Reshaping Your Restaurant Management With the Right Software

Managing a restaurant is not for the faint of heart. But as a restaurant owner, you already knew that! From effectively managing inventory to upholding health standards, restaurateurs and those in the hospitality industry have their work cut out for them.

To help manage all the puzzle pieces of running a restaurant, it is important to utilize today’s latest restaurant and hospitality software. Restaurant SaaS products can help you automate tasks such as scheduling, point-of-sale (POS), and marketing.

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your current business tools, review your upcoming year’s budget, and prepare for a busy and profitable year ahead. To get you on track for a successful 2019, below is a list of software that can help you run your restaurant more efficiently.

What to Look For in Restaurant Management Software

Restaurant management software is built to help you focus on what you love: food and happy customers.

Many restaurant leaders can find themselves inundated with logistical details that can distract them from their passion. Accounting, inventory, scheduling, planning, marketing, and more are necessary tasks to make a restaurant successful.

These aren’t always the easiest tasks to keep under control. That’s where modern software comes in. Restaurant solutions keep all the necessary management aspects of a hospitality business running smoothly and efficiently. We will take a look at helpful softwares aimed to enhance your scheduling, point-of-sale systems, and marketing strategy.

Keep Those Schedules Organized: HotSchedules Brings Your Team Together

Hotschedules is a restaurant management solution aimed to help you make schedules faster, communicate changes more efficiently and reduce labor costs.

HotSchedules provides an easy-to-use online template that managers can easily upload schedules, approve shift swaps, enforce clock-ins, and keep PTO, time-off, and availability hours all in one spot.

Employees can receive alerts via text, messaging, or email. If an employee has an emergency, they can message the other staff in the platform to see if anybody can cover them immediately.

This solution reduces time, errors, and headaches over knowing which employee should be where and when. There is no more need for sticky notes or last minute calls between different staff members. Restaurant scheduling can be easy.

Improving the Customer Experience: Custom Point-of-Sale Solutions with Agilysys

Agilysys is a food service and hospitality software company that has a lot of bells and whistles. One of the most helpful features this solution provides is restaurant point-of-sale (POS) solutions. Agilysys offers several different POS options. There are traditional kiosk systems, pay-at-the-table tools, self-serve kiosks, tablets, and mobile ordering from any device, such as customer phones.

For more advanced options, the software includes features that allow reservation and table management, inventory process management, and the ability for workers to utilize wireless and mobile phones to manage food inventory on the go.

Reach Customers Where They’re At: Online Marketing

Most customers find local restaurants by doing online research. They can find your listing on Google, social media platforms, review sites like Yelp, and more. To find new customers and to engage with your current customer base, it is important to be proactive in your digital marketing. There are several different software solutions to help you plan out your social media posts, email campaigns, and local listings.

The important thing is to get yourself and your menu out there in front of hungry potential diners. 93% of your future customers want to check out online menus before deciding which restaurant to choose.

SinglePlatform wants you to get noticed online today; in fact, SinglePlatform customers reach, on average, 4x more diners with their online menus.

It is crucial to invest in a software solution that can handle the financial, logistics, and event side of the food service management industry. Before purchasing a software, be sure to do some research to check out what other users have to say about the software in question.

About the Author: Brianna Barcena is a Content Specialist at TrustRadius. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys reading, watching a good historical drama, doing yoga, and going on adventures with her dog, Deeks.

Where to Begin Your Digital Marketing Campaign as a New Restaurant

Let’s face it, the restaurant industry is fierce—a recent study even shows that most new restaurants close within their first year of operation. That means that not only do you need a killer menu and environment that keeps patrons coming in droves, you also need to get the word out to potential customers. Here are the top tips for creating a digital marketing strategy for your new restaurant.

Be Active on Social Media

Creating a Facebook business page and a Twitter page is a must for establishing your contact information and location, as well as for sharing information on discounts or specials, new offers, and for general promotion. But Instagram is a smart platform to use for foodie photos that will both make mouths drool and grow your business (more ideas on creative social media ideas below).

The most important facet of your social media strategy is that you keep up with it. A maintained social media presence shows a hardworking business that has something worth showing off. This extra effort and drool-worthy photos (as well as an outlet for you to be fun and friendly) will win over new and existing customers alike). Of course, running a restaurant is a busy job, but that’s where social media management tools like HootSuite or Sprout Social come in handy. Use them to create custom streams and pre-schedule your posts so you can reach out to customers at meal time when you’re busiest and they’re hungriest.

Encourage and Maintain Reviews

Research shows that  88% of customers look to online comments and reviews before considering where to eat, which makes it clear that encouraging and maintaining your restaurant’s reviews is a must. People will review your business regardless of whether or not you have an account–especially on Yelp, the go-to review site. That’s why you’ll need to create a Yelp account and also prepared for negative reviews, no matter how great your food and service is. The key to making reviews work for you—rather than against you—is to respond to all reviews, especially the negative ones, in a constructive and positive manner. That way, an anonymous disgruntled customer doesn’t take away any business for you because they found a dish to be too salty for their liking.

Get Creative on Social Media

Social media is where you get to establish your name, a following, and your brand’s identity. If you’re a sophisticated date-night venue with expensive fare, cater your content to reflect this, by showing off wine and dinner pairings, photos of patrons dining in candlelight. If you’re a casual lunch cafe with healthy fare, share photos of your dishes and include calorie counts, nutritional information, and special ingredients. Whatever you do, make sure you’re snapping photos in a well-lit spot, and that the surrounding area is clean. Use hashtags of your own making to generate buzz (and encourage your patrons to use these on their own accounts), and hop on board to join in on the most popular food hash tags of social media.

Leverage the power of SEO

Learning how to use SEO the right way is a make or break for websites and businesses alike, and for restaurants—who usually rely on the business of patrons in their specific geographic location—local SEO can be a godsend for ranking higher in Google search results. You can even utilize analytics  to find out exactly who your users are, what they’re searching for, and how they’re finding you, so that you can tighten your strategy according to their needs.

Google My Business is the first step in ranking higher on Google’s search results, so that your restaurant will be found more easily and quickly. You can also have your menu pop up in the search results, which simplifies the research process for customers (no more visiting each restaurant’s website and then locating, downloading, and reading a menu). Because your menu will be much more accessible to patrons, you’re much more likely to reap more business.

Brianna Barcena is a Content Specialist at TrustRadius. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys reading, watching a good historical drama, doing yoga, and going on adventures with her dog, Deeks.