Nothing challenges and frustrates the owners and management of a business more than not knowing what is going on in a timely manner. In our increasingly connected world, the notion of “timely” more often means “real-time”, so that decisions can be made to positively impact operations at both the store/restaurant level and at corporate. This applies to both quickly taking advantage of opportunities for operational efficiencies as well as addressing new market opportunities in real-time.
From our deployments of EZFORMS at QSR and fast/casual enterprises, we have become accustomed to the types of questions that emerge on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, and need to be met with near real-time response, include things such as:
- Are rising food costs impacting profit?
- Should I raise prices? How will that impact traffic?
- What days and what time of day do we have the greatest sales volume? Highest profit?
- What are our best selling items and which are the most profitable?
- Are there time periods when we are overstaffed? Understaffed?
- How is our latest promotion impacting sales?
- How much food are we wasting?
Traditionally, answers to these questions have been difficult to come by and particularly in a timely manner. As digital connectivity has advanced and mobile apps have been developed to monitor restaurant activities in real-time, aggregate and deliver data to decision makers at the corporate level, and provide analytics to drive and support decisions, those questions are increasingly being answered with a positive impact on operations.
So, how do you take advantage of these new technologies to make your restaurant business, whether a single site or hundreds, more efficient across all functions? New mobile apps have been developed that include and integrate most of the key elements necessary to make managing restaurants in real-time both simple and cost-effective.
Examples of key functionality that ideally should be available in a mobile restaurant management app include the following:
- Interactive Reporting – Having data on kitchen/food preparation operations, labor, sales, and customers in customizable reports and charts at your fingertips in seconds.
- Analytics – The ability to analyze aggregated, draw inferences, and provide insights and recommendations on improving operations.
- Summaries and Alerts – Summarized reports of restaurant data with the ability to receive alerts via mobile device or email.
- Reputation Monitoring – Monitoring and notification of online reviews that might impact the restaurant’s popularity.
- Customer Management – Use analytics to identify and proactively engage important customers and assess campaigns and promotions.
The growth of the mobile platform and the emergence of mobile apps that deliver more timely and complete information on the operations of one restaurant or an entire chain are key developments in the evolution towards much more efficient, safe, and pleasurable dining experiences.