5 Ways To Survive the Evolving Restaurant Industry


Times are changing and with it brings a change in the restaurant industry management tactics. Through the recent changes impacting foodservice, restaurant owners have their hands full with more than just health and safety. Even before the pandemic, patrons were already adapting their methods to getting and eating their meals.

Insights from industry news state trends show by 2020 food delivery app usage will surpass 44 million people in the US. That will be nearly 60 million by 2023. (emarketer, 2019).

Let’s dive into five tactics to modernize your restaurant operations without sacrificing customer service and quality.

  1. Expand delivery & takeout with a third party
  2. Streamline menus
  3. Tableside POS or QR code
  4. Increase employee food safety training
  5. Incorporate time-saving equipment

Modern Restaurant Management

Long gone are the days where happy diners walked in to just sit down and have a meal at a restaurant. Aside from the focus on health concerns, diners are facing increased responsibilities with work, family, and other activities that pose challenges for dining in. More than ever, diners are looking for takeout and home delivery options from their favorite restaurants.

Expanding Operations Into Delivery & Takeout

A step toward innovation and happy customers is by expanding operations to include delivery and takeout options. Using third-party apps for ordering and delivery will increase your costs, however, you can balance the expense by also promoting your own internal ordering process. Send out promotions to your customers to inform them that your restaurant offers online ordering directly from your website to save on 3rd party fees. Also, remind your customers about the option to pick up directly from your location and create a customer friendly and safe pickup area. Consider a special parking space for pickups to make it easier for your customers as well.

When it comes to considering third party companies to help you deliver to your customers, consider the pros and cons of each. Here are a few options:

Door Dash Logo

GrubHub 

Pros-

  • Free to get listed and flexible monthly or weekly payment options
  • Integrates with many POS systems
  • Offers both delivery and pickup options
  • Over 300,000 restaurants participating 

Cons- 

  • The fees come from a marketing percentage of the order subtotal and driver percentage fee is tacked on
  • Branding is more challenging for the restaurant itself due to higher fees of featured spots for customers to order from

Grub Hub Logo

Uber Eats 

Pros- 

  • Free to sign up and integrates with many POS systems
  • Offers both delivery and pickup options
  • Over 400,000 restaurants participating 

Cons-

  • High fees to the customer at around 15%, plus added fees for smaller orders
  • Delivery charges may vary depending on the time of day the order is placed and delivered

Uber Eats Logo

DoorDash 

Pros –

  • Integrates with your existing POS system
  • Offers both delivery and pickup options
  • Lower fees than Uber Eats at approximately 10% to 11% 
  • Over 300,000 restaurants participating

Cons

  • Only larger chains benefit from any special deals (as of 2020)
  • Must have your own delivery drivers

Table Side POS

There are a lot of benefits to having table-side checkout. Servers see an average of a 15% increase in their tips and turn their tables over ten minutes faster. Another added benefit is that employees or servers can be flexible throughout the restaurant and help support customers for other necessary services. They can assist with heavy drive-through orders, curbside pickup, and online ordering. The automation also means servers won’t have to run back and forth for changed orders either. The customer orders are communicated clearly through the digital system.

Streamline Menus With QR Codes

If you are on the online and to-go order bandwagon, check out QR codes. Customers can scan the code and look at your menu from their phones. Safety fits here for supporting the reduction of health concerns with menus that would traditionally go through a lot of handling. QR codes are easily created through many websites and applications.
With a QR code, you can easily change your menu to reflect current availability and specials without having to reprint menus. Also, you can consider simplifying your menu to offer a more streamlined and efficient offering, focusing on your core items. By highlighting your top recipes or dishes within your menu, you can also keep food waste down.

Kitchen Time

What about your staffing needs, chefs, and managing your costs? Food safety is always important even without a pandemic, but what can you do to ensure everyone is on board?

Food Safety

Having training just on food safety is critically important for a successful restaurant. Apart from stand-up training, it is a good idea to have a few visual reminders in the kitchen where they are visible to the staff.
Cooking temperature log
Cooking temperature levels poster
Reheating food safely posters

Technology is your friend as well. Consider training videos and online courses to supplement your verbal and visual reminders. There are many options to ensure your team is up to speed with all food handling and safety best practices.

Time & Labor-Saving Equipment

Everyone wants to save money and time, so how about opting for some equipment for your restaurant that can do both? The restaurant industry is evolving, and owners are redesigning their kitchens for a smaller footprint to save space and innovate with better technology. Consider adding more or changing your equipment.

Combi Ovens

Combi ovens can replace a convection oven and a steamer in many cases. They utilize steam and hot air, as well as a combination of both functions to support everything from baking bread to poaching fish and braising beef. Most units come with touchscreen menu options, making the cooking functionality easy.

Blast Chillers

These are designed to support food safety by bringing products down to a safe temperature quickly. They offer efficiency with the option to buy local and fresh foods and extend their shelf life.

Food Processors

Food processor units can cover many kitchen functions including chopping, slicing, shredding, and grinding to save you on labor costs. Consider a Robot Coupe for high-end food processing functionality.

Single Push-Button Equipment

For example, speed ovens, food processors, and microwaves can reduce time in food preparation with the push of a button. Many units offer built-in menu functionality, meaning you can choose from your menu items and automate the cooking timeline and process.

Quality To-Go Packaging

Focusing on the packaging will save you in the long run when your meals are delivered fresh to your customer. For example, did you know that styrofoam containers are more likely to make fresh french fries soggy than a paper to-go container? Understanding which types of to-go packaging keep your menu items at their best quality is essential in creating a successful to-go food operation.

Your Busy Restaurant

Don’t forget the small things that save big in small wares such as single-handed slicers for boiled eggs and vegetables and single squeeze dispensers, for example. Having upgraded equipment in your kitchen will help maintain safety, functionality, and keep control of payroll and other expenses.

Remember, the restaurant industry is consistent in terms of innovation. Whether you are just beginning to upgrade or are amid modernizing your kitchen, these tactics will see you through the tough times and the good ones so you can keep operating a successful restaurant.