The next time you dine in a restaurant, take a look around. Chances are you will notice technology popping up in the various services found in the hospitality industry. In some markets you can log-in, reserve a table, and place an order before you even enter the restaurant! It’s not uncommon to see Front of the House staff using tablets to present menus and organize the seating at their table-tops. Mobile payment apps and devices are also increasingly being utilized to streamline the dinner experience and reduce the amount of time staff members are spending away from a table processing payments instead of spending time with their guests. Restaurants are investing in these new systems in hopes of making your visit smooth, so that all you have to worry about is having a good time. Additionally, the efficiency gains their restaurants achieve allow their staff to spend more time with their customers creating a more personalized experience.
What you won’t see while dining is how technology is also being used in the back office to make restaurant managers’ lives easier while improving their bottom line. Though POS technology has long been utilized inside of the hospitality industry, we haven’t seen an advancement into the utilization of mobile devices until relatively recently. Normally, a restaurant manager keeps notes on paper checklists as they walk around completing tasks like inventory management. Once compiled, they have to squirrel away enough quiet time to place their orders with each of their vendors. Typically this is a fury of phone calls, voice mails, text messages, and maybe emails. Even worse, a Regional Manager who manages several sites at once typically can’t get visibility into what is being ordered until after they get an invoice. If this method sounds error prone and cumbersome, it is.
There are companies out there that are providing software solutions for restaurants to improve this problem. There are companies that are even taking that a step farther and placing a team of Procurement Professionals behind the software acting at the restaurants disposal. This mix of technology and industry expertise is evident at the technology firm ExpenseBite (www.expensebite.com).
Amici Italian Café in Monroe, Georgia has been working with ExpenseBite since they launched their product in the Athens market in Georgia. Andrew Sprinkle, the establishment’s Bar Manager, pointed out some of the improvements this kind of technology has made in minimizing back office tasks. “Before adopting this system, my options were to place an order every day of the week to ensure I hit all distributor schedules, or I could call all of my distributors one day a week to place all of my orders at once. Now, with ExpenseBite and the tablet they provided, I can enter all of my orders into the system all at once without any time drain. Before the system I would spend 2 hours a week on ordering. I have never sat down with their tablet for more than 10 minutes per week. I can do all my inventory, ordering and receipting through them.” That type of efficiency gain frees up time for managers like Andrew to focus on their customers or their staff by adding hours back into their work week every month. Andrew also noted that it isn’t just software he gained, “when there is an issue with a vendor, ExpenseBite takes care of it for me.”
Once a manager hits the submit button, the system then places the orders instantly for them. Proactively, the team of Procurement Reps are working in the background to ensure the best quality products at the best possible prices are entered into the platform. Multi-site managers then have the ability to monitor orders as they happen. Even if a mistake is made either by the Manager or the Vendor, the tablet can be utilized to receipt the order coming in for accuracy. This not only ensures the establishment has what they need, when they need it, it also allows for ExpenseBite’s team to do easy invoice auditing.
Though technology is visibly prevalent in the operations in the Front of the House, restaurants are busy installing technology that will also make their lives easier in managing back office operations. Check out a company like ExpenseBite to see a group that is doing it right.
This is a sponsored article. We typically don’t run these but after chatting with the guys at Expense Bite and seeing the capability of their system we decided what they bring to the table for restaurant owners was worthy of ‘Foodie News’.