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As a business owner or manager that accepts reservations at your restaurant, you probably have a love-hate relationship with the concept. On the one hand, it’s nice to have a better idea of how busy it will be so the chefs and front of house staff can prepare for the rush. On the other hand, when parties show up late or don’t show up all, it leaves you feeling frustrated and a little lighter in the pockets.

 

The key to finding the right balance is to look for ways you can improve your restaurant reservation procedure for maximum operating efficiency and customer satisfaction.

 

1. Train staff to ensure consistency

 

Rule number one, regardless of how your restaurant chooses to accept reservations, you need to train employees on the proper procedure. Like many other characteristics of running a successful business, maintaining consistent customer satisfaction starts with sufficient training.

 

Since there are multiple ways a restaurant can accept reservations (which we’ll talk about next), it’s important to train employees across all platforms, and that the staff displays the same level of professionalism with each reservation request.

 

2. The traditional phone call reservation with a modern twist

Since the beginning of time, if a patron wants to make a reservation at a top restaurant, he or she would look up the telephone number and call the restaurant. The employee on the other end (usually the host or hostess) will pull out the reservation book and try to accommodate the customer for the specific time requested and the number of guests.

 

Although this practice has been around for quite some time, it doesn’t mean it can’t use a little fine-tuning. As you train employees on proper phone procedure, provide an overview and examples of how they are expected to handle phone calls from customers placing reservations.

 

Employees should always cordially answer the phone and let customers know they’re delighted to receive the call. Take it a step further and have the staff ask questions about special requests or accommodations that might be needed. For example, they can say something like:

  • Are celebrating a special occasion with us?
  • Do you have a preferred server or table?
  • Does anyone in your party have any special dietary needs or food allergies?

 

Before ending the phone call, have employees repeat back all the details and contact information about the reservation. Let them know that a confirmation call will be placed a few days before the reservation as a reminder. Also, have them politely inform the customer about the consequences that occur if they arrive late or cancel without notice.

 

3. Online reservations

In today’s digital world, technology has significantly simplified the reservation process for both restaurants and customers alike. It’s becoming more and more popular for patrons to book restaurant reservations online than ever before. Thanks to pioneers like OpenTable, more than 250 million diners have been seated at more than 20,000 restaurants worldwide.

 

It’s also becoming standard practice for restaurants to utilize their point of sale (POS) system to help streamline reservations. Online reservation modules can seamlessly integrate into your restaurant’s website with an embedded link provided by your POS company. Customers will then be directed to a custom URL address specific to your restaurant to make reservation requests. Not only does this integration help streamline the online booking process, but the custom URL also contributes to your branding efforts.

 

From a business owner’s perspective, these powerful tools offer managers and staff a resource to reduce overbooking errors and efficiently monitor restaurant capacity and waitlists. From a guest perspective, it allows them the convenience to pre-book tables online, receive updates on their reservation status, and send cancellation notifications. It’s a win-win for everyone.   

 

4. Avoid Overbooking  

Speaking of overbooking, this is a big challenge that restaurants face when they accept reservations from multiple channels. Guaranteeing patrons a table that is not readily available upon arrival only leads to frustrated customers, loss of profits, and damage to your restaurant’s reputation.

 

Luckily, this is another area where technology and a POS system like Restaurant Manager’s Duet POS system can save the day. Duet allows you to efficiently manage tables by tracking how many are vacant and which ones are occupied. 

 

For customers placing reservations a week in advance or more, employees can check the POS to see table availability on specific dates up to several months in advance. For example, if someone calls in to book a reservation a week from Thursday for a party of 7 at 5 PM, your POS will mark that the table is unavailable during dinner service.

 

Additionally, if a customer tries to book a reservation online for a date or time that is unavailable, a message will pop up letting the customer know their request can’t be processed due to limited availability. The patron will then be prompted to choose another date or time with open availability. Once successfully booked, their reservation is added to the waitlist in your point of sale software. 

5. Reservation Confirmation

No matter which channel you use to accept reservations, it’s best practice to implement a confirmation process. Verifying the reservation time and details with diners is the best way to prevent no-shows and adjust for any changes that might pop up between booking and dining.

 

The beauty of an online reservation system and your POS software is that they offer automated reminders and confirmation communication via SMS text message, email, or phone call. The automation of this process makes it much easier for you and your staff to manage.

Final Thought

No matter which channel or medium your restaurant uses for taking reservations, make sure it’s operating at maximum efficiency. And remember, developing the perfect system won’t happen overnight. Sometimes it’s helpful to gather feedback from staff and customers about the booking process and areas that may need improvement. The goal for your restaurant reservation procedure is to help the business run smoothly and provide a seamless customer experience.

 

The post 5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant Reservation Procedure appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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Holiday staffing can be a nightmare for any restaurant owner. It’s that time of the year when you have the highest need for employees, but also the time when employees are seeking days off too. Not only does it become more challenging to fill regular shifts, but you have the added complexity of holiday parties and catering orders that crop up during this time.

Managing staff schedules is difficult during the holidays, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing your restaurant staffing plan this holiday season.

 

Identify Your Holiday Needs   

Evaluating the needs of your restaurant is the best place to start. Think back to years when you felt unprepared for the influx of customer traffic.

 

Were the cooks able to handle the additional amount of orders or could they use extra hands in the kitchen? Was there only one server for a party of 25 when there should’ve been two? Try to plan for worst case scenarios, so you always have a backup strategy. You can’t afford to be understaffed and left without answers.

