Operational planning is about much more than serving food to customers with efficiency. Successful restaurants structure their operations in such a way that it creates customer satisfaction, boosts profits and avoid potential crises. When all your processes run smoothly, it spills over into other aspects of your establishment and eventually everything will work like a well oiled machine.
In a well-run restaurant, you’ll probably see the manager only when something goes wrong, and a patron asks to speak to them. But there’s so much more to restaurant managers than conflict resolution. A restaurant manager works hard behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. So, let’s take a moment to appreciate them.
Ask any South African what their favourite restaurant is, and they’re likely to say Spur, Panarottis, John Dory’s or name another well-known restaurant. But have you asked yourself why this is? What sets these kinds of restaurants apart from the rustic little restaurant around the corner? The answer is simple: brand identity.
On Valentine’s Day you give patrons bubbly and heart-shaped chocolates. Come Christmas, you put up a Christmas tree in your restaurant and play carols. Let’s not forget Saint Patrick’s when you dye your beer green and hope the party doesn’t get too rowdy, but what exactly do you do for Easter?
The mobile tide has risen in the restaurant industry too, and many restaurants are using mobile point of sale (PoS) devices to offer better customer service, streamlined transactions and efficiency and accuracy. A recent report by 451 Research predicts that the global number of installed mPoS devices will increase to just over 54 million units by 2019.
It’s easy to assume that point of sale (PoS) systems are all the same. However, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach could leave you with a PoS system that doesn’t fully support your restaurant’s operations. Many systems serve specific verticals, and this is something you need to be aware of before purchasing any kind of PoS for your restaurant. You need a system that offers special features to streamline more than transactions, if you want to ensure optimal efficiency and smooth operations.
In July last year, Forbes writer Maggie McGrath asked a very concerning question in her article Is The Restaurant Industry Headed For A Recession? Referencing two recent research notes, her answer was one that spelled troublesome times ahead for restaurants and their bottom lines. The word about the restaurant industry heading for a recession has been echoed by many publications, industry analysts, economists and even the National Restaurant Association.
Consumers used to go to restaurants for the experience and the personalised service from their server. This human interaction is what made fine dining so alluring. Go to a restaurant today and you’ll see many patrons staring down at their smartphones or tablets, and if they’re not doing that, they’re catching Pokémon GO monsters in your establishment.
A restaurant’s efficiency rests squarely on the shoulders of its manager. The balancing act of juggling patrons, staff, inventory and suppliers is daunting for even the most experienced managers, but it has to be done. You are the conductor, the front and back of house is your orchestra, and whether you wow the crowd or disappoint them depends on how well you swing your baton. Whenever you feel like you have too much on your plate, remember these five tips for optimising your restaurant efficiency. You want your orchestra to play to a packed house and bow to a standing ovation, every night.
An outdated restaurant will never be quite as successful as its modern counterparts. Restaurant owners are constantly seeking new ways to innovate their establishment and this is usually done by adopting new technology. In the digital age, restaurants have endless tools available to them, but point of sale is by far the most valuable of these. What started as a simple device used to input orders has developed so much, that it can now automatically order new stock when inventory amounts are low.
Is your restaurant not functioning as it should? Are orders being sent out late or incorrectly? Do you find yourself staying until later than necessary to cash up at the end of the day? You may have convinced yourself that this is the way it is when you work in the restaurant industry, but I have news for you, these are all red flags that signal poor time management.
The restaurant industry is chaotic enough without having to worry about ongoing admin. It’s for this reason that restaurateurs are ditching the standard cash register in favour of point of sale (POS) software. A point of sale system is a central component in any restaurant setting because it’s seen as a hub where everything merges; shift scheduling, payroll, data collection, cash collection and order processing. This blog unpacks the benefits of using a point of sale system in your restaurant and how it helps you keep up with the latest trends.
If you want to survive in the restaurant industry you have to continually cater for patrons’ ever-changing food preferences. South Africa is a melting pot of innovation, we want to be creative and offer a unique customer experience, we thrive on it. So, catering for more vegan-friendly dishes should be a cinch. This blog will explore the beef on the drop in meat consumption and protein alternatives you can introduce in your restaurant.
Online ordering has long been one of the rare tech features that only forward-facing restaurants offered to add more ease and convenience to their ordering process. But now, in the middle of the digital revolution, restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon left and right. With so many restaurants all boasting a well-designed website, claims of the best cuisine in town, and an alluring online ordering functionality, the scene has become a lot more competitive in recent years.
You may have heard the term big data. You may even have heard that big data and the analysis of it can benefit you. As a restaurant owner, you want to drive sales, attract customers, offer promotions, and do other things that will increase your revenue. And while it may not seem like big data can in any way drive restaurant sales, the active analysis of information collected can act as a basis for a variety of business decisions that can help you understand your customer, optimise marketing efforts and boost your sales.
When you adopted a PoS system, you knew it would streamline operations, but you probably didn’t know how much it could help the financial planning for your restaurant. It also must have come as a pleasant surprise to find that all the financial statements, reports and tracking helped to increase profit margins and boost revenue too.
In an industry where the customer is key, it almost goes without saying that the service said customer receives is what will be the deciding factor in whether they have a happy or foul experience. Excellent service isn’t only something that stays with your patrons, it’s also something that can overshadow small inevitable mistakes, like a meal going out a few minutes later than it should.
Gamification, according to Yu-kai Chou, one of its pioneers, is defined as “the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities”. It takes a somewhat mundane task and turns it into a fun activity that makes it more exciting to accomplish and encourages participation. More businesses are using this breakthrough technique. Your restaurant can take advantage of it as well. We’ll show you how to use gamification to increase your brand awareness and improve your employee and customer loyalty.
In a digital world, patrons are looking to feed their hunger as well as satisfy their technology cravings, with the most important technology features consumers expect from restaurants being online reservations (36%), free WiFi (23%) and online/mobile ordering (19%). But what has long been a way to offer patrons the convenience of ordering food online, online ordering is more than just another way to enhance customer service.
While the rest of the world will be thinking about romance, chocolates, and flowers come 14 February, restaurateurs need to adopt a slightly different perspective. With 82% of consumers saying they would prefer an experience over a gift, this is an ideal opportunity for those in the restaurant industry to seize the opportunity and provide an exceptional Valentine’s experience.
What started as a simple mobile wallet where electronic cash cards were linked to mobile phones, mobile payments as we have come to know them today had very humble beginnings in the early 2000s. Since then, the mobile payment industry has boomed, with Visa, Mastercard, American Express and the likes partnering with cellphone companies to offer unique mobile payments as well as app-based innovations like PayPal and Zapper. Mobile phone owners everywhere now have the ability to make payments at the tap of a button – and some even at the quick scan of a fingerprint.
Aside from being the most popular junk food we hate to love, pizza has always been at the forefront of the digital revolution happening in the food and hospitality industry. Historically, if consumers were seeking a meal that suits their need for speed and convenience, the options included either drive-thru or takeout, and takeout was limited to pretty much Asian food and pizza. This has changed since the popularity of mobile phones increased and establishments were able to incorporate technology into their customer service, but pizza remains the one true leader, having always been slightly more ahead of the curve than others in the foodservice industry.
In an industry as competitive as the restaurant and hospitality industry, the key to your success lies in your customer service. But the thing few restaurants realise is that customer service isn’t simply just the way servers attend to patrons. It also includes being able to accommodate as many customers as possible, their preferred methods of payment and their meal preferences, attending to each of your patrons with friendly efficiency.
Not all of us are natural chefs. Even if you are, you might not always feel like cooking up a storm after a gruelling day at the office. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply make sure the ingredients are ready and then, just like in Disney movies, small forest creatures would make a gourmet meal for you and clean up when they’re done? Well this daydream is soon going to become a reality, except it won’t be forest creatures who make your meal, it will be a robotic kitchen.
With a reach that expands across local borders, Pilot has been around for a while. Since the early 1990s to be exact. During this time we have continually improved our offering and adapted to industry changes, all the while growing alongside our loyal customers. As the leading provider of sophisticated and advanced point of sale solutions in South Africa, it only makes sense that our clients would be some of the leading establishments in the restaurant and hospitality industry. This case study takes a look at three leading restaurants and why they prefer Pilot PoS software.
We live in the era of mobile phones. This doesn’t need to be said twice. Of the approximate 6.8 billion people currently on earth, about 4.8 billion of them own mobile phones while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. While this statistic may be cause of concern for general personal hygiene, it’s more of a comment on the importance of mobile phones not just as an everyday device, but also, for those in the food and hospitality industry, as a strategic device to be used to optimise the customer experience.
Almost everything requires a license. You need software licensing, a driver’s license to operate a truck or car, even James Bond needs a license to kill. While some licenses may be difficult and time-consuming to obtain, the effort one puts into getting it far outweighs the repercussions of being caught needing it and not having it.
It’s a brand new year, with brand new opportunities. Trends are constantly shifting, what’s the flavour of this week might change drastically next week, which is why chefs don’t follow food trends too closely. It is important to be aware of what is happening in the food industry and keep a watchful eye on what’s a passing fad and what’s sticking around. Here are exciting food trends of 2017 that have everyone talking, and hopefully drooling!
Donald Trump became president of the US, British citizens voted to leave the EU, South African athlete Wayde van Niekerk broke a record that was previously unbroken for 17 years and people did things like walking off bridges and in front of cars to catch imaginary Pokémon monsters. It has been one truly eventful year and, while many of us are quite relieved to see the end of 2016 approaching, a year like this needs to be seen off with a bang.
The risk of security breaches, cyberattacks, and compromised point of sale systems is of high importance to restaurant executives and board members. After a number of news headlines involving high profile restaurants being targeted by cybercrime, the restaurant and hospitality industry has become more aware of the far-reaching consequences of cyberattacks and, as a result, become more vigilant. As a restaurant owner, your primary focus is to safeguard your restaurant against all possible threats.
I made my favourite thing for dinner... a reservation, we all know this popular saying that swims around the internet. It perfectly highlights how much we all love making reservations. There is nothing more soul-wrenching to be excited to go to a restaurant only to wait in an hour-long queue because you didn’t reserve a table. Making online reservations is time-saving and gives patrons a sense of relaxation, knowing they’ve secured a spot when they eventually arrive. This blog will serve you an all you can eat buffet on the benefits of having an online reservation system in your restaurant.
To most restaurants, inventory management is that thing you do at the end of the evening where you tally all the amounts of stock in the bar and kitchen and write the total amounts on a piece of paper. Yet to others, it’s a complex system of inventory control methods which greatly reduces overall costs and avoids wastage.
If there is one characteristic of people living in the 21st century that undeniably applies to us all, it’s that we value convenience. Technology has presented us with countless ways to streamline and optimise aspects of everyday life and we have grown used to the ease this brings. It seems the modern day consumer would much rather interact with a mobile phone than a person, and online transportation company Uber has taken advantage of this in the most ingenious of ways.
The festive season can be one of two things for a restaurant: it can be a quiet, uneventful time, or it can be a hustling, bustling peak period during which your restaurant flourishes and makes a lot of profits. Fortunately, you determine which one of the two paths your establishment follows by taking certain steps to welcome and prepare for the holiday season. The more prepared you are, the more patrons you’ll be able to accommodate, and the more patrons you accommodate, the more patrons you will attract. Not entirely sure how you prepare for the holiday season? Try one of the following restaurant ideas:
There’s just something special about summer. During the days you can laze in the sun by the pool or on the beach, at night you can curl up with a book while there’s a thunderstorm outside and, let’s admit it, life just seems better in flip flops. In South Africa we’re particularly lucky to have our summer fall over our long Christmas holiday, and this is when most people fully indulge in what summer has to offer. This includes cocktails over chats with friends.
Budgeting is a sensitive matter regardless of purpose, person or place. But it becomes even more challenging during the festive season. The majority of us are familiar with the financial challenges this time of year brings, having to stretch your budget to cover the usual bills, as well as presents, charity donations and maybe even a holiday. And that’s just at the individual level, restaurants face a whole other kind of budgeting challenge.
