The thing about restaurants is time. Time is money, especially when it’s your managers. Through these tools below I’ve been able to free up hours of time each day for my managers to focus on hospitality instead of administration.

By using cloud-based applications to outsource office work, our managers are no longer stuck behind office doors. They are teaching and motivating our team, interacting with guests and making sure the food is spectacular.

  1. Eliminate Paper

    1. Ditch the file cabinets and scan invoices, receipts and other documents into Evernote.

    2. Our bookkeeper and accountant have access to our files from anywhere, and with online banking set up we can pay virtually all our bills remotely.

    3. While I haven’t tried it yet, Bench looks like a good online bookkeeping service. Of course for the DIY folks Quickbooks Online is a good option, and has integrated payroll, point of sale and payment processing functionality.

  2. Tablet-Based Point of Sale

    1. There have been a proliferation of tablet-based point of sale systems disrupting a market that used to be dominated by Aloha and Micros.

    2. We use Breadcrumb, but there are dozens out there that save thousands of dollars in up-front costs and make everything from adding menu items to generating reports much easier.

    3. For simpler operations like coffee shops and cafes Square is a great product.

  3. Employee Scheduling

    1. Keeping track of everyone’s availability and making sure the restaurant is staffed efficiently is a huge headache. The aspirin for the this is cloud-based scheduling software.

    2. We use When to Work but there are others. Employees log in and see their schedules, request off, switch shifts (with permission), etc. and managers can easily communicate and track everything they need to run the restaurant well.

  4. Online Apps

    1. We use Google Apps for all sorts of things from email to spreadsheets to employee applications.

    2. Collaborative spreadsheets and documents have basically eliminated cumbersome email attachments and multiple versions.

    3. Instead of paper employee applications we use a survey we created, which automatically puts applicants into a spreadsheet.

  5. Online Reservations

    1. There used to be only one game in town for this, but Yelp has created a powerful new reservation and table management system that’s only $99/month.

    2. It’s super easy both for hosts and customers and let’s you track all sorts of information about your guests (plus you get their email addresses which is great for your email marketing campaign).

  6. Music

    1. There are tons of cloud-based options here including Spotify and Pandora, but my favorite is Songza. It’s free and consists of song lists to fit any mood or genre, all curated by really smart, cool music people.

    2. Be sure you pay your licensing dues with BMI and ASCAP.

  7. Online Presence: See my other blog post here to see some quick and easy ways to get control of your online business identity.