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The Restaurateur: Restaurant Management Blog

Tips, tricks and hacks for a more smoothly running restaurant

02 Jul

By

Why 4% of your sales disappear

July 2, 2015 | By |

I wish there was a way to sugarcoat this. What I’m about to write makes everyone uncomfortable and no one likes to talk about it; but it is time we did. According to statistics from the National Restaurant Association, about 4% of your sales are lost to employee theft.

Restaurant employees stealing

Pickpocket stealing a mans money from back pocket, isolated on white

Mostly it’s small stuff that we all see: a plate of french fries here, a shot of tequila over there. Most the time when we see the little stuff, we just turn our heads the other way. We rationalize it as the cost of having employees…but it adds up. And then there’s the big stuff that we don’t see: bar tabs that aren’t rung up, steaks disappearing from the walk-in and inappropriate check voids. Have you ever thought about how easy it is to add a digit in front of a tip amount on a charge slip?

Your employees are constantly handling valuable food, alcohol and cash. You have to trust them, and yet not everyone is trustworthy. In fact, a recent study found that 75% of restaurant employees had at least seriously considered stealing from their employer. The reason is that it’s so easy.

Maybe 4% doesn’t sound like much, especially when compared to the approximately 64% of your expenses that are sunk in food cost and labor. Consider this: for the average restaurant location, 4% amounts to more than $27,000 a year. How does that feel?

How do you put a stop to it?

Without putting cameras in every corner of your place and spending your night in a dark room staring at monitors, you can still crack down on the problem. The key is to keep track of your inventory and compare it to sales. Your POS reports should exactly match what was removed from inventory. No guessing. No fudging. They should match. You can check these reports manually but there are better ways.

A good POS system, a good inventory system and the diligence to maintain that inventory really pays off. Of course, PeachWorks has an inventory system that we’d love for you to use, but the most important thing is that you do something.

Keeping a good inventory makes sense anyway. Knowing your food cost and maximizing your profit on every menu item is critical. If it can stop product from disappearing, however, it instantly pays for itself.

For example, we have a customer using our system who was able to track down a manager that was stealing. That manager was voiding checks after customers paid. “It took me about five minutes and I could pull every single check where that happened. And so, I mean, money wise right there, it will save you. It will pay for itself if you have just one manager doing something like that.”

It’s not just about money, either. Theft really comes down to respect and respect is at the core of morale at every business. Employees who trust each other and respect each other, also work well together. Stealing is never a sign of a good work environment.

Restaurant employee theft infographic

Click to download this infographic.

If a restaurant follows these practices, not only will they catch theft when it happens, they can prevent theft. If all of the staff know that these practices and tools are in place, those who were “just thinking” about stealing, won’t.

Theft isn’t easy to talk about but what’s harder to stomach is not safeguarding against it. It’s time to do something and we’d be happy to talk to you about it. Our restaurant experience is key; we’ve been in your shoes.

>>We’ve created an infographic about employee theft that you can download and print. Click here to download it.

 

Sources

http://www.speedlinesolutions.com/home/speedline_blog/postid/83/5-signs-that-an-employee-may-be-stealing-from-your-restaurant.aspx

http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/business/marketbasket/stopping-waiters-and-bartenders-who-steal/article_979ee82a-c0a5-52a0-b9f9-dfb071184785.html

http://www.calrest.org/employee-theft.html

http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance

 

24 Jun

By

The traditional Buy vs. Build software debate – turned on its head.

June 24, 2015 | By |

Try it. Any online search you make today will yield hundreds of articles debating the pros and cons of buying VS building business software.

Buy & Build graphic

Restaurant Operations Managers, CIOs, and CFOs all need to weigh in on this important technology decision. Do you cross your fingers and hope to get most of what you need in an off-the-shelf solution? Do you invest in an expensive custom-build, or do you stitch together a patchwork of applications to meet business needs? The wrong decision could slow or even stall growth.

It’s not a new debate. What is new – is you no longer have to choose.

The best of all worlds – Buy AND Build TM

Try the search again – and what you won’t find much of are Buy AND Build results. Why? Because Buy AND Build is a new game-changing approach to business technology. It offers the best of all worlds by combining buy and build capabilities into one powerful platform. For the restaurant and retail industries (or any other industry with geographically distributed operations) – that platform is Peach.

