If you own a restaurant in 2020, you have a unique set of expectations to uphold when compared to previous generations of restaurant owners. Good food is key, but for many people, the food is only one part of a great restaurant experience. One of the best ways to guarantee success for your restaurant is utilizing the cloud in your daily operations. By “the cloud,” we are simply referring to data storage on hardware in a remote physical location (vs. all your data being stored right on your computer). Not only does it increase efficiency, you can use any device that connects to the Internet to access all of your data.
One primary function and benefit of using the cloud is the increased ability to connect with your customers. You must have reliable Wi-Fi to utilize the cloud, but it is equally important that you provide guest Wi-Fi for your customers. Speedy connectivity delights customers and can make wait times during peak hours more enjoyable, which leaves a great impression. If customers can stay connected while enjoying your food they are also more likely to spend more time there—this means longer and more frequent visits and more money spent with you.
Beyond customer satisfaction, offering guest Wi-Fi is in your best interest in terms of marketing. By using your Wi-Fi, customers can provide valuable data insights that can help you target ads in the future. Additionally, customers can use your Wi-Fi to check in at your restaurant on apps like Facebook and Instagram, upload photos of their favorite dishes, and, in the process, advertise your business at no additional cost to you. If you commit to great Wi-Fi, make sure you also get a good wireless router; it will make all the difference in the strength of your network and allow you to set up multiple networks and connect as many devices as you need.
You can further leverage the cloud to connect with customers through a virtual answering service called an auto attendant. Your front of house employees can focus on the humans in your restaurant while an auto attendant can direct or transfer calls elsewhere without the employees’ intervention. The auto attendant is useful for customers, too, because it can give them up to date information such as business hours, directions, special menu items, and more.
Connecting with customers is incredibly important, but it is only one of the two main categories of benefits of the cloud. The cloud provides tremendous benefits in terms of operational efficiency as well. There are cloud-based point-of-sale systems available today that provide a huge boost to efficiency. The benefits of choosing a cloud-based POS system are plentiful, including the ability to reduce the amount of software applications your business uses and the easiest way to collect, store, and backup your data securely. We suggest doing research to find the best option for your business, but we highly recommend both LightSpeed and Vend if you’re looking for a great POS system that also includes inventory.
If your business still uses paper timesheets or punch cards, it is time to embrace the cloud’s answer to clocking in and out: TSheets. A web-based and mobile time tracking and scheduling app, TSheets allows users to easily track time on any device to streamline payroll, send accurate invoices, and save thousands of dollars each year. It is a solid, reliable application and it has over 20,000 5 star reviews. If the reviews aren’t enough to convince you, TSheets offers a 14-day free trial.
Food delivery apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats provide clear benefits to consumers, but have mixed reviews among restaurant owners. Whether you like the idea of your restaurant appearing on such apps or not, they have become so ubiquitous that many now view them as a necessary evil. Even if you don’t want to use the delivery apps at this time your speedy connectivity will allow easy integration if/when you decide to give the applications a try.
In the same way an auto attendant can help your customers without direct human interaction, digital signage can boost customer connections as well as operational efficiency. According to Independent Retailer, digital signage can increase overall sales volume by nearly 32%. You can achieve such a result by creating attention-grabbing displays (perfect for providing info and easy to update), freeing up money previously used on ads like billboards and print outs, boosting impulse purchases through specials on your digital signage, and increasing social media interaction.
Cloud computing can be a strange concept at first because of the freedom it offers—a freedom that people in the past could have hardly imagined. It may seem like a big commitment to switch to the cloud, but it is well worth the investment. Cloud applications are so much more efficient than their predecessors; you can now truly focus on the most important parts of the job and trust that the rest will be handled (and handled beautifully).
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