A complete guide to Restaurant Management Systems

 

A restaurant is not just about great food. Management of a restaurant involves a great deal of planning. Your restaurant business can be subdivided into various important business functions

As an owner or a manager, you need to subdivide your business into key areas and delegate responsibility efficiently. You also need a central view of all the operations so that you can call the shots effectively and timely.

A technology driven restaurant management system does just that. It automates various critical business functions and gives you a full view of your restaurant. It provides you a single system to manage all your outlets, across functions. This includes control over the operations, analytics, CRM campaigns, 3rd party integrations and so on.


We will individually drill down on each of the core business functions that make up the various arms of your restaurant management system.

  1. Operations - Operations largely involves order taking, order processing, ticketing, receipt generating, tax invoicing and all the key billing activities that a restaurant must handle. When a customer comes into your restaurant, punches in his details, your restaurant billing software comes into play, facilitating a smooth flow of data between the customer, the kitchen and your backend systems. The faster and more error-free this process is, your restaurant benefits. This helps your overall data and cash management.

Here is the list of the key operational activities a restaurant needs to carry out.

  • Overall data management - maintains a database of all transactions

  • Printing bills and receipts -  takes care of the bill and receipt generation process

  • Order management - end to end order management, from order receipt to delivery.

  • Forward Kitchen ordering tickets - at as the middle men between the customers and the kitchen

  • Tax computations on final order value - handles your tax calculations

  • Feeds the analytics platform with organised data

 

Restaurant Point of Sale (POS) - the central unit of your restaurant’s operations

 

A restaurant Point of Sale system takes care of several essential business functions. It lies at the heart of your overall restaurant management strategy.

POS helps you:

  • Manage your operations and data - handles the ticketing, billing and receipts, printing KOTs and provides you a central view of your data

  • Integrate other functions to your operations - CRM, Loyalty and Feedback, Third party integrations, data flows in seamlessly to all your important pillars to ensure smooth operations across functions.

 

Cloud POS is a modern variant of the on-premise POS system. It has several advantages over its legacy counterpart. Here are the key benefits it offers.

  • Always online - Allows you to make changes from anywhere so long as you have access to the internet

  • Available on your mobile and tablet - POS is device friendly, once installed on your Mobile and Tablet, it allows you to make changes quickly.

  • Safe data storage - Data gets stored on remote servers

  • Automatic software Updates - Software undergoes frequent updates that keeps it technologically updated, ensuring your POS never becomes obsolete.

  

  1. Analytics - Analytics becomes more and more challenging as your restaurant starts to acquire more and more customers. Or maybe more outlets. The reason being data starts flowing in plenty and you need to have total visibility on the numbers. Your restaurant management system will monitor all the key data and provide you insights. It will help you in the following activities.

  • Provide you revenue stream data - how many orders come in, average order values, trends over time

  • Throw light on the high selling items & low selling items

  • Give you updates on the inventory levels, trends in stock of goods over time; alerts in case of stock depletion.

  • Provide you location-wise sales to help you prioritise areas and optimise the delivery process

Before you start looking at data, you might want to put in a few metrics that would help you track and evaluate your restaurant’s performance - Average Order Size, Total Revenue, Inventory ratios.

 

  1. Integrations - You might be getting business and orders from multiple channels. These channels are usually your website, app, 3rd party platform such as Uber eats, Zomato and other platforms. Now it may be tough for you to track orders coming in from multiple channels, understanding the efficiency of each channel but an online aggregator tool, linked to your restaurant management system, may be just the thing that you need. A single system which gives you intelligence on the channel statistics, daily orders, menu items across channels would help you stay on top of online order management. These are the key functions of online order management tool.

  • Link up with all online ordering channels

  • Single interface for tracking orders

  • Make changes to menus across channels

 

  1. CRM management - When customer data is stored on your systems, you might want to use it to bring them back to you restaurant . Online marketing channels such as Email and SMS Marketing are excellent means of communication. Once data is available in big numbers you can link up CRM softwares to automate the process. You can create a few segments and send them personalised campaigns. You can segment on the basis on their most ordered dish, demographics such as age, gender, frequency of visiting your outlets and so forth.

 

  1. Loyalty programs - Another key customer retention strategy is running Loyalty programs. Through these programs, you reward your more ‘frequently’ customers and incentive them to keep coming back. This process is also largely automated; once integrated to your management system, it shows up on your POS system as well. Here are the different ways in which you can run loyalty campaigns

  • For each order - Provide loyalty points as a fraction of the order size

  • Loyalty points to real cash- Provide cash benefits when a certain level of loyalty points get achieved

  • For high ordering customers - Upgrade your customers into loyalty tiers as and when they exceed a specified amount of orders

  • Reward frequently visiting customers - For a specified number of restaurant visits a month you can provide extra loyalty points to your customers.

 

  1. Online Ordering Systems - Build online ordering platforms of your own to get orders directly on your website or app. Now you can build your own brand in your own online space. Once you build your own platforms link them to your POS and order management tool so that you can track orders from all platforms. The benefits of your own online ordering system versus tying up with an online food order aggregators (such as Ubereats, Zomato) has been given below

  • No commissions - Once you have your own platform, you wouldn’t have to pay commissions to third party aggregators.

  • No sharing space with other restaurants - At your app/website, you can do all the promotions the way you want and not be constrained by content size or limited advertisement space.

 

Summing up

In a nutshell, the restaurant management system has now become largely technology driven. The human intervention element is reducing and as a result, efficiency has gone up significantly. The ‘eating out’ experience has also improved drastically owing to low turnaround times from order placement to order delivery, thanks to quick billing systems. And with customers making repeat visits thanks to well run automated CRM campaigns and loyalty programs, restaurants have started to realise the importance of automated marketing workflows as well. We expect restaurants to adopt technology in a big way in the years to come.


Author Profile: Aditya Sarkar is a Marketing Manager at LimeTray. When he isn’t writing, he likes solo-travelling, playing all kinds of sports and hanging out with friends.

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