How restaurants can improve efficiency and hold on to more margin

Cutting costs is possible with technology that allows staff to be more productive and gives managers more control.

Operating on thin margins is nothing new for businesses in the restaurant industry. However, the pandemic made it critical to find ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. Health safety regulations forced restaurants to adapt processes and, in some cases, shift to new concepts, to keep serving customers. Additionally, operators also had to adapt to the new ways that consumers wanted to interact with restaurants. Diners who always requested a table suddenly became frequent online ordering customers, and now when they come in to dine, they expect accommodations such as social distancing and contactless service.

Accommodating diners and operating safely could create an additional demand for labor and complex processes—unless operators have the right tools.

How to overcome challenges and operate efficiently

End-to-end, mobile-first restaurant management technology will help operators eliminate inefficiencies and gain new capabilities that help streamline processes, minimize labor hours and decrease waste. For example, a solution that tracks the status of tables and allows the hostess to see immediately which are ready can shave minutes off a guest’s wait—and help staff turn tables faster.

Then, once guests are seated, a purpose-built mobile solution allows servers to take orders tableside and instantly communicate them to the kitchen. Also, a solution designed for mobile devices will have a friendlier user interface than software designed for PCs and screens reduced to fit a handheld computer, making it easier and faster to use. Furthermore, when servers have the right technology in their hands, there’s no need to walk back and forth to a stationary terminal, saving time—and time is money.

Additionally, entering orders into a mobile device at the table eliminates errors that can occur when servers attempt to remember orders or scribble an order the kitchen can’t accurately interpret. Finally, when diners have finished their meals, servers can also take payments tableside and complete transactions efficiently, especially if the software allows them to share items, split checks or combine guests on one check accurately and easily.

Get the most from the labor investment

Next to food costs, labor represents a restaurant’s highest cost—but operators can improve efficiency and see a bigger return with a solution that supports conversational ordering. When screens display the most commonly ordered items in a logical order, servers can work most efficiently. Moreover, the right solution can turn servers into salespeople, upselling based on the order or the customer’s history and capturing all possible revenue while increasing customer satisfaction.

The right mobile technology can also allow fewer servers to accomplish more during their shifts, allowing operators to schedule fewer employees—a real bonus during the ongoing labor shortage. Operators may worry that this strategy would diminish customer experiences, but Tabit users have proven the opposite is true. Using the mobile technology, restaurants typically see a 20% decrease in the number of servers needed during a shift, an 80% reduction in errors and an average decrease in table turn time of 12-15 minutes at peak. They also report higher customer satisfaction, demonstrated by an increase in tips.

Improve efficiency with online ordering managed in-house

Since the pandemic began, many restaurant businesses have expanded to enable online ordering –which can be another area of expense, inefficiency and waste. Although using a third-party platform may have quickly allowed restaurants to accommodate those customers who wanted to place orders online, the fees associated with it may result in loss.

Technology that allows restaurants to accept online orders and payments directly through their own website or app allows the business to make a margin on those sales. Furthermore, when the solution is a part of a fully integrated restaurant management system, it automates the process of accepting orders and sending them to the kitchen— no staff intervention required—improving efficiency.

A race to ROI can be a sprint, not a marathon

At a time when every dollar counts, making a new technology investment may seem counterintuitive. However, the quick and decisive gains from using a mobile-first solution that enables operators to improve efficiency through streamlined processes and faster table turns, and more effective use of labor will result in quick ROI and a more profitable future.

Contact Tabit to learn more about optimizing operations to improve efficiency.