 

Next, review the reservations, party bookings, and holiday events that are confirmed up to this point in time. This information will give you an idea of the days when you’ll need additional employees beyond your regularly scheduled staff.  

 

Use Historical Data

Use historical data from your POS system to look back at previous years and determine how much your sales increased during the holidays. Were weekends especially busy? Were Thursdays a popular day for company parties? You can use POS reports to find information like:

 

  • Total number of guests
  • Table turnaround time
  • Average check size
  • The frequency of menu items ordered

 

Knowing this type of historical information will allow you to confidently forecast this year’s inventory, overall sales along with labor costs and scheduling. 

 

Determine Your Holiday Budget   

The next step to evaluating your holiday needs is determining a budget. Extra employees are going to cost more green, so you want to make sure you can afford to bring on more staff.  

 

You’ll probably need to add temporary servers, bussers, and line cooks. Federal law requires that both regular and seasonal employees receive the minimum wage, so that’s something to keep in mind when deciding on a budget. However, if you have employees receiving tips, they must also receive direct wages according to your state or local jurisdiction.  

 

Using the labor management functionality in your POS system, you can project the total cost to hire seasonal employees. For example, if you need two bussers from the beginning of October until the end of January, it can calculate the total cost for them to work 28 hours weekly at a set wage.   

 

Write a Thorough Job Description for Potential New Hires

Once you know the supporting cast members you need, and how much you can afford to pay them, it’s time to write a job description and post it.

 

It’s essential that the job description be descriptive and thoroughly details the requirements of the position. Let potential job seekers know what duties they’ll be expected to perform, the number of mandatory shifts or hours, time off flexibility, wages, and any other benefits or perks. Setting the expectations upfront will help attract the best possible candidates. 

 

Strategically Place Job Postings

It’s not enough to just write a great job description and post it any ol’ place. You need to be strategic about placement and post your listings in areas where candidates are already searching.

 

How do you do that? Well, for starters, 73 percent of candidates are passive job seekers. Although these applicants may not be actively looking for a job, it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in a new opportunity.

 

Social media channels like Facebook’s job posting feature is an excellent passive medium to reach a wide pool of potential employees. The best part is unless you pay to boost your post, it’s an entirely free resource!

 

On the other hand, active candidates may search on specialized platforms such as Culinary Agents and GrubJobs — channels that cater to the food, beverage, and hospitality industries.  

These sites may yield higher quality candidates than social channels or generalized job boards like Indeed.   

 

Ask Back Former Employees

Are you having a hard time attracting new hires? Don’t be afraid to invite back qualified former employees.

 

Asking previous employees to come back and work for you on a seasonal basis is a terrific way to find temporary help. Not to mention the stress relief you’ll feel by not having to train completely new employees.  

 

Look at past employees who left on favorable terms and would potentially be receptive to a seasonal position. These individuals already know the restaurant’s operations and culture, which takes the burden off of training a completely green employee.    

 

Start Training Sooner Rather than Later

Even if you can find a seasoned vet to fill an open position, it’s essential that you allow plenty of time for training time new and former seasonal hires. You want to make sure that temporary staff has as much time as possible to learn service standards and adjust to your operations.  

 

Train seasonal staff in the same manner as you would a full-time staff member. This process will allow them to fully grasp the restaurant’s procedures and potentially lead to them becoming a full-time employee — or a potential seasoned vet for next year. 

 

Schedule Employees with Flexibility  

Once you feel your new trainees have gained a good grasp of the restaurant’s inner workings, it’s time to focus on how you’ll schedule team members for the holiday rush. Before you make a schedule and post it, ask employees about their availability during the holiday season.

 

Chances are, you’ll find that the staff may not celebrate on the actual holiday or maybe they celebrate early in the day and are available for a dinner shift. While you won’t be able to accommodate everyone, the employees will appreciate that you’re making an effort to recognize their needs.  

 

Another option is to ask staff to sign up to work a specific holiday of their preference. For example, if your restaurant is open on the fab-four of holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day), ask each employee to sign up for at least two of those holidays. This tactic lets them choose their preferences and equally distributes coverage on those days.

 

Post the holiday schedule in advance and give employees enough time to trade shifts or make minor adjustments to fit their holiday plans better.

 

You’re going to need to create a team-wide communication method to notify all employees when they are required to work extended hours or specific holiday dates. It’s also advised to keep two to four members on call just in case someone doesn’t show up or needs to leave during his or her shift.

 

Once again, your POS system is an excellent resource for employee management. Many POS software companies allow for integration with platforms like HotSchedules, that reduce the time and stress of employee management. With platforms like this, employees can access their schedule via a mobile device, communicate with each other and managers, swap shifts, and track shift availability. 

 

Show Appreciation to Your Employees

Lastly, please don’t forget to show your gratitude to the team for their effort and dedication to your business during its busiest time of year.

 

You can plan a holiday celebration, an outing, or purchase a small gift for each member of the staff as a way to say thank you. Even if it’s after the New Year, plan to do something to express how much you value their efforts.   

 

 

To Sum Up

Your holiday restaurant staffing plan shouldn’t give you heartburn. Give yourself enough time to prepare, take a strategic approach, and get started as soon as possible — the holidays are just around the corner.  Good luck, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

The post Your Restaurant Staffing Plan for this Holiday Season appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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According to ReFED, U.S. restaurants generate 11.4 million tons of food waste annually at the cost of $25 billion per year. Alarming statistics such as this is making food waste a popular topic of discussion within the foodservice industry and causing restaurant owners across the nation to commit themselves to reduce food waste.

