2021 is still a time of uncertainty in restaurant operations. What is your vision for your menu, your delivery options, your dining room, and your brand? Now that you’ve survived the “famine” of COVID-19, how is your restaurant going to survive the “feast” that’s coming when it’s safe to return to social dining and society’s pent-up demand is released?
Matters are complicated by how your customer base has also changed in the past year. Your customers are critically aware of public safety and are potentially even more exacting about customer service. They’re not going to simply let things go back to the old status quo; they are going to demand the continuation of all the options and flexibility you’ve scrambled to create within your operations since last spring. They will expect not only an excellent experience in your dining room, but also all the convenience of delivery, order-ahead, curbside pickup, and other options they’ve come to appreciate.
In other words, 2021 is very likely the most important year in your restaurant’s history and the foreseeable future. How can you meet the heightened needs and expectations of your customers and make your business a success?
What’s Your Strategy?
One thing that every restaurant simply must build into their long-term strategy is the continued emphasis on public health and safety. Our society’s standards as to what is safe or even polite behavior in public have irrevocably changed; the perception is that your business’ first priority should be to ensure the safety of all individuals with whom it comes in contact. However your standards for safety and compliance have changed, you must plan to reinforce them and, where possible, make them a visible part of the customer experience. This is key to earning your customers’ trust and developing a relationship with them that leads to repeat business.
As far as your unique vision for the menu, delivery options, branding, and your business’ definition of an amazing customer experience, the practical truth is that you’re not the one who executes your strategy. Your restaurant’s success is based on the efficiency and compliance of your workers, shift by shift, day by day, location by location. This heightens the importance of operational oversight procedures like safety checklists, line checks, brand standards audits, and more; consistent execution of these procedures is what creates an excellent customer experience across every shift and every location. Keeping the focus on developing this consistency throughout your organization can separate your brand from your competitors.
What’s Your Reality?
However, those are the ideals; the reality for many restaurants is more challenging. Many operators struggle to ensure their locations are executing operational standards safely and consistently; the worst case scenario, of course, is the nightmare of a food safety incident that can affect a restaurant’s brand, reputation and legal standing for years.
Operators report that the primary hurdles to consistent team execution include:
- Lack of visibly into what each location is doing, including each store’s level of compliance
- Poor communication between stores and organizational management
- Not identifying or resolving concerns quickly enough; in fact, it’s reported that it can take up to a month to uncover and address serious issues. That’s up to four weeks of potential damage to the customer experience.
- Inadequate employee training methods and reinforcement
Making the situation even more daunting, many restaurants are trying to meet all these challenges with a leaner staff than in previous years. Profit margins are certainly tight. There is one tool, however, that can help bridge the gap between strategy and reality. Restaurants that implement the latest online technologies can make their operations run more smoothly and efficiently, keeping everyone in contact, accountable, and on the same page – no matter what pressure mounts in the future.
Digital Field Apps Up Your Game
Yesterday’s tech tools just aren’t enough to solve the problems outlined above. Restaurant managers report they most often use phone, text and email to attempt to gain visibility into store operations. Digital field apps are the gold standard but are still not widely adopted, even though nearly all restaurant operators who have implemented the technology report they have better visibility into each location, can quickly identify any issues within their operations, have overcome barriers to communication, and can much more easily plan for and adapt to an uncertain future.
This opens a window of opportunity for your business. At a time when your future depends on your ability to do more with less, operationally, the best digital field apps can:
- Develop all your employee training online and allow it to be customized by job responsibilities.
- Standardize all your checklists into one mobile, digital app so that each list can be quickly and easily filled out on site by any employee with a smart device.
- Allow photos and videos, as well as the results from smart monitors such as thermometers, to be added to checklists and official records. This opens a much wider window into the actual conditions inside any location.
- Make it simple to build and implement any necessary action plans online; this includes outlining responsibilities from plan templates, assigning actions to employees, and setting up reminders as well as automatic notifications of completion. The process of addressing issues becomes completely transparent with full accountability.
- Maintain a real-time dashboard that shows the current status of any list, actiohttps://dev.website.meazureup.com/blog/restaurant-dms-its-time-to-go-digital-with-your-field-audits/n plan or procedure in any location and is available to anyone inside your organization. Inconsistencies and potential issues can be identified in hours instead of weeks.
- Make it easy to update any checklist or procedure in the app, and the updates are then rolled out to all devices automatically and simultaneously. No one is ever out of the loop or out of date.
- Provide data reporting that helps you recognize best practices and opportunities so that they can be expanded throughout your organization.
Make Your Strategy a Reality with MeazureUp
You have the vision to develop your business strategy, and a digital field app like MeazureUp handles all the details and makes it easy to align your business practices to your strategy. From automated inspection forms to informative analytics, MeazureUp provides everything you need to manage your restaurant enterprise and to develop the consistent culture of excellence that will make your business a long-term success. If you want to worry less about what the future holds for your restaurant business, try our leading field audit app for free today.