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Business owners and staff alike know how dynamic and ever-changing the restaurant industry is. New QSR systems are being introduced all the time, whether it’s a new way to take orders, a new software to help with inventory, or a new CRM to help with customer management.
And with technology becoming an ever-increasing part of our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise that restaurants are turning to new and innovative ways to streamline their business and increase efficiency.
However, as with any change, there can be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to choosing the best system and onboarding staff to it. There are also plenty of challenges, such as getting buy-in from those who may be resistant to change or who are already comfortable with the way things are.
Nonetheless, new systems do work, and they can be very beneficial to a business—if they’re done right. Here are a few keys to successfully overhauling your systems, and onboarding your staff:
You will know when your current system isn’t quite doing what you need it to, or if you are starting to feel the pain points of inefficiencies. Maybe you’re constantly getting complaints from customers about long wait times, or you’re wasting too much food because of inaccurate inventory.
Whatever the reason, don’t wait to get started on finding a new system. Sue Foley, Head of Growth at Op Central says transitioning to a new system only becomes more of a task the longer you leave it and the problems you’re having now won’t just go away on their own. If you're hesitant to switch because you're worried about the cost or time investment, consider how much you're already spending on inefficiencies. The long game is important.
There are a lot of options out there, and it can be overwhelming to try and figure out which one is the best fit for your business. That’s why it’s important to do your research and seek out the advice of experts.
Get recommendations from other business owners and industry peers, or look for online reviews. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options, reach out to each company and schedule a demo or free trial. And finally, read the fine print—especially when it comes to contracts and pricing.
Don’t just wing it—have a solid plan in place for how you will get company buy-in, and how you will eventually introduce the new system and train your staff on it. Make sure you have all the necessary materials and resources ready to go, such as user manuals, system tutorials, or even outside training if needed.
“Don’t dive headfirst and pick the first system you see. Do your due diligence and research! Your choice of vendor will be a long-term partner in your business. Your planning shouldn’t just cover what the software can do now and into the future, but also what an integration plan looks like, how your business values align and how their support teams will work with you. You want a long-term plan and relationship with a business that understands you and your needs. This part of the plan is critical.” Foley said.
Be upfront and clear with your staff from the get-go. Clearly outline the specifics of the new system, what it will do, how it will affect your staff and how it will benefit the business as a whole. Make sure to include your staff in your goals and involve them in the decision-making process whenever possible - after all, they’re likely going to be using the new system every day.
It’s also important to communicate any changes to procedures or protocols that will be necessary with the new system. These will serve as a guide for everyone on the proper use of the new system. Foley says that you should also assign a system expert, who will be responsible for checking in on everyone’s progress and usage of the system, including misuse.
In order to get your staff on board with a new system, it’s important to make the experience fun and positive. Gamification is a great way to do this. By incorporating elements of fun and competition, you can make the process of learning and using a new system more enjoyable for your staff. Foley says that “you can celebrate top performers’ use of the system by giving them a shout-out, a badge for their system profile, or a small reward.”
Training is an ongoing process. We would all love it if training ended after that first week, but ongoing training is extremely important not just for maintaining internal and external standards, but for staff development too.
It’s important to have a plan in place for ongoing training, whether that’s regular check-ins, setting up a help desk or ticketing system, or even offering incentives for employees who complete additional training.
Last but not least, it’s important to evaluate how the new system is working and make adjustments as necessary. After all, no system is perfect and there will always be room for improvement.
Regular check-ins with staff and customers can help you identify any areas that need improvement. And don’t forget to celebrate successes along the way—a new system is a big accomplishment for any business!
To learn more about how Op Central can help you with your business operations, visit our website or contact us today for a live demo at 1800 954 145.
This article was first published in QSR Media