 As important as it is to know what food is leaving the kitchen, it’s equally important to know what happens to unused or uneaten food. Whether it’s customers leaving meals untouched or unused ingredients that end up in the garbage, restaurant owners need to realize they’re wasting a significant amount of money by generating abundant amounts of food waste.  

 Follow these steps to learn how to reduce food waste in your restaurant.  

Understanding Food Waste    

Before you can eliminate food waste, you first have to understand what it is and where it comes from within your restaurant. Generally speaking, food waste refers to food that is discarded, unused, lost, or goes uneaten by the customer. There are many occurrences across the food supply chain that can result in waste such as, primary production and processing to distribution and consumption.

 

Not only does culinary waste impede cash flow but what makes it so precarious is that it remains hidden behind normal restaurant operations. From overstocking inventory to over-prepping and spoilage to half-eaten meals, these are all costly forms of food waste that are often concealed by regular restaurant operations.

 

Think about it. Does a busser let a manager know every time they toss a half-eaten entree in the garbage during a Saturday dinner rush? Does your chef tell you every time they toss out a half case of lemons because they spoiled? The answer is, probably not.

 

In the foodservice industry, there are two basic types of food waste: pre-consumer and post-consumer. Let’s take a look at the difference.

Pre-consumer 

Pre-consumer waste (a.k.a kitchen waste) refers to food that never leaves the kitchen. For instance, an ingredient tucked away in the walk-in cooler past its expiration date is now money down the drain. Poor food prep techniques such as improper slicing and dicing can lead to added kitchen waste because you’re not getting the most out of the ingredients.

 

Post-consumer

On the other side of the food waste equation is post-consumer waste. Post-consumer waste is food purchased by restaurant patrons but not eaten. The most common example of this type of waste is leftover food on a customer’s plate.  

 

 

Food Waste Audit

The best way to get a handle on the food waste your restaurant is producing is by conducting a food waste audit. The objective of an audit is to uncover places where you’re generating food waste so that you can implement strategies to help eliminate it.  

When tracking food waste, it’s essential to find its source. Keeping a record or journal of how much food is going to waste and how many guests are coming in to dine is the best way to understand your restaurant’s food waste problem.   

 

Develop a system for the staff to keep notes on what is being thrown out, the reason it’s being thrown out, and how much food is going into the trash or compost bin. Depending on the size and logistics of your restaurant, you might want to have one or two dedicated employees tracking this information for the entire restaurant, or you may want to have each employee monitor their assigned station.

 

Either way, find a method that works best for your operation and make sure to collect data during both peak and non-peak times over an extended time, so you get an accurate sample size.

 

Pay close attention to the amount of food diners purchase, but do not eat. For instance, when a dinner party orders multiple appetizers, but then leaves a large portion of their entrees untouched or ask for doggie bags. It’s worth evaluating this information to see how much it adds up.

 

Also in your audit, remember to make notes about what the weather is like that day or events happening around the community. Data like this is useful for determining your restaurant’s future customer volume and can help account for any anomalies in sales volume.

 

For example, your audit may show you have an average 250 guests come in for Sunday brunch when it’s 80 degrees and sunny out, but that number drastically drops to less than half that amount during the winter. Tracking this information allows you to identify customer trends and plan inventory purchasing around those findings.   

 

The results of your food waste audit should help reveal actionable data that you can use to help reduce food waste.  

Food Waste Prevention  

Prevention is the key to reducing food waste. Knowing how to prevent waste in your restaurant can save you a great deal of money and significantly cut food costs. Here are some ways you can reduce food waste and increase your bottom line.  

Properly Store Food

Using proper food storage techniques will substantially increase the shelf life of your inventory. First, ensure that you’re storing all food items in accordance to all applicable health codes. Use only appropriate containers for storage at precise temperature levels.

 

You can also develop a labeling system for your kitchen staff so that containers with perishable products have the date they were received, the expiration date, and the amount of product in the container.

 

Lastly, take the necessary precautions to prevent cross-contamination such as storing raw meat on the bottom shelves of your walk-in cooler. The placement of the raw meat on the bottom shelf will ensure the juices don’t run down and contaminate the food stored below it.  

Utilize the FIFO Method

Another prevention technique along the same lines as proper food storage is the first-in-first-out (FIFO) method. Using the FIFO method, chefs will organize and rotate ingredients so that older items will be used before newer ones to help reduce spoilage.   

 

For example, if pizza dough is prepared on Monday and then again Wednesday, the remainder of the dough from Monday should be used before (first) the dough made on Wednesday.   

Use a POS System to Manage Inventory and Food Costs    

These days, a restaurant POS system (point of sale) is a must-have if you’re managing an eatery. Not only do they facilitate the order process and communication between the front of house (FOH) and back of house (BOH), but they can also help you monitor inventory levels, food costs, margins, and purchase orders.  

 

Companies such as Restaurant Manager design POS systems with automated tracking and reporting capabilities to provide restaurants with powerful business analysis tools. Your staff can better plan and prep for services because of the system’s ability to monitor stock inventory of all recipes and forecast inventory requirements based on menu and sales performance. For example, a POS system can show you that you’re only using 25 pounds of potatoes each week even though your weekly order is for 50 pounds. It can also raise attention that potatoes are only being used in 5 out of the 15 dishes on your menu.