I don’t need to go on about how social media is a great tool to use to boost sales – you’ve probably heard it all before, but what they aren’t very clear on is how to pull it off. The problem is that everyone sees its potential, therefore you have to fight for attention in a crowded online world. There is not only pressure to be better, but to be better all the time, to stay on top. But social media isn’t difficult when you know the tricks of the trade. And anyone can do it not just a social media expert, as long as you put aside some time to focus on it.
We live in the era of data: big data, data mining, data analysis, data bundles, everywhere we look there’s data. The simple fact of the matter is that data is an integral aspect of everyday life. So why not leverage it to your advantage? By collecting data you can access relevant and reliable metrics which allow deeper insights into consumer behaviour, restaurant processes, financials and many other aspects. Restaurants can benefit greatly because this creates opportunities to increase sales, improve workflows, motivate staff and ultimately grow your business.
The time leading up to the holiday season is a special time of year. Excitement is growing and, while many are getting ready for a white Christmas, here in South Africa we are lucky that our December holidays involve beaches, wildlife and sunny skies. But while everyone else is planning their holidays, restaurant owners are doing planning of a different kind: planning on managing staff over the festive season.
Waiting staff have a big responsibility towards the success of your establishment. They’re essentially the face of your restaurant, and if that face isn’t a friendly, helpful and efficient one – your reputation is at stake. One of the things that most patrons complain about is waiting; waiting long periods of time for a meal, the bill – or even worse – not being tended to at all in the first minutes after sitting down.
Point of sale. One of the technological tools available to modern day restaurants with benefits so widespread that they are regarded as one of the essential elements every restaurant should have, as normal and necessary as having menus or tomato sauce. It seems quite common to take revolutionary inventions for granted, such as these life-changing technologies, but point of sale also needs its time in the sun.
Any good movie provides us with memorable characters and stories, and in some cases valuable lessons. The tale of a rat seeking to become a chef in a Michelin star restaurant is definitely one of those films. Ratatouille takes you on the journey of a rat, Remy, who has an incredible sense of smell and taste, and his friendship with a young garbage boy who starts working in a gourmet kitchen (thanks to Remy). Of course, a rat in a kitchen leads to some hilarious encounters and the story has some interesting twists and turns with a beautiful ending. Heartwarming and inspirational storyline aside, the film has some valuable lessons to help you improve restaurant efficiency.
The good ol’ electronic cash register used to be the pinnacle of payment technology. While these retail stalwarts are still around, they too have advanced to offer better efficiency, security and accuracy in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Establishments looking to stay ahead of the curve and offering exceptional customer service have had to adapt how they process payments.
Restaurant Week South Africa is here, with an exciting list of restaurants in Durban. Restaurant Week offers Durbanites the opportunity to explore their city's top restaurants at a fixed price for one festive week. From 20 October until 30 October, diners can enjoy a 2-course lunch for only R150 and a 3-course dinner for R250. The event gives food-loving Durbanites the opportunity to find trendy new spots and return to old favorites. The list participating restaurants in Durban include:
Most restaurants try to create a great ambience to attract patrons and make their dining experience the most enjoyable one. But as with any family or group, there are always the black sheep who try to follow their own path, often a disastrous one. The scenario is no different in the restaurant industry where some venture off the beaten path, dance to their own beat and just embrace the wacky. But this isn’t always a bad thing. Some restaurateurs manage to combine just enough weird and wonderful to make their unique establishments work. And in the spirit of all things creepy – we celebrate some of the restaurant industry’s creepiest this Halloween.
Restaurant Week South Africa is here, with an exciting list of restaurants in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and the Winelands. Restaurant Week offers patrons the opportunity to explore South Africa’s top restaurants at a fixed price for one festive week. From 20 October until 30 October, diners can enjoy a 2-course lunch for only R150 and a 3-course dinner for R250. The event gives food-loving South Africans the opportunity to find trendy new spots and return to old favorites. The list participating restaurants include:
Those of us who are familiar with Bob’s Burgers have grown fond of this animated TV series and its odd characters, so much so that many people wish they could enjoy one of Bob’s creatively-named burgers in real life. For those of you who don’t know it, the show is about Bob Belcher and his little family who run their diner, Bob’s Burgers. With awkward and mischievous kids, a wife who gets wildly enthusiastic about everything and a mortician as a regular customer, one almost pities Bob as he tries to keep his restaurant going.
If you’ve ever been to Spur, you’ll know it’s a franchise where every restaurant functions like a well-oiled machine. However, as an ex-Spur waitress, I can tell you that all isn’t as it seems. Even though the steaks are always flame-grilled to perfection, the onion rings are always delectable, the drinks are always ice cold and the servers are always smiling and eager for a perky birthday song, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about.
Would you believe me if I told you there were more effective ways to create brand awareness than with branding? What if I took that further and told you that certain restaurants are so effective at brand awareness that people want to visit these establishments even though they don’t really exist? Yes, it’s true, consumers are more familiar with some of our favourite fictional restaurants than with those that actually exist. While a majority of this brand identification and loyalty can be attributed to the actual series or movie it appears in, there are a few brand awareness tips existing restaurants can get from their favourite fictional hotspot.
Data analytics is a powerful tool that gives you the ability to dissect your processes and optimise them for increased efficiency, and subsequently, more revenue. This is exactly what our PilotLive software enables you to do. By giving you an overview of every activity in your establishment, you can monitor – in real-time – how productive your staff and procedures are.
The old adage ‘don't judge a book by its cover’ doesn’t really apply to the restaurant and hospitality industry. Because in fact, a restaurant is only as good as its menu. It all comes down to simple math really; an attractive menu equals more money in the till and vice versa. Putting together an intriguing menu that convinces your patrons to spend more than they normally would, all comes down to mastering the art of menu planning. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to ensure that your menu casts a wallet-emptying spell on your patrons.
In a digital world fuelled by fierce Twitter wars (even among the most esteemed politicians), winning giveaways by liking and sharing a Facebook page, and determining your popularity based on your Instagram followers, the last thing a restaurant owner wants is an angry consumer behind a Twitter handle, because these consumers are worth ten unsatisfied patrons in-store. How restaurants view their patrons and how the general public views restaurants has changed drastically since consumers started taking to the social media streets. Customer satisfaction now stretches into the world of social media as well.
In the era of the consumer, we need every bit of ammunition to target and see to their needs or run the risk of losing their business to our competitor down the road. In this quest for satisfying our consumers, information has become the driver of any modern establishment’s success. The more data we collect about our customers, the clearer the picture we have of how we can cater to them. But beware, collecting point of sale data on customer behaviour and gathering information that they submit to you is just one piece of the information pie. You also have the responsibility to see to it that the data you have on hand is safe and secure from the prying eyes of fraudsters.
Managing a restaurant is essentially like running a zoo. You have different enclosures with different animals that each have their own set of unique requirements in order to keep functioning optimally and, if even one of these enclosures experiences a problem, it impacts the overall functioning of the zoo. While at the zoo you can shrug it off and say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” it’s a little different when you’re a restaurant owner and this is your circus and those are your monkeys.
Managing your finances is one of those inescapable tasks. We all want our businesses to run smoothly, but balancing the books often seems like the last thing you’re in the mood for after a hard day’s work. Unfortunately, if you’re not paying enough attention to the cash flow in your establishment, you run the risk of having to close your doors. If only there was a way to simplify your accounting duties... Thankfully, the power of integration offered by intuitive point of sale solutions lets you control your finances along with your business. By continuously tracking the flow of cash in your restaurant, integrating your PoS with accounting software saves you time, effort and improves the overall efficiency of your financial management.
New and emerging technologies are always intimidating until we realise how they can positively impact our lives and businesses. Remember the big scary ‘cloud’? Once we got to terms with what it entailed, we reaped the benefits of being able to collaborate remotely, securely store information, and minimise the need for on-site hardware. The next tech term to take the world by storm is big data. Again by removing the fear of the new, it’s apparent that big data really is just what it says: a substantial amount of data. Combine this large amount of data with powerful analytics and you have endless opportunities to improve your operations.
No matter how hard we try and how many fail-safes we implement, we can never completely eradicate theft. But this doesn’t mean you have to turn a blind eye to cash or assets going missing in your restaurant. Theft is one of the biggest financial management headaches in the hospitality industry and can have dire consequences on your bottom line.
Investments are tricky. While there are so many opportunities out there that promise to yield great returns, you usually don’t have any guarantees that things won’t go pear-shaped. When it comes to point of sale solutions you’d be forgiven for approaching it with the same amount of hesitation.
South Africans who have emigrated to other countries usually always have the same list of things that remind them of home: Mrs Balls chutney, boerewors, biltong, Nik Naks, etc. One taste or even just the smell of the tantalising aroma and instantly you’re transported back home in a flash of nostalgia. As the Rainbow Nation, we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country that is a cultural melting pot which boasts different flavours to suit almost any palate. Durban has Indian-inspired curries and fiery bunny chows, the Western Cape proudly offers food ideas with a strong Malay influence and throughout various inland provinces we find classic Afrikaans boerekos and the traditional braai.
There are those who firmly believe that time is money and, in the restaurant industry, that couldn’t be more true. While you might perhaps have a lot of thyme on your hands, the average restaurant owner never has the valuable kind of time on his hands. This means that you need to make extra special use of the time you do have, because while time is free, it is also priceless, and once you’ve lost it, you can’t ever get it back.
Coming from humble beginnings, which included the most basic displays and those bulky antennas, mobile phones have evolved quite dramatically since they were first invented. Soon after, we saw incredible smartphones able to call for help to save your life, navigate you to a certain destination, manage your finances and even make payments by simply snapping a pic of a code. However, along with the introduction of mobile payment technology, certain concerns about safety and other logistics have also immersed. Are mobile payment apps really that safe? Is it true they’re only used for payments? And aren’t they expensive to implement?
With point of sale systems now more of a necessity than a luxury in restaurants, restaurant owners and managers have expanded their knowledge of the everyday PoS. The hospitality industry is well aware of how these systems work, how they can be integrated with things like accounting software and how they can streamline almost all the processes in your restaurant. However, when it comes to point of sale hardware, many are still in the dark.
There is nothing as heartbreaking to a restaurant owner as hiring exceptional staff who do their jobs with enthusiasm only to lose these valuable employees a very short time after they started. It can be tough to understand why your employees don’t have the same dedication to your restaurant as you do, especially when you’ve put endless hours of hard work into creating a concept, menu, and overall extraordinary restaurant, yet restaurant managers need to know that there is something you can do to maintain a steady staff turnover rate.
It’s often the things we don’t see that can have the most disastrous effects. Think of the doomed Titanic; the part of the iceberg hidden underneath the ocean’s surface caused much more damage than the sailor’s eyes could’ve anticipated. Nautical reference aside, when it comes to your restaurant the same rule applies. While mostly out of sight to patrons, your back of house staff and operations can make or break your establishment. Your waiting staff, hostesses and bartenders might be stellar, but if it ain’t cooking in the kitchen, you can bet that your Zomato reviews will reflect just that.
Not everyone has it in them to be a restaurant manager.This does not mean that other people aren’t skilled, it just means it takes a special kind of skill to be able to manage a restaurant. The job of a restaurant manager requires a very specific personality: one that can handle the pressure of the fast-paced hospitality industry, deal with difficult customers in a diplomatic and friendly way, work long hours in often cramped spaces, ensure processes run smoothly – and all the while constantly interacting with staff and patrons in the most efficient manner.
We have come a long way since the days when consumers consistently visited their local roadhouse for a burger and milkshake every Friday night. The modern day consumer has different spending habits and, while there’s no force stronger than a brand loyal millennial, the struggle lies in getting these buyers to be loyal to your brand. Because these consumers are more independent in their buying decisions, it has become more and more difficult for restaurants to stand out among competitors and loyal, returning customers.
