In 2021, the restaurant sector saw a sea transformation. With COVID-19-related regulations affecting in-person eating in some states, eateries are bracing themselves for another slow Christmas season. However, Christmas parties do not have to be your only source of revenue in the fourth quarter; some imaginative changes to your restaurant software strategy may position you for a solid start to the new year.
These are our top ideas for maximizing the value of your restaurant’s software solutions to position it for success in 2022.
Evaluate Your Assets and Your Requirements
You almost certainly already use some kind of restaurant management software. Numerous eateries have a love-hate connection with their restaurant management software. They may be challenging to master and may not cover all your needs, ranging from the point of sale (POS) to accounting systems. This dissatisfaction is not always the fault of the applications.
Many restaurant owners and managers lack the time necessary to get familiar with all of their systems’ functionalities, and they seldom have time to stay current on new advancements when the software they use introduces new tools. However, this first step is critical if you’ve been operating at total capacity all year to keep your firm solvent. Before making any purchases of new software, look at the systems you currently have.
Numerous restaurant point-of-sale businesses invested heavily in creating new online ordering and delivery capabilities, customer relationship management systems, kitchen display systems, inventory management systems, and even staff scheduling solutions in 2021. A point of sale system that you’ve been using for five years may have added a slew of new features to help you expand your company and save you time.
Consider the duties you depend on the software and the everyday chores for which you may use more assistance. Are the tools you’re using resolving your pain spots, partly resolving them, or creating more work? Are the accounting, sales tracking, employee performance, and inventory tracking platforms integrated? If they lack competence or have not been integrated, would you be able to get the most out of your software?
Numerous restaurant management software applications are available through the software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach. They often provide many subscription tiers with varied features. Are the tools you use capable of providing you with enhanced assistance at a higher-tier membership level? Or are you paying for technologies that do more functions than you require? If the latter is the case, can you downgrade to a lower-cost membership tier?
Make time to speak with your account reps and adjust your subscriptions. Be candid about what you need and how you intend to utilize it. Restaurant software firms build innovative ideas and address faults.
Your representative will almost certainly inform you about system changes or new tools that may benefit you and may even give you reduced pricing (in particular, if your contract is about to expire). Inquiring about lower prices or payment processing rates is never a bad idea. The more money you can save, the more money you can make.
Following an evaluation of your current program, you’ll want to investigate further add-ons.
Add Online Ordering Channels for In-House Use
Customers prefer to make delivery orders directly with restaurants rather than via third-party applications by 59 to 63%. Over the last year and a half, 98 percent of consumers utilized digital ordering, and 70 percent preferred to purchase online rather than in person.
This speaks to the establishment of internal internet ordering channels. If you do not have them, now is the time to begin. If your business is situated in an area that experiences significant winter weather, you may want to offer delivery. Customers are more inclined to order burgers if they do not need to risk a snowfall.
This service may be provided in a variety of ways. If you utilize a cloud-based point-of-sale system, your point-of-sale supplier almost certainly includes an online ordering module. Indeed, some app-based point-of-sale systems incorporate an online buying site for free or a monthly fee of less than $15. Alternatively, you may choose from some fantastic restaurant website design platforms specializing in creating custom-branded online ordering systems for restaurants.
A monthly membership fee is charged by several of these website creation platforms. Others impose a flat price per order and additional processing fees for online purchases. Occasionally, you may locate a free online ordering tool, albeit these free sites do not always allow online payments.
Increase the Effectiveness of Loyalty Programs
According to the National Restaurant Association, repeat customers contribute up to 64% of a restaurant’s revenue. Increasing the number of first-time customers who become regulars is a fantastic strategy to ensure success.
Nearly 80% of customers believe loyalty programs should focus on instant advantages rather than point accumulation. This is a positive development for eateries. It’s far simpler to manage expenses when you give a complimentary appetizer or dessert than when you lose 100% of revenue on a steak because a client used all of their loyalty points on one meal.
Almost every point-of-sale system on the market today includes loyalty monitoring. Your system may be customized to monitor points and provide cash or a percentage discount in most circumstances. Alternatively, you may give one-time awards to loyal clients when they achieve a specified point total. Suppose your point of sale system does not provide loyalty features, or you are dissatisfied with the possibilities. In that case, there are other standalone loyalty programs such as Lunchbox and TapMango that interface with various point of sale systems.
Add Waitlist Management Tools
When it comes to managing your restaurant’s occupancy, a waitlisting tool might be a lifesaver. If you’re presently utilizing a reservation tool and are experiencing a high rate of no-shows, a waitlisting app may relieve you of accepting bookings. While you may still use paper and pen to record client names and phone numbers, who will contact waitlisted customers when a table becomes available?
With the press of a button, today’s waitlisting apps instantly SMS consumers. Simply add consumers to the waitlist when they come, or you may enable them to self-register before their arrival. While most waitlist and reservation tools are self-contained, many cloud POS systems interface with several waitlist apps.
As with the other software listed, some free waitlisting applications are available—the majority require a monthly fixed subscription ranging from $24 to over $200 each month. If you’re looking for a complete reservation solution, the most popular restaurant reservation systems, such as Resy, OpenTable, and Eatapp, feature waitlist options.
Attract Your Employees With a Scheduling App
Innovative scheduling tools that send schedules directly to your employees’ cellphones were formerly uncommon, but restaurant staff now almost expect you to have one. A scheduling tool can save you hours each week by automating the process of manually creating schedules, but it also keeps track of all of your staff’s time-off requests and availability.
You won’t need to keep track of Post-it Note shift swap requests or wait until you’re in the restaurant to authorize a shift change. Scheduling applications provide notifications to your smartphone, allowing you to modify your schedule from any internet-connected device. They also keep track of your labor expenditures as you create programs that fit within your labor budget. These are not instruments reserved for major restaurant chains with several locations. Numerous scheduling software, such as Homebase or 7Shifts, provide free capabilities for restaurants with less than five employees.
Become Familiar With COVID Vaccine Tracking Apps
Numerous states have used COVID-19 vaccination monitoring applications. Currently, New York City provides the most advanced app, the Excelsior Pass, which includes a business-oriented scanning application. Restaurants in New York City may scan clients’ QR code vaccination records using a smartphone or iPad. The Excelsior Scanner software will determine if the immunization record is authentic. This is a handy tool in New York City, where proof of immunization is needed while eating inside. The scanning application is available for free download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. will all cooperate with MyIR Mobile as of November 2021. Currently, this software does not enable scanning QR codes for immunization records, but they aim to add this capability shortly. If your restaurant is situated in one of those states—and indoor eating requires evidence of vaccination—keep an ear out for developments.
A winter devoid of Christmas festivities does not have to be depressing. Assessing your current restaurant software approach can help you enhance your company in the months ahead. The most effective techniques include providing consumers and workers with the access they want, turning first-time visitors into repeat guests, and preparing for COVID-19-related eating limitations in your region. You don’t need to spend a lot of money strengthening your software strategy; practically every product described here offers free alternatives or free trials.