Customer Experience

The Restaurant Tech You Need to Tackle Busy Seasons

By Katie McCann

server taking orders tableside

Does the busy season have you feeling swamped? If it does, it may be time to invest in the right restaurant tech.

Busy seasons are a welcome time of the year: With more guests, comes more revenue and profits. But, these periods aren’t without their problems. 

You have to contend with a multitude of challenges. You have to make sure you have enough staff on shift to cope with an influx of guests. You also need to make sure every one of these guests is still getting VIP treatment, despite the craziness.

On top of that, you have to:

  • Put out fires that inevitably pop up
  • Handle a busy kitchen as guests wait to be served 
  • Deal with a growing waitlist as diners wait for an open table
  • Ensure the front and back of house can cope with the steady stream of orders

And that’s only the half of it.

We don’t need to tell you it’s challenging to maintain your sanity during these periods – you already know that. What we can tell you is how to better cope in these times. The solution? 

Invest in the right restaurant tech.

The Restaurant Tech You Needs for Peak Periods

The right restaurant tech will assist in handling all the challenging scenarios associated with those busier periods and popular holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

It will also help you save time on all those general restaurant tasks you have to do regardless of the season, like analyzing reports and creating work schedules. The time-savings lighten your load and make running a restaurant during busy times just a little more manageable.

Read on to learn about four restaurant technologies you can use to overcome the challenges of the busy season and ensure your operation runs like clockwork.

1. A Modern Point of Sale (POS)

bartender ringing in order on iPad POS

A POS system is your restaurant’s central transactional hub. Unlike traditional cash registers that record transactions and rely on staff taking orders via pen and paper, a modern POS can do so much more, including:

  • Process payments
  • Manage inventory
  • Schedule staff
  • Track labor
  • Monitor key data points

How a Modern POS Can Help During Busy Seasons

A modern POS is particularly useful during peak periods because it:

  • Integrates with other software and systems to streamline your operations. Some of these integrations include scheduling, restaurant reservation software, and integrated payments. When all of these integrations work seamlessly within your POS, you have a powerful tool to help manage the busy season.
  • Is mobile. It can be tricky to keep up with the pace of business during busy times. A modern POS offers mobility, allowing you to process transactions quicker and improve the workflow between the front and back of house. This mobility benefits full and quick service restaurants. In full service restaurants, servers can take orders at the table without an extra step of returning to the counter to input it. In quick service restaurants, counter staff can bust through long lines to process orders on an iPad before they even get to the front, ensuring customers get served on time.
  • Has 24/7 support. If something goes wrong when you’re busy, you need a direct line to fix the issue.

But, perhaps, the real strength of a modern POS sits in the data it provides you to handle the peak periods. You can access labor reports in your POS to make better scheduling decisions and save money. 

These labor reports will help you:

  • Identify your best servers to schedule for peak periods. Detailed shift and tip reports tell you who is making the most sales and keeping guests happy. These are the servers you’ll want to schedule when things get busy.
  • Keep an eye on theft. During peak season, everyone is so busy with their jobs that it’s easy for theft to go unnoticed. But a POS provides detailed no-sale reports and deleted items to quickly identify if any shady business is happening in the background.
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2. Staff Scheduling Software

Scheduling software is the technology you need to prevent either of these scenarios from happening.

Unlike more traditional scheduling methods (think pen and paper or spreadsheets), scheduling software automates and digitizes the entire scheduling process so you can make smart scheduling decisions with ease.

How Scheduling Software Can Help During Busy Seasons

Creating and managing schedules can be challenging at the best of times. It’s even more difficult in busy seasons. 

Both over and under scheduling can be a problem. If you don’t schedule enough people, the team on the floor will find themselves stretched thin, making it hard to deliver a great experience. If you overbook, you’ll be burning money as your team struggles to keep themselves busy. Trying to find the right balance can be majorly time-consuming.

And not only do you have to find the perfect number of staff to have on the floor, you also have to schedule around the influx of time-off requests that naturally are more common around the busier times of year. 

The right scheduling software helps address these two core problems. Firstly, you spend less time creating your schedules. Simply use an auto-scheduling feature or re-use a scheduling template. For example, a tool like 7shifts lets you create schedules in less than 30 min. 