There is no denying that we live in the digital age. Everything has been replaced by a better, faster, technological version of what it once was – including our menus. The way restaurants operate has advanced and changed along with technology and many establishments have leveraged this to their advantage, similar to how restaurants have also started cashing in on technology-related trends like the Pokémon GO craze. What you provide to your patrons as part of the customer experience and how you accommodate them and the things they’re interested in will determine two things: how many customers come to your restaurant as well as how loyal they remain to your brand.
Regardless of your initial investment, your restaurant will only deliver return on investment if you start out with a solid income stream and practice effective budget management. This means having an operating budget which details projected costs and sales of all sections of your restaurant, these being food and liquor, labour as well as overhead. Your expenditure on food and liquor should be between 30% and 40% of sales, while labour will be 25% and overhead averages 25% (including 8% for rent.) This accounts for between 80% and 90% of sales, with the remaining 10% to 20% being your profit.
Restaurant point of sale systems have become so advanced nowadays that they offer an extensive range of features, integration opportunities, interfaces to automate processes as well as other options that increase efficiency and assist with the management of a restaurant. Being faced with so many options might be overwhelming when trying to choose the point of sale system best suited to the needs of your restaurant, but fortunately there’s a set of standard features that any good PoS system should have – and this is a good base to start from when choosing your point of sale software.
The world is full of remarkable women who have achieved amazing things in their lives. Women like Marie Curie – who discovered two elements and quite literally lived and died for her work. We are fortunate to have many such women in South Africa. Known as SA’s “iron lady,” Thuli Madonsela has been one of the most courageous Public Protectors our country has seen and has reclaimed respect for women’s authority by the fearless way she exposed corruption. After a gruelling 700km race across the arctic which included encounters with polar bears and unforgiving storms, Lee Swan became the first African-born woman to reach the Magnetic North Pole, as well as winner of the race.
One of my fondest childhood memories entails visiting one of my family’s favourite restaurants. It was always an occasion instead of just popping in for a quick meal. We would dress in our best clothes, get in the car and drive over what I called the “lights bridge” with its signature lanterns on both sides, and arrive bursting with excitement. The food was always wonderful – there was fine dining cuisine for my parents, but also deliciously yummy kids meals. The staff were friendly, efficient and went the extra mile for patrons. The overall atmosphere echoed the theme and once I even left with a mug branded with the restaurant’s logo, a mug I cherish to this day.
Not everyone can stand the fast-paced, rapidly evolving nature of the restaurant industry. Running or working in a restaurant requires dedication, patience, long hours and, above all, extreme efficiency. As a restaurant owner you’re supposed to address customer complaints, ensure processes flow efficiently, manage finances, balance employee shifts and leave schedules, and just about do anything in your power to ensure your restaurant is functioning at optimal capacity.
Point of sale systems are no longer a new concept; they’ve been advanced and developed so much that restaurant owners now have a wide array of PoS systems to choose from. Your restaurant PoS is perhaps one of the most important investments you’ll make for your establishment, and it could either help or hinder the progress you make on the path to success. Which one of these it does is entirely up to you.
Since humble beginnings with their first store opening in Seattle, Washington in 1971, Starbucks has grown to become one of the most well-known coffee giants in the world with over 24 000 stores in 70 countries worldwide. However, they have not garnered international fame for their passion for coffee, their strong advertising strategy or even their ever-growing java footprint. Their fame is attributed to the fact that they are one of the most engaging companies online. Today Starbucks has 58 million fans on Facebook, 11.7 million followers on Twitter, 9.8 million followers on Instagram and 259.9k followers on Pinterest, making them one of the most engaged brands on social media.
When smartphones and tablets were first introduced, one of the main concerns that were raised included that people were spending the majority of their time staring at screens. Now people are still staring at screens, but at least they’re getting exercise while doing so. In response to these concerns and as an effort to improve the physical health of players, Niantic Labs has developed Pokémon GO – a name that we have become all too familiar with since its introduction at the beginning of this month. Shortly after release, this augmented reality game became one of the most downloaded smartphone apps and caused Nintendo, partial owner of The Pokémon Company, stocks to skyrocket through the roof. While Pokémon GO has caused shares to soar, it can do the same with the sales in your restaurant, and here’s why.
Mobile technology has redefined the limits of point of sale software, allowing it to become so much more than a simple sales terminal and optimising the abilities of a traditional point of sale system. “Tablet computers have accelerated adoption of open system point of sale solutions that integrate multiple transaction methods, including mobile and traditional fixed in-store sales terminals as well as e-commerce sites. This shift means systems are less tied to specific proprietary PoS system hardware than in the past,” says Heather Clancy in her article titled Mobility rewrites the rules for POS system services. The biggest reason for this paradigm shift is that restaurant owners are eager to adopt a system that enables servers to be mobile and follow patrons, ultimately giving better service and an improved customer experience.
18 July marks the day South Africa’s late Tata Madiba was born. Launched in 2009 by the UN General Assembly, Mandela Day is observed across the world by people seeking to commemorate Nelson Mandela and the 67 years he devoted to making the world a better place – first as a human rights lawyer, followed by a prisoner of conscience, then as international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of South Africa. However, Mandela Day is more than merely celebrating Madiba’s life and legacy, it is about honouring him and all he stood for by devoting 67 minutes of your time towards something that will make the world a better place.
It is no secret that some cars are better than others. While all cars keep you moving, some help you move safer, faster and better than their counterparts. You don’t need to have a Maserati to move better, only an intuitive car that best understands your needs. These cars have added extras that you didn’t even know you needed; like rear park assist, power steering, temperature displays and many other beneficial features.
Your menu is the number one most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal as it is the only thing you can be certain customers will read. However, while it is guaranteed that patrons who enter your restaurant will definitely read your menu, studies suggest that the average customer spends approximately 109 seconds reading a menu. This means that your menu needs to be able to successfully sell your food and beverage items in less than two minutes, and to do so, you will need a highly impressionable menu design which appeals to the human psyche.
In every industry that deals with consumers there is one adage that holds unparalleled truth: the customer is king. Your restaurant relies on patrons to keep it going and would crumble to the ground without them. Your patrons are therefore your most valuable asset and should be treated accordingly. However, the only thing worse than having no customers is having angry customers. The last thing you as a restaurant owner want is a dissatisfied consumer behind a Twitter profile or on Hello Peter; this could have serious repercussions for your establishment and isn’t easily rectified.
We live in an age when everything is mobile - everything that once required physical objects like maps or cash to be lugged around can now be done with something more convenient and, of course, mobile. Back in the day restaurants relied on a clunky cash register which was usually stationary at the entrance of the establishment. If a restaurant were to rely solely on one of those in this day and age, it would soon be branded as an outdated site because, let’s face it, you need to stay modern to remain appealing to your trendy consumer.
The restaurant industry is characterised by its constantly changing and evolving nature and, while this continuous innovation prevents stagnation, it also means that employees will come and go. When most of your employees will only be with your restaurant for a limited amount of time, how do you go about motivating them enough to do an excellent job while they are with you? Without proper staff management keeping your employees motivated they will come and go much faster.
As the primary means of communication for front of house, back of house and the consumer, your point of sale system is the central nervous system of your restaurant. It is for this reason that you need to ensure that it’s functioning optimally, otherwise it can hamper the efficiency of processes in the establishment. A slow or inaccurate point of sale system will lead to incorrect orders and delayed services, which will ultimately result in unsatisfied consumers. However, just as an inefficient point of sale system will slow down your restaurant, an intuitive and competent system can boost efficiency in an establishment.
An enterprise doesn’t garner a position as the top global franchise without effective overall management of franchises and operations. Both the first biggest franchise as well as the 12th most well-known brand in the world, McDonald’s has defined fun family Friday nights, late nights out and quick meals when you don’t feel like cooking. But have you ever wondered why McDonald’s is so successful? With smooth operations in over 35 000 outlets across 118 countries worldwide, it seems McDonalds have found the secret to operations management. In this blog we’ll take a look at a few of their operations decision areas and how these help ensure successful operations management of franchises.
No matter the environment or situation, misunderstandings are at the root of all conflicts. People get frustrated with what they perceive to be slow service because their perception is that there are only a few steps to follow. The crucial aspect here is misunderstanding and the failure of one party to communicate to the other what is happening. This is even more challenging when one party speaks another language. Your front of house and back of house are essentially two foreigners coming from different countries with their own way of doing things and a different language of communication.
The inventory of a restaurant is much more than simply the products you use to create meals. Every single item on your inventory, from a head of lettuce to tomato sauce, should be seen as cash flow. While throwing out a few inventory products at the end of the day might not seem like much, it amounts to much more than you can imagine and causes significant financial loss. If your restaurant’s kitchen is prone to food waste, you should be aware of how much money you’re throwing into the trash. If you’re not aware, you should certainly determine this, because restaurants can save a lot of money by practicing better inventory control and reducing food waste as a result.
While the youth of today might make older generations cringe with curious habits such as constantly Snapchatting and religiously following One Direction, they are also the ones responsible for driving our society forward in many ways. It truly is something to be admired when a young individual sets their mind on something and pursues their goal relentlessly. Malala Yousafzai is a prime example of the determination and passion of the youth of today. Only 18 years old, she has already received a Nobel Prize for her human rights advocacy and has achieved many other extraordinary things.
We live in the era of digital information. There is a digital version of almost everything, and information is also collected and stored on the cloud. While this is truly convenient and remarkable, it is also quite scary. Living in the era of digital information also means living in the era of big data breaches that can greatly damage your brand. Your point of sale software collects scores of valuable data ranging from the restaurant’s financial information to private contact information of patrons, and if not properly secured, this could all become public information.
Time management seems to be the underlying factor that either makes or breaks a restaurant. Until you can manage time, you will not be able to manage anything else. Your processes, table turnaround time, food delivery time, employee shifts and just about everything that’s vital to a successful establishment relies heavily on the careful time management of your restaurant employees and their shifts.
When a building is constructed on a poor foundation, many other issues will arise and, ultimately, the building will either collapse or start sinking into the ground much like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Similarly, if a restaurant is expected to function and successfully carry out processes without a solid operation management foundation in place, it will not be able to stand for very long before it crumbles to the ground.
When Krispy Kreme first opened their doors in Rosebank we saw scores of people lining up and bracing for the wait of approximately 30-45 minutes to taste their legendary doughnuts. For weeks and weeks after opening, one could still expect very long lines outside the establishment. However, these queues quickly disappeared the moment Starbucks opened their doors in the same centre and people started lining up to grab a cup of coffee instead.
There is something to be said for hotels. Every visit is a magical experience filled with comfortable beds that engulf you like fluffy clouds, wonderfully friendly staff bringing you delicious cuisine in the hotel restaurant and the occasional drink in the ambient hotel bar. Yet it is the innovative hotels that remain in your memory, while the outdated hotels that smell slightly of mothballs and sport floral print wallpaper quickly fade and are dismissed as stagnant hotels. Yes, the hotel industry is a competitive one where hotels need to stay up-to-date with current trends. These are the top three hotel industry trends to take notice of in 2016:
Whenever a brave leader in Game of Thrones conquers another city or defeats another house, they always do so with scores of loyal men behind them. When Robb Stark declared war on the Lannisters, he had an enormous army of many brave men fighting behind him. When the Lannister army destroyed Stannis Baratheon’s fleet with the ruthless wildfire explosions during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, it wasn’t the wildfire that defeated their enemy, but a number of strong fighters. And, most recently, it was the Wildlings who backed the remaining loyal Night’s Watch members against their own who had murdered their Lord Commander. So what can restaurants learn from what seems to be the most popular series with the biggest cult following in the 21st century?
Many of us are familiar with the adage ‘tidy kitchen, tidy mind.’ While I have found this to be true in any household, it holds particular truth to a restaurant. If your kitchen runs faultlessly, all of the operations in your restaurant will also function without error and you will have more peace of mind regarding the workflows in your establishment. However, your kitchen – and any of your restaurant operations for that matter – cannot be tidy when your financial operations are in disarray.
