Common Efficiency Gaps at Restaurants (and How to Fix Them)

Even if you own a thriving restaurant, you likely have your pain points. Here are some of the most griped-about restaurant industry issues and how to fix them.

Administrative black holes

You don’t open a restaurant because you love handling payroll, but administrative tasks are often what eat up your time. That’s because so many systems are clunky and disparate, forcing business owners to log in to several different programs to do things like payroll, timecards, and sales reporting.

It’s a gripe we hear often from restaurant owners doing payroll themselves, including Karen of Copper Top Pub before she switched over to Square. “I used to have to go through three different logins to get different reports, then spend hours making sense of them,” she says. She’s now centralized these things with Square — including utilizing our tool to let employees clock in and out. Since switching over, she says she’s reduced the time she used to spend on reporting and payroll by 80 percent.

When things are moving at the speed of light, it’s often hard for restaurant owners to take a step back and look at the larger picture. But it’s crucial to help you identify areas that are going well — and those that need some attention. That’s where data comes in. At a minimum, things like sales reports should help you figure out your current state of affairs. But they’re also a tool that can help you make important decisions on everything from your business hours to restaurant costs, inventory and even your expansion strategy. “The numbers don’t lie,” says Daniel Garland, owner of Indian Gardens Cafe and Market. “We considered shutting down breakfast. But Square data showed how important that time is to the business.”

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Staffing appropriately

When you first open a restaurant, you might have had a good handle on how many people you needed to schedule during certain slots. You also probably knew your top-performing employees — who were your likely go-tos during particularly important times. But as your business grows and expands, it’s near impossible to stay on top of all these things at every location. Instead, it’s easier (and smarter) to rely on the numbers to help you identify your best salespeople and busiest times. That’s where Square can help. “You can see who is selling the most on the register,” says Jace LaValle of the family-owned Yo! Taco, who checks sales performance in Square Dashboard. “Our best salespeople are going to get the busiest hours.”

Workflow lags and errors

The time it takes to get a ticket from the counter or the table to the kitchen can be incredibly inefficient (especially when it gets lost in the shuffle). And with these types of inefficiencies come fewer sales. Smart technology will help speed things up. Yo! Taco, for example, was able to cut prep times in half when it started taking orders on Square Stand and integrating with a Fresh KDS kitchen display. Copper Top Pub manages busy nights by having a server take orders on an iPad mini and send them directly to the kitchen from the table, increasing orders by 20 percent since implementing this strategy.

Complicated, outdated systems

Outdated, sluggish systems can slow you down big time. That includes not only your POS but also your software for managing all your logistics. “Some of the systems we were using were taking years to release new features,” says Karen of Copper Top Pub. “And we had no control over the systems at all.” Having the latest software technology in one centralized system is crucial to running a tight ship. Square has the tools you need to take care of it all. You can also hook up 21 different business apps to your Square account (like Intuit QuickBooks, Weebly, and Fresh KDS) in Square App Marketplace to help you streamline operations.

Running a business is no easy feat, but Square is here to help. We have all the tools you need to start, run, and grow your business, whether you’re selling in person, online, or both. And we’ve made all our tools to work together as one system, saving you time and money — and making decisions easier. So you can get back to doing the work you love and focusing on whatever’s next. See how Square works.


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