Does your restaurant management system do what you really need it to? And does it allow you to manage all aspects of your quick-service restaurant business from one place? If not, it might be time to think about investing in a unified software platform.
Simply put, unified restaurant software brings together all the functionality a restaurant needs to run its business, covering everything from restaurant Point of Sale (POS) to kitchen management to inventory, guest loyalty, and staff management. There’s a big difference between a unified software platform and integrated solutions. Many software providers advertise their solution as being all-in-one when in reality it’s built up with many different tools and systems, which need to be kept connected and are updated and upgraded individually. In the past, this was the only way businesses could get hold of all the functionality they needed. But as countless restaurants will tell you, this approach doesn’t come without risks. Communication breakdowns, data errors, siloed information, reporting delays and an inability to see the full picture are just a few of the main issues they encounter.
Confusion in the market and miscommunication around exactly what a truly unified platform is doesn’t help. You may well think that you’re already using a unified system when in fact what you really have is a bundle of separate solutions that are linked together. A true unified restaurant management platform delivers a complete solution within a single environment, enabling you to store all your data in one place and take advantage of all the functionality you need to run your business effectively.
The benefits of a unified restaurant platform
Quick-service restaurants with a unified restaurant platform are able to manage all their processes from one place. With access to all the functionality and data they need at their fingertips, they are able to:
Work more productively and effectively
A unified restaurant platform gives every employee in your business role-based access to the tools and information they need to do their job to the best of their ability. Restaurant managers can track and manage sales, budgets, marketing campaigns and promotions and check staff schedules and employee performance. As the POS and kitchen are connected, kitchen staff can get incoming orders quickly, with clear information about special requests and timing. Front of house staff can see information on dishes availability and ingredients at the POS, track order preparation and timing without having to run to the kitchen, and turn tables quickly to maximize sales.
Build stronger customer relationships
Keep guests coming back by delivering a smooth, hassle-free dining experience that caters to their every need. If your guests want to order online and pick up, they can. If they want to make a contactless order at their table or at the kiosks, they can – and they can also customize a dish to suit their individual preferences and dietary requirements. With a unified system that helps you connects the dot and gives you a single view of guests, you can also deliver personalized promotions and offers. And as a unified system ties online and in-person, you can deliver loyalty programs that span all channels, making the most of every customer engagement and leaving the best impression.
Eliminate errors and wasteReal-time and reliable data guides you to price dishes correctly, order the right quantity of ingredients for each location and ensure each customer gets the exact dish they ordered to avoid food waste and lost sales. Automated processes also help to reduce the risk of manual errors and support staff with an intuitive and user-friendly solution that spans all areas of the business, regardless of department.
Gain a complete view of your businessWhether you have a handful of restaurant locations or hundreds of franchises spread around the world, a unified platform gives you complete control of your business. Centrally update menus, prices, and promotions, analyze revenue and costs, track staff performance and understand your customers’ behaviors to ensure each restaurant reaches its full potential. You can even branch out into new retail and hospitality ventures safe in the knowledge you can manage all aspects of your business without having to invest in new industry-specific technology.
Proven in retail
Unified commerce is already very popular within retail. Now, restaurants are moving in the same direction. You only have to look to big brands like adidas and IKEA to see the value of delivering a truly joined up consumer experience that transcends all channels and all aspects of the business.
For years, adidas has used unified retail management technology to seamlessly blend its online and offline consumer experiences. “Consumers expect to receive a brand and shopping experience tailored to their preferences, with personalized offerings in both digital and physical spaces,” said adidas in a company statement .
IKEA continues with its ongoing transformation to become more convenient and accessible to its customers. The furniture brand is currently investing in new digital services, city-center stores and innovative fulfilment and delivery capabilities to enhance the consumer experience. As part of this, IKEA is trialing new unified commerce concepts in London as its stores increasingly becoming more than places to shop; they are turning into centers of inspiration that deliver seamless online/offline services including click and collect, and click and deliver.
Unified restaurant management at Cracker Barrel
In the food service industry, US restaurant chain Cracker Barrel is one of the innovators who are leading the way with a unified commerce strategy. The company uses LS First which extends ERP Dynamics 365 Commerce, giving Cracker Barrel a single platform to run its retail and food business in a consistent, cost-effective way. This is no small feat – the company uses LS First across 660 stores, powering 17,000 POS devices.
By using a single platform that covers both restaurant and retail requirements, and which covers kitchen, front of house, back of house, stores, and HQ, Cracker Barrel has managed to increase accuracy in food production data, improve server productivity, reduce store deployment times (an important consideration for any fast-growing company!), and grow operating margins while delivering great guest experiences.
By managing products, recipes and deals centrally, Cracker Barrel can now easily make changes and distribute them across the chain of restaurant, safe in the knowledge that they are delivering a consistent brand experience across all locations in 45 US states. “With LS First we have a single platform for our retail and food business, which has helped us simplify product maintenance and have more accurate production data,” said Bruce Hoffmeister, CIO at Cracker Barrel.
Would you like to become the next Cracker Barrel? Or are you just wondering how a unified platform could make your restaurant business more profitable and effective? Contact us to know more about how our restaurant software solutions LS First and LS Central for restaurants can help you bring your restaurant experience to the next level.