 

With the use of POS inventory management software, you will notice a significant reduction in the amount of food that goes unused and minimizes any over-purchasing and overproduction resulting in increased savings.  

Develop a Smaller Menu

A POS system can be an effective resource to analyze the profitability and popularity of each item on the menu. Moreover, the results obtained from a simple analysis will give you the opportunity to review and condense the menu. Shrink the menu down to only the dishes that are selling to help eliminate spoilage of unused ingredients.

 

Use the Same Ingredients Across Multiple Dishes

Shrieking your menu can be made even easier by repurposing ingredients across multiple dishes. Using the same ingredients across numerous dishes can help minimize waste and create a more sustainable menu. Use chicken from tonight’s dinner special for tomorrow’s soup of the day or yesterday’s bread that has gone stale as croutons for salads.  

Monitor Portion Sizes

Your food waste audit should examine if you’re serving guests excessively large portions. Use tools like portion scales and portion spoons, so you and employees know the exact amount of food that gets plated for each dish. Train kitchen staff and standardize recipes to make sure that portion sizes are plated precisely the same every single time.

 

As for your menu, you may want to think about offering portion sizes for some of your larger or more popular menu items. For instance, you can charge $8.00 for a large bowl of chips and guac and $5.00 for a small bowl. Using your POS system, you can easily update your menu to reflect these changes.

 

Properly Train Employees

Speaking of training kitchen staff, it’s essential that the entire team work towards the common goal of reducing food waste. Offer chefs and prep cooks guidance on cutting techniques to get the most out of ingredients. Also, encourage feedback from employees about ideas they have to help waste reduction efforts further.   

 

Zero Waste

Lastly, after all these efforts, if you still notice that your restaurant is throwing away an ample amount of food, consider some alternatives. Donate leftover food that is still safe for consumption to local food banks and offer food scraps to local farms to use as animal feed. Just because your restaurant no longer has a use for the food doesn’t mean it can’t be put to good use somewhere else.

 

The Bottom Line

Understanding how to reduce food waste in your restaurant is an ongoing process and doesn’t happen overnight. However, with the right attitude and strategy, you will see your efforts pay off in the long run.

 

Food waste can be a challenging and tedious problem to fix. It’s essential that you regularly monitor the waste produced in your restaurant and make changes to your strategies as necessary. Utilize these resource tools offered by the EPA to monitor and manage food waste. Always pay attention to your customers ordering behaviors and trends to ensure your menu is fulfilling their appetites, but reducing waste at the same time.

 

Never waste ingredients or money on dishes that aren’t being ordered. Make sure new employees are adequately trained and knowledgeable on food waste reduction. Even after you put strategies into place and you’re starting to notice a significant decrease in waste, still try to find more innovative ways to continue efforts.

 

The post How to Reduce Food Waste in Your Restaurant appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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PMQ Pizza Magazine reported that the United States saw an estimated $45.1 billion in pizza sales in 2018 — no wonder more and more people are jumping at the opportunity to open a pizza shop of their own.

Follow these steps and learn what you need to know about opening a pizzeria.

Identifying Your Pizza Brand and Style

In today’s world, pizza lovers have a plethora of options to choose from in their local neighborhood. A pizzeria, whether a chain restaurant or independent owner, can be found on almost every block or shopping center. Pizza is tasty, it comes in a variety of options, it’s a quick meal, and it can be healthy — thanks to new trends like cauliflower crust.

As a pizzaprenuer, you have to decide where you fit into the mold — or where you don’t. If you’re opening a pizzeria, you first need to identify the type of pizza you’re going to serve and let that lead into defining your brand. Will your menu have more traditional eats where tomatoes are the main ingredient in every dish or are you redefining pizza with more innovative foods?

The key to having your pizza shop stand out from the rest is crafting delicious, one of a kind pizza recipes. Be daring and innovative with pizza toppings, design, and presentation.

Crafting your menu can be the catalyst for identifying what type of pizza restaurant you should open. It can also indicate what equipment you’ll need, target customer base, staff you’ll need to hire, and the amount of start-up money necessary to open for business.

Determining what kind of service you’ll offer at your pizzeria is essential for developing a business concept, drafting a business plan, and obtaining start-up funding.

Some of the most common pizza shop styles are:

Delivery

One of the most common forms for pizza shops is delivery. They offer patrons convenience and usually have lower startup costs than sit-down establishments. However, this type of restaurant presents some concern for the safety of delivery drivers and often requires customers to pay an additional service or delivery fee.

Take Out

Delivery and carryout go hand in hand. Pizza shops that offer minimal seating (no more than half a dozen tables) require less space than sit-down restaurants, but still, offer customers the convenience of a quick meal.

Sit-Down

Often a more expensive investment, sit-down pizzerias allow you to create a great customer experience for those that have a little more time to dine.

Your pizza shop’s brand is reliant on the style you choose. Developing a brand gives your pizzeria a personality. For example, your brand could be a traditional pizza parlor with dollar slices or an Italian family-style eatery. Besides the menu, your brand is what will motivate customers to dine with you.

Writing a Business Plan

Once you’ve defined your pizzeria menu, style, and brand, you’re ready to begin drafting a business plan. A business plan is a document that allows you to manage your pizza shops objectives and strategies.

A good business plan will provide you with a base to implement business strategies, stay organized, and obtain investors.

