Owners and managers of small restaurants often face different struggles than restaurant chains or big-name establishments. For one, a small restaurant rarely has the same kind of financial backing that a larger restaurant does. Also, small restaurant owners may not have the kind of industry experience that a larger restaurant chain does.
A small restaurant doesn't have to struggle, though. Not in the modern technology and information age, and especially not when so many incredible apps are available for little or no upfront costs. One advantage a small restaurant has over a large corporation is the simple fact that they have a choice. They can try new things without having to get approval from a board of directors or investors, and they can choose to try new technology that the bigger companies are too afraid to try. That gives the small restaurant an impressive edge, and we're going to show you how to make the most of it.
The best tip we have for any small restaurant is to step away from the dark age of paper logbooks and dusty files and step into the dawn of the digital productivity app. Business management software and apps are incredible pieces of software that are powerful and easy-to-use, meaning you won't need a degree in computer science to use one. Go for a fully mobile productivity suite and you gain complete control of your data, your tasks, your inventory, your customer data, and so much more. It's all on your smartphone, tablet, or computer, and you can access it anywhere. Faster and more accurate reports give you an edge over your competition, meaning faster decisions for you and an easier time spotting trends.
Managers of big and small restaurants alike universally dread inventory management and control. Boring, tedious, time-consuming—there aren't really any fun parts of counting and tracking inventory, or at least there didn't use to be. With a real-time inventory tracking app, like Zip Inventory, even a small restaurant can make inventory duties significantly easier. When each item is tracked in real-time, with inventory tracker software, you will always know what's in stock. If you wait for monthly inventory counts, you lose a lot of money. Without inventory tracker software, between depleted stocks, stolen items, and spoilage, you can kiss half your profits goodbye, and not even know until the end of the month. With a digital inventory software program and inventory tracking app, however, you'll know exactly what stock you have at any given moment. Never run out of ingredients, prevent spoilage by avoiding overstocking, and track your products close enough that any employee theft can be caught before too much damage has been done with inventory tracker software.
Logbook-style shift schedules and excel work schedule templates are commonly used by small restaurant owners. There is no doubt that they do what they were intended for, but times have changed, and paper methods are outdated. Digital employee scheduling software and apps get rid of the cumbersome logbooks and lost or damaged schedules. You save money on paper, ink, storage, and disposal, too. Scheduling apps for small restaurants, like Zip Schedules, offer features that streamline scheduling while keeping employee preferences in mind and tracking labor laws so you won't be surprised with fines and penalties. The app does most of the work for you, and all you need to do is approve. If you don't like what you see, make a few quick changes right on the screen, then send it off for employees to view. It's mobile, which means your employees can check schedules right on their phones.
Running a restaurant is a lot of work, not just for the owner or management but also for staff members. Managing a business, including a small restaurant, can be overwhelming, and tasks inevitably get forgotten. Add a mobile task list in which you can just fill in the template, upload it to the cloud, and let all employees see the list in real-time. When a job is completed, staff members check them off and then management or the owner is notified. If a critical task still hasn't been completed, it can always be tagged and managers will be alerted. Good luck getting a paper task list to do any of that.
For a small restaurant to make a profit, it needs to have access to all kinds of data. The foodservice industry is fast-paced, so you'll want to know what's happening now, what happened before, and what might happen in the future. Imagine the opportunities that will open up for your small restaurant when you have an app that can compile all your data in an instant and show you colorful, detailed, and easy-to-read reports right on your screen. Business reporting apps, like Zip Reporting, mean no more waiting for data miners, no more waiting for the finance department to get your numbers, and no more waiting for shift notes from your staff. Everything you need is at your fingertips anytime you need it.
All of the apps mentioned above, and many others we haven't even covered yet, can be yours for a surprisingly affordable price. Buying the software and apps is modular, so you only use the apps you need right now. Since all of the Hubworks apps are compatible, they're ready to be expanded by adding new software when you're ready to grow your small restaurant. It's even more exciting to learn that these apps can all be tried for free. All you have to do is pick one and go!
It can be hard to decide what the right move is when most expect your small restaurant to struggle and fail. While it helps to know all these powerful tools are just waiting for you, on the other hand, it can be frightening to think about all the ways a new app can go wrong.
Technology has advanced so much in the last decade alone, that there aren't any downsides to trying new software or apps. Of course, we don't expect anyone to simply jump in just because we talked about how cool it is. So, if you need more information about how our business management software solutions and apps can help your business and better its bottom line, feel free to check out our “7 Ways Forecasting and Workforce Planning Can Increase Your Profits” article or browse the Hubworks Blog and see some of our other posts. We have some that go into much deeper detail on specific subjects, too.