Your staff is hard-working and diligent—but tensions are high, and sales are lower than expected. Is it your staff? Or could it be the systems in place? If your staff relies on outdated methods of placing orders, it’s likely that restaurant communications are strained, which means your restaurant is operating below its potential.
Your team of employees can only do so much with what they’re given, so you might consider improving their modes of communication. Not only will your employees be more efficient on the job, but they will also appreciate how easy it is to perform well.
Below we examine how improving communication techniques for your staff will enable them to perform better—and accelerate your restaurant’s success.
Update to Mobile POS System
During a busy period, you want to keep your staff from becoming overwhelmed. The benefit of a mobile POS system is the freedom of mobility it gives your serving staff. The speeds they can work at might not be as fast as lightning, but as close as humanly possible. This permits your restaurant—both front and back of the house—to work at the fast pace of consumer spending.
For fast-casual restaurants, opting for a mobile point-of-sale system makes the most sense. The type of diners you receive expect to wait for less, carry less cash, and demand faster service. To meet their fast expectations, you need a fast module. If you have multiple dining areas, an mPOS system is also ideal. If customers are waiting in line for a table, you can take their drink orders as they wait, and even transfer their tab to their table once seated.
For all restaurants, having a mobile POS takes the pressure off your staff. For example, you can store your menu and its details on the module (like a phone, iPad, or tablet), permitting anyone on the floor to answer customer questions.
Above all, the mobile POS systems give servers a chance to breathe. That’s because the moment an order is taken, an order can be placed. By not having to walk to a monitor to place their order, the customer experience is improved:
- The kitchen receives the order at once.
- Servers can attend to another table immediately, without needing to pause an order submission.
- Multiple orders can be taken at once, and items are not forgotten.
- Checks can be cashed out or rung up right there at the table.
- Changes to orders can be made in seconds.
Make the everyday procedures and communications fluid for your staff, and they will be less tense and more organized. Overall, their performance becomes optimized.
Streamline BOH and FOH Communications
Communications between the front of the house and back of the house are notorious for misunderstandings, confusion, and in some restaurants—just being plain awful. The fastest way to boost productivity is by improving communications between the FOH and the kitchen.
Being the face of the business, servers, and hosts are responsible for fielding customer requests and complaints. Meanwhile, the BOH is tasked with responding to orders. Their hands are full of prep work and preparing orders, often in high-stress conditions. More often than they should be, misunderstandings arise because the two houses don’t know what’s happening on the other side.
If the FOH and BOH are working hand in hand, why should their communications be limited? Instead, open the floodgates! As the restaurant owner or manager, it’s your duty to facilitate transparency.
Before modern point-of-sale systems were available, paper ticketing was the best method to relay customers’ orders to the kitchen. But this communication method is rife with accidents, such as:
- Sloppy handwriting that confuses kitchen staff.
- An item is forgotten.
- The wrong information is written out.
- An order slip gets lost.
- There is a lag time between taking an order and handing it to the kitchen.
Assuming there are problems with an order, communications only digress. For instance, the kitchen can’t notify fast enough when a dish is 86’d, or the server doesn’t have time to relay a customer complaint to the chef. After working in restaurants long enough, you know firsthand that messy, lagging communication often results in tense and abrupt working relations between the two.
If you have similar problems at your restaurant, it’s in the business’s benefit to find an alternate mode of communication. Investing in a mobile point-of-sale system is fast and simple to install; it’s the cure to the headaches your employees have been suffering from for months.
Right off the bat, communications are easy: Because actions are automated with a mobile POS, and therefore cloud-based, orders are sent immediately to the kitchen. The system organizes the orders, so the kitchen never loses its place or worries about misplacing a ticket. Additionally, the server can include specific customer requests clearly, as well as:
- Prepare the kitchen for a rush of customers.
- Learn within seconds when an ingredient has run out.
- Know when an order is ready, so food doesn’t sit idle (and get cold).
And most important, your restaurant provides a better service to customers. With a clear method of communication for your FOH and BOH staff to rely on, their jobs become easier, allowing your staff to improve their productivity, and ultimately, improve their quality of customer care.
Schedule Your Staff According to Business Needs
Your POS does more than handle orders, and it can also act as a guide to scheduling the right number of employees for each shift. Review your sales data to pinpoint your busiest shifts, and cut down on overstaffing during slow periods. Your servers will appreciate being productive during peak hours, and your customers will stop suffering from a lack of service due to being short-staffed.
When you’re understaffed, your team members feel the pressure and become less productive due to stress. When you’re overstaffed, you end up with employees standing at the register instead of contributing to the success of your restaurant. Use your POS system to find perfect harmony. For more tips on scheduling, check out how to create and use a master schedule for your restaurant.
Train Employees to Work Smarter, Not Harder
One of the most expensive parts of running a restaurant isn’t the food cost or the utilities, but training. This huge investment into your human capital shouldn’t be wasted, spend a few extra hours educating staff, and provide them the necessary skills to increase productivity over time.
Flesh out a complete training guide and implement the same training for every new-hire. With thorough training and preparation from the start, your employees will understand your standards, and how to work smarter, not harder.
Manage Inventory for Efficient Turnaround Time
When you run out of a key ingredient or supplies for your restaurant, your productivity takes a heavy hit. Manually assessing inventory can be a lengthy process that bogs down efficiency even further by having your best servers counting instead of serving. To track inventory efficiently, top restaurants leverage their POS system inventory management integrations.
When you receive a shipment, you can enter the details directly to your POS system. When an order is placed, inventory is automatically updated, giving you a real-time view of what’s in the pantry, and what you need to reorder.