A thorough business plan will include the following sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Legal formation
  • Start-up money and funding
  • Description of products and Services
  • Market strategy and positioning
  • Market analysis
  • Product and service sourcing
Choosing the Right Location

As you’re developing your business plan, you will want to include how you will go about finding the best location for your pizzeria. Within the start-up money and funding section, briefly explain the area where the restaurant will be and how that will influence business operations such as rental budget, target customer base, and market analysis.

Finding a storefront can be a tedious task for a new owner. Many elements need to be thought through to ensure your business will reach its highest potential. Finding a realtor that specializes in commercial property can make finding a location much more manageable. A realtor can find places that fit your price range in neighborhoods with the clientele you’re targeting.

Deciding on a location for your pizza restaurant goes back to your brand and style of the pizzeria. For example, if you decided on a takeout or delivery style restaurant with limited seating, you may want to find a location in an urban environment that gets a lot of foot traffic.

Next, try to find a location where competition is minimal. It’s never a good idea to pick an area close to other pizzerias — unless you’re convinced customers will choose you.

Pizza Equipment

The equipment needed for your restaurant will also depend on the style of the pizzeria you choose. Typically, a pizza shop will need these specialized tools, equipment, and technologies.

Pizza Oven

Choosing an oven depends on menu options as well as the volume and frequency of pizzas being made. Most pizza shops use either brick ovens, convection ovens, deck ovens, conveyor ovens, or impinger ovens.

A Point of Sale (POS) System

Ideally, a specialized POS system designed for pizzerias will be your best bet and cause the least amount of frustration. Ordering pizzas is a unique process and require a POS that offers a variety of features that simplify the ordering experience and enhance restaurant operations. Although it may not seem like it, ordering a pizza is much more complicated than ordering a cheeseburger or a medium-rare steak. There are hundreds of possible pizza topping combinations and customizations customers can order. From half-pie toppings to full-pie toppings and toppings that need to go on a specific half, ordering can be a complicated process without the right POS system.

Furniture and Decor

Also in the front-of-house (FOH), you’re going to need seating such as booths, tables, chairs, and even booster seats or high chairs for the youngest diners. You’ll also need menu boards and any pictures or decorations you plan to hang on the walls.

Dough Prepping Equipment

For the back-of-house (BOH), some of the heavy equipment you’re going to need are dough sheeters, dough presses, and proofing cabinets. A cost-effective alternative to purchasing brand new is finding used items that are in good condition or leasing equipment through a restaurant supplier.

Pizza Prepping Supplies

On the lighter side, you’re also going to need pizza cutters, cutting boards, utensils, cookware and glassware.

Hiring Employees

Now that you’ve found the right location and you know what type of equipment you’ll need, it’s time to start hiring employees. Finding the right staff is vital for any business because they’re the ones interacting with customers and representing your brand. You want to make sure they (and you) put your best foot forward.

Good employees will maintain consistency of service and high-level customer satisfaction. Your ideal candidates should be problem solvers that are also personable, driven, and reliable individuals that you can entrust with your business.

Advertising

Not only are employees an extension of your brand, but so is your advertising. What does your brand stand for what’s the message you’re trying to convey to potential customers? The marketing strategy and positioning section of your business plan will act as a guide to begin your advertising campaign. Let’s explore a few platforms that will help you get the word out about your business.

Social Media

Take advantage of free or low-cost social media advertising. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great places to share information about your pizzeria. You can entice customers with high-quality photos and videos of your menu items. You can also highlight your employees in action and your presence in the local community.

Company Website

Besides social media, another must-have in today’s digital landscape is a company website. Thanks to drop-and-drag website platforms like Wix, creating a user-friendly website for your business is relatively simple — even if you’re not technically savvy. Make sure to include the necessary information about your company such as the address, business hours, phone number, and menu.

Email Campaign

In addition to a website and social media presence, there’s one other digital marketing strategy that’s worth mentioning, and that’s email marketing. For every dollar spent on email marketing, the average ROI is $44 — that’s a return on investment any business owner can applaud. Gathering email addresses before you open for business can be a little challenging, but not impossible. You can add web forms to your website and social media that prompt visitors to sign up for newsletters or email blasts.

Local Print

Even though a digital footprint is the new standard, print advertising isn’t dead. There are still people in your community that get their news and information the old fashioned way through newspapers and other local publications. Before you open for business, take out an ad in your local newspaper. If your business is new to an area, this will give you a leg up with getting your name out.

Promotions

Print or digital, every customer likes promotions and discounts. Offer special promotions to new customers and keep your regulars coming back for more.

Events

Host special events at your restaurant such as live music, open mic nights, or the popular paint-and-sip classes where people eat and drink at your restaurant while following an instructor-led painting class. Lastly, before your big grand opening event, you’ll want to host a soft opening. Invite other local small business owners and community leaders to help create buzz and spread the word about your restaurant. Hosting a soft opening before your actual business launch date is an excellent way to work out operational kinks and get feedback on the menu. For instance, you’ll have the opportunity to practice your service strategy and see if the procedures needed to be changed or abandoned.

The Bottom Line

Pizza is in high demand right now and opening a pizzeria is proving to be a profitable venture. Following the steps outlined in the post will get you on the right track to owning a successful pizza shop of your own.