If we talk about platform-as-a-service, we are often talking about cloud delivered solutions (not your hardware) and application building tools. What we are talking about with Buy AND Build is platform-as-a service – plus; a new model that integrates all of your technology resources into a comprehensive platform.

  • It is a core set of technologies and platform built to invite innovation.
  • It is a set of tools for building your own apps.
  • It is a suite of integrated apps specific to your industry that you can customize.
  • It is an ever-growing suite of management apps that you can buy a-la-carte.
  • It is an open invitation to developers to adding cutting edge solutions.
  • It is a platform built to adapt and scale.
  • It is a platform designed to easily integrate with third-party systems.

Three Choices

To make it simple, the Peach Platform allows you to Buy AND Build in three ways:

  1. Buy the platform AND build your own apps
  2. Buy some apps AND build your own apps
  3. Buy the apps AND build your own custom features

Peach was designed to give your management team the tools they need to meet the business drivers you face right now – and the ones you will face in the future.

Buy AND Build with PeachWorksWant to learn more?

 

 

 

Then, contact us to discuss your operation
Email: sales@peachworks.com
Call: 888-316-8861

 

 

 

 

18 May

By

Tying it all together with Square

May 18, 2015 | By |

What does a good workday look like at your restaurant? Maybe it’s the dining area humming with activity, a well-stocked inventory and a staff that just seems to know what to sell and how to sell it to make and keep your customers happy.

It’s magic when things just all work together, isn’t it?

But you don’t have to rely on magic or even luck to make this kind of perfect day happen…you just need a little well-connected tech to tie everything together.

Square01_Blog

That’s why we’re so excited to announce today that two of our newest restaurant management apps – POS Hub and Whisk – are now integrated with Square and its complete register service for quick-serve restaurants! Read our big announcement here for all the details.

This integration is just one more way PeachWorks customers can get really detailed insight into their business operations, keep everything running smoothly and – the ultimate goal – get more time back in their day: time that they could be using to make their businesses more efficient and successful, or to just enjoy their own lives.

Speaking of which…what would you do with a little extra time in your workday? If you’re at the National Restaurant Association Show, stop by Booth 6459 and tell us!

16 May

By

Smarter technology = smarter business decisions

May 16, 2015 | By |

It’s the middle of the lunch rush when you get a notification on your cell phone: Your patrons have already ordered so many antipasto salads that you’re starting to run low on this week’s count of fresh mozzarella. You contact your distributor to plan another delivery.

Mozzarella wrapped in proscuitto stacked high, uncooked

Meanwhile, another notification tells you that you still have a lot of prosciutto, and POS data shows it hasn’t been selling as well this week; you make your fig and prosciutto arugula salad this week’s special and notify your waitstaff to begin recommending it.

Two very common problems, both solved through smart insight…sound impossible? Not when you’ve got the right tech in place.

Today, we’re excited to announce that two of our newest restaurant management technology solutions – Whisk and POS Hub – are integrated with the market-leading Aloha and Micros POS systems. Click here to get the full details.

Through these connections, restaurateurs are able to get real-time data on what’s selling and what’s not – as well as what’s in stock and what’s running low. It’s the kind of insight that helps you make smart decisions for your restaurant and keep things running smoothly and profitably.

Sound good to you too? Contact us today to learn how to make smarter business decisions through smarter technology.

24 Apr

By

7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a BOH Restaurant Software System

April 24, 2015 | By |

There is a lot of buzz around about how technology is changing the customer experience in the food service industry. Creative restaurant operators are meeting consumer demands to use their own devices for reservations, ordering, and payment. Lots of cool things are happening in the front-of-house.

What you don’t hear enough about are all the cool things happening in the back-of-house. Restaurant managers, corporate management, floor staff and kitchen staff all use their own devices too. Is anyone putting the latest technology to use in making their jobs easier, faster and more convenient?

Yes, they are. The time-sucking world of paper log books, excel spreadsheets and a bazillion phone calls is giving way to things like restaurant social networks, cooperative scheduling and seamlessly integrated apps for inventory, recipe management, POS analytics and supply chain management that can be accessed from any device, anywhere, anytime.

If your restaurant or restaurant group is ready to upgrade to a back-of-house system that makes the most of today’s next generation technology – what should you look for and what questions should you ask?

PeachWorks restaurant back of house operating system1.) Should you Buy or Build?

