If you’ve worked in the restaurant business for any amount of time, you know that flexibility and efficiency are crucial to stay ahead of the game. You also know that each year, new and exciting technological advancements are being made in the industry. Here are 5 restaurant tech stack must-haves that can make restaurant operations easier for you and your team.
Point-of-Sale (POS) system
A solid POS system is the core piece of technology every restaurant should have. In addition to handling all aspects of invoicing, POS systems also allow restaurants to take and process orders, keep track of inventory, purchase supplies, and conduct customizable reporting. The POS should also have an easy-to-use dashboard that provides insights into all of the above, and should be able to integrate well with other elements of a tech stack (“tech stack” is simply a fancy way of referring to all of the technological elements involved in supporting a restaurant’s business operations).
There are two types of POS systems – legacy and cloud-based. A legacy system stores all of your restaurant data onsite and runs on a closed, internal network. Last, a cloud-based system allows you to access your data from anywhere there’s WiFi, and usually connects easily with many other technology solutions (this can be helpful for when you’re doing sales at an outdoor event such as a festival: cloud-based systems allow you to conduct sales from a tablet or even your smartphone!).
Online ordering systems and delivery apps
Digital orders currently account for a third of orders within the food industry. Although diners are happy to be flocking back to dining rooms again, the demand for having delivery as an option is going to remain high, so having platforms for online ordering is a must.
Online ordering can be either in-house or a mixture of third-party systems (often combined with an in-house system). Apps like GrubHub and UberEats are examples of third party vendors who provide restaurants valuable access to hungry customers. If you opt to go with the third-party online ordering systems, it’s smart to also invest in integrations that ensure your orders go directly to your POS system (hint: that’s exactly what Chowly does best!).
Digital kitchen display boards – Kitchen Display Stream (KDS)
A KDS simplifies things in the kitchen by replacing paper tickets with a digital order viewing screen. The KDS links up with your POS so that people at different stations in the kitchen know when something needs to be prepped the second the order comes in. This system ensures that no order tickets get lost, saves a great amount of time, and makes life easier for your staff.
QR codes and contactless payment
QR codes have been around for a long time, but they’ve increased in popularity over the past few years, and will remain a feature going forward in many restaurants. They make the ordering experience faster and more efficient for the customer, eliminating the need for the typical back-and-forth of the ordering process. Similarly, contactless payment makes it easier for the customer to pay whether or not they have their wallet on them – this technology allows payment through a smartphone, smartwatch, or through an app.
Payroll and accounting software
Chowly is big on data, and when it comes to managing data regarding labor and other expenses, we strongly encourage restaurateurs not to cut corners. Payroll software streamlines the entire payroll process and makes sure your staff is paid accurately and on time. A good payroll system will integrate well with your POS system (some POS systems offer payroll management add-ons) and track inventory, invoices, and sales tax fluctuations.
At the end of the day, the most important things to consider when selecting what kind of technology is best for your business is whether it improves your bottom line, and if it’s easy to use and implement. Technology is a tool that’s meant to make our personal and professional lives easier, and when it’s used well it can create many opportunities. Our goal at Chowly is to help make the process less intimidating for everyone, because everyone deserves a shot at success.