We all know that one restaurateur who is resistant to change. And don't worry - no judgment - but maybe that's you.
Like it is in life, change is constant in the restaurant industry. Can you imagine your restaurant without credit cards? Or telephones?
And whether you like it or not, technology is impacting your business. People are basing their decision of where to eat from reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook whether you control those pages or not.
While I'm not suggesting you jump on every restaurant technology trend coming your way in 2017, I do recommend you start to research which solutions are making a real impact in the industry, which provider of that solution is the best fit for your restaurant, how to convince your restaurant's leadership team to adopt this technology, and how to roll it out to your business.
Now, if you've already found the perfect tech solution for your restaurant, you're probably a few steps ahead of this blog. Instead, you may be in the position of convincing your team to go forward with this new solution. If that's the case, check out our new eBook on getting company buy-in for a restaurant IT project.
Step 1: Recognizing the Problem
Problems and opportunities in your restaurant have a funny way of presenting themselves.
Maybe you see three of your servers in line for the same POS terminal, frustrating your guests and staff and holding up your table turn times. Maybe one of your customers comes up to you with their phone in their hand pointing out a scathing review on Yelp that you didn't see. Maybe after several years of a steadily busy Friday night takeout business, your sales slowly start to drop.
Perhaps you're spending too much time on employee scheduling because you have to have to juggle countless time off requests and special considerations, and you might even hear the hostess call three or four parties' names on Saturday night before finally seating one.
Yes, all of these are problems in your restaurant, but they all stem from a bigger issue that - if addressed - could solve the problem.
- If your servers are in line for the POS, ask them what the holdup is, and they may say that the machine is acting up again. Clearly, there's a problem with your POS.
- Maybe that bad Yelp review was from a few months ago, and because you never responded to it, you lost that customer forever (and a few other potential customers who read that review.
- Looking back, you might realize your sales on Fridays declined because your phone lines were always tied up, so instead of waiting on hold, customers went elsewhere.
- You realize you're using a dated employee scheduling system that's taking up way too much time and money.
- Since people easily get tired of waiting, that's why they jump ship on their reservations.
There's always a flaw in the system - no restaurant is perfect. However, taking steps to recognize the problems in your business allows you to figure out the best solution.
"The first days of opening with our first system were hell. The credit card machines didn't work so I had to manually enter in all the information. I hate lines. I wanted to cut the line down as much as possible, but my line went out to 7th Avenue and around the block." - Pat Lafrieda, Owner of Pat Lafrieda Meat Purveyors
Read the Full Case Study
Step 2: Choosing the Solution
Restaurant technology is an investment in several ways. Obviously, it is a financial investment for new hardware and software. But don't forget about the investment of time and resources spent researching the best solution, learning its benefits, and training users on how it operates.
However, when you choose the right solution, the investment pays for itself. Let's go back to those examples.
- POS system acting up? Maybe it's time for a new one.
- Missed a Yelp review? Register for Yelp and other review sites to keep track of customer feedback.
- Phone lines easily tied up? Start using an online ordering system to capture orders in a more convenient way.
- Scheduling employees on a whiteboard in the back? Get an employee scheduling system.
- Reservations causing a hassle? Get a reservation app or go through a site like OpenTable.
"Without a good POS system, everything becomes difficult, time-consuming, or just doesn’t exist. A good POS system can help you and a bad POS system can crush you." - Rich Long, Director of IT at Pieology
Read the Full Case Study
Here comes the most essential part - choosing the right solution. Don't just choose the first result that shows up on Google, spend some time researching options and come up with the best solution for your restaurant. Otherwise, you'll get stuck with a system that's unfit for your business and create more problems than you can solve.
Step 3: Get Buy-in From the Right People
Whether it's the owner or manager who is always stuck in their ways or the enterprise CEO who needs a convincing ROI for all new purchases, getting buy-in from the right people is essential. Without these key influencers, your restaurant may never see that new technology implemented.
We have an entire chapter dedicated to identifying these influencers and convincing them in our eBook for getting company buy-in. To read more about honing on your persuasion skills with purposeful messaging aimed at the right people, click here.
Moving Ahead With Restaurant Technology
Change is inevitable in restaurants. That's why it's important to be proactive in that change and adopt the right technology before you're behind the curve. Remember, it's one thing for you to be an advocate for change - but sometimes that's not enough.
That's why Toast has released a plan and timeline for How to Get Company Buy-In on a Restaurant IT Project. Download your free copy to learn who to pitch to, how to convince them with, and what questions you should ask along the way to achieve maximum restaurant success.
Click below to download your free copy of this exclusive ebook!