Sponsored by HotSchedules
In the last decade, the restaurant industry has benefited greatly from technologies that have transformed everything from point-of-sale to employee scheduling and training. However, these advancements have caused unforeseen problems — namely, large, disconnected tech stacks that are expensive to operate and leave managers mired in data.
Technology investments are supposed to simplify your operations, not complicate them. But in too many cases, legacy restaurant systems are leaving managers with one more thing to worry about on top of their already hectic daily lives. How can restaurant operators innovate for the future and enable their managers without another system muddying the waters?
The key is to deploy simplified and integrated systems that deliver actionable insights to help them plan for both the expected and unexpected — every day. With that in mind, let’s look at three important criteria when choosing a back-office system.
1.Consolidated Software to Save Time and Money
Today’s restaurants run too many systems, with some businesses utilizing anywhere from 10 to 30 different technologies in-house. There are independent systems for point-of-sale, scheduling, training, payroll, inventory management, marketing, and more.
The sheer amount of technology is a reaction to monolithic back office software that lacked functionality. But, in the race to automate every function, restaurants have lost a vital benefit of advanced systems — streamlined performance. The lack of tech consolidation has put operations at a disadvantage in multiple ways, including the time managers waste logging into and out of multiple different systems every day.
These disconnected tech stacks are also incredibly expensive to uphold. This is one of the biggest hurdles restaurants face in optimizing their operations and meeting top-line business goals and day-to-day key performance metrics, like the daily cost of sales, labor, and food.
The solution lies in moving from multiple disconnected systems to a connected tech stack that functions as a “one-stop shop” — providing managers with centralized access to the whole range of data locked within each system.
2. Scalable Solutions to Avoid Overwhelming IT Staff
As restaurants have grown their tech stacks to gain the advanced functionality they need to remain competitive, they have created a new staffing problem. In order to run all of these systems, you need to hire IT professionals to manage the machines. And with IT often getting the short end of the stick in the face of other business priorities, opportunities to optimize tech functionality get lost.
The solution lies in consolidating multiple systems in a much more simplified network. If you’re considering a new back-office solution, it’s important to do an analysis of your vendors and how their systems can work together (or not).
If the systems can’t work together it may be time to simplify operations by switching out the engines with solutions that don’t keep data siloed away. To implement this approach, it’s important to identify a technology partner with experience facilitating discussions between vendors and restaurant leaders.
3. Gain Data Visibility to Make Better Decisions
Does this sound familiar? “We need to create reports for top management, but my managers are busy handling critical shit-to-shift responsibilities. I can’t have them sitting in the back office crunching numbers all afternoon.”
This speaks to the lack of visibility facing CIOs and their IT teams. Sure, restaurants are generating tons of data thanks to all of their tech systems. But in many cases, they either can’t access or can’t translate that data into insights that help decision-making — at least not without turning their managers into data scientists.
The reality is that restaurants need their managers out on the floor overseeing teams, handling issues as they arise, and ensuring guests are being served great experiences every single time.
Instead of locking themselves into the back office to try and suss out insight, managers need to be served up actionable store-level insight. For example, during a busy shift chicken may be running low. However, there is plenty of steak. Knowing this, the manager could add a steak special to the evening menu and let the staff know to recommend the dish. That’s actionable insight!
This level of insight can be achieved when data from multiple systems is flowing through a consolidated network that delivers the right actionable data-driven insights exactly when restaurant teams need it.
It’s time to move forward by deploying back office systems that are consolidated, scalable, and provide visibility to corporate teams and actionable insights to stores. Such technologies will help businesses move further toward operational excellence by driving productivity and revenue.