The financial and economic impact that COVID-19 has placed on restaurants cannot be overstated. Virtually every restaurant owner has been forced to adjust their operations in some way. Restaurants have slowly begun reopening, but with a heavy focus on off-premises options and limited in-house dining.
It isn’t just restaurants that have been affected. Customers now desire drastically different things than they did before. In the current restaurant environment, it’s critical that independent restaurant operators adapt their strategies based on incoming information about altered customer behavior and expectations.
These changes to restaurant strategies will need to be implemented throughout your restaurant, from front to back, curbside pickup to delivery.
As your restaurant evolves, owning your customer data should be top of mind. Restaurants collect so many types of data, from the operational front to back of the house, and across wide-variety of categories, and then some:
- Customer data: customer contacts, loyalty program enrollment, dining frequency, customer preferences, average order amount
- Kitchen data: menu items, recipe data, cook times, and average cook times, plate-to-table times, items that have been 86’d
- Guest management information: reservations, wait times, turnaround times, peak traffic times, pickup and delivery times
- Staff data: scheduling, hours worked, training completed, labor costs
- Inventory management data: food tracking and management, average food waste
The Importance of Unified Restaurant Operations
Between front-of-house, back-of-house, and off-premises operations, your restaurant has many moving parts. Even though these components' functions are different, they all must be working together in harmony towards the same goals:
Better performance and guest experiences
With seamless connected front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) integrations, guests have a great dining experience, and curbside and delivery orders are hot, fresh, and roll out with ease. All this data transparency helps operators and employees remain cool, calm, and collected during the most demanding shifts and dining hours.
Operators who use integrated restaurant management technology can say goodbye to frustrated employees and “Hello” to awesome guest experiences.
Streamlining operations for maximum efficiency
When you unify your operations, you also unify your data, which means you can begin putting initiatives in place to streamline your operations. Whether it's online ordering, dine-in, or curbside pickup, all of your services need to be on the same page. The tools used for communicating among these different areas must be user-friendly and centralized.
Best-in-class technology can help to streamline communication between parties, especially for tasks like ordering. For example, orders should be sent directly from the source to the kitchen, and the kitchen should be directly in touch with the wait staff. Keeping everything connected and working together cohesively helps prevent delayed, missed, or incorrect orders.
Streamlining your operations can also improve your inventory management. Having access to a broader set of inventory data helps ensure all products, ingredients, and necessary items are always in-stock, and can easily be removed from menus if anything should run out unexpectedly.
Keeping data in one place
Every action within your restaurant generates data. Your technology is continually collecting and tracking data from delivery, online ordering, dine-in, loyalty programs, payments, and transactions. This data is incredibly powerful if harnessed and used correctly, so it is vital that you own all of your data and that it is accurate.
Capturing data is just the first step. Once you have that covered, operators must be able to analyze it effectively. Piecing together fragmented and elusive information is difficult and time-consuming. It’s critical that you can organize and access all that data in one place so that you can ensure accuracy and create more informed decisions.
How a Restaurant Management System Can Help
Without solid plans in place to unify all aspects of your operations, you may have an even harder time adapting your restaurant to changes brought by COVID-19. Luckily, tools and technologies have been developed that can help.
With multiple, disparate technology systems, restaurant owners won’t be getting the efficiency and ROI they’re looking for. Data will be disconnected, which means that operators won’t be able to spot correlations, causations, and opportunities for growth.
An integrated restaurant management system (RMS) can help. This solution acts as a comprehensive command center that unifies your restaurant operation. Systems like this come with features that help you become and remain competitive, offer valuable insight, and help you master your overall operations.
With an RMS, you can benefit from integrating online ordering, delivery and takeout (including no-contact delivery and curbside pickup), loyalty and rewards programs, reporting, and management capabilities throughout your restaurant.
There are many advantages to an unified restaurant management system, including:
You can effortlessly connect your front-of-house, back-of-house, and delivery operations for maximum communication. Better communication means a server can enter in a customer order from the back patio, and the kitchen staff can receive it instantly.
Better inventory management
Achieve better visibility and control over your inventory by unifying your data. When a prep staff member realizes they’re out of mac ‘n’ cheese, they can 86 the item in the system and reflect the update everywhere instantly.
Improved order accuracy and speed of service
Integrated online ordering improves order accuracy and speed of delivery, both to the restaurateur and guest. A restaurant management system keeps track of order time, details, and fulfillment, so orders are never lost and errors are reduced.
More strategic employee management
When systems are integrated, managers can access real-time reports that allow them to schedule the appropriate number of front-of-house and back-of-house employees for each shift, saving on labor costs.
Finding the Right System
Restaurants gain success when everyone is on the same page and everything is working together cohesively. To truly accomplish this, restaurant operators must unify their systems to share data, streamline communication, and optimize workflow from the front-of-house, to the back-of-house, to delivery and pickup.
The first step is finding an expert provider of restaurant management systems like HungerRush. Our RMS systems are designed to help restaurant owners like you become more agile and efficient in overcoming your current industry challenges and achieving better restaurant success. For more information, request a demo with the experts at HungerRush today!