Restaurant software has had a major impact on all different types of restaurants, including franchises. In order to remain competitive, franchises must remain at the cutting edge of their use of technology to entice new franchisees and to retain existing franchisees.
Restaurant software can affect many different areas of the restaurant franchise to improve efficiency. These areas include:
The Impact of Restaurant Software on Franchise Customers
Millennials are creating more of a demand for new technology as they become a large part of the consumer base. Because they grew up using computers, smartphones and other similar technology every day, they are more comfortable with it than any generation before them.
As a result, they like to see franchises implementing new software that will allow them to have more control over their dining experience. Online ordering is becoming more popular as are online reservations. In fact, online orders exceeded telephone orders for the first time in 2017. It is on a growth trajectory that has tripled in the last five years.
In order to remain competitive, franchises need to offer the convenience of online ordering, restaurant apps or other restaurant management software. They need to find ways to give customers more control over what they order and how they order. If franchisees do not take advantage of these options, they are likely to be overshadowed by their competitors.
While this may sound like an expensive overhaul if your franchise is not currently using the latest and most efficient restaurant software, there are options that can help you save money in the long-run.
For instance, many restaurants now offer to send an SMS or email a receipt instead of printing one. This would save you money on the physical printer, any maintenance that the printer may need and the cost of paper or supplies required for the printer.
Additionally, customers will notice that you are keeping up-to-date with technological advances and may appreciate the convenience of a paperless order. Convenience is a huge factor for drawing in new customers or keeping loyal ones.
Apps for customer loyalty programs or coupons are another very popular restaurant software that offers convenience when ordering. Customers will no longer have to keep track of punch cards for a free sandwich or coupons for a discounted meal on their birthday. All of this information is now kept on their phone. The app can send reminders for specials or coupons and can keep track of “points” that customers can receive for placing an order.
Another type of restaurant software that is shaping the franchise world is ordering kiosks. McDonalds’ was one of the first franchises to make use of self-service ordering kiosks. Now, more franchises like Subway are trialling self-service kiosks at different locations.
A self-service kiosk is restaurant software that offers convenience for customer ordering as well as payment. Most kiosks are equipped to accept emerging forms of payments, like Apple Pay. Both food-based and non-food-based kiosks have embraced Apple Pay to provide more choice in relation to payment methods for customers.
The Impact of Restaurant Software for the Franchise’s Front of House
Servers, hosts and other front of house staff could use restaurant management software for practically all of their interactions with customers. Hosts can use it to manage the flow of customer traffic and servers can use it to streamline their order-taking and payment processes.
If a franchise chain has hosts, they can use restaurant software, like Toast or Touchbistro, on a tablet or computer to manage reservations, organize customers waiting for tables and track which tables are open or filled. With this technology, there is less of a chance that a reservation will be lost or that a customer will be overlooked and left waiting for too long.
With restaurant software, hosts are better equipped to seat customers more quickly and distribute tables more evenly among servers. They can track how long a table has been seated and estimate which tables will be opening up soon. This will also help them space out seating time between parties to prevent the kitchen from being flooded with orders.
Restaurant management software is also a useful tool for franchise servers because it reduces the possibilities of misunderstandings or errors. Instead of scribbling notes on a pad of paper, servers can quickly and easily punch orders into a mobile device with any notes modifications or dietary restrictions.
When the order is complete, it will be sent directly to the kitchen. This eliminates the time that a server would spend walking to the kitchen to place the order. It also prevents communication errors, like lost tickets or misunderstandings from sloppy handwriting.
A lot of servers are now able to take orders quickly and repeat them to the kitchen by memory without the use of any restaurant software. However, this software can minimize the many opportunities for human error in those scenarios. Customers even notice this decrease. In fact, 61% of restaurant goers say that servers using a handheld device offer a better dining experience.
Restaurant management software can help the front of house staff work and communicate as efficiently as possible. Providing a good customer experience should be the goal of every server and host. Restaurant software can help them achieve this goal.