Restaurant owners know that running a restaurant is one of the most demanding, yet rewarding, jobs to have. You grow to love your restaurant, staff, brand and food so intensely that you are willing to dedicate every waking minute to it – and this is a requirement if you wish to have a successful restaurant. You need to stay updated with the financial ongoings of the restaurant, your inventory, as well as staff performance, all the while being aware of the consumer’s needs and whether you are meeting them.
Of all the factors that have pioneered exciting and innovative changes throughout the history of mankind, technology is perhaps the biggest and most significant driving force, affecting nearly every part of human existence – from the way we eat to the way we communicate, and even the way we date! Some of today’s most in-demand jobs such as digital marketing managers, cloud services specialists and data scientists didn’t even exist ten years ago. Currently, there are 100 billion searches on Google every month and it is estimated that by 2020, more than 75 billion devices will be connected to the internet.
Picture yourself dining with someone like chef Gordon Ramsay or Bobby Flay and the server places a dish in front of them that very much resembles that unidentifiable creation your mom used to make at the end of the month when groceries were scarce. One can almost see the disdain on their faces and hear the characteristic swear words streaming from Ramsay’s mouth.
An unfortunate fact that many restaurant owners have had to face is that the majority of servers are only temporary staff – a truth only made worse by the highly stressful nature of the job and difficult patrons. This poses many challenges that are often hard to overcome. Your servers are the face of your establishment and ultimately deliver the customer experience to your patrons, making them incredibly valuable members of the restaurant team. Yet, when working at your restaurant is purely a means of making extra money or servers feel underappreciated, how do you ensure that you have staff who are as enthusiastic about the restaurant as you are?
The restaurant industry is an extremely competitive one and in order to be an industry leader, you need to use only the leading point of sale systems. While it’s almost impossible to walk into a restaurant in South Africa that doesn’t use Pilot PoS software, there is another kind of establishment that is also growing aware of the amazing benefits of this industry leading system: wine estates.
The way restaurants worked only a few years ago is vastly different to how they operate today. If you wanted to peruse the menu of a restaurant you had to have a physical menu with you, you carried punch cards to get loyalty program rewards, and you had to reference a business card or the good old Yellow Pages to find the contact number of a restaurant to call and place an order for delivery. Nowadays you can download menus in PDF form, scan an app to accumulate loyalty points, and get the address and phone number of a restaurant by simply typing a name into the Google search bar – not to mention online ordering.
Despite receiving opposition from experts, the recent interest rate hike seems like it’s here to stay. Implemented by the South African Reserve Bank to keep inflation in check, the hike leaves the interest rate at an astounding 10.5%. This means that food and fuel prices will go up, employees will require higher salaries and, ultimately, that your restaurant budget just got a whole lot more complicated. Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB, agrees, saying that, “this year could be testing for consumers as interest rate hikes and price increases on everyday goods are set to have a detrimental effect on your pocket.”
Reservations, purchasing, marketing campaigns and social media; your restaurant deals with a vast amount of data and it is easy to underestimate its power. The data you collect differs daily and their sources vary in complexity and type. A few years ago it would be unfathomable to collect and analyse the sheer volume and variety of data your restaurant produces. With access to store vast volumes of data cheaply in the cloud, the ability to collect, store and analyse this data has become an accessible reality.
Your friends and colleagues have been raving about a certain restaurant for weeks on end and you have finally decided to visit it to find out what the fuss is all about. However, the moment you arrive you are made to stand in a long queue without any indication of how long the wait may be, after which you are seated at a table the server has not been able to clean since the previous guests left. While friendly, the server seems busy and does not make you feel like a valued customer. At the end of the night you reflect back on your evening and conclude that, even though the cuisine was delicious, something didn’t seem quite right or enjoyable about the experience and you will not return.
Customers have grown so accustomed to using technology for a variety of everyday tasks, that it has become almost expected when making a purchase or ordering a product. With apps such as Zapper, Uber or Airbnb becoming a natural part of daily life, millennials have been conditioned to accept technology as part of buying, promoting or selling a product or service. Unfortunately, the hospitality and restaurant industry has been slow in the uptake of technological advancements and, as a result, now face the risk of losing a whole future generation of patrons who regard technology as an integral part of everyday life.
Being a restaurant server is no ordinary job. Table seven is growing impatient waiting for their food, table 13 orders another detailed round of drinks, you have three bill folders to deliver and, before you got to clean table 11, a couple sat down and ordered two glasses of water. It takes a special kind of skilled person to complete all these tasks efficiently without having a break down in the walk in freezer.
The technological luxuries and incredible innovations of the 21st century have also brought about complaints of so-called ‘first world problems’ which run rampant on social media platforms. Among these is the quirky quip which states ‘I won’t be impressed with technology until I can download food.’ However far-fetched this notion may seem, technology and an internet connection have already greatly advanced the availability of a mouthwatering meal.
In 1940, the same year that brought us the first Bugs Bunny cartoon and saw Winston Churchill become Britain’s prime minister, another amazing thing happened: two brothers began a barbecue restaurant which they then turned into a hamburger stand that uses production line principles. Then, after a franchise agent by the name of Ray Kroc joined the company in 1955, this little company went on to become the largest franchise in the world -McDonalds.
If you are entering the restaurant and hospitality industry, it is highly advisable to invest in the best business tools from the onset, in order to avoid pitfalls down the line. Handheld PoS systems are replacing traditional checkout systems as a means of providing better customer service and improving efficiency in restaurants, at the same time offering cost-saving opportunities to outlets that are still debating whether “going mobile” is a good investment. Pilot Software offers cutting-edge mobile point of sale solutions that eliminate traditional bottlenecks, improve communications and enhance the overall customer experience.
The 2016 Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit will be kicking off in Dallas this month, bringing together some of the world’s leading minds in restaurant franchising, hospitality trade and technology to discuss the latest innovations in the hospitality industry and trend forecasts for the upcoming year.
It’s the time of year where everyone’s favourite furry friend is hopping along gardens, hiding colourful Easter eggs for little kids (and those who are kids at heart) across the globe. This involves doing a lot of work in a very short space of time and rivals the efficiency of Santa’s delivery process. Nevertheless, the Easter Bunny efficiently completes this task in time every year and still maintains infectious cheeriness. Head-hunters must be scrambling to offer him a job as front of house manager at the busiest establishments the world over. Let’s take a few lessons from the happy hare on how to whip your front of house into shape.
There’s a scary statistic about restaurants that people seem to keep repeating for some reason – the one about 90-95% of all restaurants failing within the first year. Even though that statistic is obviously exaggerated, the real figure (59% of all hospitality facilities fail in the first three years), isn’t very reassuring either.
The restaurant business is an incredibly cut-throat one and the success of a restaurant often relies on fickle elements such as the wavering tastes and needs of consumers, the economy and various competitors who implement more innovative ways of attracting customers every day. A restaurant can’t simply implement the proper processes and then expect success. In order to become truly successful, process improvement should be a regular occurrence.
With technological advancements innovating the way we do business in almost every industry, one could understand if there were hesitations involved with accepting these new methods. Many seem like complex and expensive devices or systems which are difficult to grasp, and the same could be said for point of sale systems.
There’s a big difference between a loyal customer and a satisfied customer, and customer satisfaction is not only what you should strive towards. Customer loyalty is the most powerful sales and marketing tool that a restaurant possesses and you can leverage this to your advantage to deliver astounding results if you have the proper methods in place to create a loyal customer base.
With the year in full swing, your main priority is to deliver delicious cuisine in an efficient manner and clean, suitable setting. While focusing on meeting these needs will ensure you create a loyal customer base, you also need to focus on the fundamentals behind them. The key difference between a thriving establishment and a run-down restaurant is good financial planning.
If you are still of the opinion that brand identity is merely a brand’s visual communication, you are wrong – its importance goes far beyond a flashy logo and catchy slogan. Brands nowadays sell more than just a product, they sell lifestyles and appeal to individual identities. This leads to what is known as ‘brand-extended self-construals’ – where consumers form close psychological connections with brands they see as an extension of their identity. Harley Davidson is the best example; this was one of the first brands consumers willingly adorned themselves with by being tattooed.
Accuracy and speed are two of the elements that can either make or break your restaurant. What’s the point in delivering the wrong order quickly, or waiting an eternity for the right one? Point of sale systems and software have revolutionised the hospitality industry by making light of time-consuming and tedious tasks, while at the same time increasing the accuracy of processing orders and payments. But any PoS software worth its salt is underpinned by robust and reliable point of sale hardware to manage the flow of information throughout your restaurant.
Technology is evolving at breakneck speed, and when it comes to hospitality point of sale systems, the situation is no different. Gone are the days when PoS systems were merely used to ring up bills; they have evolved into tools to increase productivity and efficiency, and target your marketing campaigns. Settling for a system that does not offer you an overall view of your store with intuitive data capturing could stunt your restaurant’s growth. Pilot offers you a forward-facing PoS system that enables establishments of all types and sizes to tweak their offerings to grow their business. Pilot provides integrated solutions and powerful partnerships to reduce time spent on learning disparate systems, giving you more time to spend on your customers.
Business continuity requires putting processes in place that allow you to future-proof your franchise – an undertaking that’s paramount to your success – in the immediate future and ten years down the line. That said, when it comes to business continuity, many franchise owners are guilty of a ‘grass is always greener’ mentality, which ends up hampering not only their future plans, but their current business too. There’s always room for growth, but, if you want to make a success of expanding your franchise, you need to prioritise business continuity above everything else. We’ve highlighted some of the crucial steps to take into account when planning to expand. Here’s what you need to know:
When it comes to restaurant trends for 2016, it would appear that online ordering is on the top of the to-do list for any restaurant or franchise wanting to keep ahead of the food industry curve. Gone are the days of customers merely fantasising about ordering their favourite fast food meal from the comfort of their home and at the simple, double-click of a mouse or touchpad. Big name, fast food franchises are quickly cottoning on to the appeal of online food ordering facilities as one of the latest restaurant trends, and are making it even easier for hardworking and time-constrained foodies to order meals online.
The next opportunity for retailers and restaurants alike to cash in on consumer emotion (post-Christmas) is here – Valentine’s Day. The month of love, Cupid’s hunting season – whatever you want to call it, February 14th is upon us yet again, and whether you loathe or love the occasion, many people enjoy splurging to make someone they adore feel special. A romantic dinner is an old time favourite V-Day activity, and while to many it might seem like just a marketing fad, you simply can’t afford not go all out planning your Valentine’s customer experience. Want to make it a memorable day for your customers and till? Read further.
Running a successful restaurant is an easy task. In an ideal world you want to continually improve operations and increase productivity and ROI in your establishment. Should your point of sale system not deliver on all of the aforementioned, it’s time to reconsider your options. When investing in new technology for your restaurant – or upgrading your current systems – there are many considerations you have to keep in mind. Going from bad to worse, or paying for features you don’t need, is not the kind of buyer’s regret you can’t remedy by returning your point of sale system for a refund – so choose carefully.
If you want to know what questions to ask to help you choose a PoS system that will see to all of your restaurant needs, read on.
A desire to do things smarter, faster, more accurately and with minimal harm to the environment is fueling the latest generation of consumers’ buying decisions. The Millennials are increasingly influencing all sectors of business, and we are seeing an upscaling of operations from the ground up to see to their needs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Millennials are just a bunch of enviro-hipsters with no real influence on the world around them. Take a look at how technology and trends are evolving around us and it’s not hard to see that their impact is one that is here to stay, and one that needs to be catered to. Aside from thrift shopping, holidays ‘off the beaten track’ and upcycling interests, Millennials are food lovers, and their influence on the hospitality industry is blatant. This blog takes a look at how Millennials are guiding some of the biggest operational planning approaches and why your restaurant should be keeping up.
