Is your restaurant business taking advantage of online apps? If not, you could be missing out on innovative– and cost effective– ways to streamline your business.
Online applications have taken off at light speed. The time and financial savings associated with using an online workplace management application can pay off tenfold.
Below we have reviewed five types of online software applications that can help restaurant owners become run their businesses more efficiently. In the comments below, feel free to share your own favorite online applications.
Type # 1: Apps for Menus and Signs
Changing a menu used to be a lot of work and cost extra money. Changing your prices or adding an additional menu selection meant purchasing new signs and menus for the restaurant. In some cases, an employee had to physically slide card stock panels in and out of a display menu each time there was a menu change.
The newest online apps have made the task of changing the menu easier by providing high definition digital menus to restaurants. With this new technology, all the restaurant owner has to do to update their menu is log into their online account and make the changes. Your menu content is stored online.
Hatchware and Mvix are two examples of online menu and signage software applications for restaurants.
Type #2: Apps for Reservations
Reservations used to be complicated. The process involved the customer calling the restaurant and someone at the restaurant writing the customer’s name on a list for a specific date and time.
Naturally, the manual method left a lot of room for human error–such as the list getting lost or a customer’s name recorded for the wrong day or time. Sadly, these human errors could lead to upset customers and lost business.
Fortunately, reservations have become easier for both the customer and the restaurant owner. New online applications like OpenTable and SeatMe let customers make their own reservations over the Internet. They automatically keep track of the date and time. Best of all, there’s no more embarrassing mistakes.
Type #3: Apps for Loyalty Programs
Restaurant loyalty programs are popular with the customers. Everyone likes to get a little reward every now and then. Most restaurant loyalty programs reward the customer with a discounted or free purchase after they’ve paid for a certain number of meals.
Some restaurants use a cardboard loyalty card to track customer purchases. Each time the customer comes in a restaurant employee punches a hole in or stamps the loyalty card. When the loyalty card fills up, the customer receives their reward. Other systems use plastic cards.
It sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not. Customers get upset when they forget their card. They still want credit for their discount. Also, the cardboard card system is vulnerable to fraud–customers can stamp or punch their own cards to get the deal before they would normally qualify.
Many online loyalty programs like Sundrop and RewardLoop have done away with the loyalty card altogether. Instead, they tie loyalty rewards to the customer’s own smartphone. These systems collect loyalty data automatically. These new online software applications can also integrate with point-of-sales applications.
Type # 4: Apps for Point of Sales
Another function that has moved online is the point of sales (POS). Point of sales refers to transactions that occur where the sale occurs. Such transactions usually involve receiving payments.
You can learn more about the pros and cons of online point of sales applications in our blog post.
Many of the newest Point of Sales applications make use of mobile technology such as smart tablets and smart phones. Two examples of online POS applications include Ambur and Lavu.
Type #5: Staff Scheduling
Traditionally, scheduling employees takes a lot of a restaurant manager’s time. There always needs to be enough staff working to serve the customers. But scheduling extra staff when they are not needed can be costly. You also need to minimize overtime costs. There’s also vacation request and shift swapping to consider.
Coming up with schedule that works for everyone used to be a major effort for restaurants. Fortunately, online scheduling software has eliminated many of the challenges associated with staff planning.
One example of an online staff scheduling application is our own ShiftPlanning software. ShiftPlanning automates the scheduling process and saves the restaurant owner time and money at the same time. Plus, ShiftPlanning adds many helpful communication features such as SMS employee notification to improve employee morale.
The Bottom Line
Online applications have definitely changed the restaurant industry–for the better. For those restaurants that are ready to make the move, online tools make running a restaurant easier. Moving to an online application can be a win-win decision.
What is your favorite online application? ShiftPlanning would like to know.