A decade ago, anyone who thought of a restaurant manager probably imagined an angry, frazzled, tired person hunched over a desk piled high with teetering stacks of papers and dusty log books. That image wasn't far from the truth. Running a restaurant, until very recently, was hard work and meant long hours poring over reports and complaints and spending logs, leaving little to no time to handle in-person situations. Managers were notorious for scaring employees, or at the very least being unapproachable certain times of the week.
We're happy to report that the days of the salty, overworked restaurant manager are over. Thanks to the invention of apps for restaurant owners, managers and owners have more time to spend getting to know their staff and interacting with their customers. However, with such an influx of apps for restaurant owners on the market today, it can be hard to decide which ones are right for you. Below, we discuss our top apps for restaurant owners, why we love them, and how they can benefit small to medium businesses without breaking the bank. These productivity apps might just blow your mind.
The number one concern for all food service businesses should always be food safety. After all, if you can't keep your ingredients safe and ready for consumption, the least of your worries will be low sales. If you're making people sick, it won't be long before your establishment is shut down and your reputation left in ruins. While local regulations will vary, if you're in the United States, the FDA rules supreme. With the FDA rules in mind, the HACCP was created as a way to address food safety through analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards that could make customers sick. Between the FDA and the HACCP, the number of rules and procedures is staggering, and it would be impossible for every person to follow every rule at all times. That's why most restaurants were prepared to pay hefty fines and just deal with it.
With a mobile food safety app, the days of sick customers, big fines, and plummeting brand reputation are a thing of the past. Our top pick of apps for restaurant owners is the powerful, user-friendly, and incredibly time-saving food safety app. Depending on which one you choose, your staff will get alerts to unsafe food temperatures, warnings on expiration dates, and reminders of safe food handling practices, just to name a few benefits. Before choosing a food safety app, be sure to check out all the features and consider the costs, too. Not all apps are created equal, so be mindful of offerings and limitations.
When it comes to apps for restaurant owners, our second pick falls under the category of labor management. Without properly managed staff, it won't matter how safe or delicious your food is. Labor management entails employee records, hires and fires, accounting and payroll, and keeping tabs on productivity. It's a pretty wide net, to be sure, and without a good app, it can get complicated very quickly. Even small businesses will benefit from labor management apps since every second counts and every minute on the clock costs the company money.
Aside from effective record-keeping and payroll duties, great labor management also includes awesome communication. Among our top apps for restaurant owners are labor management apps that have built-in communication options, like Zip Schedules. That can be emails, message boards, private text messaging, or even voice messages. As long as the app allows communication between management and staff, that's a major step forward.
Our third pick for top apps for restaurant owners belongs to the task list category. It used to be common to see a crumpled and stained list of daily tasks tacked or stapled to the kitchen wall or stuck to the staff room fridge. While the list writer meant well, the execution of that list fell short of the goal. Most staff members simply ignored the list after some time, rendering it useless. Even if it was updated or reprinted, it was largely ignored.
Task checklist mobile apps solve all the issues with paper checklists and even help gamify the process. People like to check things off of lists; it's just natural to get a rush when you see your tasks slowly disappear. It helps employees stay on target, improves staff engagement, and also helps management keep track of who is performing to standards and who might need a little extra help. Bonus points to checklist apps that can be updated and modified in real-time and deployed instantly to all connected devices.
There are many apps for restaurant owners that can help improve profits and keep employees accountable. Whatever apps you choose, be sure they offer free trials and don't require contracts, just in case you don't like how they perform. Also try to find apps that work together, further expanding the usefulness of each application.
If you’re looking for some more background information on what apps might be best for your business, check out our guide on “How to Choose the Best Inventory Control Software for Small Businesses,” which is also on the Hubworks Blog!