The post Opening a Pizzeria? Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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From thin-crust to deep-dish and brick oven to wood-fired, people all over the globe will agree that pizza is one of their favorite foods to eat. Delicious pizza is no longer the food that exclusively belongs to New York (although New Yorkers may argue that point) and pizza sales and consumption prove that the industry has transformed from the traditional idea of a pizza parlor.

Competition has intensely grown for fast-casual pizza restaurants. This surge is leading many owners to explore and embrace new technologies that enhance the speed of their operation and the customer experience. One of those core technologies is a pizzeria POS system.  

Pizza restaurants have unique needs compared to other types of quick-service or fast-casual restaurants — especially when it come to point of sale (POS) systems. A common mistake pizzeria owners make (especially first-time owners) is assuming that any restaurant-based POS system is suitable for their pizza shop.

As silly as it sounds, ordering a pizza is a complicated process. It’s much different from ordering a burger and adding bacon. Pizzas come with endless topping options that a customer can mix and match into infinite possibilities. Also, customers can choose if they want toppings on the whole pie or only half of the pie — and precisely what half.  

For instance, a customer might want a large pizza, half pepperoni, and half mushrooms. However, the half with mushrooms, they also want to add spinach. In this scenario, you can see how the ordering process in a fast-paced environment like a pizzeria is entirely different from a burger joint. It’s not realistic for an employee, or a customer to type the order just as I have here…for every single request. But, more on that next.

 

Let’s take a look at seven specific features to look for when choosing a pizzeria POS system for your restaurant. 

 

1. Customization

It’s essential that a pizza POS system allows as much customizability as possible. Like snowflakes, pizza orders are never the same. Customers enjoy being able to choose and custom-order every ingredient on their pie.

 

From the pizza size and type of crust to the sauce, cheese, and toppings, customers want a meal prepared to their exact specifications. Moreover, this requires a POS system that can accommodate all of those special orders. Whether they want toppings on just half the pizza, light sauce, or extra portions, the POS system must also be able to adjust pricing to menu items that have been substituted or modified.

 

Aside from creating the pizza how they want, customers will want to pay how they want too. It’s important that your pizzeria POS allow customers with their preferred method of payment — cash, credit, debit or NFC like Apple Pay.  

 

2.  Delivery Management and Online Ordering

It’s crucial that owners consider the volume and frequency of takeout and delivery orders. According to FranchiseHelp.com, approximately 50 percent of all pizza orders are takeout or delivery orders. The rising trend of online ordering has made it necessary for pizza POS systems to have capabilities to send a customer’s order directly to the kitchen or alert restaurant staff.

 

The beauty of many modern pizza POS systems like the one offered by Restaurant Manager is they are designed to make online and delivery orders quick and efficient. You can expedite delivery orders so drivers can make more deliveries at faster times.

 

Many specialized systems provide mapping technologies so you can track travel distance, GPS directions are sent directly to smartphones, and delivery zones can be set depending on the pizza shop’s preferred radius. The best pizza POS systems come with technology that calculates ETA and automatically notifies customers about the status of an order.

 

Also, owners can easily integrate their websites into the point of sale system for online orders. With online orders and delivery sales accounting for $4 billion, you can’t afford to overlook this revenue stream.

 

3. Caller ID Integration

Takeout and delivery orders are further simplified with caller ID integration.  Caller ID helps employees efficiently manage incoming calls. Rather than asking a customer for their phone number every time they call to place an order, a POS system with caller ID integration will pull up the customer’s profile based on the phone number of the incoming call. If it’s a new customer, you can easily assign orders to new calls and create a customer profile.   

 

4. Customer Database and Loyalty Program Integration

As we mentioned above, keeping customer profiles and a database is not only essential for caller ID integration but also vital for pizza restaurants in general. POS system customer database records order history and contact information about your customers. Owners and managers can see who comes in the most and spends the most.

 

This feature is terrific for recognizing regulars and initiating customer loyalty programs. The customer database also saves owners the money and hassle of having to find outside customer loyalty platforms and customers won’t have to rely on bringing a loyalty rewards card during their visits. 

 

5. Inventory Management

A specialized POS system for a pizza shop can assist with inventory management too. Reordering and tracking inventory is much easier when your POS system can do it for you. It will monitor the remaining amount of ingredients with every processed order including raw ingredients.

 

Restaurants can view popular menu items or what items are not selling. The system can even be programmed to alert staff when the inventory level of a particular ingredient is low or track order trends to show what items you’re using the most. 

 

6. Employee Management

When choosing a pizza POS system, it’s vital to find one that helps with employee management. The best pizza POS system will provide access to the entire employee database with information about each staff member. This feature allows you to create and edit timesheets, calculate overtime, and shift details like sales performance. Many systems will also offer tip tracking features, so tips are accurately divided amongst employees. 

 

7. Kitchen Display Systems (KDS)

A critical feature that is often overlooked is a Kitchen Display System (KDS).  A KDS creates more efficiency in the back of house by not only improving order accuracy but also making it easy for kitchen staff to complete orders efficiently. Kitchen staff will be able to seamlessly communicate ticket information and better focus on the quality and consistency of pizzas and other menu items.  

 

A solid pizza POS system is what pizzerias need to stand out from competition and show that they have a smooth, efficient ordering and checkout process. The best pizzeria POS systems help restaurants save time and money and optimize day-to-day operations. Purchasing a POS system is an investment –especially for smaller businesses – but when properly evaluated it will help grow sales, raise profits and reduce costs.

