Will your restaurant survive right through 2018? Take our management health check

We’re enjoying being the Gold Sponsors of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Restaurant Association this year – even though we know this is a challenging time for many hospitality venues.

As many restaurants – including some run by famous names – can confirm, 2017 was a tough year for the industry. Brexit continued to create economic uncertainty and labour became even harder to come by; migration to the UK fell by around 100,000 during the year.

But as an international provider of technology for the restaurant industry, we’re confident that 2018 is going to be a year when the most forward-thinking and innovative establishments can forge ahead.

So how do you know if your restaurant will count among the victors?

Working from the experience of our successful customers, we’ve worked out a 10-question health check so you can determine whether your restaurant management practices are really up to the coming challenge.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • Do you know your guests well enough to offer a personal service?
  • Can your diners easily book tables online?
  • Is your restaurant receiving good online reviews?
  • Do you have an effective loyalty programme?
  • Is any events or meeting space you have being well used?
  • Do you always have the right number of staff at the right time?
  • Are you managing waste and keeping supply costs under control?
  • Do you have an end-to-end view of your operations at all times?
  • Are you making decisions about your business supported by data?
  • Is your forecasting up to scratch?

Most of these are yes/no answers – and if you find you’ve answered no to many of them, your business is taking some serious risks.

We’ve identified 5 best practices you should start using now if you want to tip the odds in your favour.

  1. Be personal.

Restaurant guests are becoming more demanding, particularly digital-savvy millennials, who are used to being offered personalised services.

A good restaurant EPOS system captures crucial information that allows you to create that personal service. It also helps your guests to book effortlessly online.

You can also create effective loyalty programmes and email marketing, targeting offers where they will be likely to impress.

  1. Feel the power of handheld.

With labour at a premium in 2018, an EPOS system captures data that helps you make sure you have the right number of staff available at the right times. With a mobile management solution you can keep track of labour costs at a glance.

In a restaurant and bar, serving staff can use handheld devices ranging from dedicated units to tablets or smartphones to send orders direct to the kitchen. This means they don’t have to run back and forth, making the best use of their time and also ensures the speedy service that today’s busy customers like.

Similarly, staff can take payments at tableside. The overall result is an efficient use of labour that is useful in these times when many restaurants are finding themselves struggling to recruit.

The most up to date EPOS can now be delivered via a mobile app, which makes it even more convenient and intuitive to use.

  1. Cut waste.

You’re probably wasting more food than you want to. Your EPOS system will help you identify best-sellers in the restaurant so waste is kept to a minimum – and it also helps you track your best procurement suppliers.

  1. Go for digital.

Many restaurants bring in valuable additional revenue from meetings and events.

Your EPOS system provides powerful sales tools that help you capture potential sales opportunities, and also help customers book their event online 24/7 – particularly useful for corporate clients booking last minute meeting space.

  1. Make a move into the cloud.

The EPOS systems offer cloud-based facilities. It means you can access your system on a mobile device wherever you are.

With constant access to real-time data and comprehensive reports including forecasts, you can get the full picture about your organisation.

It means your decisions about the way forward in the months and years ahead are based on solid data, with no guesswork required. And as we negotiate the tricky waters of 2018 and onward, that’s got to be the surest recipe for success.

  • NFS Technology Group is an international provides of hospitality and workspace technology. See nfs-hospitality.com.