Running a restaurant without a comprehensive budget plan is like steering a rudderless ship in the open ocean; you are susceptible to the changing tides as well as any storm heading your way. Starting off the New Year with a clear idea of how much money you will and can spend on your restaurant throughout the year can help you avoid any unnecessary losses and improve your annual profits. If done right, your annual budget plan can help you plan for your restaurant’s future spending without you having to constantly relook your financial status. Here are a few tips to help you create a budget plan that’s right for your establishment:
Gathering and utilising data has become one of the most powerful tools of the 21st century – one which we now possibly can’t go without. Everything we do in the digital sphere is monitored, captured and used again to attract the attention of customers. Think of Google and how cookies have revolutionised targeted advertising. Gathering and dissecting information about an establishment – a process known as data mining – can help to gain deeper insights into both operations and customers. An intuitive point of sale solution in each of your restaurants, gives you access to a vast terrain of data shafts from which you can mine valuable information to better service your patrons. Here’s how information can help you improve your offering across your franchise:
If you want something done, give it to a busy person. The reason why this saying is used so often (and true) is because busy people have mastered the skill of productivity management. Being at the helm of financial operations across multiple outlets in the hospitality industry, you know well that there can never be enough hours in the day to get everything on your to-do list done. Here are a few hacks to kick your productivity into high gear in 2016 so you can you can achieve more in less time.
Along with an abundance of resolutions, the New Year is also a catalyst for makeovers —your restaurant should be hitting the gym and beauty parlor too. One thing you can get into shape to make your establishment seem more attractive is your menu. Your menu, or your product catalogue, so to speak, is what will either convince or deter patrons from spending their hard-earned money in your restaurant. This blog takes a look at menu planning tips that will ensure you get the most out of every diner’s pocket and reduce wastage.
The New Year is a good time to tinker your restaurant into shape. A few changes to your existing management can make a big difference in the way you operate and help increase your profits throughout the year. As things start to wind down after the deliriously busy festive season, you have some time to focus on the face of your establishment – your front of house staff. Implementing systems that will help increase the productivity of your waiting staff can go a long way in breathing new life into your restaurant. The infographic looks at what your front of house staff should master to increase their productivity:
There are many definitive characteristics of a zombie. And no, not just the post-apocalyptic flesh eating kind. We’re talking about the everyday empty shell beings infiltrating the workspace – threatening the performance of those around them, and ultimately, your restaurant’s reputation. If you think that your establishment has been spared from these detrimentally slow, unenthused beings – think again. It can, however, be hard to spot zombies as they easily blend in with other people and their surroundings. Scared you might have an unidentified infestation among your restaurant staff? Let’s take close look at how the behaviour of your worst performing staff can easily mimic the zombies from the popular TV series, The Walking Dead. We have compiled a checklist to help you determine whether your employee performance is a supreme showcase of sleepwalking, customer-loathing zombies.
It’s a widely known fact that poor management, especially financial, is one of the main reasons why new businesses fail – and when it comes to your new restaurant, the threat is no different. Starting a new business is a daunting venture that comprises of copious amounts of time, planning and research. And once you’re up and running, how do you ensure you keep running? The secret lies in implementing the right tools and procedures to ensure continuity from the get go. A point of sale solution has become the must-have survival tool for new restaurants, helping bolster management efforts and simplifying many of the daily tasks restaurateurs are faced with. Here are the top benefits your new establishment can reap by implementing PoS software from the get go:
It’s time to welcome in 2016! And whether you’re a fan of New Year’s resolutions or not, a new calendar brings with it a clean slate – one with which you can improve on the previous year’s ventures. In the restaurant industry, trends are fleeting, making it hard to know which ones to follow and which to ignore. As they say ‘different strokes for different folks’, but when a trend presents you with an opportunity to better the running of your restaurant and bring in more money – it’s hard to refuse it. A recent poll by the US National Restaurant Association gathered insights from some of the US’ top chefs into what they think the top 20 driving food trends of 2016 will be. We sifted through them, and singled out the five food trends we think will help increase profits in the coming year:
It’s time to ring in the New Year! What is, for most, the pinnacle of the festive season, has you – the restaurateur – gasping for air. It’s been a long year, and you’re finding it hard to keep your team (and yourself) motivated, but it’s the final push leading of the festive season — you simply have to push through. Here are a few ways to increase efficiency in your establishment to ensure you survive in time to join the New Year’s countdown.
There are two things that are synonymous with the festive season: spending time with the family and food. Over the festive season, many of us escape from our regular day-to-day lives to explore different parts of the country, and are looking to put down the apron and be served on Christmas day. But in order to fork out your hard-earned holiday savings, you need to find the most unique eating experience to satisfy your holiday palate. We had a look at what some restaurants around South Africa are doing to entice you this festive season — here are our top restaurant ideas to inspire your choice of dining in each major city:
The festive season is one of the best times to increase brand awareness and show off what you are really capable of. If you can handle the pressure of thousands of holiday goers streaming through your doors, and do a good job at that too, you’re set for the upcoming year. But how do you deal with the added pressure and still find the time and resources to strengthen your restaurant’s brand? As with all successful ventures in life – it’s done with planning.
As most people prepare to take a well-deserved break over the festive season, you’re preparing for the busiest time of the year. Thousands of feet – both local and international – will be moving through all of your branches. And while it’s evident that you will be making more money than the other eleven months of the year, there are ways to ensure you attract more patrons than your next-door competitor. Let’s take a look at a few ways in which you can get your hands on the bulk of the festive season spenders’ pockets.
Information has become one of the modern world’s most valuable commercial assets – and in all other spheres of life too. Information can end wars, uncover injustices and help build empires. As a new restaurant owner, you too can (and should) make use of the power valuable data gives you to grow your business. But it can prove to be a near impossible task to do this without the help of technology. We have written before about the benefits a comprehensive point of sale solution can bring to your new establishment, but not all PoS systems offer the same in-depth data analysis. Many PoS systems help to automate and improve the ordering process, but do they generate valuable reports to help optimise every system in your restaurant? The answer is no.
Love or loathe her, the YouTube DIY sensation Suzelle has risen to local stardom with her unique (and ditsy) approach to all things food and décor. From her very first braai pie, to swiftly peeling veg and apples, and her load shedding survival kit, Suzelle has breathed new life into the realm of food and home DIY – ‘because everybody can’. While you might find it hard to convince a trained chef to include her food ideas in his menu, there are quite a lot of useful food ideas you can learn from the digital DIY dame. Let’s take a look at why you should really be paying attention to Suzelle’s approach rather than her attire.
The new season doesn’t only bring with it sunshine, spring cleaning and summer dresses. It also presents you with the perfect opportunity to spruce up your menu. Most people love the summer, and tend to spend more time outdoors looking for activities and food ideas to match their jolly mood, so there’s much to benefit from meeting customers on this level and servicing their seasonal needs. Something as simple as your menu planning can help you attract summer sun lovers to your restaurant. We’ve looked into some easy and innovative ways in which you can adapt your menu planning to the season and help increase foot traffic through your restaurant.
Running a successful restaurant requires a lot of hard work. But you already know this. Aside from working long, stressful hours to keep things running, there’s also the daunting thought of your next-door competitor luring your loyal patrons away from you. So when there are tools at your disposal to help make things easier, you should grab a hold of this opportunity with both hands. Point of sale software has assisted many a restaurateur to improve profits, productivity and the overall management of their establishment. The truth is that to remain competitive and keep the tills full in this day and age, you can’t go without point of sale software. Here’s how your restaurant will lose out if you don’t invest in point of sale software in 2016:
Returning patrons form one of the core pillars of financial success in your establishment. While you spend a lot of time and money on attracting new business, as you rightfully should, keeping the business you already have happy is crucial for the longevity of your business. Customer loyalty can also become a valuable tool to attract new patrons, if nurtured properly. You want your current patrons to become your very own brand ambassadors of sorts, doing your marketing for you. But where do you start and how much will you have to fork out towards keeping patrons smiling and chirping good things about you? The answer is not a lot, and here are some of our top tips to increase customer loyalty on a budget:
We are obsessed with the future. What will we wear, experience, travel in, travel to and most importantly, what will we eat? Future food. Food is where curiosity meets basic human need, one that we’ve turned into quite the glamourous affair over the centuries. Our needs tend to develop along with technology. Think about it – no one can go anywhere without their mobile devices these days – it’s become more of a need than a nicety. As with most things in the modern world, the hospitality industry is also moving with the times. Many establishments have already started dipping their fingers into the pot of the future and have come up with some weird and wonderful concepts. Let’s take a look at some of these extraordinary restaurant trends, shall we?
The foundation of any establishment’s success is based on two core principles: serving good food and providing good service to patrons. The one can’t go without the other. There’s no point in serving the most exquisite meals when they reach the customer late, or not at all. By the same token, great waiting staff don’t make up for a subpar meal. Keeping your front and back of house staff in tip top shape is an ongoing exercise, and however daunting and time-consuming it might seem, it’s paramount to the sustainability and growth of your restaurant. The secret to keeping staff performance at optimal levels is getting it right from the start. We’ll look at some useful tips to help you get the most out of your employees from the get go:
In the highly competitive hospitality industry, where every bistro, café, deli and franchise is fighting for their place in the sun, it’s imperative to think ahead. While you might have attracted attention with great food and ambience in the past, the modern consumer is demanding to be serviced on their level – a technological level. Whether you’re a techie or a technophobe, you can’t risk not adopting new technology to improve customer service, and ultimately, revenue. As with most technologies, hospitality point of sale systems are evolving, and enable the restaurateur to meet patrons on the platform they most love – mobile. Let’s take a look at why your franchise can’t afford not to adopt mobile point of sale (PoS):
Point of sale solutions have transformed the way in which establishments manage orders, for both front and back of house. The combination of intuitive software and back of house hardware has helped many a restaurant rid itself of the tedious (and oft confusing) manual ordering systems. Kitchen displays help to improve order accuracy, speed up prep times, and boost the overall productivity of back of house staff.
Whether we like it or not, the fluctuating rand and its influence on the prices of imported goods has an impact on our budget management. In the fast-paced restaurant industry, you are constantly dealing with suppliers that make price adjustments according to the exchange rate. This in return, causes a ripple effect that can have serious consequences for your bottom line. Here are a few budget management tips that can help your establishment flourish regardless of the economic fluctuations:
As far as society’s fixation with social media platforms goes, Instagram sure is the (current) coolest kid on the block. The platform is fueling people’s obsession to post and view other people’s pictures – the biggest part of Instagram’s success. The photo-sharing social network surpassed the 400 million users a month mark earlier this year. There’s some science psychology behind this; humans are visual creatures and we are even more drawn to visual stimulation than ever before.
Our mobile devices have become an extension of our own identities, and are the one thing that no one will leave the house without. Think about it – our entire lives are concentrated into one small (or large) mobile device enabling us to not only communicate, but run our entire lives. Mobile applications allow us to get our banking matters in order, shop online and even switch on the living room lights. It’s just simple technological evolution that our wallets and bank cards will eventually become obsolete – perhaps even our IDs in the future. That said, vendors are increasingly feeling the pressure to service consumers in the mobile domain. Pilot point of sale (PoS) software recently partnered with the award-winning mobile payment app, Zapper, to do just that.
It’s that time of the year when the ghosts and ghouls come out to play, and refusing sweets to little Draculas and corpse brides could get you into trouble. While it’s all fun and games to celebrate Hallows’ Eve, there are usually one or two horror stories that are told to set the spooky mood – and not only of witches and the walking dead. Almost everyone that has worked in the restaurant industry will have some shocking tales to tell of things going terribly pumpkin shaped (pun intended). In this blog we focus specifically on five of the most horrific patrons staff in the restaurant industry regularly come across.
Maintaining control over a large number of franchise sites can prove to be near impossible without a centralized system. Although every franchise should make use of a point of sale system to collect and correlate data from each site, Pilot’s HQ system gives you ultimate control across a large number of outlets. The more control head office has over aspects such as pricing, recipes, menu items and updates, the easier it is for the franchisor to manage and standardise the quality of service and grow their business. Pilot HQ has been designed specifically with the franchise or multi-outlet operation in mind, to enable complete protection of intellectual property, and help minimize food costs. Here’s how franchises and multi-outlet operations can benefit from Pilot HQ:
Chief financial officers (CFOs) in the hospitality industry are faced with the challenging task of procuring restaurant software to not only help optimise productivity, but – most importantly – to increase profits. There are many different point of sale (PoS) systems on the market, however, not all of them offer the required depth of functionality needed to help improve an establishment’s bottom line. There are crucial aspects that CFOs, especially those purchasing for large franchises, need to keep in mind when choosing restaurant software. We take a look at what point of sale systems have to offer to maximise profits.