The post The Deep Dish: 7 Must-Have Pizzeria POS Features appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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A number of restaurant owners have stated that 85% of their transactions use plastic to pay instead of cash. In fact, there is more of a simplicity in restaurants when dealing with credit or debit cards. Cashless restaurants throughout the country have said that they are able to create more opportunities as well as a more efficient, cleaner and safer environment with less customer complaints. Here’s how they accomplish this:

1. Increase efficiency: Restaurant chains such as Sweetgreen, Bluestone and Tender Green are only accepting plastic and are finding immense success. Tender Green has gone cashless in their 28 stores creating more revenue as there is no need to pay for armored trucks and bank fees for depositing money. Not to mention, those that work in restaurants noted that they save time not having to count cash daily. Also, customers save time in line because they don’t have to wait for change. In fact, on average, ordering is 20 seconds faster, making customers less frustrated about the wait.

2. Customers purchase more: Having cash can be limiting. For example, if a customer is paying $10 for something but only has $15 in their wallet they may not want to buy the item. With a credit card, there is no visible limit and $10 does not look like much. In fact, studies have found the that more images associated with credit cards seen compels customers to buy more and leave larger tips. Bottom line … restaurants experience increased spending when customers charge.

3. Attract millenials and gen zers: Thriving restaurants are keeping up with the cashless trend that millennials and gen zers have become accustomed to as a result of apps such as Venmo and Apple Pay. With Apple Pay, customers now have “mobile wallets,” creating even more of a reason to not carry cash. Venmo is an app that makes it easier to split meals with friends. By offering customers the ability to pay with these apps, you will increase your customer base.

Going cashless has been a massive money saver for independent restaurants as they have eliminated some overhead costs and created a more profitable work setting. You should consider it for your restaurant.

The post 3 Ways Your Restaurant Could Benefit from Going Cashless appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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Remember Y2K (or at least reading about it)? On January 1, 2000 computers that everyone depended on were to malfunction due to four-digit years being represented by two digits. Although this never resulted in the major problems that were predicted, it sure did scare everyone. Now we have a new phenomena that could have a big impact on your restaurant (and represents a much more tangible threat than Y2K did)…

Fast forward to June 30, 2018. On this day, the Payment Card Industry Standards Council (PCI SSC) is mandating that any restaurant running SSL must switch to TLS v1.1 or higher for all credit card processing to continue safeguarding payment data. Now I realize that you may feel like you are staring into a bowl of alphabet soup when I bring up these acronyms so bear with me as I explain.

For decades, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) has been used as a standard way to convert data into code in order to prevent unauthorized access. Recently, vulnerabilities have been identified in SSL. POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) is a flaw that enables attackers’ to extract data from a encrypted (secure) connection. To avoid this, you must switch from SSL entirely and TLS (Transport Security Layer) version 1.0 to TLS version 1.1 or higher. Not only will this allow you to fix the problem, but your restaurant will remain PCI compliant.

Once the June 30 deadline has passed, the credit card processing functionality of any non-compliant software, operating system and/or hardware will stop working. In other words, you will face a complete shutdown of your credit card processing! Most traditional POS systems are vulnerable and will need to be upgraded before this deadline. This could cost thousands of dollars. Now that’s scary …

While a lot of POS software providers are just now learning about this issue, some are well aware of this problem and are working to make it easier on restaurants that need to procure new software and/or hardware. For example, Restaurant Manager is offering a free upgrade to the latest version of their POS software to the company’s existing customers or POS software for free to new customers. They are also offering free EMV Terminals to ensure compliance with PCI’s new TLS requirements! These terminals can also support EMV chip card transactions with tip adjustment and accept Mastercard’s new BIN cards.

Many POS providers even have local resellers who will come to your restaurant to install and then support your POS hardware and software … you don’t have to know a thing about SSL or TLS or POODLE. They’ll take care of it for you! Contact a local reseller today for details on how you can ensure you do not lose the ability to accept credit card payments when this deadline arrives!

The post Why Poodle/SSL is the new Y2K for your restaurant appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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Whether you are a big-time operation like Amazon or Google or a smaller independent restaurant, you can use real-time data from your business to gain insights and make smart, quick decisions that will ultimately make your restaurant more profitable.

So where do you get this data? Whether it’s information about staffing schedules, table turns or menu changes, you’d actually be surprised at how much data your restaurant is generating on a daily basis. You just need to make a point to collect that data and then use it effectively.

Now let’s say you have gathered this data. You must react quickly and that is a challenge for most restaurants. Let’s face it … the faster and more accurately you can access and analyze information, the better chance you have to make real-time decisions that will inevitably affect profitability.

Guest check analytics and other data gathered by your POS System is key, but your business may also have access to data from other sources, too, such as video security cameras, payroll services, or a customer loyalty application.  If you’re not using all this different data , you’re missing out on important information that should guide your decision-making.

This is why many restaurant technology specialists recommend implementing a real-time “Big Data” service that gathers actionable data from a variety of sources and delivers  it — in real-time — to the smartphones of store managers. This information can be used to help operators:

  • Decrease Costs – by taking select staff off the clock when Overtime Alerts warn an employee is nearing overtime thresholds or when Labor Cost Alerts that show that sales are dropping off after a lunch or dinner rush.
  • Improve Service – by giving special attention to special customers when the VIP Alert shows a big spending customer just ordered an expensive item or when the Prep Time Alert shows that Table 4 has been waiting more than 20 minutes for drinks.  

