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15 Restaurant Apps to Check Out Now

Monday, August 28th, 2017

We scoured the internet to see what apps are popular and which ones ranked high with users. From dozens of options, these 15 offer to help with all kinds of issues, including inventory management, scheduling, table management, online ordering – even help with opening a second location. Who knows? You just might find your new favorite.

 

7shifts

7shifts.com 

What it is: Scheduling app for restaurants

Provides: Management of staff from anywhere, forecasting of labor costs vs. projected sales, integrated time-clocking feature, notification when employee about to hit overtime

Promises to: Spend 80 percent less time on scheduling logistics

Best for: Any restaurant or hospitality company with multiple employees  

 

Bar and Club Stats 

barandclubstats.com

What it is: iPhone/iPad, Android ID app

Provides: ID scanner to ensure customers are in your bar or ordering drinks legally

Promises to: Help you deter underage drinking

Best for: Anyone who serves alcohol, high-volume bars and clubs  

 

BlueCart 

bluecart.com

What it is: Supplier/inventory management app

Provides: One-click ordering for all your suppliers in one step; manage inventory from your phone, check in orders when truck arrives

Promises to: Reduce time spent on ordering; decrease returned orders by 82 percent, cut food waste in half[

Best for: Any restaurant, hotel, supplier, wholesaler or distributor  

 

ChowNow 

chownow.com

What it is: Online ordering system with custom-built iPhone and Android ordering apps

ChowNow

Provides: Ability for customers to place orders directly from restaurant website, Facebook page and apps branded to your business; dashboard that shows top spenders, amount in sales and more 

Promises to: Increase number of orders and free your staff from the phones

Best for: Anyone offering to-go orders or delivery  

 

Find Me Gluten Free 

findmeglutenfree.com  

What it is: Smartphone app  

Provides: Allows diners who eat gluten-free to find restaurants that cater to their needs

Promises to: Promote your restaurant to diners who eat gluten free  

Best for: Gluten-free restaurants or those marketing gluten-free menu items  

 

Kitchen CUT

kitchencut.com

What it is: Cloud-based software and app for entire F&B operation

Provides: Supplier management, recipe costing and menu planning, allergen tracking, nutritional analysis, track your kitchen waste and more

Promises to: Give you more time for customer engagement, creativity and innovation 

Best for: Restaurants and bars  

 

Nowait 

nowait.com

What it is: Waitlist management app recently acquired by Yelp

Provides: Reservations, wait lists and seating by sending alerts to guests via smartphones

Promises to: Eliminate need for expensive pager equipment, organize waitlist and plan seating; diners can browse restaurants by wait time and add themselves onto your wait list, then receive a text when their table is ready

Best for: Restaurants looking to ditch the pagers  

 

Orderly 

getorderly.com

What it is: Invoicing and inventory app

Provides: Paperless invoicing, automated accounting and easy inventory.  

Promises to: Automate spend reports, show price trends, cut inventory time by 50 percent

Best for: Any restaurant big or small  

 

Partender 

Partender

app.partender.com

What it is: Smartphone app to quickly measure spirits at end of night  

Provides: Consumption analytics to help you spot check variances, ID your top movers and dead stock

Promises to: Inventory your bar in 15 minutes; save you up to $10,000/month

Best for: Bars; any restaurant with full ABC  

 

Restaurateur 

What it is: iPhone/iPad-based app for opening a new restaurant  

Provides: Ability to sketch out a business and financial plan, profit & loss statement; chart operating expenses and project revenue

Promises to: Provide documents to negotiate rent or prepare for banks and investors  

Best for: Those planning to open another location or a new restaurant concept  

 

Schedulefly 

What it is: Web-based employee scheduling app

Provides: Create, post and manage weekly schedules online, including coordinating time off and shift changes 

Promises to: Help you avoid costly overtime and forecast labor costs.  

Best for: Any restaurant or hospitality company with multiple employees  

 

Truckily 

truckily.com

What it is: App to manage your food truck’s digital presence

Provides: Ability to share and update food truck location via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare; send push notifications to diners when your truck is near; schedule locations for up to a year out

Promises to: Be your social media hub

Best for: Food trucks  

 

Uncorkd 

uncorked.biz

What it is: iPad-based wine menu

Provides: Ability to keep wine, liquor, beer and cocktail menus updated in real time; information and pictures that shows customers each bottle’s origin, vintage and recommended pairings.  

Promises to: Potentially boost wine and beverage sales by 20 percent or more

Best for: Any restaurant with a beverage program  

 

When I Work 

wheniwork.com

What it is: Mobile employee scheduling app for iPhone and Android  

Provides: Ability to set up employee schedules that can be accessed or viewed by employees and managers 

Promises to: Save an average of 8 hours/week on employee scheduling and attendance, reduce employee no-shows and improve accountability by 25 percent

Best for: Any restaurant or hospitality company with multiple employees  

 

Zuppler 

zupplerworks.com

What it is: Order fulfillment platform

Zuppler

Provides: Online ordering to your existing website with menu images, upsales and social media integration

Promises to: Match your existing brand’s appearance; provide client demographics, top customers and delivery heat-map

Best for: Any restaurant looking to add online ordering  

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HELP WANTED! Turn This Message into an Opportunity

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

By Debby Cannon, Ph.D., and Charles Marvil, MS

Drive through almost any town in Georgia, and you don’t have to travel far to see a sign outside a restaurant or foodservice establishment proclaiming, “Help Wanted.”

While the casual observer or average diner may not see the clues that a talent war is underway, call in the troops. The battle of finding employees has become a priority for many business operations.

