Reputation is key when you run a restaurant; this is especially true in the age of social media. Serving the wrong dish, charging an incorrect amount, are all mistakes that may lose you not only the customers who experienced the problem, but also all the potential customers who read online reviews. Although running a successful restaurant is mostly down to passion, discipline, and clear rules, technology can help. By automatizing complex tasks, restaurateurs can reduce the risk of mistakes, and are free to focus on other, more satisfactory parts of their job – such as preparing delicious menus and welcoming guests. Restaurant management systems can do much more than streamlining financial operations. Here are three ways you can use your ERP and management system to automate tasks and reduce errors:
Track ingredients and allergens in dishes
Food allergies and intolerances are annoying at best, and in the worst cases, they can be lethal. Serious restaurateurs follow strict rules to keep track of possible allergens and to avoid contamination in the kitchen. Effective communication with diners is also important to make guests with allergies feel relaxed and safe in your establishment. Can your waiters answer quickly and confidently when asked about what a specific dish contains? Or do they have to run back and forth from table to kitchen to double-check that the salad includes no milk products, and that the steak didn’t get in contact with any mustard? Integrated management software solutions enable you to set up your dishes and recipes in the system, and distribute the information about ingredients and possible allergens to all touchpoints – including stationary and mobile POS, your website, kitchen displays or even your customers’ mobile devices. For servers, this means being able to call up accurate information on each dish whenever they need, with no hesitation.
Make sure prices are correct across the channels
“Your price was different on the online menu!”; “Wait, shouldn’t the salad be free with your lunch deal?” Even if you charged thewrong price as an honest mistake, people can be quick to decide that they are being swindled – and that they won’t come back to your establishment. Keeping all information consistent on all touchpoints is difficult, and it’s especially hard for restaurants running seasonal menus or temporary promotions. And when a business operates across the channels, it’s another added complication. Good restaurant management systems can help you easily set, maintain and update prices on all channels. Just set prices, offers, deals and combos in the back office. The system then insures that all terminals (in-store POS, loyalty app, e-commerce site) are immediately updated with the latest information. When you can trust the system to take care of keeping prices consistent across locations and channels, and of applying valid offers to all purchases, your staff is free to focus on more important things – such as providing great service.
Send the right dish to the kitchen
Picture the scene: a server is taking the order from a table with a family of four. They kids want a pizza and soft drink combo, while the parents choose a risotto – one with extra cheese, one no cheese and extra mushrooms. The server memorizes the order, heads to the register to punch it in but is stopped by a group of patrons who are annoyed because their mains are late. Once the waiter finally reaches the register, the first order is half-forgotten, and she punches it in incorrectly. We have all had to work the nightmare shift, when nothing goes right, things get mixed up and confused; when during the rush, the chef misunderstands your writing, and cooks the sole instead of the cod. And when errors start coming, they pile up, and become an avalanche that usually leaves in its wake stressed workers and unhappy customers. There’s an easy way to solve this kind of problems: an integrated management system – bonus points if it runs on both stationary and mobile POS. “Integrated” here means that all parts are connected; in this case, it refers to the direct communication between the Point of Sale and the kitchen. Let’s imagine the scene above with an integrated system: the waitress punches the order on the mobile POS, straight at the table. The order is then sent directly to the kitchen, where it’s either printed, or displayed –including special requests and extra items- on the monitors in the right section of the kitchen. No rushing across the floor; no hand-written slips of paper. It’s all automated. In the kitchen, the chef can then have a clear overview of all the orders coming in, and prepare the exact dish the customer asked for, at the right moment. In case of any queries by the guests, the two-way communication also enables staff members to monitor the order’s progress on the stationary and mobile POS devices. Restaurant software can be a great ally when it comes to reducing errors in the front and back of house. The gain for the restaurateur is double: happier customers and more relaxed staff. Is your restaurant management system unable to do all this? Contact us to discuss how the right software can help improve your business and up your customer service.
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