Dashboard technology every restaurant should use.

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There’s a popular misconception that people who work in hospitality are technology adverse. However, recent studies tell us what you already know: restaurants want tech! 

As a hospitality or restaurant owner, you’re people facing. You know what your customers want. The same research also suggests that concerns around customer happiness is one of the barriers of adopting new technology.

Restaurants want to be certain that technology will work before implementing new systems. After all, you don’t want to alienate your customers, who in this digital age, are a large part of your marketing. After all, one good or bad review early in a restaurant’s life can heavily impact its success.

Restaurant operation is a busy beast. It's busier than customers understand. It usually involves long hours before your first customer arrives and after your last ones leave. There's inventory, recipes, maintenance, customer service, and keeping track of all your staff….and then there's the food! Busy busy busy. Who has time for anything new?

9 Spokes is here to help bridge the divide between restaurants and user-friendly, relevant technology.  We want to see restaurants to succeed, and so created a tool usually only available to industry-size businesses.

Meet the 9 Spokes data dashboard.  The free data dashboard brings the story of your restaurant to life through data. All it takes to get your data dashboard running is to connect your favourite apps, such as your accounting software or your Point-of-Sales software. There's no data entry involved. Once you connect your apps, your dashboard displays visual representations (which we call widgets) of your apps' hidden data, so you can see your business more clearly.  What does data have to do with food and technology? Everything!

Not using apps yet? Or unsure which apps to get? We’ve handpicked the best cloud-based apps by industry, and even have selected a specialist app just for restaurants.

Restaurants have some common pain points, especially around cash flow and suppliers, staffing and customer happiness. Here’s how 9 Spokes and data can help:

Staffing

Let’s start with staff. Restaurants everywhere struggle with concerns about high staff turnaround. With so many other time-commitments, rostering and knowing what kind of training to offer your staff can be a huge challenge. Many of you are still using spreadsheets to track your staff. Yes, that’s right: we know you're still manually entering in all that data into a spreadsheet. This takes up valuable time that could be better spent working on your business. A spreadsheet is great for some things, but not ideal for juggling human lives (aka your staff).

Employee scheduling, training, recruiting and reporting are all better managed with technology. Some of the most time consuming tasks, such as swapping shifts and paying wages, are the easiest to automate . Technology makes life better not just for you, but for your staff as well, building a better, happier, smarter workforce. We’ve handpicked the best staffing apps so you can more efficiently manage your team.

Apps allow restaurant managers and employees to set schedules, request time off and swap shifts via smartphones and tablets. Apps can also provide you with a clear indication on how your sales perform in relation to how you are scheduling staff, so you know where to focus your training. 9 Spokes offers widgets for your dashboard that show who is working today, who has booked leave coming up, wage costs to % of sales, and staff availability. What's more, when you automate people admin, you have more time to train your staff, build a happier team, and work together to run a better restaurant.

Data is a huge asset in restaurant staffing. All of your data together tells the story of how your business is performing, and staff are a part of this. Use your data dashboard to monitor trends in easy-to-understand data and inform smarter, fact-based decision making.

Cash Flow

Olive oil costs money. So do staff wages. And rent. Good cash flow makes daily tasks easier, such as paying staff, operating costs, taxes and purchasing your foods’ ingredients; it’s the best way to make sure your doors stay open!

Having a solid understanding of your cash flow is one of the keys to business success, and technology is a huge asset when it comes to the accounting and more strictly business side of your restaurant. When it comes to cash, you need clarity and predictability. We designed the 9 Spokes data dashboard to help you plan not just for today, but for next week and the week after, which is crucial for the survival of any restaurant. We also recommend best-in-brand accounting and sales apps so you can collect all the right data about your cash flow without any of the extra data entry. When you connect your money apps to your data dashboard, your cash flow metrics come to life.

With your 9 Spokes data dashboard, it’s easy to keep an eye on all your key metrics so you know you can cover all your expenses. Your Money dashboard widgets show you the amount of cash currently in your bank accounts you’re your coverage rate, which provides you with an indication of your restaurant’s ability to pay current liabilities. This information is taken from your accounting software. Using this data, you can make decisions bout staffing, menu items, inventory, and more. For example, you can think of monitoring cash flow as keeping on top of your staff wage costs as a % of revenue. Wages can be one of the most variable costs, so knowing you have the cash flow to cover this expense is invaluable.

After all, you know that guessing is risky and you cannot rely on intuition alone. Your head chef knows just the right amount of salt to add to a dish. You have to know how many potatoes to order this week to cover your most popular dish. Otherwise, it may mean that your most popular menu items sell out too fast. Data gives you information so you can make smarter decisions. With your data dashboard, you can easily compare your top selling products with your cash flow, and have an overview of your day to day. The ability to easily evaluate all these variables in one place from anywhere on any device is part of what makes a dashboard such a valuable tool for any restaurant.

Your customers

Websites like Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor and social media play a huge role in your potential customers choosing where to eat. You can’t control what your customers say about you, but you can have a huge impact on their experience. As we mentioned, research suggests that restaurant owners worry about how implementing technology will impact their customers. With that in mind, we’ve picked apps that enhance your customers’ experiences and create data that’s trackable so you can always give your customers the best service.

We also know that return customers are some of your best customers. You know your best customers, maybe even by name, and they’re always bringing in their friends. Our Customer app selection provides you with superior options for streamlined loyalty and referral programmes that are easy to implement and painless to run. These programmes can have an effect on how your customers view your restaurant, with minimal additional work from you. 

Also, when you implement world-class Point-of-Sales (PoS) systems, not only do you gather data about every sale, you also improve customer satisfaction by offering a streamlined checkout process—whether they’ve ordered online or at a table, at a counter or are paying a delivery person.  Best-in-brand POS apps also provide reporting and analytics on business performance so you can make smarter decisions about day to day operations. Your PoS programmes power amazing widgets on your data dashboard. You’ll also have a snapshot of your bestselling products, so you can better menu plan for the future. The data tells you exactly what your customers love, so you can make them happier today and tomorrow.

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Let 9 Spokes and the apps we recommend help you run the best restaurant. The 9 Spokes data dashboard is free and you’ll only ever pay for premium apps you connect. We’ll never ask for your credit card. Sign up now, connect some apps, and access a one-page snapshot of your entire business. 

We’ll be at Restaurant Tech Live. Click here to register for your free ticket. 

Posted on 22 September, 2017

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