Most restaurant managers are well aware of the benefits technology can introduce. In fact, 87 percent say that keeping up with technology is important for their business. But even though many owners and managers know that technology can benefit their restaurant, some continue to pour hundreds of dollars into systems that fail to offer a significant return on investment.
Want better bang for your buck? Try apps. Affordable and easy to use, apps promise to add value without blowing your budget. But with millions of available options, finding the right app for your restaurant isn’t always easy. The good news is that there are a number of them that can benefit restaurants of all sizes.
To get things started, we’ve put together a list of seven affordable and easy-to-use apps that every restaurant manager should have in their toolbox.
Seamless back-end operations
Just because diners may not see what goes on behind the scenes doesn’t mean back end operations—such as inventory and event management—are any less important to your restaurant’s bottom line. Here’s a look that can shore things up on the back end, saving you thousands of dollars along the way.
• SendaGuy Now - Malfunctions can shut your business down for days. Luckily, there’s an app that can help you make instant repairs to your restaurant. Next time things break down, use SendaGuy Now to book a repairman and bring your restaurant back up to speed. Currently, it’s only available in New York City.
• Upserve - Easy to integrate and use, Upserve lets you seamlessly manage your restaurant from your mobile device; it’s a one-stop shop that integrates payments, data analytics, and communications into a single platform. What’s more, Upserve provides restaurateurs with real-time updates around the clock—allowing owners and operators to monitor their businesses from anywhere in the world.
For restaurant managers, never-ending to do lists come with the territory. Even though these apps may not take everything off your plate, they’ll help you get a few extra things done before the day is over.
• HotSchedules - If you want to save time (and avoid headaches) managing and scheduling employee shifts, then consider HotSchedules—an app that lets you easily create employee calendars, make last-minute changes to your roster, and or swap shifts with the touch of a button.
• Slack - Need to pass along an urgent message to the rest of your staff? Slack has you covered. From private channels to shared files, Slack enables you to get in touch with your staff at a moment’s notice.
Enhanced customer experience
Diners rarely return to a restaurant they’ve had a bad experience at, so it’s important that you get things right the first time -- and these three apps help you do just that.
• OpenTable - OpenTable makes it easier than ever for customers to find your restaurant and book a table. As a mobile app, OpenTable is not only great for making and managing restaurant reservations, but also lets guests pay for their meals through their mobile device.
• NoWait - When it comes to running a restaurant, waitlists are a necessary evil—but that doesn’t mean that they have to hinder the customer experience. With NoWait, recently acquired by Yelp, diners will see current wait times for your restaurant, and you’ll save your guests from long delays and seating headaches.
• Tabbed Out - It’s not uncommon to see a party of guests struggling uncomfortably to split the check after a meal. With Tabbed Out, you’ll save your diners the headache by giving them the ability to view, and split their bills from their mobile devices. A growing contingent of restaurant managers are ditching complex, older, software systems in favor of cheap, user-friendly apps. By doing the same, you can avoid falling behind the competition.
Alex Lassiter is Co-founder and Vice President of Customer Experience of Gather, an event management software for thousands of restaurants and venues. Gather enables restaurants, venues, and hospitality companies of all sizes to manage and grow their events business, serving as the anchor between management, events teams and their customers. To request a demo, click here.