Your lifelong dream of opening your own restaurant is finally a reality. As exciting as it is to become your own boss, there are many factors that have to be taken into account when starting a new business. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your money matters is crucial for the success and longevity of your restaurant. Poor financial planning is known to be one of the most common killers of new businesses, even more so in the highly-competitive hospitality industry. Effective financial planning hinges on the management of various processes in your new establishment, and can be the difference between a struggling business and a thriving establishment. Here are some things new restaurant owners need to include in their financial planning to ensure success:
The recipe for increasing profits is simple really: the quicker patrons order, the quicker you turn tables and the more people you serve. The result? More cash in the till. The menu is one of the crucial ingredients to ensuring this recipe doesn’t flop. If you can’t effectively convey what’s on offer, how will you convince someone to part with their money? That said, it’s crucial that your menu design is infallible. A restaurant menu shouldn’t just be a list of items with a price on a piece of paper – or even worse, pages in plastic pockets in a fake leather binder. As with most persuasive marketing material, there’s lot of psychology behind menu design ideas. The structuring, design and layout of your menu has to direct diners to make their decision, and quickly too.
What makes a successful point of sale (PoS) system? In the case of Pilot – one of the country’s leading PoS brands – it’s a combination of robust and agile hardware, intuitive software, and a powerful backend business analytics tool that truly brings management in the hospitality industry to life. As a forward-facing PoS system, Pilot’s software is bringing tomorrow’s technology to the hospitality industry today, and giving bistros, cafes, franchises and other eateries the competitive advantage. Here’s how Pilot’s software is leading the way in hospitality management PoS systems:
Working in the hospitality industry is one of the most challenging career paths one can pursue. For both the restaurateur and staff it requires (extremely) long hours, running around and dealing with customers’ gripes. Even more challenging is employing staff in the industry. Finding people that are skilled and capable of handling the pressure in a fully-packed restaurant can prove to be a big hurdle if you want an establishment to function optimally. When it comes to employing staff in the hospitality industry there exist some misconceptions. A post by hospitality marketing tool OpenTable’s Open for Business blog lists the top five misconceptions establishments have about employing staff. Here is a breakdown of the myths surrounding employing staff and how you should really approach it:
The management of produce, products and suppliers is not the most popular of tasks, especially in the hospitality industry. Managing the quick turnover of foodstuffs, finding the most cost-effective and efficient supplier, and minimising wastage can be a time consuming task. However tedious it might seem, inventory management is crucial for the controlling of food costs and the profitability of any restaurant. There are many downsides to not having a proper inventory management system in place that can negatively affect ROI.
Here are five ways in which you can help simplify and optimise inventory management:
Franchises, like most businesses, are faced with the question of how to use their information assets as tools to improve performance and increase profits. With information coming at us from so many channels, the question is how to smartly curate, store and repurpose it in such a way that results in the discovery of new avenues to improve overall business performance. Big data brings with it big opportunities, but the question is: are you taking advantage of the potential that lays dormant in your data?
Gaining traction in the hospitality industry can be tough, especially if you’re an independent restaurateur facing the so-called franchise goliath. There are many reasons to be discouraged by the massive network of support, financial backing and established branding, but this is no reason to throw in the serving towel. You have a secret weapon of sorts to help you level and even exceed the strength of the ‘giants’. The power of Pilot’s comprehensive and intuitive point of sale system can give your eatery tomorrow’s technology, today – putting you in contention with the rest. Here’s how Pilot’s point of sale solution can help you gain the competitive advantage to build your brand and take on the plethora of franchises:a
Restaurant management consists of far more than simply ensuring that each order is successfully executed from start to finish. It’s the financial management behind the purchasing of stock, correlating of payments and the employee’s payroll, which really keeps the proverbial ship afloat. It’s a well-known fact that most businesses fail due to poor financial management. When it comes to running more than one establishment keeping track of the figures becomes a mammoth of a task. To ensure that all of our clients get the most out of our intuitive point of sale (PoS) solution, owe have integrated with accounting software giant Sage Pastel. This completes the hospitality management package, which offers restaurant owners financial peace of mind.
If it’s true that a tradesman is only as good as his tools, then it stands to reason that without them, a job can only be done half as well. In the same vein, hard- and software are inseparable; with each influencing the ability of the other to perform to its optimum ability. Pilot Software is designed to deliver agile, scalable and robust point of sale software solutions across bars, restaurants, bistros and other eateries of various sizes and complexities. Our systems are developed to help hospitality owners, managers and employees work smarter thanks to the benefits our solutions deliver to our customers’ fingertips. Let’s take a look at the hardware that underlies our solution to bring the best in PoS to our customers.
South Africa’s coastline is as beautiful as it is diverse. Reaching from the tropical turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean in KwaZulu-Natal right around to the cold Atlantic borders of the West Coast, you are assured of an array of cultural and cuisine delights. While each coastal town has its own flavour and culture you are sure to find a restaurant to suit any and every food desire. In this blog we take a look at food ideas from some of the more unique coastal restaurants on the West, East and North Coast:
It’s hard to imagine a world before the evolution of the smart phone and smart mobile devices. The capabilities that intuitive applications and remote access have brought to life have supercharged the way in which we do almost everything in our daily lives. But it’s in the business sector where the power of mobile is truly shining through by simplifying the management of processes, monitoring progress and most importantly allowing for intuitive mobile reporting. In the hospitality industry, especially when managing more than one outlet or establishment at a time, the benefits of mobile reporting have proven to be invaluable. This blog looks into the benefits of mobile reporting and how Pilot’s upgraded mobile analytics app can help to optimise every aspect of an establishment:
As the saying goes ‘it’s a dog eat dog world’ and even more so in the hospitality industry where you are competing with a plethora of unique establishments. Your closest rival is most likely situated right next to you. This increases the pressure on you to stand out from the rest and make sure your offering is something spectacular, something no one else has. One of the best ways to achieve this is to focus on your customers and their experience of your service, your offering and your attention to detail. You want to build a loyal following that will ensure that your seats are always filled and there’s money in the till. This blog looks at how you can ensure the longevity of your establishment by creating an outstanding customer experience.
into our economy. But before we can start counting the billions, there’s the enormous planning process to address.
Infrastructure, capacity, transport and safety – all of these will require careful consideration and preparation for the scores of expected sport enthusiasts. If you’re operating in the hospitality industry in Durban you’re indeed sitting on a little goldmine. But only if you’re prepared and don’t crumble under the pressure. Here’s why you need to ensure that your restaurant systems are in place to service everyone that enters your establishment:
The computing marvel known as the tablet has enhanced mobile communication and efficiency, but more importantly it has enabled people to do business on the fly. Incorporating tablets in the hospitality industry through mobile point of sale (PoS) solutions has endless benefits for your establishment. Above and beyond the obvious portability, simplification and turnover of orders, mobile PoS systems can improve the way you run your entire business by capturing valuable data. Data about your patrons, staff and other activities in your restaurant can be correlated and measured to further improve procedures and increase profits. Here are six ways how Pilot’s tablet PoS solution is equipped to take your establishment to the next level:
Max and Caroline from the hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls have audiences in stitches with their quick, quirky and sarcastic humour but are probably every restaurateur's worst nightmare. The combination of a former trust fund baby and a girl who grew up in poverty makes for a sensationally funny clash of beliefs, perspective and lifestyle. But as entertaining as this is to watch, Max and Caroline’s work ethic leaves much to be desired.
Their poor attitude towards their work is the bane of the Williamsburg Diner owner, Han’s existence. Not all waiters might be as witty and quick with punchy remarks, but you don’t have to put up with bad attitude and lacklustre performance from your staff.
The words of the great Benjamin Franklin ‘by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’ is the best way to describe the importance of data backup in the hospitality industry. A restaurant continuously deals with a plethora of crucial information - of both financial and operational importance. In an outlet where dozens of transactions are recorded hourly, orders are placed frequently, loyalty programme details and recipes are regularly captured - things can go pear-shaped quicker than you think should this information be compromised. The ramification on business continuation and financial losses you’ll incur as a result can be mitigated by investing in off-site data backup.
Brands come and go while some have stuck around for ages. What was initially meant to be an alternative to morphine turned into the world’s most recognised brand - everyone from Alaska to Zambia knows Coca Cola. While you might not hold aspirations to be a globally recognised brand, you do want patrons to keep your establishment front of mind and grow your customer base sustainably. Brand awareness plays a key part to fostering customer loyalty and this blog provides you with a few tips you can use to stay relevant in the minds of your customers.
The success of your restaurant relies not only on the quality of your food, but also on the strength of your staff, fast table turnover and efficient management of all areas of your establishment. The more productive your staff, the more patrons they can serve and subsequently increase turnover. One of the best ways to achieve optimal productivity in your establishment is through technology. Introducing a modern point of sale (PoS) solution to your restaurant can supercharge not only order capturing, back of house processes, staff and floor management, but also help you improve overall productivity. Here are five reasons why your establishment needs a point of sale solution:
Technology has drastically changed the way in which we approach and handle daily activities and more specifically, the way in which we transact. With the rapid adoption of digital transacting, dealing with hard cash is becoming a rarity and the need to carry a cluttered wallet will eventually become obsolete. Mobility’s role in the proliferation of digitised transacting makes adoption of this new form of payment a relatively easy process for both business and consumers. Furthermore, applications developed for smart devices have opened up an abundance of possibilities when it comes to mobile payments.
An established eatery can serve some of the most delicious foods in town, but if there’s a lack of atmosphere or your staff is less than eager to take orders, you might as well throw in the chef’s hat. Aside from good food, it’s the front of house that secures and maintains return clientele. It’s where patrons spend more time engaging with each other and their surroundings than they do eating. Managing all the elements of the front of house including the bar area, seating arrangement and atmosphere correctly will ensure return clientele.
Here are a few things you can’t afford not to have in the front of house:
Big data is no longer reserved for large corporations with thousands of customers, complex operations, employees and interrelations with external entities. Today, virtually any business that overlooks the importance of customer, financial and operational data analysis does so at its peril. This applies equally to the restaurant industry, and this blog takes a look at the role big data plays in improved performance across myriad touch points that entail running a successful franchise, or single outlet.
Take a look at your restaurant and consider all the working parts involved in making it what it is - from your dining room to back of house operations to all the external parties that need to work in harmony to get you through the most hectic days. Think of your employees and how reliant you are on them to carry the business through dinner services that seem to never end. The restaurant business is a demanding one that requires you to keep your finger on many pulses.
According to well-known business consultant and speaker, Jamie Notter, “Innovation is change that unlocks new value.” For 21st century business leaders, the truth behind Notter’s assertion spells both challenge and opportunity. What competing companies should aim to master in the digital age is how to think more innovatively to boost customer satisfaction. This is because customers are enjoying a fairly larger piece of the “commerce-pie” thanks to instant media sharing, social networks, review websites and the general democratising effect these technologies have had in the customer/business continuum. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how some forward thinking tech tools are sure to up the ante on customer satisfaction and push perceived boundaries just a tad further.
First-time business owners would do well to eliminate as many complexities as possible from their daily processes to hit the ground running. This holds true for stock control, since inadequate inventory management can lead to massive loss of revenue for your business. With new restaurants typically running on limited budgets, stock wastage should be thoroughly managed to ensure that virtually every cent spent on the business converts into profit. Here are five tips that will help new restaurant owners take charge of inventory management to ensure a culture of prudence and consistency.
