Why Restaurant Managers Should Use Smart Online Forms

For today’s restaurant industry, data is crucial. From marketing endeavors, to order placements, to back-office maintenance, the way restaurants gather, organize and manage their information can make or break the business.

Increasingly, businesses are using smart forms to streamline their data collection. Using smart online forms that offer dynamic sectioning abilities and electronic submission options can vastly improve the way that restaurants run their business. Here’s how.

Everyone Makes Mistakes, But Generally, Computers Don’t

Online forms can virtually eliminate human error from your business. In a Consumer Reports survey that identified Americans’ most common restaurant complaints, 62 percent of respondents cited inaccurate orders as a major complaint, and 48 percent mentioned inaccurate calculations on the final bill. Online forms can better streamline order placement, and greatly reduce errors that can be attributed to legibility and misspellings or final calculations.

On the flip side, the kitchen can update forms to alert waitstaff more quickly when certain ingredients and meals are running low or have sold out. Plus, in a world where most of us use our devices for a wide array of things, the restaurant staff will be able to input orders at the press of a button with devices they most likely are already accustomed to using.

Become BFFs With Your Customer

Smart forms allow you to collect and analyze data, which can make everything run more smoothly. If orders are placed electronically, it’s easier to notice trends that can help you make better and smarter decisions, ultimately improving your menu and your relationship with your customers. For example, you may notice that guests are more likely to order red wine on Wednesdays than they are on Thursdays. This knowledge can help you create targeted specials and more appealing menus that will increase profit.

Likewise, in an industry where marketing can often be a challenge, many restaurants rely on the collection of customer data to inform their marketing tactics. When contact information is input via an online form, things like autocorrect for email misspellings and autofill for addresses can significantly reduce errors and help you proactively follow up with customers, whether it’s to email them coupons, let them know about events, or request feedback.

Improve HR Processes and Application Vetting

Handwritten job applications are a thing of the past. Most HR departments now use online forms, and there’s no reason restaurants should be any different. Smart forms provide business owners and managers with a simpler way to vet candidates. This will help you have more productive interviews and make better hires.

Integrate Back-Office Systems

Electronic forms aren't only for front-of-house use. Your supply chain can also benefit from them, as submitted forms can be easily integrated with back-office systems. The staff in charge of ordering food and beverages can access guests’ orders as well, so they will know if the scallop dish sold well or that they are down one more pound of lamb. This way, they can take stock into account when purchasing more items from suppliers.

Updating your restaurant to integrate these online forms is just one more way you can show off your business acumen and get a leg up in the industry.