5 Ways To Stay Profitable Through The Tough Times

The best restaurant operators always have a few extra tricks up their sleeves when times are tough. Sure, every operator looks good when the restaurant is full every day. Every decision you make goes well, each menu item you add sells, and every hire is the right one. The rare mistakes quickly get swept under the rug and everyone moves on.

But what happens when times get a little harder? Finding a way to work through the difficult times so we can see the sun rise again is what the restaurant business is all about. You may be the type of operator willing to endure the tough times we all eventually encounter. But having a few "go to" moves is essential when it comes time to cut costs.

There are ways to reduce costs without reducing the quality and service.

Online Ordering

Online reservation systems or online order systems streamline the ordering process for improved efficiencies and can bring in new customers as well.

Food Cost

"Measure what you want to improve"! This remains true in the new world of technology. There are visual ways to help bring awareness to the restaurant team. One method is to use a garbage bin for all food waste. Measure the weight of the waste each shift (or day) and record it. Tracking, reporting, and bringing attention to waste influences each team member.

If your goal is to reduce cost of sales by 1% to 2% and you feel your controls are already maximized, consider how you might change the menu mix and take a look at waste. You also might want to consider an inventory application that will simplify keeping track of your inventory and reducing costs .

Labor Cost

The old way to create a schedule was with a pen and paper, or maybe an Excel spreadsheet. Then, the manager in charge of this tedious task would spend hours planning that week's schedule and trying to coordinate between requested time off and part time schedules.

New online scheduling products can put an end to this misery, or at least make this cumbersome process more efficient.

Online scheduling products allow employees to submit requests for time off. They also allow employees to trade shifts between one another. After all, the manager doesn't necessarily need to be a bottleneck to that. All he or she needs is an email notification. Because the system is handled online, employees can access their schedule and get alerts of any changes through email, text message, or push notification.

In general, bringing this process online saves managers a ton of time, which saves the restaurant a lot of money.

Compliance Reporting

Like I mentioned above, if you're doing something the old school way, chances are you could probably save a ton of time and money by taking the process online. The same thing goes for compliance reporting.

A digital reporting solution incorporates digital logbooks (mobile app versions of traditional logbooks, delivered on sturdy tablets built for restaurants) and wireless sensor technology to automate some of the reporting, such as temperature recording. This method will not only make the reporting process faster (about 50% according to our customers) but it will also save you money by providing data and insights to drive your strategy for other cost-saving initiatives. For instance, if you know what the average temperature of your freezers is over time, and you realize it's running slightly too cold, you have identified a cost-saving measure. But if that temperature data is locked in traditional logbooks, you'll never know how much money you are losing.

Equipment

Every piece of equipment has a potential for money leak. The costs creep up with repairs or inefficiencies. Poor equipment operation has a serious impact on employee productivity. The staff should be your eyes and ears and let you know where they waste time.

It's easy to miss costs that aren't as obvious as others. Be proactive, question everything!

PeachWorks Announces Foundations: A Unified Platform for Building Connected Apps for the Restaurant Industry


SOUTHFIELD, MI (PRWEB) MAY 19, 2017

PeachWorks, the Restaurant Cloud Platform, today announced the availability of Foundations, the next evolution of the PeachWorks Platform. Foundations integrates the platform services that the PeachWorks Back-Office is built upon to empower CIOs and IT staff to develop integrated apps for all kinds of restaurant productivity pursuits.

Today CIOs face enormous demand from their organizations to deliver powerful solutions that allow employees to easily manage every aspect of restaurant operations using any device. Yet, CIOs are contending with outdated and siloed software solutions that are not mobile, not connectable, and not extendable.

Conventional replacement of a legacy software solution is an expensive and time consuming effort. And while there are a handful of modern back-office solutions available, it’s challenging to find a single solution to do it all, which tempts consideration of in-house development to fill the gaps.

“No restaurant management solution does 100% of what customers need. They always need more; more alerts, more reports, more integrations, more features, more apps,” said Jeff Schacher, founder and Chief Product Officer at PeachWorks. “With Foundations, we are providing building blocks to create everything from small enhancements to building complete enterprise apps, and making it all fast and easy."

With services for data management, notifications, analytics, POS & vendor integrations, identity management, multi-unit management, rapid app development, modern user experiences, along with powerful API services (making it possible to store, import, export and report on any kind of native or third party data), Foundations is the most comprehensive and agile platform available to the restaurant industry to deliver nearly any solution imaginable. Delivering all of these services on PeachWorks powerful cloud infrastructure, restaurants have everything they need to quickly customize their restaurant management solution thereby providing a single unified and seamless user experience from a single source of data.

