Running a restaurant is challenging enough, and there are so many pitfalls that can erode your profit margins. Thankfully, there are numerous technology products on the market that can streamline your processes, reduce your costs and even increase market share and profits.
Handheld Point of Sale (POS) Systems
It used to be that servers would have to scribble orders on a pad. This was time consuming and could easily lead to order errors and disappointed diners. Although the paper system was refined over the years, it still had the inherent issues of being clumsy, time-consuming and prone to mistakes. When the check was requested, the server had to retrieve the paper order, create a bill, and take payment, running back and forth multiple times. Ultimately, when customers finish their meal, they just want to pay and leave almost immediately and these multiple delays are frustrating for both server and customer.
With a Handheld POS, everything is in one place. The server can quickly, easily and more accurately take the order via touchscreen, with far little room for error. They can then generate a bill and take payment at the table all using the same device. Handheld POS systems are fast, efficient and streamlined, and deliver great customer service.
While any restaurant can provide online ordering in the form of services such as DoorDash or UberEats, these companies take a significant fee for providing this service, which can significantly affect profit margins. They often refund complete orders when just one thing is wrong, or their driver is late which can even push you into a loss, with no recourse for you as their client.
By integrating your own online ordering system into your website, you can take control of the delivery and takeout side of your business. These are relatively easy to set up and if there is a problem, you have the opportunity to fix it, with the added benefit of reduced payment fees in the longer term.
Many restaurants sign up to companies such as DoorDash for the advertising benefit and increased order volumes, then offer an incentive for returning customers to order online directly with them instead.
Digital Signage and Digital Menus
Digital signage can be displayed in your restaurant window to encourage foot traffic to come in and dine with you. These displays can be animated for that attention-grabbing factor, rotate through any offers you want to push, and can be easily changed, edited, and updated.
There is a huge trend on social media right now, in particular Instagram and TikTok, where influencers try out restaurants and review them, filming their experience and of course, the food. Digital menus are a modern social talking point that will often be included in these videos, and these influencers can give you a wide social reach if they share items on your digital menu. Again, these are easily edited, really eye-catching and you can direct the focus of customer attention to suit your specific objectives at the time.
Kitchen Display Screens (KDS)
Ticket ordering is cumbersome, prone to error from damaged tickets from tearing or grease, and in a busy kitchen, the need for streamlining is critical. Old-style ticket ordering can really hinder that. Running a kitchen is stressful enough, and everyone needs to know what they’re doing and when!
With a KDS, kitchen staff have the ability to view all current orders at once, at a glance. Some systems let you update each stage of the order so that they can view its progress, and it can tell the servers when each plate is ready to go out. In particular, when balancing dishes for tables of large groups of people, KDS can help ensure that everyone gets their course at the same time.
This is really essential for any business in 2022; people rarely carry cash now, especially in a post-Covid world. Relying on diners to remember their PIN when they never have to because they use Contactless literally everywhere else may cause problems and disgruntled customers. Additionally, with the huge rise in the use of services such as Apple Pay, many people never carry their cards with them at all for security reasons. It’s pretty much a given at this point in the 21st Century that a restaurant, or indeed any establishment, will need to accept more than just cash or Chip and Pin in order to take payment.