A restaurant is one of the hardest businesses to successfully launch it takes a lot of planning to get everything just right. However, with proper planning and some sweat equity it can be a very rewarding venture; despite the fact 40% of restaurants startups fail within the first year.
One of the biggest reasons for failure is lack of proper planning. Part of effective planning is ensuring that your staff and customers have access to modern software that makes your ordering process easier for everyone. So how do you ensure that the software you choose is right for you? Here’s how you can avoid wasting your money, time and energy …
6 Things to Look for in Restaurant Software Before Spending Your Hard-Earned Dollars:
1. Ease of Use
One of the most critical features of any ordering system is its ease of use. You need to be able to make menu changes on the fly, and add in happy hour promotions and discounts. You also need to be able to create new menu items and upload them without having to jump through hoops to get it set up on your system.
Your system should also be easy for your customers to use. The menu items should look attractive, and the selection process should be a breeze. Customers should be able to quickly and easily make their selections, and choose either the pickup or delivery option. The system should also allow you to upsell to them, potentially making you more money.
Whether your patrons prefer to eat in or not, it’s essential to offer convenient ways for them to pay for their food. Extend your business outside your walls by pioneering flexible delivery and takeout options for your guests with the off-premises technology solutions now available on the market. Improve your order accuracy and promptness of service, open a new source of revenue for your business, and offer a stress-free way for your patrons to get the cuisine they love.
2. Low Cost
If you are a small organization with less than 20 locations, make sure you do not go out and pay to have your software developed. We have heard horror stories where some customers have paid over $100,000 dollars, and the software they developed is mediocre at best.
Your restaurant already has high overheads: food, beverages, staff, and building maintenance to name only a few. Why overpay for an ordering system, which should be designed to lower your operating costs? Get a system that will make money for you, and keep more of your profits. More importantly get that system in place as soon as possible. Reason for the urgency is to protect and grow your customer base. That said make sure your ordering software allows you to keep in contact with your customers whenever you want. Bush button notifications, marketing campaigns, sending out coupons for birthdays and anniversaries.
In the restaurant industry, ordering systems are also enabling customers, particularly takeout customers, to have a more enjoyable dining experience
3. User Capabilities
Good restaurant software should afford your customers a number of options for the ordering process. The best software options offer customers the ease of ordering using a desktop, laptop, mobile device, or user app. If they opt for delivery service, in many cases they can track their orders in real time using the vendors’ state-of-the-art GPS systems.
The restaurant user also has a lot of features at his or her disposal: restaurateurs can introduce loyalty programs, discounts, and other promotions to their customers. These systems also come with an SMS text messaging service, enabling you to market directly to their mobile phones. They also enable you to nudge their smartphones, as long as the customer has downloaded the app.
Good restaurant software allows you to track menu items and pinpoint and remove unpopular selections. You’ll know precisely what you need to keep your customers happy, since you’ll have consistent sales projections and accurate info about inventory usage. Your kitchen staff will know just how much of each item to cook, further reducing waste.
Tablets give servers greater flexibility in serving customers, and they look sleek and modern. They’re also the wave of the future, and few orders will be taken by telephone in the next three to five years. They improve accuracy, since it is the customer that will be making the menu selections, reducing the element of human error caused by the noisy restaurant atmosphere.
The restaurant industry is increasingly adopting web-based ordering systems, because of the flexibility they offer. Since they can run on any computer with a wireless connection and browser, any smartphone can become an ordering terminal. It is this advance that makes it possible to put your restaurant ordering software right in front of your customers, wherever they happen to be.
5. Ordering App
Restaurant apps are becoming more and more important for developing your hospitality business. With the increasing use of smartphones and other mobile devices, a restaurant app is no longer a luxury: whether or not you install one, your competitor is sure to. Apps make it easier for customers to order online, and for business owners to reach these said customers.
In a world where hotel guests can use smartphones to open their room doors and control room temperatures, restaurant apps are only the beginning of a new wave of technology for the industry. Such tech-driven innovations will become critical as America’s 80 million millennials spend more on dining out. The millennial generation is characterized by a focus on tailored, technology-driven experiences.
6. 24/7 Support
Like all systems, your ordering system will have the occasional hiccup. Good support, especially when offered 24/7, is critical for your business. That’s why it’s so important to choose wisely when ordering a software system for your restaurant, so you never have to worry about customer support: it would always be right where you need it, any time of the day or night.
Your best bet is to set up a fully integrated system, complete with the hardware and software, technical support, installation, and training. This model would be great for restaurateurs who want a full-featured system with outstanding technical support. Their services are user-friendly, well organized, and fast. Investing in a good system like this will enable you to run a better, more efficient restaurant business.
In the heart of America’s economic upturn, the food business is flourishing again – steadily maintaining a massive 4 percent of GDP. Some of the country's top restaurants are incorporating data-driven ordering systems, which offer them the customer information needed to make a profit in a competitive marketplace.
In closing before choosing a software program, make sure you fully understand what exactly you are trying to achieve? If you want to just offer a way for your clients to order online go with a basic software, however if you fully understand the importance of staying in touch with your customers through various sources, like text, email or your very own customized phone app. Then I encourage you to spend 10 minutes with one of our industry specialists.