Times have changed in the restaurant industry. In the past, restaurateurs invested in point-of-sale (POS), tills, reservation systems, table ordering and payment systems. But they largely ignored the back-office operational stuff such as cost control, forecasting and demand planning. No longer can restaurant owners rely on pen-and-paper and spreadsheets to manage a successful establishment or restaurant chain.
Cloud technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms provide opportunities for restaurants to take their business to the next level. Whether that’s reducing costs, making sense of data, improving customer experience or maintaining quality control, it’s no wonder that more restaurants are moving to the cloud.
But what does this mean?
Cloud-based applications are tools where data is stored on the internet rather than on-site equipment such as computers or servers. For example, POS provide cloud-based or traditional server-based systems. There is an argument for both. However, cloud-based applications provide the speed, flexibility, and accessibility that traditional systems can’t compete with.
Here are six compelling reasons why you should move your restaurant to the cloud:
1) IT Savings
When every dollar is important, POS platforms hosted in the cloud are often considerably cheaper than their traditional counterparts. Traditional POS systems tend to have high upfront costs and require on-site maintenance with the potential to disrupt business when systems go down.
On the other hand, cloud-based systems have little to no upfront fees and are charged as a monthly or annual subscription. Being in the cloud, system updates happen automatically and issues are fixed remotely, meaning the latest product is included in the subscription fee.
Kounta, Deputy and VendHQ provide all the benefits of traditional systems at a cheaper cost. The best part is that you only pay for the services you need. Anything you don’t want, you can turn off in an instant.
You also don’t need to worry about backing up data as it’s all stored in the cloud and is easy to recover.
2) Easy Access to Data
A full-featured cloud-based application such as POS software is able to centralize your data and make it accessible from one platform. It also opens up opportunities to reap the benefits of being connected to the wider business app environment. For example, native integrations enable you to seamlessly connect your POS, accounting and payroll systems. Whether you want to analyze an individual restaurant’s performance or compare analytics across a chain, cloud applications make it faster and easier to get insights such as customer information, sales data and transaction history. Thanks to the ability for these applications to able to ‘talk to’ each other, many cloud-based apps are able to operate crucial functions such as payment systems even if the business goes offline.
3) Utilize AI Technology
The cloud makes it easy to connect to AI platforms such as Aider, a mobile digital assistant for hospitality businesses. How would you like to know how many customers you had today, their average spend, how much they consumed and what needs to be re-ordered as a result? From a people’s perspective, wouldn’t you love to be able to accurately forecast how many people you’ll need and the impact on wages?
Aider connects to all of the cloud software you use to run your business and lets you ask questions of that data via your mobile device. real-time answers empower you to make smarter, faster business decisions. For example, you can set-up a reminder to re-order stock or receive a daily summary of the metrics. Aider enables you to monitor cash flow, sales numbers and forecast changes in demand. Now, you can spend less time number crunching and more time growing your business.
4) Enhanced Customer Experiences
Modern cloud-based systems integrate with restaurant equipment such as tablets and smartphones. This helps to increase the speed and efficiency of front-of-house services (FOH), meaning customers are served faster and the kitchen staff
receives orders in real-time. Cloud-based POS systems are also easier to integrate with loyalty programs and reward systems. In a survey by HT Magazine, restaurant owners identified loyalty tools as the second-most feature they wanted from future POS upgrades. Without cloud-based tools, customer personalization is limited by staff memory. However, integrated CRM systems enable you to personalize customer experiences with dietary requirements, customer preferences, birthday specials and many other factors to give your restaurant an extra edge.
5) Better Payment Solutions
There are more payment methods than ever before: Paypal, Apple Pay, Square, Google Wallet etc. The only constant is they all process transactions through the cloud. The cloud makes it easy to connect with payment solutions that enable customers to pay how they want, free up your staff’s time and gain better insights from each transaction. All through a secure, encrypted network. Combine mobile payment processing with mobile POS systems and you effectively eliminate the need for expensive workstations, computers or servers. Split bills with ease and decrease wait times by offering customers the ability to pay without ever leaving their table.
6) Quality Control
It takes many good customer experiences to create any form of loyalty. On the contrary, it often only takes one bad experience to tarnish your reputation. Maintaining control across the business is difficult, especially when you are managing multiple premises.
With cloud-based solutions, you have a centralized view of operations across your business. You are able to update inventory orders, menu items, and pricing and see the direct impact of such actions. For instance, see how pricing changes impact demand, supply and profitability. With greater control over your business, the cloud helps you to maintain consistency and keep your customers happy. Being able to access all of your restaurant data and systems in the cloud gives you greater control over your business. It opens up new opportunities to save costs, increase profitability, improve customer experiences and maintain quality control. But moving to the cloud is just the beginning. Connect your business apps to Aider and take your restaurant to the next level. Get answers to your questions in real-time and make smarter business decisions.
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