Staying knowledgeable about the latest technology your customers are into is absolutely essential to running your restaurant. You need to know what sites people are using to find your business, where they go to make reservations, what kind of payment method they’re most comfortable spending with, where they’re posting those pictures they keep taking of your food, and where they’re reviewing your establishment once they’ve left. It’s a lot to keep track of, but don’t forget the other side of the equation. You not only sell food, you also buy it, and knowing what tech your suppliers are using can save you a lot of time and money. Here’s a sample of some supplier-focused technology you should know about now:
BlueCart: A lot of suppliers are switching to online ordering, but if you have to download one app for your produce guy, another for your bar orders, another for seafood, and so on, placing orders online isn’t going to save you much time. Enter BlueCart, a free app that puts all your suppliers in one place so you can order from all of them at the same time. Suppliers love it because BlueCart keeps prices private, allowing them to customize by restaurant and cut you that special deal you’ve always had without ruining their relationships with other clients. Plus, BlueCart includes in-app messaging, customizable order guides, and detailed analytics—all for free for both restaurants and suppliers. They even have a Sales Rep App, built specifically for sales reps in the restaurant industry. Sign up at www.bluecart.com and hook your supplier up by inviting them to join for free as well. Like a “Bring One, Get One” sale, except better because it’s free.
FoodLogiq: Did you watch the Chipotle contamination fiasco unfold with a feeling of “That could never happen to me?” Or, were you thinking to yourself “What would happen to my business if foodborne illness struck my customers?” Independent restaurateurs should be especially concerned because not only can they probably not absorb losses in the millions of dollars like Chipotle has, but they also don’t have a PR juggernaut at their disposal to deal with the damage and win back diners. Still, independents do have access to the same technology Chipotle is now using to make sure contamination on that scale never happens again: FoodLogiq. FoodLogiq tracks food through the supply chain, from grower to packer to shipper to wholesaler to restaurant, much in the same way UPS tracks your package’s every move from door to door. This is huge news not only for suppliers who are eager to ensure that their goods stay safe as they move through the system, but also for restaurants, who can use FoodLogiq to trace the items on their dishes all the way back to the growers themselves. Farm to Table is a nice concept, but more often than not there are a few more steps to get the food to your table. With FoodLogiq, those steps are clear.
CamCard: This is more of a sales rep specific trick. You know when a rep comes in, and you’re not there, but then he suddenly has all your info and keeps emailing you and calling you to check in? Yeah, he probably swiped your card off the counter and took a quick pic with one of these business card scanning apps. They work like magic, grabbing all the right info off the card and saving it to your phone. No more manually entering data, misspelling names, and messing up numbers. Best part? These apps aren’t just for reps. Ever been tempted to do one of those free lunch contests with a business card fishbowl? That just got a whole lot easier. So did customer loyalty programs, investor tracking, and even… saving your sales reps contact info. Next time you talk to your rep or supplier, ask them what new tech they’re seeing on their end of the supply chain and what they love and hate about it. The reply could surprise you, and might just improve your business.