After the chaos of 2020, it makes sense that those who watch the restaurant industry are focusing on customers: Will they all begin dining out again, and when? What will be their expectations? Will they insist on having all the flexible options that restaurants adopted to survive?
However, every operations manager knows that the real test of any restaurant is in all the little details that customers never see — everything from the confirmed temperature of the food to the latest training updates. If your internal operations aren’t rock solid, your staff will never have the knowledge, discipline and motivation to prepare top-quality food, develop a truly great customer experience, and keep your restaurant competitive in your niche.
However, the restaurant industry’s historically thin profit margins are stretched even tighter this year and, to remain competitive, every manager needs every operational dollar to stretch, as well. Here are seven ways the latest restaurant technology can help your teams get more done with less budgetary impact and develop a true edge on your competitors.
Higher rates of compliance.
Let’s be honest: the problem with paper documentation is that your operational guidance ends up being stored and ignored in dingy binders in your office. Your employees track quality and compliance on pieces of paper that can’t guarantee they’re filling out the checklists correctly, fully and on time – not to mention honestly. Nonetheless, for each location to be successful, you must establish compliance to all regulations, food safety and sanitation procedures, and brand standards.
Today’s mobile, digital restaurant checklist apps take all this daily documentation online and into the cloud. When possible, they communicate directly with any “smart” kitchen devices like thermometers, eliminating the need for any human to record them. In addition, any employee can use the app to access any form they need from their phone; checklists are filled out quickly and easily, with prompts to make sure they include details such as photos and videos. Further, this process is completely transparent and posted in real time, so each employee knows they’re on record as responsible for each action. As their understanding of personal accountability goes up, so does the rate of compliance across your organization.
Online training that is both standardized and personalized.
Those dingy binders hold another important operational data set: Your employee training manuals are ignored because no one has the time for or interest in ongoing, paper-based training anymore; your employees are children of the digital age and are used to doing such things online.
Daily checklist apps allows your organization to create and store all its training modules in the cloud. This central repository standardizes all training throughout the organization but also allows you to customize the program; each employee completes only the training that is most relevant to their job – online and from any location. Management can easily see training details such as completion dates. When it’s time to update any module, it’s easy to make the change once in the app and then roll it out so that everyone now has the same materials.
Developing this kind of online training helps employees feel their time is valued and appreciated. They know they have complete, easy access to all the knowledge they need to do their jobs well, and the app also supplies feedback opportunities that increase their sense of engagement with your organization. This leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.
Complete legal records whenever you need them.
How many hours did it take your operations team to collect and organize all the paper documents for your last regulatory audit? Wouldn’t they all love never to do that again (and wouldn’t you love to not have to pay for that time)?
Enter today’s restaurant field audit apps. Since your daily documentation is already complete, automatically dated and geotagged, and saved in the cloud, prepping materials for an audit has never been quicker or easier. You simply select the correct formats from the built-in data reporting options and print or email the results. How much more quickly and smoothly would your audits go if the auditor had all the data in advance and only needed a quick tour and a few questions answered? You may even be able to implement remote audits by combining the app’s capabilities with common video conferencing software.
On-demand internal audits.
Speaking of remote audits, could your locations benefit from doing more internal audits on brand standards, for instance? Just like the external audits, internal audits can be quick, laser-focused and productive when completed through a restaurant audit app. Your auditors don’t even need to be on-site.
These checklist and audit apps feature a data dashboard that updates in real time. Management can easily see anything from the results of today’s line checks to the latest audit findings to statistics on training completion at any location. Trends quickly emerge, which provides the ability to identify operational shortcomings at any location and work to correct them immediately, even when you’re not present. That’s because these apps also house digitized action plan templates so it’s quick and easy to assign remedial action to certain employees, complete with deadlines, automatic reminders, and automated completion notifications. You never have to wonder what the outcome was of any action plan.
Duplicate best practices.
Of course, the opposite approach to the data also works: as trends emerge, some of them will be positive. Best practices can be easily transferred between locations through training and action plans.
More consistency between all locations.
In addition to saving staff time and minimizing administrative costs, there’s another critically important outcome. When transparency is in place, operational information is fully available, and each employee is both empowered and accountable, the natural result is to develop and maintain operational consistency at all your locations. Just like that, we’ve come full circle to demonstrating how internal operational efficiency results in an excellent customer experience.
Maximize your internal operational mojo
For a true competitive advantage, your internal operations need a daily checklist app and a restaurant field audit app that work together perfectly. MeazureUp has spent years perfecting just such digital, mobile solutions at a price that fits easily into your budget requirements. We’ve also established top ratings with our clients and reviewers. If you want to see exactly how DailyChex and MeazureUp can benefit your internal operations, try us for free today.