5 Restaurant Trends You’ll See This Year

As we head into 2018 there are five restaurant trends that you can anticipate seeing as the focus of many business goals for the upcoming year for fast casual, quick service, table service, or bars and nightclubs.  Being in the trenches, talking with restaurant owners and operators every day, we can see the trends emerging in the hospitality industry before most. From mobile point of sale to accepting chip cards and new ways to connect with customers, you should take note of these five trends.

1 – Implementing Mobile Point of Sale

Letting your wait and bar staff loose from the chains of a stationary point of sale unit to provide faster, more efficient service to your customers can be a freeing experience and a restaurant trend we’re a big fan of. Putting mobile technology into your employees’ hands allows them to complete foundational functions like order taking, input and accepting payments on the fly, cutting out wasted steps and shaving off precious minutes. Think faster orders, faster turn times and happier customers. That is the very capabilities you can get from Focus Mobile Solutions.

2 – Offering Delivery Service Through Third-Party Integrations

Even fine dining establishments are jumping on the online order wagon in an effort to satisfy customer demands. Online ordering is going to explode in 2018, and thanks to innovative software like Chowly, which connects third-party online ordering platforms (Chow Now, Grubhub, delivery.com) directly to your point of sale, you can streamline your online order process and eliminate the need for a dedicated employee to enter orders manually into your POS.  It just so happens that Focus POS will integrate with Chowly in the very near future, taking your delivery service, no matter your type of restaurant, to the next level, adding to your revenue stream.

3 – Finding Ways to Cut Labor Costs

Number three on our list of restaurant trends for 2018: pretty much anything related to cutting labor costs in your restaurant or bar. Kitchen display systems are a key technology that has the potential to transform your back of the house (BOH) processes. These customizable interfaces give your kitchen the ability to visually organize orders and get rid of the clutter by banishing paper from the line forever.

4 – Building and Improving Customer Relationships

“It’s like they know me!” That’s what you want your restaurant customers saying about you in 2018. That happens through a deep knowledge of their eating habits and dining history and that happens through analytics and reporting. Think about the way that Amazon makes product suggestions to you based on your purchase history. Restaurants, no matter the size, can do the same thing. You can offer promotions and marketing strategically targeted to your patrons. A loyalty program like Focus Rewards is a perfect platform to gather that historical data and related demographic information that can drive your messaging and deliver the right message at the right time. This strategy will inspire your guests to either hop in the car to dine with you or jump online and order a meal from you.

5 – Accepting Alternative Payment Methods

Reducing credit card fraud. Limiting chargebacks.  Decreasing liability. Those are just a few of the benefits of accepting the new security-advanced payment methods like chip cards and mobile payments like Apple Pay. Not only that but you’ll be ready for the next generation of diners who are more tech savvy and are more comfortable waving than swiping. Installing software and hardware that can accommodate a wider variety of payment methods is definitely one of the restaurant trends you’ll see in 2018.

We’re excited about the shifting tide in the hospitality industry that is hyper-customer-focused and heavily favors tech. Focus POS California has the hardware, software and expertise to partner with you to take your restaurant or bar to the next level this year and really help you accomplish your business goals.

Tackle Restaurant Labor Costs Like a Boss

As an owner or operator in the food service industry it is a constant struggle to control restaurant labor costs and maintain a growing revenue stream. Traditional methods of labor management are not as effective in this age of instant consumer gratification.

What’s a restaurateur to do? Consider asking yourself these questions to see if your establishment could benefit from adopting newer, more efficient means of increasing profits and keeping your customers and employees happy.

  • Are my labor scheduling and communication practices effective?
  • Are we “behind the times” in utilizing the latest technology for the business?
  • How else can I increase profits and keep restaurant labor costs down?

Optimize Labor Efficiency

Time cards, paper scheduling, and staff memorandums are all antiquated practices.  They can lead to manual mistakes, over or understaffing, and employee miscommunication.  Restaurant operators should start making shift management a priority.

