Sponsored by HotSchedules
Successful brands in today’s saturated restaurant operating environment understand the importance of guest experience. It’s not enough to simply deliver a great product anymore — when people dine out, they want more than just a meal in a nice setting. Guests want to have engaging interactions and memorable experiences when they visit your restaurant. They want to be heard, delighted and rewarded.
The challenge that restaurants face is how to execute these great experiences day in and day out so that guests come back and restaurants can predict traffic patterns. That’s not exactly an easy code to crack, but it’s necessary — 60 percent of guests say that a positive experience will make them visit a restaurant more often, according to Deloitte. And when you consider that repeat customers spend 67 percent more on average than new ones, the case for a comprehensive guest experience strategy becomes even stronger.
Restaurants continue to adopt customer-facing technology such as kiosks, mobile-ordering apps and loyalty software, and these investments are undoubtedly important. But research indicates that even though restaurants are making these investments, the KPIs they prioritize are labor and food costs. So how can restaurants achieve these operational goals but also give guests the experiences they crave?
Great Employee Experience = Great Guest Experience
Restaurants with engaged, empowered employees will stand out from the rest of the pack. Achieving that employee engagement requires a sound employee management strategy. If your workers have to deal with a chaotic and disorganized management process, they’re less likely to be invested in their jobs, and that lack of investment will translate to your guests.
The pillars of good employee management include:
- Business processes
Unfortunately, traditional back-office systems are employee-second solutions. They were built to streamline processes and collect data sure … but those functions mostly served the corporate office. Which makes sense. The core focus and functionality should be on inventory, supply chain, cash management and data collection to monitor, model and predict store performance. But engagement and labor management — the functions that impact the manager and the employees the most — were never a part of the equation. And we wonder why adoption is so difficult.
Today’s leading brands understand the power and profitability of an engaged workforce and are working hard to build & develop that two-way dialogue. A modern, mobile back-office experience that is designed to improve a manager’s day-to-day duties when running a restaurant can help foster collaboration, communication and accountability among employees.
Advanced Sales Forecasting Delivers Ideal Staffing Levels
For restaurants, you can boil guest experience down to the culmination of your product quality, consistency and service. And what drives excellent service and a perfect shift? Staff levels. When staff levels are optimal, your employees are able to provide customers with that unique experience they want. They won’t have to rush through customer interactions or get orders incorrect because you’re understaffed.
Advanced forecasting technology can also help managers forecast labor by revenue center, to ensure that the restaurant is properly staffed in every area that sales are made. These capabilities establish your business on the higher end of the Five Levels of Labor Forecasting, helping boost productivity, achieving appropriate workloads, consistently great food and ultimately happy guests.
Integrated Back Office Systems Provide Greater Insight
Restaurants know that data collection is important, but in many cases, their IT resources are spent managing too many systems and fielding requests from various departments. Data needs to be served up in meaningful ways so that managers can use them. But too many restaurants lack effective access to their data because it’s trapped in disparate systems and can’t interact to provide valuable insight through predictive analytics.
The industry needs a path to simplified, integrated systems that enable teams with actionable insights. Brands and employees want automation and integration that can help reduce human error on the job, ensuring streamlined operations and a better customer experience. Intelligent technologies can analyze data and help managers make better operational decisions around labor, supply and demand in their stores. How will the upcoming college football game affect sales? What about the weather that day? How should your manager staff the restaurant based on those factors? And is there a special they should offer that could boost sales?
These insights are key — it empowers employees when they know they are getting the right information they need to succeed. Ultimately, restaurants need a central source of truth, one that is more than a business intelligence solution. Managers need store data presented to them in actionable ways that drive decision-making. That confidence and engagement translates to guests, who see an operation firing on all cylinders.