Secondly, managing schedules is no longer a time-suck because you don’t spend time flipping between spreadsheets. Instead, you can:

  • Approve or deny availability and time-off requests with one simple click of a button
  • Quickly identify any unassigned shifts 
  • Communicate any schedule changes immediately via a mobile device 

This technology can be especially powerful when you find a solution that integrates seamlessly with your POS

All of these benefits help you make swift and smart decisions when you’re busy! Staff scheduling software lets you track hours worked, wages, tips, and performance – keeping you in control of staff and labor costs, no matter how busy things get.

3. Self-Ordering Kiosks

customer placing order at self-serve kiosk

Self-ordering kiosks are terminals that let customers place orders without a server present. Orders are automatically pushed from the kiosk through to the kitchen. 

Besides offering basic ordering functionality, these kiosks also act as a silent salesman. They give diners opportunity to spot items they may not normally see and they upsell with automatic add-ons.

How Self-Ordering Kiosks Can Help During Busy Seasons

By using these kiosks during peak periods, you:

  • Automate the ordering process by eliminating the need for a cashier. This frees up time for the servers to concentrate on delivering exceptional customer service. Who said VIP treatment wasn’t possible during peak periods?
  • Improve the workflow between the front and back of house, which often breaks down when the restaurant is packed.
  • Eliminate order inputting errors or errors that result from a break in communication between the front and back of house.
  • Boost revenue. Counter staff may forget to upsell guests when the restaurant’s full because they know people are waiting are trying to move people through the line. Most self-ordering kiosks can automate upselling and promote specific menu items, so you don’t need to rely on someone’s memory. 

A word of caution: Because these kiosks can increase order volume, they may put unwanted strain on the kitchen staff. So, make sure you plan ahead and think carefully before investing in kiosks.

4. Restaurant Reservation Software

Restaurant reservation software is a tool you use to manage table bookings. The software helps you accept new bookings, store guest data, send automated text reminders to guests, and provide you with reports and data to make informed decisions.

How Restaurant Reservation Software Can Help During the Busy Season

Tracking bookings, controlling your waitlist, and even managing diner preferences – these are just a few of the many tasks you need to handle with restaurant reservations

It seems straightforward enough, right? 

Well, if you’ve ever tried to manage reservations when you’re busy, you know how tricky it can be – especially if you rely on handwritten notes and spreadsheets. It becomes easy to mix up bookings, forget to remind guests about reservations, and even write down information wrong.

The right restaurant reservation software helps you organize the chaos, ensure everyone gets a seat, and boost profits. Here’s how:

  • Create and store guest profiles. Use this information to create targeted promotions and treat guests like VIPs even at your busiest. Save notes about allergies, dining preferences, or special dates so guests don’t need to remind you on each subsequent visit.
  • Take reservations from multiple sources. Diners can make these bookings 24/7 on your website, through an app, or Google Reservations, just to name a few! Bookings aren’t limited to your open hours. 
  • Better manage your waitlist. You can inform diners automatically via text or email when a table opens up and better predict wait times for people waiting for tables.
  • Reduce no shows. Send automatic reminders about a reservation without dedicating a team member from calling people with reminders all night.
  • Tweak your floor plans and optimize your tables to increase sales. For example, you can redistribute tables among your servers based on how busy you are.
  • Access these online reports remotely from any device.
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The Bottom Line: Invest in the Right Restaurant Tech

Running a restaurant during the busy season can be a nightmare as new challenges arise.

But it doesn’t have to be. You just need to us the right restaurant tech: a modern POS, employee scheduling software, self-ordering kiosks, and restaurant reservation software. Upgrade your tech and you’ll be more equipped to tackle the problems that come with the busy periods!

Photo of Katie McCann
by Katie McCann

Katie is a former Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she writes about food and restaurant experiences. She doesn’t shy away from the finer things in life, but no matter how much success she continues to acquire, she stays true to her roots and still considers imitation crab as gourmet. If she isn’t writing, you can find her on a patio with friends and a pitcher of white wine sangria.

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