Back-office software has been around for a long time. So long in fact that there is a lot of legacy software out there that can hold operators back from efficiency gains as they grow.
In the 2020 Hospitality Technology study, 39% of operators felt held back by legacy systems, including software and hardware.
Employee adoption of tools for spend and cutting costs is a critical and often overlooked key performance indicator for procurement. When employee adoption is low, procurement value is limited.
For enterprises, the combination of aging technology and process adoption has five primary business consequences:
Mobility is Required
Today’s restaurant managers are digital natives. That makes mobile solutions table stakes for attracting and retaining the best talent. They need the ability to manage inventory on the move. Whether counting, receiving or adjusting an order, enable managers to access inventory insights from anywhere and resolve discrepancies on the spot.
Mobility is also vital for worker productivity. Again, from the HT study, where productivity was considered a strategic goal, the majority (62%) of operators believe mobile devices are essential. While productivity across other industries has steadily increased over the years, labour productivity in food service has grown just 11.7%. Meanwhile, labor cost increases in restaurants are outpacing the rest of the economy. In other words, automation and mobility for managers can make or break your margins.
Usability increases Adoption and Speeds up Onboarding
Most mature back-office solutions were built to satisfy the needs of the corporate office only. Above store reporting, financial analysis – these functions were primary drivers of back-office purchases, leaving the store-level managers who have local market knowledge critical to decision-making to figure out an outdated tool with confusing workflows.
Let’s face it, this is an Apple-designed world, and we are just living in it. When procurement systems are intuitive and familiar to your managers, training is more straightforward, adoption comes naturally, and manager productivity equals a strong investment return and a better customer experience.
Integrated Systems offer a Single Source of Truth.
Today’s hospitality businesses operate a myriad of systems, systems, with some brands using anywhere from 10 to 30 different technologies in-house. There are independent systems for point-of-sale, scheduling, training, payroll, inventory management, marketing, and more.
The sheer amount of technology is a reaction to monolithic back-office software that lacked functionality. In the race to automate every function, hospitality businesses have lost a vital benefit of advanced systems — streamlined performance.
The lack of technology consolidation has put operations at a disadvantage in multiple ways, including the time managers waste logging into and out of numerous systems every day.
Disconnected technology stacks are also costly to maintain. This is one of the biggest obstacles restaurants face in optimizing operations and day-to-day key performance metrics, such as the daily cost of sales, labour, and goods.
The solution lies in moving from multiple disconnected systems to a connected technology stack that functions as a “one-stop-shop” — providing managers with centralised access to a whole range of data locked within each system.
Trust in the System
Restaurant forecasting is a complex and error-prone process. More often than not, operators rely on gut instinct to staff and order products rather than trust a computer-generated or an above-store-driven forecast. Manager inexperience can impact a store’s profitability and the ability to predict sales and product needs. Manager turnover amplifies this problem because they take with them the store- specific knowledge gained over their tenure.
The accuracy of orders, production, and waste management also improve overtime when a unified forecast is used for all back-office functions, facilitating coordinated labor and product decisions. For example, suggested ordering with clearly stated forecast rationale prevents managers from making assumptions, lowering the potential for waste or over/under ordering.
Modern back-office systems should offer a simple user interface and present contextual data so that managers understand the rationale for forecast adjustments, building trust in the results over time. It also should acknowledge the manager’ localized knowledge and the role that plays in successful demand planning. They should be able to adapt the forecast to account for exceptions – weather, large catering order, etc., preserving institutional knowledge while highlighting each store’s unique characteristics.
Over time, they will understand how daily decisions impact the top and bottom line, leading to a greater feeling of success, job satisfaction, and adoption rates throughout the organization. As the restaurant business continues to go through significant disruption due to technology, consumer preference, and the rising cost of labor, the ability to predict performance is more critical than ever.
Adoption is the Key to Technology ROI
Manager adoption is key to back-office implementation success. A robust training program and attention to change management can be the difference between success and failure. Suppose today’s digital-native workforce continues to rely on antiquated systems, disconnected technology, and manual, decentralized processes. In that case, the cost of product, labor, inaccurate and rogue ordering will hold operators back and limit the opportunity for scale.
When it is time to consider upgrading your back-office system, ensure that you involve your workforce in the decision and that you choose a partner who can scale with your business. Give your managers the tools they need to succeed, and they will return that gift to you with retention and operational excellence
To learn more about what you can do about large, disconnected technology stacks’ that are expensive to operate and leave managers overwhelmed with data read our guide on Reducing back-office complexities through consolidation, visibility and effective data management.