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Metric Monday - Top 5 Restaurant Automation Opportunities to Increase Productivity

Jenny Day
Jenny Day
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With the continuing inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues, restaurants have been shifting their operations to find ways to circumvent the increasing number of challenges they face. According to Restaurant365’s State of the Industry Survey, nearly 20% of those surveyed will spend more on tech and software in 2023. This includes software solutions for payroll, accounting, POS, back-office operations, and many other areas.

What is restaurant automation?

Restaurant automation is the use of technology to manage various types of operations within a restaurant. This can range from accountingpayrollfood costingkitchen operationsfood inventory management, and more.

Why is automation important in the food industry?

Restaurant technology is taking an increasingly important role in today’s restaurant management due to labor issues and decreasing margins due to inflation. Automation has made it easier to manage food and labor costs, create new revenue streams, track and forecast sales, manage inventory, automate the vendor payment process, hire and pay employees, manage finances, and more – all with the objective of maximizing efficiency and improving profitability.

How automation can help restaurants

There’s no question that restaurant automation can help your restaurant run more smoothly and efficiently. But what are the specific benefits of restaurant automation? Read on to learn about five restaurant automations that will streamline operations and reduce costs.

HR and Payroll

Human Resources has evolved from a hiring process to an all-encompassing human capital management process that includes recruiting and retaining employees, optimizing human resources, payroll processing, benefits administration, time and labor management, and more. The most advanced HR and payroll platforms can now be automated and connected to your cloud-based accounting system. When these systems are integrated, they get punch data directly from your POS to reduce errors and send payroll cost data to accounting automatically.

Automated payroll processing streamlines the payroll process and ensures your employees are paid accurately and on time while maximizing tax credits, mitigating risk, and avoiding penalties. Automated HR and payroll software also minimizes redundant work and reduces the amount of time your HR team spends managing employee data.

If you’re looking for HR and payroll software to grow with your restaurant business, ensure that it includes a self-service portal to keep all levels of your organization connected. A self-service portal empowers employees with access to personal payroll and HR information where and when they need it and reduces the burden on HR by providing both employees and managers with easy access to personal and company information in a single location.

Scheduling

Streamlining communication, promoting employee engagement, and reducing labor costs are key to a successful scheduling system. Minimally, scheduling software should allow managers to easily create staff schedules, approve or deny employee time off and shift swap requests, and communicate messages about shift openings or other important updates from their mobile device or desktop.

A mobile app for employees is also a great way to free up a manager’s time. You want a system that allows employees to request days off and swap shifts with other employees through a mobile app to eliminate miscommunication from text, email, and verbal communication.

Scheduling software also helps to protect your restaurant’s labor budget, for example, allowing managers to see when employees’ schedules would place them in overtime, as well as prohibiting employees from clocking in or out outside of their scheduled shift

Inventory Management

Barcode scanning empowers restaurant managers to spend less time counting inventory and more time on critical aspects of their business. It enables managers to conduct inventory counts quickly, accurately, and frequently, providing real-time insights into stock levels and identifying items that require replenishing.

Beyond keeping track of what food items are coming in and what’s going out, modern inventory management software can do so much more. One that integrates with your POS system and restaurant management software sets your restaurant business on a clear path to success and growth. Advanced inventory management software simplifies inventory counting by enabling the process on a phone or tablet.

Suggestive ordering reduces over-ordering and food waste. These features can track recipe costs by location, help drive customers to high-margin menu items to increase profits, map recipes to your POS menu item to automatically track your theoretical usage over time and analyze the price of each item then give you warnings when prices are above normal.

Accounts Payable

Paying vendor invoices manually is a tedious, error-prone process. Many restaurants use third-party bill pay services to alleviate some of the pain of vendor payments, but those usually require costly and time-consuming customizations with the restaurant’s accounting software.

An end-to-end AP automation solution efficiently streamlines the accounts payable process by providing the means for vendors to upload invoices directly into your accounting system, or in the case of paper invoices, allows you to scan and upload them to the system. Then, it routes invoices through workflows for approval and securely sends payments to your vendor through multiple payment options. AP automation can significantly reduce manual accounting tasks and as you add locations, you can do so without adding resources to your accounting staff.

Bank Reconciliation

Your accounting team spends days, sometimes weeks, reconciling last month’s bank activity. Automated bank reconciliation systems can connect directly with your bank, allowing you to connect your financial institutions directly to the bank activity feature in your accounting software and automatically download your bank activity transactions. Consequently, with direct integration, you can reconcile your activity every day in just minutes, rather than waiting until the end of the month.

Conclusion

Technology is expanding rapidly, making an impact on the profitability of a restaurant. Restaurant automation is making it easier to manage food and labor costs, track and forecast sales, manage inventory, automate the vendor payment process, hire, and pay employees, manage finances and more – all with the objective of maximizing efficiency and improving profitability.