After the rollercoaster of the last year and a half, the restaurant industry is moving forward with making upgrades they put off because of the disruption COVID-19 created. The trends the industry had in 2019 toward improved tech stacks, better reporting, and streamlined operations can’t wait any longer, and restaurants are finding the budget to put toward technology again.
With uncertainties still on the horizon, why are restaurants choosing to invest in upgraded technology now? Brands are looking for whatever competitive edge they can gain as they continue to adapt and evolve through the pandemic. Getting the right technology in place, saving money, having a better understanding of the business, and prioritizing health and safety are just some of the reasons technology makeovers are gaining steam.
1. Technology Consolidation
One of the things large restaurants brands have realized they no longer have time for is managing an unruly tech stack. Too often, tech stacks were built as a patchwork, as manual processes were updated, a new program would be added. Unfortunately, that makes integration and visibility spotty as well.
You can’t afford to not know if you can trust your data, and manual reporting or disconnected reporting from disparate systems leaves gaps in your business visibility. Bringing your data into a single data warehouse lets you make quick, informed decisions about what matters most to your business.
Consolidating your tech stack can also save money as you bring several systems under one umbrella.
2. Savings on Prime Costs
Too many restaurants, even enterprise brands, are still using manual processes for various areas of the business, such as inventory, scheduling, and reporting. These time-consuming tasks not only burn labor hours when you can least afford it but losing track of your inventory will eat away your margins faster than you realize.
Ideally, the top cost items need to be inventoried daily and a full inventory done once a week. But when inventory is difficult, your employees will put it off longer, eyeball more than they should, and get sloppy with data entry. Modern inventory technology keeps food costs under control as you monitor waste and spoilage.
Similarly, group texts, paper printouts, and half-remembered kitchen conversations no longer cut it if you want to know how your labor is doing. Innovative labor management technology lets managers quickly make and approve schedules, and employees can manage schedules online without any of the potential mix-ups that come with traditional schedule building. Plus, your managers can get alerts for overtime or break enforcement to help you comply with labor laws.
3. Better Team Communication
Managing a single location, much less a multi-unit brand, brings major communication issues. Traditional communication through emails, posted signs, and team meetings are too easy for many employees to miss, and don’t always roll out consistently or at the same time across a brand.
Particularly at a time that new health and sanitation procedures are being updated as local, regional, and national information evolves, you need a way to ensure employees are receiving the same message and effectively carrying out any new policies or procedures.
Restaurants are turning to team apps that can push notifications to employees, or notification banners when employees log in. Clear, consistent methods of communication help amplify necessary messages to employees and make sure the information isn’t lost when an employee is on vacation, or a sign is missed.
4. Driving Brand Growth
Multi-unit brands are coming through the pandemic ready to grow but are finding that scaling up certain processes is difficult when being done manually. While you may like the foundation of what you’ve built, it’s difficult to understand what is happening across your brand when you aren’t able to easily pull together reporting at every level of your business, or that reporting comes weeks or months too late to matter.
Building a brand takes more coordination, more visibility, and more sophistication than manual processes can provide. The right technology is helping major brands as they invest in growth.
5. Better Compliance with Health and Safety
Many customers are still looking for assurance that their restaurants are still paying extra attention to health and safety as they begin to dine in again. You can use tech to not only track things like wellness checks or questionnaires but communicate those results to customers or local government bodies when needed.
Manual processes and disconnected tech stacks no longer cut it for restaurants who need to maintain their margins during tumultuous times. The trend toward technology revitalization is growing stronger.