I recall a friend of mine who starting working in restaurants during college. He advanced quickly and was thrilled when he landed a managerial position in a rather upscale restaurant group. His enthusiasm waned; however, as he discovered how many long hours he had to work in order to keep the business running. He had all the skills and characteristics you find in the best restaurant managers — good with people, consummate at multi-tasking, passionate about service, highly organized, and proactive. He really loved the work but after a number of years, he decided to leave the food service industry altogether - because of the hours. This kind of turnover in restaurant operations happens all too often and is a real loss to the business and to the industry as a whole.
Are we all working too hard?We have a strong work ethic in this country. That is a virtue but are we working harder than we need to?The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. At the same time, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics defines single-location and multi-location restaurant manager jobs as “working long hours under stressful and hectic conditions” and being “called in on short notice, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.”If technology can make the restaurant manager’s job a little easier would we have a better chance of retaining all that great talent? I think so. Helping restaurant managers work smarter, not harder is part of our mission.
Shortening one restaurant manager’s week by 8 hoursLet me share just one example. We had a conversation recently with a restaurant manager who is a PeachWorks customer. He had just implemented our back-office restaurant app for staff scheduling. While he knew that the technology would help streamline the work of coordinating employee schedules, the results were even better than he had anticipated. Implementing that one app cut a full 8 hours out of his workweek. He had gotten back 8 full hours of time every week that he could now devote back to his business or, even better yet, to his family. He was thrilled and starting to think about what other technologies might help.Those 8 hours saved were for just one manager, one app, and one restaurant location. Imagine how the benefits would multiply if you used integrated restaurant apps to lighten the manager’s workload across all restaurant back-office tasks (scheduling, inventory, nutrition reporting, recipe book, digital logbook, POS intelligence and more) and across multiple locations. How many hours of productivity could your organization gain, and how many of your best managers might stay on?
What could YOU do with 8 more hours?Time is precious in our very busy world and that one manager’s experience got us to thinking - what could you do with 8 more hours of free time?Here are few ideas we found to inspire you:
- Get your bow hunting certificate (4 hours of classes)
- Learn to ride a BMX dirt bike course (5 hours including full equipment rental – and you still have time for a few beers afterwards)
- Learn to skydive (2 hours prep for a tandem dive, 8 hours for solo, less than 10 minutes in the air – and a life-memory!)
- Learn falconry (45 minutes for intro class, 3 hours for hunting session)
- 18 holes of golf (twice)
>>This article is by guest blogger Allison Tetreault, the content strategist for our POS partner Toast.As a restaurant owner, what is most important to you? While there are many issues facing restaurateurs today, you’re most likely focused on your costs, your food, and your guest experience.Restaurant management software can improve all of these.How? In short, with robust reporting, customer data, and smart features.For the expanded answer, learn how to utilize restaurant management software to revolutionize the way you run your food business below:
Know Your Best (And Worst) EmployeesWith smart restaurant management software such as Toast, which integrates with PeachWorks, you can learn more about your employees. From labor reports to sales exceptions reports, you can keep an eye on their productivity from your POS dashboard anywhere, anytime.Labor management tools can drill down and show you information about specific employees, such as the their total sales, average table turn times, average and total tips collected, total orders fulfilled, and any item voids or discounts. This gives restaurant owners the power to recognize their best servers and identify any staff members who may need additional training. With this information and more, you can use PeachWorks to schedule employees based on forecasted labor and save up to 2% or more on labor cost.
Manage Your InventoryHow can restaurant management software improve your food? Well, first of all, by showing you when it’s being wasted. With so many ways for your employees to steal, it’s more important now than ever to manage your inventory efficiently.Rather than printing out a checklist and spending an hour in your freezer, why not have inventory management integrated into your restaurant management solution? Then, you can really see how costs of goods sold (COGS), or costs required to create each food and beverage item you sell, are affecting your business. You can identify ways to minimize these costs, like negotiating better rates with your food distributor or selecting in-season ingredients, to significantly increase margins. If you notice that your inventory levels don't seem to align with your menu item sales during a given time period and that your COGS is rising, that could suggest that your inventory is being wasted or your food distributor has raised the prices of some of the ingredients you purchase.
Invest In a System Customized for Your BusinessNo two restaurants are the same. There are many different service types - bars and nightclubs, cafes, pizzerias, quick-service restaurants, full-service restaurants, and more - and each restaurant has its own unique internal operations, priorities, and needs. With unique restaurant management software and hardware, especially those that are Android-based, you can customize based on screen size, amount of terminal systems, handheld or mobile tablets, and more. In terms of software, you can add modules for online ordering, gift cards, loyalty, enterprise or multi-location management, and advanced reporting.The restaurant management or POS partner will also work with you to create your menu and table layout from the ground up, making the system intuitive and effortless for your servers and hostesses. With the purchase of software-as-a-service systems, you’re also investing in free upgrades and easy quick-edits of the menu or dining table layout, which are instantly synced across all terminals and tablets.
