When people talk about restaurants, it’s mostly about the food and customer experience. However, plenty of action behind the scenes makes a restaurant operate smoothly. For example, restaurant managers spend plenty of time carrying out office-based tasks including ordering and deliveries, customer relationships, menu design, and more. With this in mind, we will take a look at 8 essential office tools that all restaurant managers should use.
An efficient restaurant team operates on effective communication between all team members, which is why a restaurant manager needs effective communication tools. Popular team communication apps for restaurants include WhatsApp, Slack, and Google Chat. These tools are fast and reliable, and they come with mobile platforms for speedy communication during hectic services.
Having a professional image in the world is also critical for restaurants, which is why restaurants need to have a professional email address. Not only does a domain-hosted email address help establish trust, but they’re often more secure than generic email platforms like Outlook or Hotmail.
Reservation Management and Scheduling Tools
Restaurant managers must put processes in place to effectively manage reservations and schedules – unless they want each service to descend into chaos. By streamlining these processes, restaurant managers can boost customer satisfaction, optimise staffing, and enhance the overall profit of the business.
Reservation management tools are the industry standard for managing bookings and optimising table occupancy. These systems allow restaurants to accept online bookings, manage reservation calendars, automate waitlist notifications, and analyse data to determine peak times. Here are some popular reservation tools:
- OpenTable: This platform is widely used because of its comprehensive features, including online bookings, waitlist management, and tableside ordering.
- resOS: This booking platform is a low-cost option that can take online bookings, manage waitlists, track ratings, and reduce no-shows.
- Resy: This trendy reservation system focuses on guest experiences, offering waitlist priority and VIP seating.
- Tock: Built around data-driven insights, Tock allows restaurants to track trends and optimise staffing levels.
Word Processing Tools
Even though flashy apps are all the rage, restaurants still need word-processing tools to create training materials, menus, marketing content, employee communication, task checklists, and so much more. The most common word processor is Microsoft Word, but this can be fairly expensive for small restaurant owners. Luckily, web-based alternatives like Google Docs don’t cost anything to use.
Documents found across restaurants are fairly similar, especially regarding cleaning rosters and COSHH information. To save time, restaurant owners can download PDF templates. However, before these can be edited, a conversion tool can be used to change it from PDF to Word.
Guest Feedback and Survey Tools
Collecting and analysing guest feedback allows restaurant managers to drive business growth, identify areas for improvement, and boost customer satisfaction. Guest feedback tools are platforms designed to collate guest data into one place, making the task much easier. Some of the most popular guest feedback tools are:
- The Fork: The Fork is a comprehensive restaurant management platform that includes a guest feedback module.
- Yotpo: This feedback platform integrates with several social and e-commerce media platforms.
- BirdEye: BirdEye is a review management platform designed to help businesses increase revenue.
Restaurant managers can use guest feedback tools in many scenarios. For example, they can send post-dining surveys to customers via email or SMS. Alternatively, social media challengers can be assessed for mentions. If there are any negative reviews, restaurant managers can make direct contact to try and smooth things over – offering a discounted return to show guests the typical standard.
Ordering and Delivery Management Tools
Online ordering and delivery have exploded in popularity over recent years, and it’s changed the way restaurant managers approach their operations. To reach guests who would rather dine at home, many restaurants now offer takeout alongside their regular in-house service. Ordering and delivery management platforms allow restaurants to manage orders, track deliveries, and optimise operations.
Human Resource Management Tools
Guests are the most important people in a restaurant, but managers still need to focus on high-quality human resource (HR) management. Looking after staff helps to attract the best talent, increase retention, and motivate all members of the team. An HR management tool is an all-in-one platform designed to take care of the onboarding process, manage employee relationships, and complete payroll.
With the right HR management tool in place, managers can enhance employee engagement, which makes for a stronger team spirit. Additionally, these tools have the power to ensure labour laws are followed, which reduces the chance of being caught up in legal disputes.
Financial Management Tools
Financial management is important for any business. Restaurant managers can use financial management tools to track income, monitor expenses, and analyse cash flow. All of this data can then be used to make informed decisions about the future of the restaurant. Some popular financial management tools include:
- Xero: This cloud-based accounting software is user-friendly and widely used.
- QuickBooks: QuickBooks is easy to use and has extensive features.
- FreshBooks: Another cloud-based accounting tool designed to track time and invoices.
- Wave: Free accounting software that’s perfect for small businesses.
Productivity plays a vital role in helping managers and employees to streamline tasks, maximise output, and elevate efficiency. These tools come loaded with a large catalogue of functions including scheduling, project collaboration, task management, and communication. By using these tools, restaurant managers can reduce costs, improve operations, and create sustainable growth.
Menu Management Tools
The restaurant landscape is ever-changing, which is why restaurant managers need to keep on top of the menu. Menu management tools offer a platform for creating, optimising, and managing menus while offering unique insights into performance. Having the right menu management tool in place carries many benefits, like simplifying the menu creation, editing, and publishing experience.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
There’s fierce competition in the restaurant industry, which is why around 60% of new restaurants fail within the first year. To avoid business failure, it’s important to have effective methods of communicating with guests. A CRM tool is a perfect fit for the job because it brings customer communication channels into one central hub. Some of the most popular CRM tools are:
- Salesforce: This popular cloud-based CRM is renowned for its extensive library of features.
- HubSpot: This is one of the most-used CRMs because of its rich features and extensive knowledge base.
- Pipedrive: Pipedrive has a Kanban-style interface that’s often used by sales teams, but it’s a great choice for restaurants.
- Zoho: This CRM is affordable and user-friendly, which is why restaurant managers favour it.
- Infusionsoft (Keap): This cloud-based CRM focuses on market automation and leads nurturing.
Loyalty and Reward Tools
Attracting new guests is important, but it’s also essential for restaurants to retain existing guests. A loyalty and reward platform is a great way to track redemptions, manage customer points, and offer personalised rewards. By using a loyalty and reward tool, restaurant managers can create a community of loyal customers who keep coming back, leaving positive reviews, and referring the restaurant.
Even though restaurants are built around physical experiences, it’s difficult to ignore the importance office-based tools have for managers. By using the tools outlined above, restaurant managers can boost customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and streamline operations, which will eventually lead to a boost in revenue and profitability.