It’s hard work to run a restaurant. It takes time, commitment, and the ability to deal with a number of challenges at the same time. Not to mention: you must always deliver a memorable experience for customers.

Technology can help, as long as it is the right technology (the stats don’t lie). The right tools deliver the right results. This is true for everything processing reservations and orders, to marketing, to being able to deliver entertainment in your establishment.

Here are the top technologies you can utilize to improve your restaurant business.

Technologies for Restaurant Management

It’s tricky to run and manage a restaurant. To start, utilize scheduling software to assist with staff scheduling. Most options allow you to set up staff timetables checklists for employees. For example, create an opening-time checklist guiding employees can clean the tables and floor in the mornings. Or, turn on appliances. It’s easy for employees to check check-off tasks on their phones as they go along.

A manager can request evidence (a photograph of the floor or input of the oven’s temperature) of the employees’ completion of the tasks. Effective software to handle scheduling and wage calculation saves time. Rather than update it all by hand via a spreadsheet, the software does it for you.

Then, there are reservation management systems. They take reservations and automatically apply time allocations based on the number of bookings. They can link to your existing website and social media without disrupting esthetic or flow.  Of course, you can configure these systems as you please.

Recipe calculating softwares can be linked to help ascertain fair costs for dishes based on ingredients and prep time. One such software, Nutritics, also calculates dishes’ allergens, calories, and nutrition based on inputted recipes. There are other tools to print and display nutritional data on your website, menu, or counter. It also shows the highlights of the dishes’ nutrition. This is a wonderful way to ensure you charge the proper amount for food.

Inventory management software is also critical. It automatically tracks the ingredients you have in stock and places orders as and when required. For example, the software Fishbowl lets you use automatic reorder points. When your ingredients get low, Fishbowl reorders to arrive when you need it. You can also scan barcodes to keep track of incoming ingredient deliveries. This also helps prevent data entry errors that could skew your inventory umbers. Inventory can be a challenging aspect of running a restaurant business, and wastage costs a lot of money.

You cannot afford to run out of key ingredients. You also want to avoid excessive stock which can cost money. It’s a fine line, and one the right software can help you walk confidently and successfully. There are also great options in the marketplace for complete restaurant management software that offers all of these aspects rolled into one single platform.

Technologies for Entertainment

From providing WiFi and individual music options to specific tables, to table tablets where customers can watch movies, entertainment is now part of the restaurant experience. Buzztime offers tablets that let customers play trivia and poker games. Users can use their phones as well as the tablet while they wait for their orders to arrive. People can also place orders on the tablet. The tablet is continuously updated with the latest trivia and other games. There is a huge variety of tech for restaurants to explore.

Technologies for Ordering

There are many different types of ordering software. There are options for both within the restaurant and for customers that order takeout. This is a massive advance in labor efficiency. As mentioned, there are now tablet options on each table which sees customers place orders directly to the kitchen when they are ready. This means the only table service you need is someone to deliver the food.

The software Quandoo, among others, allows customers to book orders before they arrive. They are then greeted with their food as they arrive. In terms of takeaway services, cloud telephone services like 8×8 are big. Calls to a single number allocated to your restaurant are patched through to a call center. No more missed phone orders due to a busy line.

Another important consideration is which point-of-sale (POS) software to select. Your POS software keeps track of all transactions and feeds directly into your account’s management system. Many options let you process mobile sales and are operating system neutral.

Technologies for Marketing

There are a plethora of social media channels like Instagram that are great for restaurants. Instagram for restaurants is pivotal for online marketing and attracting more customers. There are also specific technologies that can link to your management systems to help retain the customers you already have. For example, loyalty programs can piggyback onto your POS system so customers get real rewards as they spend money.

Imagine a customer placing her order to be told automatically for what kind of perks she is eligible based on previous habits. Special occasions can be tracked too, which gives a much more personalized experience for the customer. All guests want a unique experience.

All these restaurant technologies are the basis of a greater customer management system which emphasizes customer experience. These tactics are central to your restaurant business.

Author Bio: Ashley Halsey is a professional marketing writer. She contributes business insights at LuckyAssignments and GumEssays, where she has established a reputation as an erudite and intelligent observer of marketing trends, particularly in the food and restaurant space.