Restaurant operators on the go are turning to smartphone and tablet apps, cloud-based software and other convenient technology tools to improve operating performance and make their lives easier.

New point-of-sale (POS) systems improve the dining experience for consumers and help restaurant operators easily manage sales reporting, inventory control and statistical analysis. A recent survey found 78% of operators analyze their restaurant data and sales reports daily to stay on top of business trends.[1] The number rises to 85% when tablet-based POS systems are used in the restaurant.[2]

Tech tools also help restaurant operators manage financial reports, collect data on diners, track inventory, schedule staff, monitor foot traffic and develop promotional materials. Some examples include:[3]

  • Financial reports – Integrated accounting and POS systems enable restaurant operators to track sales, manage inventory and procurement, and link to banking systems conveniently from a smartphone or tablet.
  • Guest data – Most diners expect restaurants to offer free Wi-Fi, and some wireless providers enable restaurant operators to gather data on Wi-Fi users. The system can provide a greeting page with special offers, discounts and a reward program targeted to the diner’s behavior patterns.
  • Inventory tracking – Mobile apps enable restaurant operators, chefs and staff to count food items and update purchase pricing remotely. Inventory alerts can be created to re-stock commonly used items. The apps can link into POS systems and provide timely inventory reports.
  • Staff scheduling – Managing staff schedules can be one of the most time-consuming tasks a restaurant operator faces. Mobile scheduling apps enable workers to log in with their availability and request shift changes. Owners can add requests for additional staffing to cover peak periods. Some systems tie into payroll accounting, benefits and human resources services.
  • Local traffic – Cameras mounted outside the restaurant can help operators monitor foot and auto traffic to determine peak periods and schedule staff accordingly. Traffic data can be used to plan promotions and offer special pricing. It can also be converted to dashboard reports that can be accessed on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Marketing and promotions – Cloud-based software enables restaurant owners to create special event fliers, initiate social media promotions, and change menu items easily. Shared folders enable owners and staff to collaborate on promotional campaigns and materials.

[1] “50+ Restaurant Industry Statistics for Restaurant Owners in 2017,” by Allie Tetreault and A.J. Beltis, Toast blog, Oct. 30, 2017. Available at: https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/restaurant-management-statistics#

[2] “50+ Restaurant Industry Statistics for Restaurant Owners in 2017,” by Allie Tetreault and A.J. Beltis, Toast blog, Oct. 30, 2017. Available at: https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/restaurant-management-statistics#

[3] “Spotted: Financial tools to get your year in order,” by Marcella Veneziale, Restaurant Hospitality blog, Jan. 10, 2018. Available at: http://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/operations/spotted-financial-tools-get-your-year-order and “Kick Apps: 5 tech tools that help operators manage from afar,” by Liz Barrett, Restaurant Hospitality blog, Jan. 25, 2017. Available at: http://www.restaurant-hospitality.com/technology/kick-apps-5-tech-tools-help-operators-manage-afar

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