Owning and operating a restaurant requires you to assume a lot of roles. From planning menus to managing staff and tracking finances, restaurateurs must juggle a number of responsibilities to succeed.
While you may be an expert in pairing wines with entrees, ensuring that your restaurant’s technology system is up to date might feel beyond your expertise. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your computer system run more quickly and smoothly. A few simple best practices can ensure optimal computer performance, saving your business both money and time.
1. Protect your system.
A computer’s lifespan can always be threatened by unexpected security threats. Who would want to hack a restaurant’s computer, you might ask? You’d be surprised. Safe computers are consistently updated with the most current software updates with secure operating systems. In addition to software updates, you should frequently update your antivirus software and keep your subscription active. Make sure you are creating strong passwords and that you regularly change them to keep hackers guessing. Finally, running a simple virus scan every now and then will help you determine just how safe your system is.
2. Upgrade storage.
Since computers do not normally process all the data they have at once, storage allows for long-term data access and comes in the form of a hard drive or solid state drive (SSD), which is an internal flash drive that retains data even when there is no power present. Though storage does not need to be as quick as memory (discussed below), there needs to be a lot more of it to keep all of your photos, files and documents in one place. The amount of storage your computer has determines its speed and ability to load applications and save files.
3. Upgrade memory.
Revamping your computer’s memory not only will save time and money, but you also lengthen your computer’s lifespan. Memory (or DRAM), is the component within your computer that provides short-term data access to run multiple applications at once. Computer memory upgrades, which tend to start out at around $50 apiece, can drastically improve computer speed and help lengthen the life of the overall computer system. When your computer has more memory, it can run more applications at once and your employees can perform tasks more efficiently. Although 2GB of RAM may have been sufficient two years ago, it likely is not a sufficient amount to meet your needs today. While relatively inexpensive, storage and memory upgrades can go a long way in feeding you the information you need, when you need it.
4. Practice good computer hygiene.
Computers perform better when they are physically healthy. To prevent overheating, be strategic in thinking about where in the restaurant your computer system is located. You can easily keep your system cool by removing obstacles that prevent proper ventilation and by allowing two to three open inches on either side and along the back. While your computer’s fans can cool down the system, dirt and dust get trapped internally, slowing down the fans. Give your computer a thorough cleaning two or three times a year with either a small vacuum or compressed air to keep things running like new.
Combined, these simple and quick techniques can preserve the life of any computer. However, it is always a good idea to back up all of the important information on your existing system. These computer hardware and software fixes will ultimately save you money, freeing up resources to be spent on what matters most—providing an exceptional dining experience for your customers.
Brad Harding, a tech guru at Crucial.com, has been dabbling in computers and technology for upwards of 10 years.