“Every day, people around the world are romanced by the dream of opening their own restaurant. The story goes something like this: “We’ll open our own restaurant, cook the food that we like, hang out with our friends, franchise it and make lots of money.” The reality is that it takes a great deal of hard work…” (The Globe And Mail)
When you own and operate a restaurant, there are a million and one daily decisions to make in order to keep things running smoothly. From making sure your staff is on-time, on-task and ready to work, to ensuring there’s enough inventory on hand for the daily specials, and providing a good customer experience when the restaurant gets busy.
As RestaurantOwner.com writer Jim Laube explains, “One of the main occupational hazards of owning a restaurant is getting buried in the minutiae of daily operations […] When owners get caught up in the details of running their restaurant, they can easily lose sight of what they, as an owner, should be doing to turn their restaurant into a profitable business.”
Thankfully, being a restaurateur has become easier with the introduction of a whole slew of restaurant apps designed to help you stay above the fray. Here’s a look at five apps and online resources that can certainly improve your restaurant business:
Waitlist Me, a free iPad application, eases the pain point of customers who hate waiting in lines and waiting to be seated. The Waitlst app aims to make your customers happier and your business more profitable by improving the wait experience. Their wait list management app provides patrons personalized attention, text messages and alerts when their table is ready, and even a public view list so they can see exactly how long their wait time will be. The Waitlist app is an easy alternative to a messy paper waitlist and costly buzzer systems. Useful features, such as quote estimates, customized party statuses, guest loyalty tracking and multi-device synchronizing can aid in overall restaurant productivity.
Seamless table management is now easier with apps like SeatMe that keep track of your entire floor at a glance, so you’re always running at full capacity. Easily assign servers to tables, and make sure guests are equally distributed. Give walk-in guests accurate wait time quotes. The app boasts no cover fees, no contracts, and no installation fees. Best of all, multiple users can access the same system at once, from any device anywhere in the world, at no additional fee. This can give you the operational peace of mind you need instead of being chained to an old PC terminal. SeatMe is $99/month.
TimeForge labor management app aims to help managing employee schedules and labor costs easier. As your restaurant grows, managing a large staff can be difficult as it pertains to scheduling. Labor management software provides the power and flexibility you need to tackle employee scheduling, time punches, human resources, and a daily log. More importantly, TimeForge interfaces with common restaurant point of sale software. TimeForge is a monthly subscription service that offers various plans starting at no cost to 3.45 per user, per month.
Create a beautiful app for your restaurant with no effort and in no time. ShoutEm provides all the features customers need while they’re out and about looking for a great meal. Use their online mobile app development tool to offer menus, events, push notifications, deals, reservations and social check-in. Pricing starts at $19.90 per month.
Selling alcohol can be profitable with some restaurants making upwards of 75 percent of their revenue on wine and spirits. The Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), an organization founded by some of the top bartenders in the business offers DrinkSkool, a free online program for amateur mixologists. The free website offers history, recipes, instruction and video demonstrations so users can learn skills to make drinks properly. Use the site to teach your staff the basics on how to be efficient and knowledgeable mixologists.
Sandra J. Lambert, a computer networking and security specialist. She is a CISCO certified professional who writes about computer security services and antivirus products.