Monday, May 18, 2015

Is technology changing the culture of the restaurant industry?

The 7 most expensive words in business are: “We have always done it that way.” We’ve cited this famous saying before, but it bears repeating, and you don’t want to be the person to use this phrase.
So far in 2015 the Sarbari team has exhibited at the Philadelphia Hospitality ShowThe International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, and The New England Food Show in Boston.
In May, we’ll start with the NRA Show 2015 in Chicago, the NJRHA ROC ’15 event in Edison, NJ, and a Massachusetts Restaurant Association event on May 27, also in Boston.
Why are we giving you our travel schedule for the Spring?  Well, it’s to let you know we’ve been out there meeting and talking to restaurant and foodservice experts, like you, and we’re still surprised at the number of people that say “The back-of-the-house is fine, we’ve always run it the same way.”
Are you surprised that restaurant professionals still say things like that in 2015? We definitely were (and still are!)  But the good news is that mindset, while still out there, is changing.  Many, if not most, restaurant owners and operators see the benefits that technology, like their POS systems, have brought to their business in terms of efficiency, customer satisfaction, cost savings, and employee productivity.

Our last blog asked whether or not you really need technology to run your restaurant more efficiently, and that’s a legitimate question for many owners and operators. However, there’s no denying there is a shift happening in the industry and the culture is changing.
In fact, when a member of our team meets a restaurant owner or operator that says the BOH is fine and they don’t need any technology to improve efficiency in that part of their operation we’ll respond and say “Ok, let’s unplug your POS system for a week and see what happens to the front-of-the-house.” Well the look on their face tells you that it’s not going to happen.  (We wrote about that crazy idea too.)
The fact is that paying closer attention to the back-of-the-house can yield results, usually relatively quickly.  One franchisee for Moe’s Southwest Grill, reported lowering labor costs by 1.5%, and improving food costs an average of 1.5 to 2% across the chain after implementing back-office software*.  Examples like this show us that by taking control of the processes in the back-of-the-house you can see real, measurable results that will impact your bottom line. Results like lower labor costs, lower food costs, and how about happier, more productive employees? Happier employees when you tell them they can do what they were hired to do, which is cook, serve customers, etc. and not look through stacks of paper, place multiple phone calls to place orders, or track down paper invoices from 2 months ago?

Market research tells us that in 2015 “Business Efficiency” is still the biggest factor driving new IT projects for restaurants and foodservice operations, followed by customer engagement/guest loyalty, and security/compliance.
So what’s driving the investment in new technology for your restaurant, foodservice operation, or country club?  Is it the need to be more efficient? Increase employee productivity? Enhance the customer experience? Create a guest loyalty program? Is it security/compliance? Do you want to save money on food and/or labor?
Whatever the reason is, don’t be that restaurant or foodservice professional that says those fateful words “We have always done it that way.

1 comment:

Dorney Dude said...

honestly can not believe a western lehigh commerce post about restaurants and new technology would not mention the newly opened Carmel Kitchen on Hamilton across from Dorney Park. They use ipads for menus, etc.... AMAZING!!!! way to blog and ignore a new restaurant