Opening a restaurant in Canada or anywhere in the world is hard. Keeping it open is a matter of balancing consumer preferences with operational costs. Technology has been cooked up in the kitchen and is being brought out to the dining area. These high-tech options help you control costs, increase creativity and provide guests with a better dining experience.
Better Food Control Means Less Waste
Keeping coolers at the perfect temperature impacts food spoilage and your utility bills. Temp Trak is being used in many commercial kitchens to monitor all of their hot and cold holding areas, notes Cnet. Sensors are placed throughout the unit which send the temperature status wirelessly to a computer system. You can then see the temperature fluctuations for each unit. Set alarms to tell you when a temperature threshold has been reached, such as a cooler door being propped open letting cool air escape.
To save space in coolers, commercial kitchens are using the latest in vacuum packaging technology. Units, like those from Pleasant Hill Grain, let you package sliced fruits and vegetables, meats, chicken, fish and even sauces in easy-to-open packets. This allows you to do more food prep ahead of time and store bulk purchases in less space.
Equipment Maintenance and Repair
Keeping track of the warranties and maintenance schedules for all of your kitchen equipment is a challenge if you don’t have an app like Warranty Tracker. With this app you can record the purchase date and serial number information when an item is purchased, maintain service center information and set a reminder when the item goes out of warranty. Don’t risk having a commercial mixer fail a week after the warranty expires. Have equipment near their end-of-service date inspected to see how much more life you can squeeze out.
Your Canadian business must keep up with the Employment Standards Act and the Pay Equity Act, reminds Food.ca. Regulations governing payroll differ between provinces. Using integrated accounting software like QuickBooks helps you manage the details. Cloud-based systems let you work from anywhere on your laptop, tablet or mobile device. You’ll have 24/7 access to your employee reporting.
Cloud-based employee scheduling systems, such as ShiftBoard, give you control over employee shift information from your smartphone or tablet. Employees can check their schedules online, holding them more responsible for showing up. You can control how much information employees see by their role in your company.
Managing your menu can be equally challenging, says Canada Business because of the variability of food costs and expenses. Tools such as Open Menu give you a way to build and maintain menus that play with your website and integrate into your social media channels. You can create specialty menus for different times of the day, week or month and have them automatically updated on a schedule. Print the menus or give customers access on their mobile devices.
The Power of the Tablet
Tablets have made their way into many areas of the restaurant. Professional mounts for iPads let you prop them up in the kitchen to help with recipes, inventory control and cooking checklists, says The Next Web. They can also be used by the dining room hostess who can carry a tablet with them as they do their walk through to estimate customer wait times manage reservations.
Tablets are being experimented with in self-ordering situations where a customer is seated and can browse the menu and place their order all by themselves. Some places use an order kiosk so customers in line can place their order on the tablet then go to the counter to pick it up.
Payment options are increased and time is saved by allowing customers to pay from a house tablet brought to them by the waitstaff or from their own mobile device. Services like NetWaiter integrate the menu and payment into a single app that runs on all mobile devices.