1. A restaurant POS system.

A great restaurant POS system functions as the central organiser for all of your restaurant’s workflow, customer relationship, and employee management needs.

Platforms like Lavu’s restaurant POS system not only takes care of the hard work behind customer-server interactions but also helps your kitchen and front-of-house staff communicate more clearly while assisting your managers with features like real-time inventory and sales tracking.

To kick off your research on POS systems and the kind of impact they can have on your restaurant, you may want to ask some initial baseline questions, such as:

  • What is a POS system? A restaurant point of sale system is a software and hardware platform that can perform basic tasks to better manage your restaurant’s customer transactions, employee interactions, and daily operations. They are centreed around pieces of hardware that connect with a software platform to streamline your restaurant’s workflow.

  • How can a POS system help? With the ability to keep track of inventory, schedule employee shifts, manage gift cards and loyalty programs, and present digital menus to customers, a POS system improves all facets of your restaurant’s atmosphere, operations, and employee culture. It makes your managers’ lives easier while also improving staff-customer interactions.

  • What kind of POS system should I use? Although a variety of point of sale systems are available for your restaurant to choose from, you should consider the major category through which point of sale systems are classified. The difference between legacy and mobile POS systems is a fundamental one that decides whether you will be operating your platform through a main central computer with one or two large kiosks (legacy) or through a cloud-based software with mobile kiosks (mobile).

While your restaurant encounters a variety of rental and operational costs, investing in the right POS software is well worth the added expense. It is a key piece of equipment that will positively impact your restaurant’s operations in the long term. These changes will result in a higher overall margin of profit as your restaurant becomes more efficient and productive.

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2. Credit card readers and payment processors.

If your restaurant is having trouble with handling payments quickly and discreetly, it might be to time to consider purchasing a credit card reader and enlisting the help of a payment processing service.

Choosing the right payment processor and credit card reader can help your restaurant accurately assess its financial needs and numbers.

This kind of service can come in handy if your business needs more organisation on the logistical side of its management. But if you’re feeling lost amid the talk of credit card readers and payment processors, don’t worry. First off, you should ask:

  • What is a credit card reader? A credit card reader is a device that can collect your customer’s credit card information and provide that information to your payment processing service. While they work together with payment processing technology, they may need to be purchased separately for the whole system to work.

  • How can a payment processor help? Using the most compatible technology for your business simplifies your finance and logistics management.Payment processors are a subtle form of technology that provides your customers with a smooth transaction experience and reduces the stress of handling a variety of payments for your employees.  By processing customer payment information and relaying that info to your restaurant, you can collect data on your restaurant’s sales volume with relative ease.

  • What payment processing plans are out there? Ask providers about their payment processing plans to ensure your restaurant can budget accordingly. There are several different plans you can choose from. A flat-rate payment plan will involve the processing service charging you a flat-rate monthly. A tiered payment plan might have you pay based off of sales volume. Remember to choose a plan and a provider that is the best fit for your restaurant.

While you may sweat the added costs of a restaurant credit card reader and payment processor, rest assured that this kind of investment will certainly bring in long-term returns. If you use the information here effectively, you should be able to make a decision that will stimulate your restaurant’s growth on a larger scale.

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3. Online ordering technology.

Does your restaurant deal with delivery or to-go orders? Without a comprehensive POS system, you might be missing out on a huge area for potential improvement.

Online food ordering is a fast-growing trend in the restaurant industry. If you find the right software and apps to incorporate into your restaurant’s workflow, you can easily manage online orders without much trouble.

For added assistance, try finding online ordering software or platforms that can integrate with your restaurant’s POS system. If your pizza parlour uses a pizza POS system, for instance, integrating with an online ordering platform, marketplace, or app can help you cover potential blind spots in your delivery workflow that an entry-level POS system can’t manage.

Implementing online ordering technology doesn’t need to inconvenience your restaurant.

Possible online ordering solutions for your restaurant:

  • Customised ordering app. This first solution involves designing and creating your own online ordering system from scratch. You may have to work with an app or software developer to ensure that the app accommodates all of your restaurant’s needs. While this option does allow you better opportunities to brand the app to your liking, it isn’t a cost-effective solution for most smaller restaurants that aren’t a part of a larger chain.

  • Ordering marketplace. The second option your restaurant can try is enrolling in an online ordering marketplace. These marketplaces already possess an infrastructure for you to use, so the effort involved on your end is minimal. However, you will place your restaurant in a space that involves more competition, so your payoff may be smaller.

  • White label provider. The last option is to enlist the services of a third-party online ordering provider who can integrate online ordering tech into your restaurant’s website or POS system without leaving a large footprint. This option also allows you a better chance to maintain brand coherence during the online ordering process.

Making it inconvenient for your restaurant’s customers to order online, whether it’s for delivery or pickup, can result in an issue known as shopping cart abandonment.

This is a common problem for businesses with online ordering options. For reference, Swoopnow.com’s article on the subject discusses how shopping cart abandonment can work as a major impediment to any business’ e-commerce strategy.

It’s safe to say that cleanly integrated online ordering systems can help prevent this problem so that your restaurant can retain as many potential customers as possible.

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4. Mobile tablets.

Ensuring thorough communication between employees is essential to running your restaurant properly. If you can get your kitchen and front-of-house staff to correspond effectively,  you will see an improved workflow in the future.

When it comes to customer interactions and employee management, mobile tablets are second to none in properly streamlining your restaurant’s service and employee interactions.

Mobile tablets don’t need to be a hassle. But if you’re wondering if it’s the right choice for you, you might be asking:

  • Why should I use a mobile tablet?  Imagine being able to manage your table booking on the same device that allows you to adjust employee schedules. Mobile tablets improve both your restaurant’s atmosphere and your employees’ ability to interact with customers. Their convenience and size allow you to make adjustments to your restaurant’s workflow on the fly while also maintaining a full view of restaurant operations.

  • How do I use a mobile tablet? Mobile tablet solutions for your restaurant come in a number of different packages. Some state-of-the-art restaurant POS systems offer mobile tablets as a part of their product bundles, allowing you to implement multiple high-end solutions into your restaurant’s workflow with a single purchase.

Using mobile tablets can provide your restaurant with an improved method for handling customer transactions while also giving your managers a better way to handle operational obstacles in the future.

These are just a few device features that help out your restaurant in the long run. Ultimately, you should look at where your restaurant needs improvement most and conduct research accordingly. But using these ideas, you’ll have a great start in giving your restaurant the efficiency boost it needs.

Article by: Saleem Khatri

Saleem Khatri

Bio: Saleem Khatri is the Chief Executive Officer of Lavu. Saleem has a "founders mentality", with a track record of working with high-growth software companies. He is a rare breed of someone who is both a hands-on leader and a strategic visionary and brings with him a myriad of inspiration, technical acumen, and a passion for our products, services, and customers. Prior to Lavu, Saleem successfully launched software and hardware products at start-ups via Y Combinator and managed a $79 billion investment portfolio on behalf of the United States Department of the Treasury. Saleem earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor.

"The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of Chefify and its partners or sponsors"

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