Time management has been a source of stress for business leaders and owners for aeons. Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, people have grappled with how to maximise the time at their disposal to beat the clock. But time management is a somewhat misleading term, since it implies that people need to manage their time – and not their productivity – more effectively. In reality, it isn’t so much your time (or perceived limited supply thereof) that prevents you from achieving daily, weekly or monthly goals, but how you manage your productivity and the tools at your disposal to achieve maximum effect. Let’s look at a few truisms concerning time management and how certain misperceptions can lead to even more of this precious resource slipping through your fingers.
As we’ve become more accustomed to seeing handheld PoS devices in cafés, shops, restaurants and virtually everywhere we transact, the old pen and paper way of doing things is becoming an increasingly faint memory. Moore’s Law famously states that computer technology, on average, doubles with every two-year cycle, and it’s thanks to the rapid evolution of computer chip and internet technology that modern front of house staff deal with a flurry of customers without breaking into a sweat. This blog takes a close look at how handheld PoS devices do what they do: turn your front of house into a dream team.
As much as administrative duties get berated and blamed for sucking away at our time, they are still an important aspect of any business. Fob your administrative duties off for too long and you’ll soon be in a flat spin, frantically searching for financial statements, supplier contact details or struggling to schedule your staff efficiently. It might be difficult to give administrative duties a finite definition, but it acts as the glue that holds your business together and lays the foundation for running your restaurant with minimal hiccups.
In an era where businesses are walking the tightrope between innovation and fiscal sensibility, restaurant owners are grappling with how to introduce technology into their businesses without breaking budgets. But as adoption of next generation tools becomes almost compulsory, ensuring that you’re seeing returns on your choice of point of sale software is paramount. A Harvard Business Review study, which discusses the role of digitisation in smoothing complex work processes, found that a significant number of companies with a proactive stance on technology adoption thrived over the ones that don’t. Pilot Software brings next-gen solutions to the hospitality industry, while providing a high return on investment by giving restaurants the tools they need to operate more profitably and proficiently. We’ll focus on how Pilot PoS delivers return on investment by bringing seemingly disparate pieces of the restaurant puzzle together and how it lends itself to various touch points to improve the workings of your business.
If there is one thing chefs can’t complain about, it’s suffering from a lack of inspiration. It seems that with each year, new food trends emerge that influence the culinary world and change our perception of dining out. With the foodie phenomenon showing no signs of abating, restaurants are increasingly challenged to come up with creative menus to titillate the palates of customers. This blog takes a look at developing food ideas, trends that are making their way around, and what to expect on the menus of restaurants in your area.
As we’ve learnt at the National Restaurant Association Expo held in May this year, mobile PoS is set to continue changing the way restaurant owners think about efficiency. For small business owners, mobile PoS couldn’t have come at a better time, bringing with it a much smaller capital investment requirement and the tools to improve business function. The ubiquity of handheld devices has helped make the adoption of tablets as business tools an almost organic process. This blog takes a look at mobile PoS’ contribution to bringing about higher levels of efficiency in the hospitality industry and how its current and developing implementations are changing the dining experience.
Whatever your business, its size or nature, it needs a brand. Whether or not brand management is your top priority, you need one to maintain a footing on the radar of your collective market’s mind. Some restaurateurs may argue that their food and service should speak for itself – and it does, to a degree – but brand management is more about how you stick in your customer’s mind long after the bill has been settled. Even as new restaurants are popping up around you, it doesn’t mean you have to fade into obscurity. Brand management doesn’t require a marketing guru and mountains of cash in ad spend. It simply means knowing your business, your market and how to accentuate the positives to make your outlet stand out in the minds of your customers.
Hardware and software products go through a complex chain of production, assembly, transportation and reselling before reaching the end-customer. Sometimes when things go wrong and systems break, consumers find it hard to trace their way through the supply chain to receive adequate after-sales support: causing frustration, loss of productivity or worse, revenue loss. So it is for most businesses with considerable technological investments. Thus, the need for reliable and comprehensive support service apparatus is key for customers who seek to leverage the full benefit of their investments, and this is no different in Point of Sale. Restaurant owners need access to product specialists who are able to help them realise the full potential of their technology.
With the tidal wave of information we’re experiencing, many restaurant owners are asking themselves how exactly data analytics can help them run better businesses. For some, the digital revolution has created angst due to the pressures of keeping abreast of technology in order to remain relevant. In essence, data analysis is the answer to the information influx of recent years. It provides businesses with new insights into not only their internal workings, but also their customers, suppliers, competition and much more.
For many restaurant owners, finally opening their doors for business has been a lifelong dream. Owning your own establishment and running it successfully requires years of preparation, experience and a thorough knowledge of how to run a business. Any longstanding and reputable restaurant largely attributes its success to its engine room: the kitchen. Having the right staff running the back of house is what makes your kitchen a place in which only the best quality dishes reach the pass. But running a successful kitchen brigade means understanding your place as the owner, and that of the chefs you employ to produce fantastic food. Let’s take a look at how you can ensure employee performance challenges don’t trip you up in the kitchen.
For many shop and restaurant owners, the initial investment in PoS systems isn’t justified by its perceived weightiness and complexity. Business owners who have been at it for years, sometimes decades, might feel that PoS systems yield no more value than a part-time student working the weekend shift. But what they’re missing about point of sale technology isn’t that it helps you do a few routine tasks easier, but the fact that PoS systems open up so many new ways for business owners to take control of their establishment and raise the bar, so to speak. Here’s a look at what a restaurant, or shop for that matter, would look like if it still relied on cash register technology in this modern age.
Restaurant menus should constantly change and evolve to keep patrons coming back for dishes that both delight and surprise them. Few things will cause you to lose customers more quickly than menu ideas that are outdated and predictable. A minor reshuffle of your menu once a year will hardly do the trick to keep loyal customers coming back - or, equally importantly, bring in new punters. Your kitchen is your canvas, and if you’re lucky enough to have a creative head chef with a natural flair, you’d best take advantage of his culinary prowess to keep your menu vibrant, dynamic and exciting. Here are a few tips for keeping the buzz around your food going and coming up with menu ideas that are fresh, relevant and exciting.
Data analytics has been touted as the magic elixir for modern day businesses. Information has become the lifeblood of organisations, regardless of industry-type or size. How you incorporate data into your decision-making processes will play a deciding factor in the success of your business. The Harvard Business Review wrote an interesting article on the ubiquity of data and how it will shape decision-making across virtually all business spheres. You can read the full article here.
The short answer is: not very profitably, and not for very long either. Without restaurant software, you’ll soon find yourself up a creek without a paddle. Even if your eatery has a theme reminiscent of the Victorian Age, or a time before the internet, PoS technology is a driving factor behind what makes your establishment run efficiently and profitably. As with any business, the restaurant industry is affected by a number of external factors that can influence bottom lines. For instance, shortage of meat produce due to drought can lead to restaurant owners being forced to offset supply costs to the customer. Menu price increases, in turn, can drive loyal customers away. Profitability can be influenced by countless factors: fuel prices, importing costs, staff costs - the list goes on.
Few places are more well-known for the sheer warmth and friendliness of their inhabitants than Port Elizabeth. Dubbed the friendly city, Port Elizabeth boasts some of our finest coastlines, natural beauty and rich, fresh produce. With fresh ingredients available in bustling markets, you’re sure to enjoy a meal that consists of only the freshest quality ingredients. The city boasts some of the top chefs in the country, all adding their unique food ideas to the collection of great South African restaurants. This blog takes a look at what’s happening in the culinary scene of our very own friendly city.
This year’s National Restaurants Association (NRA) show didn’t disappoint. The event presented attendees with some food for thought around new developments in the hospitality industry. As a local leader in PoS solutions, Pilot attended this year’s event and rubbed shoulders with some of the leading thinkers in the game. From environmentally friendly packaging and storage technology, to the latest in mobile payment security, a host of hot topics were covered, and thousands of interesting culinary samples were enjoyed by attendees.
Point of Sale systems today have evolved to become an integral part of the hospitality industry. In fact, technology as a whole has played a leading role in allowing hoteliers, restaurateurs and others to provide patrons with a customer service experience of an excellent standard. With so many competing offerings on the market, new restaurateurs may find it difficult to match the right solution to their needs. In this blog, we will look at a few key features and benefits Pilot’s customers have enjoyed and have leveraged in their goal to run their restaurants with efficiency, accuracy and a healthy bottom line.
The food industry is made up of many working parts. For franchise managers, operational planning can be intensive, and requires looking at productivity across the business in a strategic way. The reason for this is that in the absence of an operational plan, businesses typically slip into a type of crisis-to-crisis mode, kicking off a series of events that lead to the “Sorry, we’re closed” sign going up. This week, we will take a look at three areas of business that operational planning can improve in order to bring objectives into closer view, keep customers happy, bulletproof your business and get your restaurant functioning like a well-oiled machine.
Data has become the lifeblood of the modern business. Without it, most companies would grind to a halt. Our interconnected society generates staggering amounts of information on a daily basis, resulting in a type of data dependence that would render businesses paralysed if they were unable to access their information assets. Inaccessible data undoubtedly results in loss of productivity and revenue, yet many businesses are guilty of overlooking the importance of securing it. With the advances unfolding in front of our eyes on an almost daily basis, even the most technology-averse business has no excuse for neglecting the crucial function of data backup. Unfortunately, many do. This blog takes a look at the impact data loss can have on your business and what it could mean for your bottom line.
When it comes down to it, no restaurant owner can run his or her business alone. In fact, no business functions in isolation. Drawing on resources and partnerships is crucial to the survival of any business, and when you find that perfect match, you’ll be good to go. Like any other industry, the restaurant business has its unique set of challenges when it comes to achieving operational efficiency. Enter Pilot PoS: the perfect maître d’ for busy restaurant owners who need the right partner to tackle the daily demands of a successful eatery.
So you’ve survived your first few weeks of being a new restaurant owner and things seem to be going really well. Customers are coming in to check out the new spot and are leaving in good spirits, which is a good sign that you’re doing something right. You also notice that there are some familiar faces returning for a second or third visit to your place: even better. So how do you maintain the level of customer volumes you’ve managed to attract once the buzz around your restaurant has fizzled? Many eateries experience a boom when they first open their doors, but just as initial excitement can fizzle, so can foot traffic to your establishment.
Franchising is about replicating a proven business model that almost guarantees success when followed. Franchisors typically require franchisees to follow the brand, product and operational guidelines to emulate its success and further grow the business. But behind the scenes, there are more factors that contribute to the success of any franchise. A healthy cash flow supported by a holistic bookkeeping software solution plays a huge role in ensuring that restaurants operate profitably and that franchisors maintain control over the finances of their outlets. Pilot and Sage’s integrated solutions remove much of the overhead associated with repetitive financial functions and brings disparate operational and financial data sources together.
It’s a well-known fact that a poor after sales service record can seriously damage a company’s reputation and cause it to lose out on growing its customer base. Even worse, poor support infrastructure can result in high customer churn rates for businesses that rely on contractual or subscription-based business modules for revenue. So it stands to reason that your sales and support teams should complement one another in their engagement with the customer from the on-set. A business that operates without a customer engagement and support plan won’t be around for long. Let’s look at hallmarks of a reliable support structure that is so important to providing customers with the auxiliary services and knowledge they need to derive true value from your product.
May 16th – 19th sees the annual National Restaurant Association (NRA) show take place in Chicago, USA. The show, an annual exhibition of the newest ideas, innovations and opportunities for countless businesses in the hospitality industry, draws attendees from all over the world, thanks to the calibre of individuals and businesses involved. Pilot Software will be attending the event this year and immersing itself in the latest technology and innovation that has been driving the food service industry to new heights in recent years. Let’s take a look at what we can expect at this year’s event and what makes it one not to miss.
Have you ever walked into a room and felt that something wasn’t quite right? We’ve all stumbled into awkward situations where the energy between two or more individuals rubs off on the rest. It can be an uncomfortable experience. Fortunately, the reverse is also true, and finding yourself in the company of people who exude positivity can virtually rub off on you too. A restaurant’s front of house can have same effect on patrons as they enter an establishment – it just depends on the kind of energy your staff fills the place with. Hospitality goes far beyond simply putting food on the table. Making your customers feel welcome and putting their needs first is the number one rule for surviving in this industry, and with more than 40% of restaurants closing within their first year of opening, you’ve only got so much time to get it right.
