No matter what type of restaurant you run, software technology is necessary for your business. Restaurant software simplifies operations and overall management. It also allows you to make data-driven decisions.
As restaurant owners and managers, you can find the whole software and technology arm of the business pretty intimidating. This article will help you get a complete picture of what restaurant software you need to run your business.
We will be covering each of the following functions.
- Operations Software
- Online Ordering Platforms
- Engagement Software
Operations software – helps you manage your daily restaurant activities
Broadly, restaurant operations include the following:
- Billing, Ticketing, Invoicing – When customers order from you, their order details are punched in and invoice receipts are generated. Taxes get included here.
- Inventory Management – Keeping track of the inventory is important to understand raw material utilisation.
- Overall Restaurant Management – Central tracking of all the operations from a single dashboard to be on top of your business.
- Kitchen management – Provide order information to the kitchen the moment orders hit the POS.
To facilitate all the above crucial operations activities, you need a software that carries them out in a seamless fashion.
a. Point of Sales Restaurant Software
This is probably the most basic piece of software you need at the restaurant. You should be already having one. The legacy POS was built to handle the operations activities (billing, ticketing and invoicing) at the restaurant. However the modern day does a lot more. For example:
Integrations – Your POS should integrate with other functions of your restaurant
Tax and Accounting – Assists in the calculation of all your orders, total revenue and taxes.
Analytics – Syncs in with your analytics software to provide you intelligence on your customers, hot selling items, best days and more.
CRM – Your POS gives data to your CRM and helps the running of automated SMS and email campaigns.
b. Inventory Management Software
As a restaurant manager, one of your primary concerns is that your restaurant costs stay low. Raw materials are bought in bulk and take a toll on your finances. Inventory software helps you track your inventory levels and get alerts as and when your stocks deplete.
c. Kitchen display software
In a traditional setup, when orders hit your POS system – kitchen order tickets are created and forwarded to the kitchens manually. Kitchen Display Systems help in fastening this process by displaying the orders on a screen in the kitchen. The entire kitchen then has visibility on the order status and it helps the cooks prioritise better. Besides this, it aids the manager by giving him an update on all the orders and raise alarms when the orders pile up during peak hours.
How seamless operations benefit your restaurant?
- Improve customer experience: Faster and efficient operations ensure that.
- More visibility on revenues and costs.
- Control on theft and pilferage.
- Overall management of restaurant functions – helps you get a grip on all the functions and their performance.
Online Ordering Platforms – Get people to directly order from you
Online ordering platforms are channels where customers can place orders. This includes websites and apps.
The growing popularity of websites and apps:
Consumer behaviour has changed over the last 2 decades. Now customers want increased convenience of ordering and eating from home. Websites and apps are extensively used by customers to place orders and are key touchpoints connecting restaurants to customers.
To increase the success of your online ordering platforms, here is a quick checklist of all the things that you should keep in mind:
- Put attractive visuals and content
- Build the restaurant’s credibility -by adding which increase the buyer’s faith in the restaurant.
- Be visible on the search engines – your website must be for the niche you are targeting. Say you are a burger company then you’d really benefit if you show up (on the searches) for a related keyword. Increases the likelihood of traffic and orders.
- Multiple payout options to give the buyer more options of payments – Cash on delivery, Card, Net-banking and more
An online ordering platform is beneficial in several ways:
- Lets you market and promote your restaurant – tell the world what you stand for, what all you have to offer, and your unique story.
- Helps you reach out to a larger audience.
- Gives your customers a platform to order directly from you (and not via third party aggregators).
Engagement Software – Increase repeat business for your restaurant
Once you build a sizeable audience base, it is imperative that you work on it by reminding them to come back and visit your restaurant. In order to do this, you must have a ready CRM workflow. A CRM system is an automated system which allows you to reach out to your audience in a systematic fashion. Typically this includes SMS, Email or push notifications on the app. For example – Say a customer logged in to your website and placed an order, he would become a part of your database and you can then set-up an automated mail or SMS system so that he remains updated on all your promotions and offerings.
Benefits of a CRM system
- Keeps you in touch with all your customers, thus increasing the likelihood of repeat orders.
- Helps you market and promote your brand.
- Increases referral traffic to your website or app, this, in turn, helps you get discovered faster on the internet.
- Helps you reach out to your audiences on special days, and occasions
To make your CRM campaign more successful, you must do it right.
Here are some tips to improve your CRM game:
- You should provide customised and personalised content depending upon buyer behaviour (through data collected from prior purchases). So, set up a few workflows based on demographics such as age, gender or order specifics such as order size, items ordered
- The content you provide should be appealing – If you want to increase the likelihood of conversions (or orders), your messaging must be on point, both on the SMS and Email front.
- You have a clear call to action on your messages and landing pages – this helps increase focus and increases your success.
- Supplement your CRM campaigns with active social media updates so that you can catch the customer’s eye in more ways than one.
This completes our list of essentials. Hope you found the read helpful. More power to you!