PeachWorks is currently accepting requests from companies interested in using Foundations for small and large projects. Find out more information about PeachWorks Foundations and request access at http://foundations.peachworks.com.

About PeachWorks 
PeachWorks is a cloud-based restaurant operations platform designed to simplify and streamline the business functions of running a successful restaurant. Built by a team that knows the restaurant industry inside and out, the PeachWorks platform is a flexible, app-based system that is fully and easily customizable to meet restaurants' unique needs for staff scheduling, inventory management, manager logs, visibility into point of sale, employee communications and more. To learn more about PeachWorks, visit http://www.peachworks.com.

Thinking Defensively About The Profitability of Your Restaurant

We'd like to think restaurants that automate and integrate their back-office functions are forward-thinkers  who understand that efficiencies produce profits.  That's often the case.

But there is another angle that motivates some restaurateurs: defense! Sometimes people have to find a way to protect themselves from some of the universal land mines.

  • In a competitive environment customers are precious and so is every dollar they spend. Each garbage bag of food waste and each hour of an overstaffed kitchen are drains on profits.
  • The typical rolling 12 month turnover rate for hourly employees is over 100%. And not that much better for management at 50%+. There's a continual "learning mode" that increases temptation to improvise and put consistency at risk.
  • There's always a daily to-do list of critical back-office tasks. Using post-it notes and three ring binders will probably end badly as soon as someone forgets to check a temperature or check the dates on the prep.

You can probably think of 20 more scenarios that are potential pitfalls for restaurant profitability.

It's a common business tenet that  "You can't improve what you don't measure". And by extension, "You can't prosper from activities you can't control". In the above scenarios there is neither measurement nor control. The answer is integrated automation. Automation takes the spreadsheet and guesswork away from error-prone 20-somethings. The integration is vital because of all the natural links among back-office activities such as  inventory, recipes, scheduling and the like.

Certainly good food and service are restaurant headlines. But it's the command and control over the math (staff schedules, food inventory, analytics for predictable service levels...) that form the core of the successful restaurant model. For measurement and control, integrated automation!

That's really the only reliable way to make math work for you because integrated automation gives you current accurate data on all phases of the business. Count on it...

POS Hub – We Take Your Raw Data and Cook It Into Valuable Information


Data that is collected in your POS contains some pretty powerful information.

Yes of course it will show you how many smoothies, or burgers you sold today, and yes that is certainly valuable.

It will show you that your total sales for the day were $2500, and also tell you that only $2475.00 was deposited and you have a shortage of $25.00 that day, again valuable.

But your data is so so much more valuable than just the first set of numbers that you see.

Think of your data as one of the onions in your kitchen, most will only ever look at the skin of the onion, while there are so many more layers.

Lets look at some examples,

Every day your POS sends over to Peachworks a list of discounts, voids, and coupons, first let’s start with your voids, what does a void tell you?

Most would say, that maybe the server made a mistake entering the order and needed to remove the item…. yep that could be it, but here are a few other reasons that could be happening

  • Nope you don’t want to hear it, but let’s just put this out there, it was simply taken off so the customer did not have to pay for it…. there I said it, no wants to think this is happening, but it does and probably is.
  • True life example from one of my restaurants while I was managing (no names).  I was working at a restaurant where I was trying to build my sales, especially on Sundays.  My sales were very low on Sundays and when I did have sales it was usually larger family dinners.  My inventory had not been good, so I was doing daily counts, trigger #1, my food cost was showing variances, but my sales were only slightly above what they had been, but there were up and that was good right?  Using my reports, I started to look at the individual tickets, and started to notice that I had tickets showing 10 guests, sitting for 90 mins, but the ticket size was only $1.98.  Hmmmmmm, that does not make any sense, digging a little further I discovered that items had been entered, but then voided off.
  • Putting on my Scooby Doo hat, and a lot of digging later watching sales reports, started to see each time I found this type of ticket, it was always late night, always the same server and always the same team leader.  Final investigation determined that I had a lazy manager, who late at night would sit and talk to their friends while the crew ran the show.  My one server would take a large order, and if they paid cash, remove all of the items except for a cup of coffee or two, and was making some very handsome tips.  True Story….it happens.
  • How about if you are seeing the same item voided over and over again.  This could indicate several different issues, problem in the kitchen, problem with the server entering the orders, or even a problem with the product or recipe, maybe the customers simply don’t like it.  Look for patterns.