Mobile technology has reshaped much of the business landscape, offering both opportunities and challenges as we learn to assimilate it into our daily lives. According to Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner: "We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and we are forecasting a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017." In the modern marketplace, leveraging every advantage at your disposal is the difference between success and stagnation. This blog looks at handheld point of sale software solutions and how they aid technology-centric businesses to stay ahead of the pack. So with these figures in mind, let’s take a look at how Pilot’s handheld point of sale software brings efficiency to its customers in the hospitality industry.
Most businesses assume that posting tweets or updating their company Facebook profiles regularly constitutes efficient investment in building brand identity in this digital age we live in. In reality, it goes much further than this. Great brand identity, in the modern age, largely hinges on how well your business brings technology into the fold. Companies that struggle to leverage technology are missing out on opportunities to promote their businesses in ways that simply didn’t exist in the past. So how do you make technology work for your brand? How can your business leverage it to gain traction with their markets to create lasting relationships? If you’re looking to push your brand awareness to the next level, read on.
If there’s one adage that doesn’t lose its weight in truth, it’s that time is money. Every unproductive minute spent in the business world ultimately influences the company’s bottom line. Apply this within the context of a large franchise and the effects of poor time management become glaringly clear. Restaurants have a large number of moving parts that various divisions within the business must take responsibility for and when time management is lacking, it can have a domino effect on the rest of the business. Any restaurant worker will tell you that the level of interdependency that exists in a restaurant makes time management a must-have skill for a restaurant to operate at peak. This blog looks at how a lack of time management skills by your staff can hurt your business’ bottom line and how you can implement measures to manage how your staff can utilize their time more efficiently.
New starters in the restaurant industry are well-advised to invest in the right business tools from the onset. Few things can hamstring a smooth start to a new business venture than relying on incompetent staff, inadequate tools or unreliable suppliers. Mobile PoS systems are replacing traditional checkout systems as a means of providing better customer service and improving efficiency in restaurants all while offering cost-savings to outlets that are still debating whether “going mobile” is a good investment. Pilot Software offers its customers cutting-edge mobile PoS solutions that eliminate traditional bottlenecks, improve communications and enhance the overall customer experience.
Now appearing on various lists of the best and coolest places to visit, the city of Durban is experiencing a kind of rejuvenation and making its way into the hearts of local and international visitors. Known as one of the most diverse cities on the continent, food lovers have no shortage of delectable dishes to choose from when it comes to the restaurants, bistros, cafes and other eateries to which Durban plays host.
Business sustainability is the management of a company’s environmental, social and financial concerns to ensure the ongoing operation of the company in a responsible and ethical manner. Over the years, Spur Steak Ranches have successfully implemented a business sustainability program that has aided the company in expanding its footprint across South Africa and abroad. Totalling over 300 local outlets and numerous others in countries as far as Australia and the United Arab Emirates, the Spur brand is synonymous with value for money meals and an authentic brand image that promotes family values and healthy living.
Data has become the lifeblood of our modern society. Our personal and professional lives are largely governed by how easily we are able to access and utilise information. For restaurateurs, the bulk of their data resides in their point of sale solutions. From front to back of house, point of sale systems capture and process vast quantities of information that the business relies on to run their establishments efficiently.
Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics platforms have influenced the way companies view their information assets in recent years. The amassing of vast quantities of data have resulted in both challenges and opportunities in leveraging information assets to improve workflows, boost efficiency and increase the all-important bottom line. Analytics also play a key role in formulating effective business strategies for both short and long-term objectives and provide financial managers (FMs) with powerful reporting and analytic tools that aid formulating financial strategies that are in harmony with business growth.
Spare a thought for the Easter Bunny. It’s the time of year when everyone’s favourite furry friend has to prepare himself to hide chocolatey treats for young and old to find. This takes a lot of work in a short space of time. Ever wondered how he does it with so much efficiency, and still manages to maintain such infectious cheeriness? Head-hunters must be scrambling to offer him a job as front of house manager at the busiest establishments the world over. Let’s take a few lessons from the world’s favourite furry icon on how to whip your front of house into shape.
Over recent years, Cape Town has become host to some of the most loved coffee shops in the world. Taking the lead as the country’s coffee capital, the city boasts some hip and unique café’s that attract coffee lovers in their droves with their delectable selection of roasts, trendy décor and cool vibes that attract visitors from all over the globe. If you’re thinking about becoming a master barista in a city filled with demanding coffee connoisseurs, best you pour yourself a cuppa, and learn from the best. This week we’ll take a few lessons from the best coffee shops in the Mother City about how to build brand identity by creating an experience as uniquely Cape Town as Table Mountain.
The restaurant business is an industry in which to expect the unexpected. Operations managers need to balance their time between planned and unplanned events and somehow manage to remain productive in the midst of it all. Efficient managers understand the importance of relying on tools and resources available to lighten their workload and use their time to optimal effect. This is the essence of good time management. Between meetings, frequent travelling and routine managerial tasks, time can slip away and leave managers in a flat spin. This week we will look at ways to implement time management strategies that make the most of every minute.
Computer hardware lifecycles seem to shorten with every passing year. IT managers are challenged to strike a balance between managing often restrictive budgets and provisioning optimised hardware and software services to the organisation. Restaurant owners face the same challenge with their technological investments and must ensure that their point of sale hardware meets the demands placed on it by the business without breaking the bank.
PoS solutions have evolved into sophisticated business tools that offer franchises innovative ways of increasing revenue and improving efficiency levels. As a business tool, your choice of point of sale can make a significant impact on your franchise’s bottom line. For Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), procurement decisions boil down to the level of return that can be expected from it. This blog answers a few key questions every financial manager should ask before committing to a new PoS solution.
Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel Corporation, accurately stated that hardware-computing capacity would double with each 18-24 month cycle. This steady advance has in turn given fertile ground to the development of more complex software applications - or “apps” as they are known in the world of mobility. It seems there is an app available for just about anything these days and our appetite for digital isn’t showing any sign of dwindling.
First-time establishment owners will be keen to make their mark in the industry. You’re probably very excited to bring your unique vision of a restaurant to life and make a name for yourself. It is important to keep in mind that your restaurant’s longevity largely depends on the food that you serve to your paying customers. Great food ideas come from a combination of experience, intimate knowledge of food and its preparation, but also a creative spirit that isn’t afraid to think outside of the box.
Efficient cost control is a must-have skill if you plan on running a successful outlet. Whether you own a bar, bistro or a 5-star restaurant, mastering the art of cost control to ensure favourable profit margins consistently is essential. Far from a once-off task, this management duty requires owners and management to actively seek ways to improve operational efficiencies while keeping costs at a minimum. Here are a few examples of how you can effect cost control measures in your establishment.
If you’re not measuring it, then you are not managing it. Operations managers need around-the-clock access to business metrics that facilitate informed decision-making. Considering the scale of certain franchise operations, getting a holistic view - that is so important - can be a challenge. Performance statistics, powerful reporting and analytics that provide insights based on factual data is key to effective franchise operations management. In short, data management is absolutely crucial for the modern franchisor.
Many point of sale (PoS) solutions have built-in accounting functions that allow restaurants to perform everyday accounting tasks. When operations are relatively small and require only basic computing functions, you might be able to get away with a PoS solution that provides a more basic financial accounting tool. Pilot partners with accounting software specialist, Sage Pastel to bring our customers a comprehensive solution that takes the sting out of financial statements.
We’ve all seen it: legendary culinary master, Gordon Ramsay rummaging through the walk-in fridges of restaurants that are in serious financial trouble. As a desperate call for help, owners summon the celebrity chef in the hope that he may save them from the brink of financial ruin. It is striking that in each episode of the popular show Kitchen Nightmares, Ramsay always heads straight to the walk-in fridge to assess the state of the restaurant he is expected to save, almost as an indicator as to how salvageable - or not - the situation is.
Scott Cook, founder of financial software giant Intuit, believes that the world is only in its first few minutes on its first day of the Internet revolution. However, we need not to look to the future to find truth in his statement. Businesses and private individuals reap the benefits of living in this information age daily, and this is true across all spheres of industry. This blog discusses the way one such technology – mobility - has reshaped the way restaurants operate daily to tweak out operational inefficiencies, increase the bottom line and provide superior service to the all-important customer.
Few occasions exist that offer restaurants the opportunity to make a lasting impression on customers like Valentine’s Day. It’s the day that even the most frugal among us make the exception and treat our loved ones to a special night out. This usually means an expensive romantic dinner, with patrons being a little more indulgent than usual. Special occasions call for special menus, so don’t miss out on these rare opportunities to dazzle your patrons with menu ideas that will turn their evening out into a night to remember.
As a first time restaurant owner, managing and measuring staff productivity can seem like a daunting task. However, the role of the business owner is quite different from that of the employee. It is vital for restaurant owners to know exactly how productive their employees are, and how to manage areas of concern that might lead to inefficiency and other HR challenges.
News travels fast these days. The internet of things means that each person is virtually connected to everyone they know at almost any given point in time. If you provide someone with unsatisfactory service, a simple tweet, comment or other social media update means that hundreds, even thousands of people know about it at the click of a button. Keeping your ear to the ground about how customers perceive your franchise’s service levels is crucial, but can be a challenge, thanks to the many instant communication channels available today.
In the restaurant industry, deciding on the right PoS software is important to not only ring up sales, but to equip employees with the tools that they need to provide patrons with fast, efficient and friendly service. Beyond customer service, the right PoS software also empowers managers and owners to run daily operations much more effectively. But what should a new restaurateur look for in PoS software? What are the basic characteristics of a well-designed PoS software solution?
The great thing about food is its versatility. Just think of the many different ways you can enjoy a succulent steak, or top quality salmon fillet. A slight modification to a trusted recipe can result in a new exciting dish that your customers fall in love with. Creativity is key to keeping your menu fresh and avoid becoming static and predictable. Remember, eating out is a means of breaking from daily routine for most people. They don’t necessarily want more of the same each time they walk through your doors.
Restaurant management isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes a certain skillset and personality type to survive in the food industry. Administrative duties for restaurant managers and owners comprise a wide range of routine and contingency activities that require both attention to detail and a high level understanding of the business.
For some restaurateurs, staring at financial statements can be a distraction from the buzz of running a busy eatery. But the truth is that behind every successful business, is a diligent accounting process. In the end, it is your outlet’s profitability that will determine how long your doors remain open. Most modern point of sale (PoS) solutions interface with well-known accounting software packages to ensure your financial statements are in order.
Many restaurant owners aspire to see their eateries grow into successful chains of profitable outlets. However, it is important to remember that a great concept won’t automatically translate into a successful franchise. Instead, a comprehensive operational strategy is needed to building a successful chain of restaurants.
After surviving what has probably been the most stressful few months of your life, you’re finally a few weeks away from opening your new restaurant and wondering how you’re going to get customers through the door. This week we will take a look at how you can create brand awareness around your new establishment and generate initial foot traffic that is so crucial to getting your place firmly on the map.
If you own a new restaurant or are thinking of buying one, you’re probably spending a good deal of time thinking about and planning your first successful year. Running a profitable establishment involves a serious commitment to controlling your cash flow in a way that ensures short- and medium-term stability. This blog takes a look at five important budget control tips for new restaurant owners who need an acute insight into the fiscal workings of their establishment from the get-go.
Mobility has influenced much of our everyday lives and has added a significant convenience-factor for both the private individual and businesses. The general surge in innovation within the ICT (Information Communication and Technology) arena has led to improvements on many fronts, but mobile technology stands out as a wellspring of opportunities to improve the customer experience by diversifying once-routine processes. This blog takes a look at how mobility has contributed to the evolution of point of sale solutions, and how the hospitality industry has benefitted from emancipation from the traditional cash register.