It's a sign of the acceleration of change and the digital revolution: restaurant technology teams just can't deliver technology projects fast enough. This fact was highlighted in the latest Hospitality Technology Restaurant Technology report (2019).
"Delivering technology projects faster is the top challenge for restaurant operators, moving into the number one slot (44%) from fifth (27%) just a year ago. The second top stumbling block restaurant IT teams face is being held back by legacy systems (41%)."
Cloud promises to help solve both of these pains. By design, cloud is flexible, scalable, and anything but legacy.
To stay competitive, restaurant organizations are finding that information technology is one area to easily trim costs without compromising experiences. Reliant on labor scheduling, kitchen, inventory, CRM/marketing, and other systems, in addition to POS, restaurant brands find that the cloud not only delivers these capabilities; it keeps these systems updated, connected, and accessible at any time. Cloud streamlines and transforms many aspects of the restaurant operation. Let’s consider several.
Front and Middle of the House
These days, the digital experience is as much the face of your brand as the people you hire to serve guests. The cloud makes it easier to deploy and integrate emerging digital experiences. This is in contrast with older, legacy systems that required a lot of manual effort to create custom integrations, and almost as much effort to keep them running. Cloud also consolidates data more easily, so you’re not constantly manipulating spreadsheets to understand and use the valuable data that your disparate restaurant systems provide.
Restaurant management software integrated with Point of Sale (POS) gives you total control over your restaurant operation. The software, accessible via the cloud, allows for easy management of the experience and the operation, end to end. With the cloud, you can receive updates to software automatically. If a new organization-wide update rolls out to allow for online reservations, for example, every restaurant in your chain gets it automatically. The cloud benefits the front of the house by making the customer experience flawless.
Back of the House
The cloud can help the back of the house as well: menu, inventory, staff scheduling, even kitchen equipment such as fryers and freezers. With the cloud, for example, your inventory software can alert your supply chain long before the shelf is empty.
Cloud-based scheduling tools not only simplify labor planning; they also make self-service shift changes possible, for example. Need to keep labor costs in line? Cloud staffing software that’s a part of your holistic restaurant management platform (including cloud POS) can also give you insights into sales versus labor costs, and even alert managers remotely on their phone or tablet so they know when your store is hitting a slump and to send someone home early.
Let’s not overlook food cost variance analysis and control. Cloud back of house streamlines access to the insights that help store, district/regional, and corporate managers see up-to-date data and—more importantly—take action in a timely manner.
Cloud-powered back-of-house solutions like Xenial Back Office (also known as RTIconnect) are simple to use at the store level with essential, actionable information for the operator, yet very data-rich for above-store users, ‘above the house’. Which brings us to the next area of the restaurant to benefit from the cloud.
Above the House
The restaurant with insights and foresight wins in the digital age. Store reporting was good; cloud reporting is better. That’s because owners, managers, regional supervisors, and corporate can (1) access this information from anywhere and (2) see more than just what’s happening in an individual store.
Regional managers can get data from multiple restaurant locations on demand with far less manual intervention and far fewer errors than manually compiling emailed spreadsheets. Are customers buying a certain type of menu item in certain regions of the country? Is the LTO taking off or flatlining? Were the upsell contest incentives you gave your counter staff effective? When minutes and hours make a competitive difference, wouldn’t you want this kind of data access at your fingertips?
Want to improve profitability? Again, information is your friend, especially if it is timely, accurate, and easy to access. This is another area cloud shines. Cloud combines, consolidates, and delivers important data so you can adjust your tactics, including pricing, based on what happened moments ago – not last week. Plus, thanks to the cloud, managing stores remotely is possible via solutions such as Xenial Mobile Manager. See sales numbers, act quickly if you notice excessive voids, and see trends without being at the store.
Beyond the House
Go above and beyond what a typical restaurant organization CIO can do with traditional server rooms and aging hardware. If you want to expand your restaurant empire, one-up your competitor's marketing, or reach into new zip codes, you can use the cloud as a vehicle, with its rapid scalability. Roll out large-scale marketing campaigns across each location with ease. Expand with a mobile app to allow for mobile ordering, integrated loyalty/rewards/wallet/ePay, delivery, and more. When you realize the opportunities that the cloud enables, it’s easier to think big, and support the big aspirations of your brand.
Time to Move to the Cloud
Cloud solutions benefit nearly every part and touchpoint of the restaurant enterprise, delivering benefits from the front of the house to the back and beyond. Xenial offers technology solultions for every area of the restaurant, all from a single provider. You'll find Xenial solutions in over 51,000 restaurants and 110,000 merchants worldwide.