As the economy continues to shift into high gear throughout much of the state, it’s not just restaurants and foodservice businesses that are needing more employees. We are competing with other service industries like retail and healthcare that are tapping into the same labor market.

In April 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate had reached the lowest level in nearly a decade, down to just 4.5 percent. At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Georgia State Economic Forecasting Center noted that job growth in the state had rebounded since the recession and was strongest in both lower-wage and higher-wage sectors – specifically leisure and hospitality positions, which are up 25.4 percent in metro Atlanta.

How does a foodservice operator find the best talent in a tight labor market? It’s not an exact science but a combination of analytical skills, creativity and networking.

An Essential Foundation

Take the time to review your employee selection processes to be sure your company’s core values and culture, performance standards and working environment are clearly evident. A common problem in a tight labor market is to settle for the “available” candidate who may not be a fit for your operation.

To what extent can your operation train a person and provide coaching to ensure successful performance? What are “red flags” that countless hours of training may have little impact? For example, menu knowledge might be readily achieved by a candidate. Increasing one’s empathy and ability to “read” the guest’s needs during the dining experience, however, will most likely take much longer and is more difficult to achieve for a job candidate who has limited interpersonal skills.

Don’t make the desperate assumption that you can transform the applicant. Typically, the behavior seen in an interview situation is the person’s “best performance.” Ask open-ended, probing (but always legal!) interview questions that have the applicant doing most of the talking during the interview process. (See sidebar for sample questions you can ask.) Bring in key line employees who epitomize your restaurant’s culture and performance standards to get their input on the candidate as a potential coworker.

Whats In It for Me?

The restaurant operator has to be crystal clear on the qualifications needed for each open position and to what extent the operation can prepare the less-than-qualified applicant. However when it comes to developing your recruiting and marketing materials, you’ll want to adopt a different vantage point.

In recruiting, the focus must become more applicant-oriented: Why would you want to work for this business? Ask your current employees what attracted them to your restaurant and what they love most about the operation. These may be great testimonials to put on a flyer or in an ad.

  • Flexible schedules – a great advantage; The foodservice industry has historically been known for flexible scheduling, and this is an advantage for many target markets – students, parents, retirees or those wanting to add a second job. If flexible scheduling or part-time work is appropriate for your operation, be sure to include that in your recruiting marketing materials.
  • For an upcoming college graduate, career opportunities are typically a priority. One hospitality company has recently started an innovative approach focused on college students – work in our operation for approximately one year rotating through essential positions and, based on performance, move into an entry-level management position. With proper planning, the rotation would start for the college student while still in school, and the movement into management would coincide with graduation.
  • A positive and fun working environment is important. Few companies describe what makes them special in this area. Most people look for learning opportunities, not-the-same routine every day, the chance to meet and work with interesting people. That’s the restaurant industry, but these facts are seldom mentioned in recruiting new talent.

Delivering the Message

In a tight labor market, recruiting has to be multi-faceted. Consider adding a “Jobs & Career Opportunities” page to your website.

Online searches are the most utilized form of job exploration. Other than updating the list of openings to stay current, this is a low-cost option that can provide great visuals of the workplace. Be sure to have the website photos feature workplace images to attract top talent. Your website is also a great place to feature employee testimonials urging individuals to apply.

Use social media effectively. Like a website, social media can spread word of your job and career opportunities to many. Even smaller operations can establish a Facebook page as well as use Twitter.

Build relationships with local schools – high schools, vocational schools, colleges and universities. There are many ways to work with schools, from running an ad in the school newspaper or football program to sponsoring an event or attending a career fair.

Think of all of these activities as recruiting opportunities, and make sure the message of “We’re looking for top talent” comes through. For in-person events, make sure your most energized and positive employees are representing you. They are truly the best form of advertising, and their joy in working for your restaurant is contagious.

The “Help Wanted” signs can be transformed into messages broadcasted to much larger audiences: Join a great team and become one of our stars!


Ask the Right Questions

Not sure what to ask a potential employee during the interview process? Instead of questions that result in “yes” and “no” answers, try asking some that encourage the person to reveal more about themselves.

Open-ended, probing behavioral questions are focused on past work experiences that reflect the individual’s abilities, experiences and personality. This is important because past behavior usually predicts future performance.

Try a few of these in your next interview:

  • Tell me about a time when you turned around a situation and made an angry guest happy. What happened and what did you do?
  • Describe your busiest day at work. What made it stand out to you as the “busiest?”
  • You’ve worked in several restaurants. Describe how you approach a table and what you say to start off the dining experience.
  • Tell me about a situation when you observed a coworker doing something unethical or illegal. What did you do?
  • What is the biggest mistake you have made on a job, and how did you handle it?
  • What have you done when you strongly disagreed with a manager’s decision? What was the decision and what did you do?

In evaluating the responses to these types of questions, look for the following:

  • Are the applicant’s experiences congruent with work expectations in your restaurant?
  • Are the applicant’s skills and knowledge areas transferrable to your organization?

Do the applicant’s actions, described in the answers, reflect your company’s standards of guest service, company policies, ethical behavior? Not only do you want to hear about the situation but also how the situation was resolved and any follow-up actions the person would take.


Debby Cannon, Ph.D., is Director of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Ranked as one of the Top 25 hospitality programs in the country, the school offers both undergraduate programs and a one-year graduate degree through the Regynald G. Washington Masters in Global Hospitality Management Program. Visit hospitality.robinson.gsu.edu or call 404-413-7615 for more information; applications are being accepted through June 1 for the mid-August start of the Masters in Global Hospitality Management Program.

Charles Marvil has more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurant management and POS technology. He is on the Industry Board of Advisors for The Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University, and he works as a Marketing Associate for Sysco Atlanta.

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