In a week’s time, Tenzo’s fearless leader, co-founder, and CEO, Christian Mouysset, will be speaking on a panel at Restaurant & Bar Tech Live about leveraging technology to streamline operations. The other participants will include Sahib Gulati, co-founder of Zeffu Technologies, Tim Malbon, founding-partner at Made by Many, and Ross Tracey of Ceridian.In the run-up to the event, we thought we’d break down how we think technology can make running a restaurant a little easier. To find out more, be sure to stop by Panel Theatre Hall 5 at the show at 3pm on Wednesday the 20th of November.
How to embrace technology in your business
When you first start a restaurant you quickly realise that you need some way of tracking your orders, your staff rota and your inventory. This may lead you to lean on the free programmes that we’re all accustomed to already such as Google Sheets. At the beginning this may work for you, but eventually you might find yourself praying for a solution that takes away the hours of human effort that keeping spreadsheets up-to-date requires.
This is where technology can step in to help. Automating some of these processes makes life a lot easier. For example, using a modern POS system, like Zeffu, that incorporates iPads or table-side ordering reduces stress for your servers who can rest assured that as soon as an order is taken it’s sent to the kitchen display screen. On top of that, you’ll be able to more easily track what menu items are selling well and order inventory accordingly. Having a solid POS system in place is definitely the first step in your technological journey.
Next consider how you schedule your staff. Are you still relying on written timetables that set your schedule in stone for the week? If so, it may be time to consider switching to a labour scheduler like that offered by Ceridian. Using a technological solution to keep all your employees in the loop means that things like shift-swapping and holiday-days become simple and communication lanes are far more open, saving time for your managers and making staff happier. Most modern labour schedulers also offer some HR features, so you can, for example, make sure you stay compliant with all employee laws.
Once you’ve adopted these two technologies, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do with the buckets of data that you’re now generating. That’s where a platform like Tenzo comes in. Tenzo aggregates the data from your POS system, labour scheduler, reviews platforms and other systems, automating all that annoying report-building, and allowing you to get at essential insights a lot faster. Find out, for example, your cost of labour as a percentage of your sales, who of your servers has the biggest average transaction size, and much, much more. And as a cherry on top, you can now more accurately forecast your future sales using AI.
Expanding your tech stack
If you’ve implemented all of the above, you’ve covered all the basics. But there’s even more you can do.
Dealing with vendors can be time-consuming. You might find that you are spending too many precious hours on inventory procurement, tracking orders, organising deliveries, and managing your accounts with suppliers. A specialist inventory management system, such as Marketman, allows you to track all this stuff in a convenient platform. Managing orders through a modern platform also allows you to more easily adjust your orders according to Tenzo’s AI forecasts. Lastly, a good inventory management platform can really help with reducing food waste.
It may be at this point that you start thinking that technology might not be able to solve problems that are very specific to your business. If you work for or run a large business, you might want to get a bespoke product built that will solve your specific issues. That’s when you call in the experts at Made by Many who can counsel you from the very first iterations of your idea all the way through to the production of a tech product that makes running your business as hassle-free as possible.
What can you expect once you welcome technology into your business?
Engaging with technology means that the time you previously spent manually reviewing different aspects of your restaurant can now be automated. Obviously this means time saved, but you might not realise just how much. Instead of having to compile reports yourself, your systems can now do it for you, meaning that all the time you wasted before can now be spent making changes based on the insights you receive. Just take a look at The Breakfast Club. They cut their reporting time down from four hours-a-week to just one half-hour thanks to implementing Tenzo.
When you harness the power of technology, you get to go above and beyond traditional analysis. Restaurants generate a huge amount of data, but it only comes into its own when you put it all together and generate the insights you need. In many ways, data is the soil from which your business can grow. But you also need to know what kind of plants grow best in your soil. This somewhat questionable metaphor is meant to bring home how important knowing what is working, and what isn’t, is to the success of your restaurant, and it helps to have cold hard data to back up your decisions.
In our personal lives, technology has become the norm for communication, so why isn’t it the same for restaurants? Being able to send colleagues updates with the click of a button or the swipe of a finger keeps everyone in the loop and on the same page. When you can receive alerts instantly on your mobile, actions can be taken to rectify a situation way before it gets out of hand.
What to expect in the future
The good news is once you’ve embraced technology and seen how well it can work for you, you’re going to want to experiment even more. And don’t you worry, the rise of restaurant technology is only just beginning: it’s not only your operations systems that are future-fying themselves. The restaurant itself will soon become a new technological experience. We’re already seeing front-of-house implementation, such as table-side-ordering and mobile integration. But soon, we’re sure to see more and more futuristic inventions in the back-of-house. That’s right: the robots are coming.
We’ve already seen robots capable of making pizzas from scratch, flipping burgers and pouring drinks (see above). However, unlike the sci-fi dystopian society that we’ve been sold in films and tv, robots won’t be making human involvement completely superfluous just yet. Robots will be used in addition to manpower, augmenting the creative capabilities of a great restaurant team.
In terms of food waste, technology may also be our saving grace. Smart fridges will let chefs know what produce or protein needs to be used first as well as adjust their temperature to optimal levels to slow food spoilage. Smart bins, like the ones Winnow produces, can tell you exactly what you’re throwing away so you can reduce over-ordering and over-prepping. Smart ovens can tell you exactly how long and at what temperature certain foods should be cooked and automatically shut themselves off when the ideal temperature has been reached, so you never have to throw away burnt food again. With food waste at pandemic proportions, technology may be the answer to solving this environmental emergency.
For more information on reducing your food waste, check out our food waste reduction guides.
Technology is invaluable to your operations. The restaurant world is changing quickly and soon customers will have specific expectations when they visit a restaurant, so keeping up with technological advances will be imperative. Plus, it’s very clear that technology makes the running of a restaurant much easier, reducing stress and creating a far calmer atmosphere. Obviously, technology is not the solution to everything - just ask Christian, who had to deal with robbery and fires while running Hummus Bros - but it can certainly help and take a little bit of the load off of the restaurateur’s shoulders.
Find out what Sahib Gulati, co-founder of Zeffu Technologies, Tim Malbon, founding-partner at Made by Many, and Ross Tracey of Ceridian have to say on the topic as well as more from Christian at their panel at Restaurant and Bar Tech Live 2019!