No matter how you slice this onion, voids are bad bad bad, and as I was always told, if you’re going to use one, there needs to be a documented reason why your using it.  A void means you are not getting any inventory credit, no sales are being driven from it and always indicates a problem.

Now coupons, everyone has coupons, some in mailers, some in papers, some we just hand out, coupons are used as a marketing strategy to drive sales.  So coupons are good.  I always loved seeing coupons coming in, if marketing had placed them right it meant I was bringing in some new business, and maybe encouraging my repeat customers to start coming in a little more regularly.  Although, coupons are good, there are a few things that you should always be aware of.  You want to watch your percentage, and if you are able watch for the percentage per server, I know sounds paranoid, but using your reports will help you identify when coupon use might not be as valuable as you want it.

  • True story time – major coupon drop, coupon % increased, whoop whoop, we are making some good progress building sales.  But hang on, my projected coupon usage was only supposed to be 3%, but I am running 5%.  Time to put my Scooby doo cap on again, yep you guessed it.  Coupons had been delivered to the restaurant, and my very generous front counter had been giving almost every customer a coupon for their meal.  Not quite the intended purpose.  How did I find out, well let’s just say my first clue after seeing my coupon % jumping was a customer that I took demanding I give her a coupon like she always gets…? Oh my!

Discounts – I love discounts, and guess what so does everyone else…hahaha…again, watching your discounts is going to very quickly help you identify when things may not be on the up and up. 

Remember Mary, our coleslaw girl, well like I said before everyone loves Mary, who works 25 hours per week.  If Mary gives away one BOGO (everyone loves a good BOGO Coupon) every hour for a $4.99 Burger, that is $124.75 per week of free food, or $6237.50, in FREE FOOD per year….Ohhhh Mary!

Reports, are just numbers, and you will only ever get value by reading your data.  Here at Peachworks, we strive to put your data into a logical and clear Report, easily readable and understandable.

Let PeachWorks POS Hub Reports, help you cook up a clear path to greater savings.

A Quick Win And A Leg Up For Competitive Restaurants

I saw what seemed to be a provocative headline in Business Insider: "3 Reasons Why Chain Restaurants are Struggling". It was an article by Kate Taylor who said America is losing its appetite for chain restaurants and cited a data from a Restaurant Performance Index from the National Restaurant Association.

Kate offered three causes for a decline: (1) uncertainty about the current presidential election, (2) there are too many restaurants, and (3) grocery prices are too low. The election will be over soon, so that left me with her other two factors to consider.

My first instinct when I hear there are "too many restaurants" is to think about competing. The level of stores and patrons will eventually come to equilibrium, but those that survive and thrive will be those that work smarter. And the idea of "grocery prices are too low" means you're competing again; this time with the consumer option of eating at home instead of dining out.

It might not be surprising that I immediately thought of how PeachWorks could be a powerful ally in restaurant competition, but even I didn't fully understand the extent of impact that automating back-of-the-house operations provides until I thought about it a bit.

Let me start with something I'm sure most restaurateurs think of when they hear "automation". Cost control. It's self-evident that taking the guesswork out of managing inventory, food waste, and staff scheduling results in invaluable cost savings, especially when compared with a 20-year old staffer and a spreadsheet. More money to the bottom line is a good thing regardless of economic conditions. But in super-competitive environments where only the strong survive, cost efficiency can take on a whole different role.

The economic argument was a no-brainer. But the big difference-makers in competition might just be food quality and dining experience consistency! Let's dig a bit deeper. We all have our favorite restaurants, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Yes, we might try somewhere new occasionally as an experiment or change of pace, but we know what we like and we know what to expect. Loyal, repeat customers might be a restaurant's best friend. It's so much better to keep good customers than to have to replace them. The last thing we want is to disappoint them and risk losing them to a competitor. No restaurant manager wants to hear, "For some reason, my chicken wasn't as good as the last time", or "Are you doing something different with your fries?"

A restaurant's best attributes for attracting and keeping customers are efficiency and consistency. And not coincidentally, we've used those two traits as descriptors of the benefits of PeachWorks for some time. Our suite of cloud apps strengthens almost every facet of back-of-the-house operations. Stay competitive. Automate with PeachWorks!

(Read Kate Taylor's complete article here:)

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-chain-restaurants-are-struggling-2016-10