The technologies that operators use to run their restaurants are evolving rapidly, with new functionalities and expanded capabilities emerging every day.
This environment demands that operators be agile and aware in their tech strategy. Cloud-based computing, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), can provide operators with the ability to build a best-in-class stack of solutions and to add capabilities as needed, as opposed to settling for an end-to-end enterprise solution that lacks focus on specific functions.
Cloud-based computing offers several advantages to both individual store operators and the home office. It’s much easier for restaurant brands to add capabilities and push them out to additional restaurant locations. There’s also no on-site infrastructure, so in-store maintenance doesn’t require on-site tech experts on hand. And, as a business that makes so many decisions based on data, a cloud-based solution facilitates collection and sharing of data in a more streamlined fashion in a secure manner.
In fact, in a recent Gartner report, Jay Heiser, research vice president and analyst for Gartner, said operators shouldn’t resist cloud technology due to data security concerns, provided they take the right precautions in their own operations. “CIOs need to ensure that their security teams are not holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated cloud security worries,” Heiser said. “Exaggerated fears can result in lost opportunity and inappropriate spending.”
Tools in the stack
In today’s mobile-based world, operating on the cloud can ensure that workers can access the tools they need via their mobile devices. With inventory and purchase management tools from xtraCHEF, for example, workers can place orders directly to vendors from their smartphones and track orders through receipt and reconciliation.
As operators evaluate their options for cloud-based solutions, they should consider platforms that integrate with systems that already operate in a cloud-based environment, such as Toast, Restaurant365 and QuickBooks Online. Components of the tech stack should be able to share data with other cloud-based systems through their application programming interface, or API, as appropriate.
In addition to evaluating the functionality of each platform they adopt, operators should also consider other attributes, such as the accessibility and quality of support provided by the technology vendor. At xtraCHEF, for example, the company’s Customer Success Representatives provide onboarding assistance to train employees on the use of the system and respond quickly via phone or email when assistance is needed.
But, as restaurant operators know, some of the most difficult hurdles to adding new tech are the cost and the resources needed to implement it. For instance, some tools can take months—if not years—to implement, and they can even require a product specialist or administrator on the team, which can be costly, not to mention time consuming. Needing to spend the time configuring and maintaining a system—as well as hiring and training someone to use it—can be prohibitive and unappealing for restaurant operators.
Unlike on-site software installations that require a large upfront payment, cloud-based SaaS solutions can be purchased as monthly or annual subscriptions, which helps operators deliver a better ROI right out of the gate. That’s in addition to the savings that the right solutions offer by automating tasks such as inventory management and payroll that otherwise would have required additional labor costs.
In today’s tight labor climate, operators should specifically seek out applications that streamline the workloads of personnel, ideally allowing them to focus on their area of expertise versus paperwork. Why have chefs spending time organizing and analyzing invoices when there are applications from xtraCHEF that facilitate such chores and free up those culinary specialists to do what they do best? Similarly, managers can spend more time taking care of guests if some of their time-consuming back-office work is automated.
Building the right cloud-based applications into a technology suite can help restaurants save time, improve visibility and drive increased revenues and profitability. Visit xtrachef.comtoday to learn more.
This post is sponsored by xtraCHEF