The restaurant industry is extremely traditional, but the tech community has pushed me to embrace some cutting-edge technologies.
From organization to communication, there are thousands of tools available to enhance various aspects of my business. Any app or service that can help me reach my goals or even give me back a minute to my day, I try.
Over the years, I’ve discovered highly effective tools that I’ve incorporated into running VERTS Mediterranean Grill. They’ve minimized distractions and have given me more time to focus on growing my business.
Here are 5 tools you need to try right now.
1. Google Forms
Google Forms received a major update earlier this year with the addition of more dynamic templates and new features for analyzing surveys. Aside from polling customers, Google Forms can be a useful tool for internal communication.
We utilize Google Forms when submitting any design request to our in-house designer. Initially, our team would send all design needs through e-mail. As you can imagine, this became overwhelming and simple requests became complicated.
The Google Form allows us to input all the information that is needed by the designer in a single form. When the designer receives each request, she can easily categorize and export projects to an excel spreadsheet making the process as streamlined as possible that saves my entire team valuable time.
Scheduling meetings can be a headache. Especially when you’re a young business without assistants. Doodle simplifies the booking process by allowing you to offer a variety of time slots to your meeting attendees so they can select what works best.
You can then see what works for everyone and plan accordingly. We use it to poll team members and those outside of our organization. Once we have an optimal time and date, I’ll sync that time slot with my Google calendar. Even better, Doodle is free with ads or you can pay to upgrade to a premium account.
Communicating with multiple teams on various projects can be a challenge. We have access to so many platforms and push out a multitude of messages with differing priorities.
Popular among tech startups, we decided to adopt Slack specifically for our marketing department. Slack has transformed the way our team communicates. We have private channels set up for various subjects and strategies. We’ve also indexed communication with hashtags so that content is easily searchable. It’s become an effective way to keep our team inspired and ideas flowing.
An oldie but a goodie. Evernote lets me jot down and index ideas on my phone so I can easily find them later. I also take advantage of Evernote add-ons like the Evernote Web Clipper. The extension lets me capture articles, images and other content from the web and store it in a variety of formats. I even took it one step further and connected Evernote to my Slack account through the site IFFTT.
As our company grew and we rolled-out our catering services, the need for a phone system became critical. We decided to opt for a cloud-based phone system that could be connected to both the office landlines and our mobiles. Different extensions are set-up within our organization and all calls are forwarded to the appropriate line. I can rest easy knowing that no important call will be missed.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Michael Heyne is the Co-founder and CEO of VERTS Mediterranean Grill, a fast-casual chain with over 30 restaurants across Texas and an upcoming expansion to the East Coast in Fall. Just two days after graduating with his MBA degree in 2011, Millennials Heyne and Dominik Stein launched VERTS with the simple idea of recreating the popular food they missed from their native Europe and making it available for American consumers. An expert in non-traditional marketing, Heyne helps fellow business owners lead in their industries by offering unique strategies to grow their business. Connect with @eatverts on Twitter.