Research by Deloitte reveals that 67% of customers at sit-down restaurants think that receiving friendly and authentic engagement is the most important part of the experience.
Yet, quick staff turnover – a well-known problem in the F&B industry – can affect your staff’s productivity and quality of work, leading to a poor customer experience. Fortunately, restaurant technology can help weather these staffing storms with solutions to assist and enhance the service. Here are five pieces of technology that can help make your restaurant staff happier and more productive.
Mobile Point of Sale with direct connection to stock, menus and prices
It no longer makes sense for you to have your front of house staff take orders on a notepad and run from the table, to the register, to the kitchen with a piece of paper that risks getting smudged or lost. Today you can use a Point of Sale solution that can run on a mobile device. Mobile phones and tablet are highly affordable, and convenient to take around, even when you’re carrying a tray on both hands. A mobile POS also makes work easier for your front of house staff, as they can easily see and relay promotional menu items and offer dish recommendations. And if you are using a unified software solution where POS, kitchen and head office are connected, your staff can always be sure that the information they see on their devices – from prices, to ingredients, to product availability – is complete and up to date.
Being able to see real-time stock availability on your POS improves your service while placing less stress on your employees, as they will never have to return to the table to deliver the unfortunate news that, sorry, we are out of the fish of the day – or that, oops, the scallops risotto does include dairy.
Kitchen Display Systems
With a modern F&B management software, the POS in the servers’ hands is connected to the kitchen via a two-way communication system. From the POS, orders are sent directly to the Kitchen Display System (KDS) screen at the appropriate kitchen station. As each kitchen is laid out differently, the KDS can be customized to include any grill, oven, fryer, broiler, cold prep, salad, beverage, or expediting station.
The KDS system automatically routes dishes to the correct stations, while the system allows for manual changes to reflect available resources and different levels of dining room traffic. Guest requests for modifications or substitutions, as well as any other comment the kitchen might need to see (such as allergy alerts) are highlighted alongside the order. Orders can be easily color coded accorded to specifications, and to-go and carryout tickets can be marked specifically. All this functionality can be an invaluable support to your kitchen staff in those rushed moments when they need to prep and prioritize and organize service. By streamlining work, a good KDS will reduce tension in the kitchen, while also decreasing the risk of dishes being sent back because they were not cooked to specifications.
In the employer-employee relationship, clarity helps build trust. Miscommunication can leave both employer and employee stressed and unhappy. After all, no staff member enjoys being called on their day off and asked why they aren’t at work, and no employer likes making that kind of call. A restaurant management system equipped with built-in scheduling functionality can help you organize complex shifts while providing your staff with high transparency and clear, shared expectations.
If your restaurant is a chain with locations across several regions or states, you may also have to deal with local labor laws, and different workplace requirements. The right scheduling enforcement tool will enable you to apply these regional requirements and ensure you are always in legal compliance. Your staff will never miss compulsory meal or rest breaks, leaving you with a more relaxed and energetic workforce.
A complete planning system also enables you to apply up-to-date scheduling information to payroll, eliminating errors and ensuring that everyone is properly compensated on time.
In a restaurant, every staff member has specific needs when it comes to information. If you’re a waiter, you need to know what dishes are still available in the kitchen, just as you need to easily close out or split the check. If you’re in the kitchen, your priority is to produce orders on time, and you need to know that there are enough raw ingredients available to complete them. Management, on the other hand, needs to prioritize cost management, shift scheduling, payroll, and other financials.
You can increase efficiency and reduce time wasted by selecting a system which can be customized to show the kind of information each employee needs to see in their role. The employee putting together the pizzas doesn’t need – or care – to see what this shift’s table setup looks like, and product ID numbers are the last thing on a server’s mind.
Maximize your staff’s time with role-based interfaces that enable your staff to focus only on the tasks that matter to them, so they can deliver faster service and a better experience for your customers.
Intelligent analytics and reporting
The productivity of your restaurant does not rest in the hands of your dining room and kitchen staff alone.
Management needs tools that enable them to see at a glance how the business is performing. They also need to be able to drill down to specifics, and see what is working, and if any action should be taken. Are ingredients being used efficiently? Are the portions too big? Have loyal customers started to come back less frequently? Are there items on the menu that aren’t performing as they should?
Today, restaurant managers don’t have to sweat over Excel spreadsheets to figure out what’s going wrong, or what could be done better. A modern restaurant management system with intelligent analytics and reporting functionality gives managers the insights they need to take action, fast. They can see changes in customer behavior and even predict them. They can track the success of offers and campaigns, understand how to offset changes in ingredient pricing, and optimize menus, offers, and staffing to maximize revenue.
Reliable, timely data will give your managers the confidence they need when taking crucial decisions, increasing both their effectiveness and their job satisfaction.
The long-term success of your business is directly related to your quality of service. Are your employees equipped with the technology they need to be efficient? Contact our restaurant technology experts today to discover what solutions are available to support you, your employees, and ultimately your customers.