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Kick Apps: 5 tech tools that help operators manage from afar

Off-site management strategies for your restaurant’s day-to-day

New technology means operators can be on an island in the Pacific and still grow their business — as long as there is Wi-Fi.

Before the Internet and smartphones, restaurant operators needed to be present for nearly every move made inside their four walls. Schedules needed approval, deliveries required a signature, and reports demanded a nightly tally by hand. Today, cloud-based technologies help operators stay tethered while managing day-to-day operations from afar.

Here are five tools for off-site management:

Oversee schedules

7Shifts cloud-based scheduling software makes scheduling a snap and opens up all-important lines of communication between staff members through an integrated chat system.

“Managing staff availability and shift changes is one of the most time-consuming tasks for restaurant managers and operators,” said 7Shifts founder and CEO Jordan Boesch. “Using our mobile scheduling apps, employees can check their schedule, submit time-off requests and swap shifts. In turn, managers can approve time-off requests, manage shifts and update the schedule in real time, wherever they are, helping them save time, money and streamline operations to help grow their business.”

Monitor foot traffic

“Motionloft sensors provide accurate vehicle and pedestrian traffic count data, which can be accessed from our online dashboard,” explained Chris Garrison, vice president of business development and sales for Motionloft. “Restaurants can see how much traffic passes by their property as well as how much comes inside. The data allows owners to establish a baseline performance metric that can help them make better staffing decisions, such as adding employees when traffic is at its peak, optimize menu prices to maximize sales, and present targeted marketing advertisements during the times when customers are most likely to see them.”

Track inventory

The Orderly app helps with hands-off inventory management by allowing you to perform a mobile count from any device and automatically updating prices based on your last invoice,” said Joy Ugi, director of marketing at Orderly.

“This eliminates data entry, price lookup, and spreadsheets,” she said. The app will automatically pull cost of goods sold and used by day, eliminating all manual reporting.

“You can schedule regular inventory with alerts so your team never forgets to take inventory, and reports are automatically emailed to you when inventory is completed,” Ugi said.

Create marketing materials on the fly

Operators can create and edit menus, event flyers and social media promotional materials by accessing the cloud at any time with PosterMyWall.

“Approving or updating business graphics from the road is easy because our editor works on PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones — seamlessly,” said Jaffar Haider, co-founder of PosterMyWall. “Team collaboration is part of the PosterMyWall premium subscription service. With no limit on the number of shared folders, restaurant owners can organize projects and let everyone see exactly what they need to see, and contribute to the company's business graphics from anywhere in the world.”

Collect guest data

“Guests expect free Wi-Fi, and Zenreach ensures great guest connectivity while helping merchants collect contact information five times faster, just by offering Wi-Fi,” said Alexandra Kane, director of marketing at Zenreach.

Bar and restaurant owners spend too much time and money trying to understand if their marketing dollars are working, Kane said. Zenreach provides an actual in-store return on investment in their online marketing campaigns, all by plugging in a router. The system greets everyone, thanks everyone and offers specialized rewards, discounts and messages based on that consumer’s behavior.

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