There has always been a debate about the merits of buying a software package and hoping it meets all of your needs or building something custom which can quickly become a challenge to maintain and scale. Most vendors try their best to build a one-size-fits-all solution, but in the restaurant industry, this is quite the challenge. There is a new model out there that allows you to do both. Some restaurant software vendors are creating a platform that allows you to buy and build. These vendors purposefully design an open platform and invite you to build onto and alongside what they have already created. Tesla is doing something like this for electric cars by sharing their patents to spur innovation. So too are these forward-looking software vendors. Don’t just ask your prospective vendors if they have an API. Ask them if they encourage and support an active community of custom development.

2.) Is the solution a truly unified system?

This is where the terms ‘seamless’ and ‘user experience’ come in. Ask any prospective vendor if all of your data and applications will have the same look and feel – and if they will all work together seamlessly. Sometimes when there is shift in technology you’ll find a provider exposed with a mix of old and new applications. Maybe they are transitioning or maybe they are the product of one or more mergers. That can have an impact on the interoperability of the different applications, modules or solutions. Ask your vendors if their applications all work the same way, work the same way on all devices, and if your data would be fully, completely and seamlessly integrated across all applications. Better yet, make sure you see a full demo of the actual software, not just PowerPoint slides.

3.) Is the system designed for web and mobile delivery?

Most vendors these days have a native mobile app. Unfortunately many mobile apps only provides a subset of the available features and new features can take a while to make it into the native mobile version. This is just the reality of the development cycle, so it is equally important that an application’s web version is built using responsive design. With responsive design the application automatically adjusts the user interface based on the screen size of the device you are using. Modern applications should function in a uniform manner across all the devices we all use daily. Ask your vendors to demonstrate how their applications display seamlessly on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

4.) Just how flexible and future-proof is the system?

The problems you have today are not the problems you’ll face tomorrow and no doubt a vendor exists to solve a single pressing problem, but our needs grow over time. For example, today you may want an application to make your employee scheduling easier. Six months from now, you’ll want to connect it to your POS system, six months after that you’ll want it to connect to your reporting system, and so on and so on. Don’t just put out today’s fire. Take a broader view and look for connected solutions. Also, as business goals and objectives change, your software tools must have the inherent flexibility to change. If you change your process, can the vendor’s applications accommodate that change? Are you on a flexible platform that can grow with you – and adapt to the next marketing tool (Groupon, Instagram), the next mobile device (Apple Watch), and the next big consumer trend (…?)?

5.) Do you provide real-time analytics and business intelligence?

Operations, Finance, Marketing, and Franchise development teams have different data reporting needs, as do the individual locations/units. Does your vendor have an easy-to-use report builder? Can you add reports? Is it intuitive and easy to use? Can reports and data be exported, added to a dashboard, delivered to you every morning by email, and shared with internal colleagues and external partners? Often the tools for data analysis are only available to the executives in a company, but what if you could empower all the managers in your business and give them the ability to dive into their data? They might surprise you with new insights. Does the solution you are considering allow you that level of flexibility?

6.) Is it easy to learn, easy to use, easy to customize?

Is the software easy to use and easy to learn or are there long training classes and certifications? Consumers don’t need a manual on how to use Facebook, why should enterprise software be any different. Most busy restaurants don’t have time for that. And with the typical turnover at a restaurant, the less training needed, the better. What about customization? Can your corporate IT person or outside resource easily use an API or create custom applications using standard HTML and JavaScript or is deeper development knowledge needed? Was the platform built to manage all the complexity in order to make it easier for you? Are there videos and online tools to help you get you started?

7.) Is it easy to Leave?

Nothing is forever. There may come a day when you need to move to a different system. Maybe you’ve grown or have been purchased by a larger group. Ask your prospective vendors if your data – is your data. Will they help you transition? How will you get the data? Even before you leave, will you be able to access all of your data at any time or will they hold your data hostage?

Last but not least…

Ask for references. And call them. Ask them these questions too. There is nothing more enlightening than talking to someone who has walked in your shoes and realized the benefits of an upgrade to next generation technology – or learned from a bad choice.

In short, a good solution should:

  • Have a consistent look and feel throughout
  • Work the way you do • Be easy to learn and use
  • Be accessible everywhere and on any device
  • Be customizable
  • Connect everyone
  • Connect systems of all sorts – suppliers, payroll, accounting, etc.
  • Work hard so you don’t have to!

Download our handy Restaurant Operating System buyers guide by clicking here.

 

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