  • Prevent Wastage & Fraud – by using the Hardware Interface Alert to track when the Walk-in temperature goes above 50 or by using the Void Alert to identify staff who attempt to process a suspicious number of voids on cash transactions.

Even the smallest restaurants can profit from real-time data collection. And with increased competition, you owe it to your business to look into big data options that fit your budget. Need more information? Talk to your POS vendor or visit RMPOS.com.

The post How to Run a Profitable Restaurant Using Real-Time Data appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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Valentine’s Day isn’t just the most romantic day of the year…it’s your time to shine! You’re not just selling a delicious dinner, you’re selling a memorable experience. You’ll want to make sure you’re on your game with the best food and customer service possible. That starts with making sure your customers can book reservations online and they don’t have a long wait when they arrive. The optional service of a reservation module on your POS system will efficiently help you manage restaurant capacity with waitlists, so your valued customers are not left disgruntled while they have to wait for a table. Making sure you are properly staffed during the rush is also critical. It’s important to have the seasoned vets during the big game. Luckily, you can also use the historical trends data from your POS system to estimate the busiest times for Valentine’s Day and schedule staff accordingly.

We all know the wonders a positive mood can bring. When our server is happy, we tend to have a more enjoyable dining experience. As a server, having an intuitive POS system can really go a long way towards being in a good mood. With the technology of fewer touches per order, you don’t have to waste time going through unnecessary menu items and can turn tables faster. This allows for business to be done accurately in a quicker fashion, but without sacrificing functionality. Your customers will likely appreciate the faster pace of service, in turn, leaving more tips and returning to the establishment.

To further entice their repeat business, show your customers they are valued. Do this not only with excellent customer service but with rewards too. Offer something extra through your loyalty club — whether it be gift cards, points, free drinks/meals/desserts or whatever else you fancy. Maybe being a loyal member means getting a featured holiday promotion — buy one, get one free? Or that tasty treat you only have during the holidays?

Bottom line, make them make them feel extra special. Keep them coming back for more!

The post 4 Ways to Increase Your Profits on Valentine’s Day appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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Labor costs are a big issue for restaurateurs. According to Senior Strategic Advisor for the NRA Dave Matthews, labor productivity has remained flat in recent years. From 2004 – 2014, the average annual percent change in output per labor hour has decreased between -0.1% for full service restaurants to -0.3% for limited service restaurants. How can you change the direction of this trend so that your restaurant can be more profitable?

Here are 4 areas that I have identified where labor costs can hurt your business the most:

1. Overtime costs

Get overtime costs under control. After all, overtime can cost restaurants mucho dinero … sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s important that your POS system has employee scheduling tools built-in, which will alert managers if schedules they are creating will lead to overtime. Plus, if staff wants to swap shifts, you have the ability to quickly check the staff schedule, ensuring that you are not giving anyone unwanted overtime.

In addition, your POS system should make it easy for owners and managers to override incorrect information so that you do not have to pay unnecessary overtime. For example, if an employee forgets to clock-out, managers should be able to clock this person out and adjust their time card. Unfortunately, time theft is a big problem in this industry as well. Whether it’s taking longer breaks than permitted, clocking in before or after a shift or inflating hours worked, this behavior results in higher labor costs and lower productivity. Owners and managers should be able to easily correct for this in the POS system.

When you start to get these costs under control, you might find that it is worth it to measure the cost savings. You should be able to do this with your existing POS system, where you can give managers access to the specific metrics on their mobile devices.

2. Overstaffing

We’ve all heard it …“I’m overstaffing for the rush of customers.” And I can understand that, but just throwing bodies at a problem is a no-no. If you are always understaffed, however, customers will get irritated and, eventually, there will be no large volume of customers walking through your doors at all.

Instead of putting as many people on the schedule as possible (which by the way generally leads to fraternization among employees), you need to invest in a POS system that will give your operation more predictability and efficiency. Your POS system should be able to provide you with alerts that tell you you whether you will be overstaffed — or understaffed — based on past data about the business of that restaurant.

3. Employee Turnover

Ugh!!! We all know that in the restaurant industry there seems to be a revolving door of employees coming and going. If your POS system has an intuitive user interface, new employees can easily get up-to-speed, which is important in this high-turnover industry. Wait staff, bar staff and managers can be quickly trained and productive in a short period of time. This creates a stress-free environment for employees … and lets them focus on the job at hand, not the POS system.

4. Lack of labor reporting

Managing employees, tracking shifts, figuring out regular versus overtime pay, tips, and employees’ hours is an onerous task to say the least. You need to figure out a way to manage and track labor these items, letting you turn your attention to other things.

That’s why labor reports are crucial to restaurant owners and managers. With these workflow processes, you can view labor costs, employee productivity and payroll reports — as they happen! You can even review reports that show you when sales are dropping or picking up and then use this information to make an employee schedule that works with your labor budget. You can also figure out who turns tables the fastest, brings in the most tips, etc. (and who isn’t doing these things).

To sum up, labor costs are one of the biggest (but necessary) costs to businesses. Restaurateurs who cut down their costs will obviously increase profits. A POS system should be able to help you forecast labor costs, be more efficient and, ultimately, be more productive. With the landscape becoming more and more competitive than ever before, you need the best POS software to keep your restaurant cost-efficient and your customers happy.

 

 

 

The post 4 biggest areas where labor costs can hurt your business appeared first on Restaurant Manager POS.

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