The Pros and Cons of Cloud Technology for Restaurants
Running a restaurant is thirsty work, which means a restaurant owner needs to run a tight ship when it comes to keeping on top of all the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.
A point-of-sale (POS) solution for restaurants should enable restaurant owners to do more than just complete day-to-day operations, such as processing orders and calculating bills. The POS should have the capacity to enable restaurateurs to maximise the efficiency and profitability of their operations, including facilitating real-time access to vital information that can help to inform important business decisions. Given that many establishment owners now work off-site, it’s very important that they have access to information on their business operations wherever they go, which is facilitated by the likes of web-based cloud portals which can be accessed from any device that’s connected to the web, at any time.
The Pitfalls and Benefits of The Cloud
Cloud based solutions provide restaurant owners with an unprecedented ability to flexibly manage their operations, however, one of the downsides of this particular type of POS system is that all of the restaurant’s data is stored on a remote server in the cloud, so the restaurant does not necessarily have sole control or access to the data.
Another drawback of the cloud is its dependency on the internet. In the event of an internet outage, restaurants will instantaneously lose the ability to complete basic operations, such as taking orders and accepting payments. They will also lose access to data, losing vast amounts of money in the process.
A solution to the pitfalls of the clouds dependency on the internet can be found in the shape of a POS that is connected to an in-house server, which is able to hold all of the data, synchronising the data with the cloud when the internet returns. This means that even though the system is cloud-connected it continues to function in the event of an internet outage.
Tom Marchellino, co-owner of the Calzolaio Pasta Company, has pointed out that another pitfall of cloud-based POS systems is that they struggle to stay on top of things during a busy service. Marchellino said that when he was looking to upgrade the restaurant’s POS system, he avoided choosing POS systems that were cloud-based due to the fact that they often fail to keep up with the pace of a busy restaurant in real-time. After researching the market, Marchellino settled for the TouchBistro iPad POS, as aside from being a cloud based system it is also connected to an in-house server, providing the best of both worlds.
The right information leads to business growth
A POS with a web-based cloud portal can provide businesses with access to key management metrics as and when they want, but not all of the information that is accessed through the cloud is of relevance and benefit to the operator. Sometimes, the data is unsuitable to analyze and use, which means that it’s important that the POS supplies information in reports that are tailored to meet the specific needs of each respective restaurant, such as:
- Increasing profitability by simplifying business reports
Don’t over-complicate gross margin reports. The report needs to communicate key restaurant metrics clearly and concisely, enabling the restaurant to gain access to their day-to-day operating details as efficiently as possible.
- Implement sales heat maps to maximise revenue
More often than not, when figuring out when’s the best time to use promotions to incentivize customers to pay their establishment a visit, restaurateurs bank on a Friday night. This means that other windows of opportunity are largely overlooked and this is why a heat map could be of assistance. Heat maps enable owners to account for the quietest times of the day in order to devise promotions that will maximize revenue during those periods.
- Reducing labour costs by improving staff scheduling functionality
Managing staff can often be very time consuming, with restaurants having to juggle rising wages and overtime. This is why easy-to-use staff scheduling and overtime tracking that allows owners to assign overtime rules is crucial, enabling owners to efficiently keep track of each staff member’s overtime hours and total wages, so staff can be assigned work accordingly, to reduce overall labour costs.
Staying up to speed with the latest advancements in technology to ensure success
It’s generally tricky business for restaurants to keep up with the latest advancements in technology. To simplify this often taxing problem, it’s advised that businesses choose solutions from companies that are committed to investing in tech development and innovation. This concerns companies who have endeavoured to continuously upgrade their systems to improve their services without charging their customers expensive upgrade fees.