August 29, 2019

Digital Tools that allow Chefs to spend more time in the Kitchen

A chef’s role and responsibilities are increasingly diverse. A chef is largely responsible for the success a restaurant experiences. It’s a tough job and often a frantic one.

Chefs get into the business for the thrill of the fast paced environment and ideas conception, of course. Let’s not forget that a chef also gets into the business because they love to cook and prepare a variety of cuisines. The bigger the restaurant operation grows, the less time a chef gets to spend in their kitchen.

Responsibilities include:

  • Developing and planning new menus
  • Budgeting menus
  • Customer relations
  • Train and manage the kitchen staff
  • Inventory management
  • Quality control
  • Monitoring safety standards

With this in mind, let’s explore the digital tools available to chefs to alleviate some of the workload.

Social media

What’s a restaurant without diners? One of the key areas in which all restaurants will need to continue to thrive in, is customer retention and loyalty. The goal of course is to increase the number of visits a diner makes.

Social media is a fantastic tool to build brand awareness and drive direct bookings. Instagram has one of the largest ‘foodie’ communities. Investing time in social media will improve not only awareness, but loyalty. This is a free platform to tell your story.

Communicate new dishes and menus, menus of the day and the personality of your restaurant. Social media allows you to add a fun factor to your online personality.

There are a number of ways to harness the powers of social media. Invest in competitions to encourage engagement and growth, tell your story through beautiful imagery and allow your diners to do the talking for you. It is a fantastic platform for feedback and word of mouth.

Reservations Software

There are a number of reservation software platforms to choose from in the marketplace right now. Which one you choose will largely depend on budget, demographic of your customer and the technology you have available to you in your restaurant.

Consider the impact that fees will have on your margins and the level of marketing investment an online booking platform will make to support your business.

Investing in a reputable and effective reservation software will alleviate some of the chef’s time. Not only will it allow for quick and easy online reservations, it will also allow the team to manage daily bookings and map the table plan throughout each day.

Most reservations software will also allow you to store important information including allergens and dietary requirements, special occasions and requests, as well as repeat bookings.

We briefly touched upon it, but the right reservation software will also double up as a marketing platform. Each online booking tool comes with its own vast database of regular diners. Another important opportunity to drive further business to your restaurant.

Inventory Management Software

Inventory management software allows very little room for errors. The system allows the chef to manage and monitor the food inventory, as well as track sales and cash flow. A great management software will also help to simplify the arduous task of bookkeeping.

Chefs can manage budget planning for food costs, as well as for new menus through the software – and identify most and least profitable items.

From both a margins perspective and ethical standpoint, the tool also has the ability to identify the level of food waste on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Chef will be able to see just how much stock is left and what needs to be reordered.

Investing in this software will give chef the opportunity to upskill team members and hand over responsibility with little to no risk to the business. If that isn’t enough, you’re also able to run reports in minutes – without the hours of data entry.

Restaurants continue to move towards digital investment, as the rewards become more prevalent. What we must remember however, is that technology will not take away the need for the time invested in checks and balances.

A great chef has an inspired and skilled team, an innovative menu that is ahead of the curve and a full restaurant. These tools are designed to help with this process. Utilizing all that they have to offer will ultimately alleviate time. Time that can be reinvested in people, customer service and future innovation.

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