From June, 2013

Social Media Marketing for Restaurants: A Free Guide from SpeedLine

marketing imageYour customers are online, and if you haven’t yet jumped into social media to market your business and brand, you’re likely missing out. You’ve always known the power of word of mouth. Today, word-of-mouth marketing is happening online, through conversations and sharing on sites like Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Read more

Restaurant Best Practices: Managing in Real Time.

Do you know what’s happening in every area of your restaurant right now? How many pizzas are selling? Which are selling best? How long that delivery order has been waiting? Without that knowledge, restaurant operators can easily overlook problems and miss opportunities to improve the guest experience.

Modern point of sale systems provide restaurants a new set of tools to drive efficiency in the restaurant. Integrated time clocks keep managers up to date on labor costs in real time throughout each shift. Inventory controls monitor stock levels and identify potential waste and theft. And pizza POS systems also connect with the phone system to identify callers instantly in the customer database.

Many POS systems allow managers to monitor activity at remote locations. And from a corporate office, executives can look in on all their locations nationwide, review and compare sales and performance metrics. A system such as SpeedLine POS even provides the ability to tap into transaction-level detail for problem solving and guest intelligence.

Managers can watch sales and labor numbers to keep right-staffed throughout each shift, and owners and GMs can take shift snapshots to coach supervisors.

For Midwest chain Pizza Ranch, managing 125+ locations requires standardization and easy access to information. Pizza Ranch COO Jon Moss shared this example:

“When we test out a new {menu} item,we need to decide whether it should become part of our regular menu.” How much is the item really selling? Are sales increasing or decreasing as novelty wears off? “With SpeedLine, we’re really getting the information we need in real time,” says Moss said, “which allows us to do a much better analysis of our menu and menu items.”

Check out this SpeedLine profile of Pizza Ranch for more.

Summer Staffing: Training for Back to School Turnover

Restaurant staffing takes a hit every fall, with summer staff either looking for reduced hours, or returning to school full-time. How do you plan for training new staff (or staff taking on new responsibilities) this fall?

As a restaurant owner, the beginning of summer offers a rush of new temporary talent. Most high school and college students are looking for guaranteed hours while on break and the restaurant industry is the #1 choice for student work experience. But many of these students won’t stick around—and come fall, you may be hiring again. So how do you balance your training efforts for temporary summer staff and their fall replacements? Read more

Back to School: Planning Ahead for Fall Sales Opportunities

For many restaurant owners, school fundraisers are an important community commitment—and an equally a valuable source of positive word of mouth. Be prepared to propose a winning program to your local school board, parents’ association, or local sports organizations. But make it easy on yourself. Make sure that you understand in advance how you can use your point of sale to track fundraiser sales and to keep in touch with fundraiser participants after the event is over. Read more

Loss Prevention Tools for Multi-Unit Restaurants

Restaurant security and loss prevention become increasingly challenging as you add new locations and spread the oversight of daily operations over distance and multiple levels of management. Your success relies heavily on staff performance at remote locations, under the management of non-owning managers.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that US restaurants lose $2 billion each year to employee theft. That’s a lot of money out of the pockets of business owners, much of which could be avoided with effective controls in place. With studies showing that employee theft is a contributing factor in a third of restaurant closures, it’s time to take action. Read more

6 Tips for Restaurant Owners to Keep Ahead and Stay Afloat in a Tough Economy

Operating a profitable restaurant is no easy task for anyone, with cutthroat competition and a tough economy to battle. Whether you’re part of a restaurant chain or an independent operator, you need to stay above the invisible line in order to survive.

In comparison to other industries, the success rate of restaurants is low. Not only is the capital outlay to even get into the race significant, but the costs associated with the day-to-day operations can be difficult to manage without proper systems and tools in place. Throw in a difficult economy where your customers’ wallets are tighter than ever, and driving the sales you need to stay afloat can be a challenge. Read more

Blogging: A Key Ingredient to Restaurant Marketing

Could blogging open up new opportunities to connect with your customers? By not blogging are you limiting your reach and opening the door for your competition to gain an edge? Blogging is a proven way to increase traffic to your website by providing regular, fresh content.

A blog is an electronic journal or diary that you can use to post news, photos, opinions and ideas—relevant content for your customers to stay informed, and get hungry! This kind of content feeds search engines to improve your search engine rankings, and encourages your guests to come back to your site. Read more

To Coupon or Not to Coupon? Tracking is the Key

The fast casual and quick service industry is no stranger to couponing. It goes without saying, offer a deal and customers will come running. But how can you manage your coupons so they’re profitable and drive more than one-time drop-ins by discount seekers?

Couponing can be a gamble. Some restaurant operators avoid offers entirely to avoid the risk of misuse, overuse, and undercutting the perceived value of their food. Others see coupons as an essential tool to compete in an aggressive market. You have probably weighed the pros and cons more than once. Read more

Restaurant Pains: Prep Planning for Less Food Waste

Restaurant Pains: Prep Planning for Less Food Waste

Ever have to throw away a significant amount of food at the end of the night? Over-estimating sales and prep planning requirements is far from unusual. But with the right tools and systems in place, food waste is largely avoidable.

Prep Planning

Accurate prep planning doesn’t need to be a tedious manual process. A modern POS system will generate realistic forecasts automatically based on your sales history. The SpeedLine POS software, for instance, can recommend detailed food prep plans based on your forecasted sales for the day. Realistic numbers significantly reduce your risk of waste caused by under- or over-prepping.

If your concept includes a buffet, accurate prep planning can be even more critical. A POS system that also projects buffet usage, prints a prep template for the buffet, and tracks actual buffet usage in inventory can shave points off your food cost at the buffet.

For more on this, check out 4 Ways to Use Your POS to Run a More Profitable Buffet.

Preventing POS Down Time in the Restaurant: 10 Questions to Ask Your POS Vendor

The point of sale system is mission critical in the restaurant. We talk a lot about software backups, warranties, service programs, and redundancy. Much of the focus is on preventing or contingency planning for power failures, hardware breakdowns, and internet outages.

But what about the software?

If you’ve ever lost time, money, or customers to errors or glitches at the point of sale, you know how critical software quality assurance can be.

So if you are evaluating point of sale software vendors, consider these important questions: Read more