Collect Customer DataMany restaurants don’t realize how much information they have about their customers because all of their data is segmented across many independent vendors and services. A restaurant might have a point of sale, a loyalty program, and an online ordering vendor, all of which are independently collecting information about customers. With integrated restaurant management software, all of that fragmented data is compiled in a central location to create a detailed database of customers’ contact information and order history.What’s more, that contact history would not only be limited to in-house purchases. If you host your online ordering and delivery services through your POS system, for instance, you can collect customer data for your online customers as well as your in-store guests. The information collected and stored in the CRM can then be used to gain valuable insights, such as the most regular customers, the highest spending guests, and what each customer orders. Restaurant owners can then make educated decisions about what to keep and remove from the menu to improve margins and develop targeted marketing campaigns.Restaurateurs, it’s time to revolutionize the way you run your food business. Learn more about Toast and PeachWorks to see firsthand how restaurant management software can transform your restaurant. Allison Tetreault is the Content Strategist for Toast, the All-in-One POS System. She manages the Toast Restaurant Management blog and also creates valuable content for restaurateurs. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
If your restaurant has more than 20 locations, you’re probably already well versed in the new FDA menu nutrition labeling requirements. Even with the recently granted extension, on December 1, 2016, those restaurants will be required to include calorie information, front and center. But what about everyone else? If yours isn’t a big chain and you’re thinking of sitting this one out, you should think again.As far back as the early 1990’s the FDA has been targeting restaurants to increase their level of nutrition labeling. This latest regulation came as part of Obamacare, dictating “restaurants or similar retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to provide specified nutrition information for standard menu items.” It goes on to require that restaurants post calorie content “in a clear and conspicuous manner” on their menu, along with “a succinct statement concerning suggested daily caloric intake.”The worry of course is that people will order less if they see the calories they’re about to order. In a 2009 Stanford University study conducted for Starbucks, researchers found that calorie labeling reduced the number of calories purchased by 6%. Customers achieved this by substituting a lower calorie item. That same study found that though calories decreased, total sales were unchanged and so too was profit.
A restaurant with calorie labeling might sell fewer french fries but sell more salads.If you’ve only got one or just a few locations, you’re off the hook on this new regulation. Think about this though: if they haven’t already, in 2016, all of your largest competitors are going to be providing this information to their customers. And most of those customers are going to appreciate it. In fact, 76% of people surveyed, said they thought calorie labeling would be helpful.You don’t have to take my word for it. It’s easy to test this for yourself. For a week, give menus with calories labeled to half your tables. Give the other half non-labeled menus. Mark the tickets and see what happens to your average ticket.Getting calorie and other nutritional information used to be a real hassle but not any more. We offer Whisk, a recipe management application that happens to have the USDA nutritional database built in. Drop us a line if you’d like a demo. In the meantime, be thinking about how nutritional labeling can work out to your strategic advantage. SourcesUS Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Overview of FDA labeling requirements for restaurants, similar retail food establishments and vending machines. Retrieved July 9, 2015, from http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm248732.htmUS Food and Drug Administration. (2015, July 9). Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm217762.htmHealth Eating Research. (2013, June). Impact of menu labeling on consumer behavior: A 2008-2012 update. Retrieved from http://healthyeatingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/HER-RR-Menu-Labeling-FINAL-6-2013.pdfNestle, M. (2015, January 22). Food Politics » Calorie-labeling. Retrieved from http://www.foodpolitics.com/tag/calorie-labeling/Harvard Law Review. (2015, May 9). Food labeling; nutrition labeling of standard menu items in restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Retrieved from http://harvardlawreview.org/2015/05/food-labeling-nutrition-labeling-of-standard-menu-items-in-restaurants-and-similar-retail-food-establishments/Craig, B. (2013, July 24). Starbucks and King County menu labeling study food for thought - MenuTrinfo. Retrieved from http://www.menutrinfo.com/starbucks-and-king-county-menu-labeling-study-food-for-thought/
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.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.[caption id="attachment_8536" align="alignleft" width="200"] Click to download this infographic.[/caption]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. Sourceshttp://www.speedlinesolutions.com/home/speedline_blog/postid/83/5-signs-that-an-employee-may-be-stealing-from-your-restaurant.aspxhttp://www.southbendtribune.com/news/business/marketbasket/stopping-waiters-and-bartenders-who-steal/article_979ee82a-c0a5-52a0-b9f9-dfb071184785.htmlhttp://www.calrest.org/employee-theft.htmlhttp://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/Facts-at-a-Glance
Try it. Any online search you make today will yield hundreds of articles debating the pros and cons of buying VS building business software.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 TMTry 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 ChoicesTo make it simple, the Peach Platform allows you to Buy AND Build in three ways:
- Buy the platform AND build your own apps
- Buy some apps AND build your own apps
- Buy the apps AND build your own custom features
- Click here to download our Buy & Build Flyer.
- Click to download our Peach Manifesto and dig deeper into the Peach Platform components.