Finding a way to make it easier for employees to have a say in their schedules is a great way to keep them happier and more engaged in their work.  Looking into automated systems that help streamline communication between managers and staff these methods is a step in the right direction!

There are software systems that can integrate with technology that your employees use every day.  With smartphones, they can access work schedules, emails and important company announcements that help keep the lines of communication open and consistent!

Utilize Modern Technology

Today’s technology is more affordable and readily available to businesses to help curb restaurant labor costs. Here are some examples to consider:

  • Online Ordering Services: Allowing guests to order online or from their smartphone is like having an extra employee without the additional labor costs.
  • Self-Ordering Kiosks: Guests can order food and then sit down—no lines and enhanced order accuracy!
  • Tabletop E-Waiters and Checkout: Tablet POS credit card checkout reduces table turn times, allows guests to pay when they’re ready and frees up tables for the next guest.
  • Online Coupons: Get the right offer to customers at the right time — 58% of diners already use them— guest reward features encourage patrons to visit time and time again.
  • Digital Customer Communication: Get in front of your customers by leveraging rewards programs that offer text message, or app notifications.

Using modern technology can help ease the stress of staff, allowing them to focus on the job of creating a satisfying customer experience.  Customers also benefit by not waiting in long lines, having their food order arrive exactly how they wanted.

Make Use of Collected Customer Data

Using the above-mentioned technology also has a huge advantage in reducing restaurant labor costs.  It collects important consumer data about your customers.  Knowing who they are, what they order and when they order is vital information! It can help you optimize your staffing needs, food stock, and menu options to increase sales.

You can beat rising labor costs and be the boss of rising profits by implementing these techniques in your restaurant.

Contact Focus POS California about exciting new innovations in Guest Rewards.

How to Use Your Restaurant POS Reports to Make Business Decisions

While we all wish we had an IBM Watson on hand to help us make business decisions, it will probably be a few years before AI makes its way into the hospitality industry. In the meantime, using your POS reports to make crucial business decisions across areas of your operations is fundamental to fiscal management.

The reports can only get you so far. Once you have data in hand, owners and managers need to divine the numbers to make smart moves within their restaurant or bar. Here are three decision areas that greatly benefit from POS report information.

♦ Inventory Decisions
As food waste becomes a hot button topic in the industry and eateries in the greater Los Angeles area look for ways to be greener and just more environmentally conscious in general, the best way to decrease surplus is to optimize inventory. Using your POS reports compare kitchen inventory levels with items sold reveals areas where you are overstocking. To go even further, many cloud based inventory programs integrate POS data to do this analysis for you along with helping you manage inventory control.

♦ Marketing Decisions
Pulling customer demographics from your POS reports gives great insight into your key audience. You can see who and when they are visiting your restaurant or bar. Use this intelligence when making decisions on promotions and marketing initiatives. Then use the data to evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts. If you have a loyalty program in place, there is an opportunity for you to determine dining trends and motivators.

♦ Labor Decisions
Scheduling is a key area where your POS reports can aid in decision making from how many bartenders to put on the clock on a busy holiday weekend to the number of line cooks you’ll need for a slow Monday night shift.

Historical data and forecasting is the place most restaurant managers start for making staffing decisions and drawing up schedules. On a day-to-day basis pulling hourly sales reports and daily attendance reports to show how many FOH and BOH staff you have on the clock and who is going into overtime is a great decision-making tool to have when you are trying to determine when to make cuts and send people home.

Take Advantage of Web-Based Reporting
Having a web-based reporting system takes it to the next level for busy operators who are bouncing from location to location or can’t be tied down to a terminal. Having access on your smart phone or your laptop makes life a lot easier.

As you get more dependent on reports to aid your business decisions, it will become almost second nature. Hopefully, you also will find more areas in your operations that can benefit from data contained in your repertoire of reports.