By Kaitlin Keefer, Editor/Square
Chefs and restaurant owners decide to start their business because of a love for food and a desire to bring that food to the mouths of people in their community.
But when you start running a restaurant, the day-to-day management can leave owners with less time to focus on what they love — the food and the customers.
The success of your restaurant can be made or broken based on how well your kitchen runs. With the right technology, your kitchen staff can worry less about staying on track and focus more on producing quality food that leaves customers wanting to come back for more.
Here are the top five things to focus on when streamlining your kitchen operations to improve your restaurant experience and achieve your overall goal of making customers happy.
A TOP-TIER TEAM
A restaurant staff is a team, which is important to remember when you’re assembling your restaurant crew or looking to add to your existing kitchen staff. The restaurant industry especially tends to rely on word of mouth when it comes to hiring, but aim to dig a little deeper when choosing whom to bring onto your staff. When hiring your team, don’t only focus on experience — pay attention to how adaptable and trainable your staff is, especially when it comes to adopting new technology and processes.
A quick-thinking and adaptable mindset is not only helpful for training, it’s also helpful during a rush. Having team members who are quick to adapt can help rally the team and keep everyone on the same page. After all, customers can taste the difference between a happy kitchen staff and an unhappy one.
The restaurant industry is always changing and evolving, especially after what it’s endured the past year and with the ongoing pandemic. While some well-established restaurants may be hesitant to let go of the tools and processes they’ve been using since their inception, to stay competitive in a crowded industry, providing customers and employees with the best solutions should be a priority.
Use a cutting-edge POS and payments system that frequently releases new features and updates old ones. Utilizing the most up-to-date technology streamlines your operations and gives more time back to your employees to focus on their jobs of serving your customers. After all, word of mouth and customer reviews are among the top ways for restaurants to attract new customers and improve loyalty among existing customers.
INCREASE COMMUNICATION TO REDUCE CHAOS
We’ve all heard it before, but communication really is key. A busy restaurant has to run like a well-oiled machine with all of the pieces working together and, more importantly, communicating. The most common breakdown of communication can be between the front-of–house and back-of–house, which is something customers tend to pick up on. A restaurant management system with built-in communication tools reduces chaos and keeps all parts of the restaurant in the loop.
This communication doesn’t just apply to the people working in your restaurants, it also applies to the tools your restaurant uses. Just as the people working in the front of your restaurant should have seamless communication with your kitchen staff, your front-of-house tools should seamlessly integrate with your back-of-house technology.
A POS with omnichannel integrations brings together all your tools — from payroll and inventory to in-house and delivery app orders — in one place, giving you the full picture of your operations at any given time.
EASY TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY OPERATIONS
At one time, takeout and delivery were just a small percentage of a restaurant’s orders, but today they can be the majority. Balancing in-house and takeout/delivery orders can be a lot for a kitchen to handle, which is where the right tools can be instrumental. Square’s kitchen display system (KDS) shows all your orders in one place, on one screen.
“Customers are ordering in more ways than ever before,” said Albert Borrerro, owner of the Sandbar Sports Grill in Cutler Bay, Florida. “Between increased delivery orders, in-store pickups, and now the gradual return of indoor dining, our kitchen staff was getting overwhelmed by managing order flow. Square KDS has helped us improve order efficiency, speed, and, most important, reduce sunk costs due to remakes or refunds.”
CLEAR ORDERS FOR FEWER MISTAKES
Every kitchen wants to exceed customers expectations when it comes to their orders, and they definitely don’t want to see anything sent back to the kitchen. It’s normal to make mistakes here and there, but with the right tools those mistakes can become fewer and further between.
Digital tickets, managed through a KDS that integrates with your POS, show all your orders on one screen, with detailed views, timers, and sound alerts, no matter the ticket volume.
Providing your kitchen crew with hands-off order management and all of the information that the KDS provides gives them peace of mind to focus on their craft of creating the food that motivates customers to leave rave reviews and come back for more.