Running a restaurant has to be one of the most difficult enterprises to run. Not only is the competition fierce and the workday incredibly long, but unlike many businesses in commerce, the product has a short, distinct shelf life. In addition, you are required to be a business genius along with having the superpower of accommodating hundreds of personalities between your staff and your customers.
App creators can be a lifeline to help with the plethora of responsibilities that come with running a restaurant. Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your daily operations.
1. Shopping Lists
The New York Times reports that, “a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, and the total cost of that food waste could be as high as $400 billion a year. Reducing food waste from 20 to 50 percent globally could save $120 billion to $300 billion a year by 2030.”
Many restaurants also find themselves in the same predicament. A spreadsheet app can help you to determine your most popular dishes and those not-so-popular ones so that you can generate an accurate shopping list to eliminate wasted food and dollars. Moreover, as you shop farmer’s markets or connect with vendors boasting of fresh produce, you can create your menu and send it to your chef to start brainstorming and perfecting the day’s recipes.
2. Vendor Lists
LocalHarvest.org sites that the average commute for fruit and vegetables in the United States is 1500 miles. This obviously compromises the quality and freshness of the product. Buzzwords that are becoming more and more popular are “organic” and “local”. They are equated with high quality, better health, supporting the surrounding economy, and being environmentally responsible. Not only are these traits intrinsically admirable, but are great for your restaurant’s marketing strategy.
A contact list app can help you to connect with your local farmers and suppliers to get the ingredients that are freshest and in season. When they have an abundance of ingredients, you also get the most competitive prices. You can arrange pick-up or drop-off times, visit the sites to confirm product quality, or meet onsite to request specific orders (beyond produce, consider local bakers to make specialized rolls for your sandwiches, brewers to put unique beers on tap, or patisseries for elegant desserts).
3. Employee Scheduling
We’ve all been to restaurants when they have been short-staffed. Even if the food is great, poor service can leave a bad taste in the customer’s mouth. Ensure that every experience is great in your restaurant, including both the front and the back of the house.
Timesheet apps can show who is working, when they have checked in, and supply an area for notes to possibly help the next shift. If you are off site, you can be aware of what is going on in the restaurant to give you peace of mind or to call other staff members to fill in the gaps.
4. Catering Options
When you are meeting with a potential catering customer, you want to put your best foot forward by showing them the variety of your menu and the stellar presentations of your courses. With a customized app, you can show pictures of past catering events, take notes on dietary restrictions or requests, calculate an invoice, process a credit card down payment, and have a signature capture option for your client to sign a contractual agreement. Regardless if you meet with the guest at the event location or in the front of house, you can have all the information and tools with you wherever your meeting takes place.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, once said, “It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they'll keep coming back.”
A spreadsheet-based app can make something that sounds that simple but is incredibly hard to do become attainable. Creating apps specific to your restaurant’s needs will allow you to better manage the innumerable tasks of running a restaurant while helping you to make your dream a success.