Running Restaurants is Getting Harder – Part 2

To read part one click here

Food trucks are another segment of the industry that have prospered from wireless technology. Until recently it was incredibly expensive to take mobile credit card payments. Now it’s comparable to hardwired credit card payments. Mobile technology has made it easier for food trucks to service customers.

It used to be the only place you saw food trucks were construction sites and fairs where cash was the only form of payment taken. Now they are parked in high rent districts right next to brick and mortar restaurants for the cost of parking.

Not to mention food trucks who tweet their specials and locations throughout the day, can come to customers and can create rushes outside of normal dining periods maximizing sales time and their mobile advantage.

Technology is changing the industry. Depending on what side of some of these issues you’re on will determine if you think it is good or bad. For every manager that embraces new technology and can implement and run their businesses more efficiently, there is a Dinosaur Manager, who is finding it tougher to compete and make money.

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The one thing that is for certain is that restaurant industry isn’t an industry anymore where you go to work because you want to avoid technology. Restaurant managers need to be tech savvy, or they are going to have a hard time finding the really good positions.

With all of these things happening simultaneously it can feel overwhelming to say the least. How do you move forward, stay competitive, do everything you need to do while you have customers in your location every day.

Not doing anything and hiding from reality is not the answer. It is by far the easiest way to proceed up until the day you shut down your location and lay off all of your employees.

Making decisions off of incomplete data isn’t an option either. We live in the world where data is available to us, and we have to use it to make smart decisions and not react in a knee-jerk manner.

For instance raising prices significantly above competitors in the market just because protein prices are increasing could be a quick fix for food cost but hurt sales and anger customers. Remember, social media, Yelp reviews, will expose knee jerk reactions for all to see.

The most successful restaurants are developing restaurant operations systems that are repeatable and flexible, which allow you to make data-driven decisions. For you technophobes, this is going to require you to start using technology to help.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Food cost and rising commodity prices. We recently saw a demo of a tool, ChefMetric, that is a quick and easy food cost calculator. You add your order guide and recipes to the system, and you can easily calculate your food cost and what you should be charging at different food cost percentages.

Knowing your plate cost in an environment where there is a lot of commodity fluctuation will allow you to make adjustments to portion sizes and core ingredients quickly and easily. Take that one step further and maybe leave cuts and sizes off of menu descriptions, let your waiters give those answers, so you can make adjustments without having to reprint menus when you do.


  • Today’s Description: A delicious 10oz NY Strip sliced to….
  • New Description: A delicious USDA Prime Steak sliced to….

To read part 3 click here

Check out this short video to learn more about OpsAnalitica

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Tommy Yionoulis

I've been in the restaurant industry for most of my adult life. I have a BSBA from University of Denver Hotel Restaurant school and an MBA from the same. When I wasn't working in restaurants I was either doing stand-up comedy, for 10 years, or large enterprise software consulting. I'm currently the Managing Director of OpsAnalitica and our Inspector platform was originally conceived when I worked for one of the largest sandwich franchisors in the country. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn.

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