The Impact of Restaurant Software for the Franchise’s the Back Of House
If you own a full-service franchise restaurant, such as Albert’s Family Restaurant or Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, the efficiency of restaurant software allows the kitchen staff to begin working on orders right away without waiting for tickets. It also saves any time that would be wasted questioning the shorthand of the servers or trying to find a lost ticket.
POS restaurant software, like Lavu, can also be programmed to send different areas of the kitchen different information so that everyone can start working on the same order right away. This cuts through any potential issues that may arise from poor communication in the kitchen. Each part of the order will get the attention it needs, so that it can get out of the door as soon as possible.
In situations where a restaurant is running a special, restaurant management software can also be of value. These systems can track inventory in real-time so that kitchen managers can see when certain ingredients are getting low. With this information, they will be able to alert servers to check with the kitchen before allowing customers to order any more specials. Keeping communication open will allow for a better customer experience with less wait time.
The Impact of Restaurant Software for the Franchise’s Management Team
As a franchisee, you need to keep meticulous records of finances, labor costs and inventory. These numbers are reported to corporate offices that expect a certain level of success. It is also expected that your profit margins will hit a particular benchmark. Additionally, labor costs need to be kept below a certain number. Any refunds to customers need to be tracked. Inventory needs to be reported to show that food costs are staying low.=
With restaurant management software, tracking and reporting will be made much easier. These systems can keep track of payments, sales and other details of customer orders to form a report which can be automatically rendered by the software.
With scheduling software that is used by franchises, employers can predict the amount of workers that will be required for every shift. This accuracy will enable franchises to save on labor costs as they will be able to schedule shifts more accurately without being understaffed or overstaffed.
Hiring software that is equipped to deal with recruiting workers for different franchise locations quickly, without compromising on quality, is also shaping the franchise world. Franchises are popular places to work because of their proven reputation. Therefore, it is not unusual for franchises to receive thousands of applications at one time. The hiring software that is used by recruiters for franchises will determine important metrics, like time to hire. Fountain provides the automation to allow recruiters to manage all candidates in an efficient way that reflects well on the franchise.
For all of the benefits that restaurant management systems offer, there is typically very little for franchisees do in terms of upkeep. Many systems run updates automatically after hours. These updates improve security, fix bugs or increase speed. Generally, updating to new versions of software will be dictated by the terms of the contract and will normally be the responsibility of the franchisor.
Restaurant software saves franchisees time and money by automating specific tasks, reducing labor costs and providing analytics to determine areas of improvement.
The Impact of Restaurant Software for the Franchise’s Corporate Offices
In order to have a successful franchise business, corporate offices need to build a solid foundation and definitive guidelines about how resources are to be managed and reported. Restaurant management software allows corporate offices to ensure that all franchises are following the same policies, regulations and are meeting the necessary goals to be financially successful.
With the proper restaurant management software in place, corporate receives the same analytics from each franchisee. Reporting requirements, such as frequency, are set out in the terms of the franchise agreement. It is important for restaurant software to provide accurate reports on the metrics that franchisors regard as being important. This is because these analytics form the basis of whether the franchise agreement will be renewed.
If you want to own multiple franchises, you may find yourself crossing county, state or even national borders. Restaurant software can make it easy to be compliant with the requirements of different area laws and regulations. For example, if your franchise is in a jurisdiction or state that enforces predictive scheduling legislation, your scheduling software should ensure that you can comply with this law to avoid landing your franchise into trouble.
The franchise restaurant industry is fast-paced and, as a result, every second counts. Restaurant management software can give you the ability to compile data quickly and communicate more efficiently while providing an excellent customer experience.
Franchise restaurants especially benefit from this software because of the unique demands of being a franchise. Single location restaurants are able to handle all of their paperwork and reports in-house. They only have to worry about the one restaurant. Franchises, however, report to corporate offices that can manage dozens, hundreds or even thousands of restaurants at a time.
The software used by franchises will determine whether they remain competitive. One of the biggest investments of a franchise is staff. Hiring efficient and qualified staff in record time has never been so crucial. It is unlikely that good candidates will sit around for weeks for responses to their applications when other franchises can hire them in a matter of days.
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