Restaurants are built of complex systems for buying, storing, preparing and selling food. The well-being of a restaurant depends on its management information systems, which coordinate everything from scheduling personnel to customer service. Restaurant management information systems should make a restaurant more profitable as well as a better place for customers to eat.
Point of Sale Systems
Every restaurant needs a strategy for taking orders, delivering information to the kitchen and charging customers for their food. These systems can be as simple as handwritten notes or as complicated as computer systems that send orders to the kitchen and tally sales for each server. Simple systems are less prone to technical difficulties, but they cannot process information as efficiently as smoothly functioning computer systems. Restaurant point of sale systems should also include infrastructure for processing credit card payments.
Restaurants depend on communicating information between different divisions, such as servers relaying orders to kitchen staff and kitchen staff letting servers know that their orders are ready. In addition, restaurant communication systems should enable staff to connect finished meals with the customers who ordered them, and convey details about special requests and special needs. Restaurant management must also develop information systems for communicating with both the front and the back of the house about issues such as low stock on particular menu items or ingredients.
Human Resources Management Systems
Staffing a restaurant can be tricky because demand for food will likely fluctuate dramatically, often due to variables that you cannot track. Identify any variables you do observe that influence traffic in your restaurant, such as weather and day of the week. Build a weekly schedule to staff your restaurant in accordance with these variables, such as scheduling additional staff on Saturday night if that is your busiest shift. Compile data about sales and employee hours to determine a profitable ratio of employee hours to sales totals. Restaurant personnel training systems are also vital to success, ensuring that employees know company protocol and systems, and are capable of delivering a high quality product. Write a comprehensive employee manual detailing information that each member of your staff should know.
Financial Management Systems
Restaurant financial management systems should navigate issues of cash flow and keeping track of costs. A restaurant needs sufficient cash flow to buy supplies and pay employees, or it cannot continue to function. In addition, restaurants need to earn profit by controlling costs and maximizing revenue. Restaurant financial management systems should include cash flow projections forecasting income and expenses for upcoming months, and developing strategies to compensate for cash flow shortfalls such as a business line of credit or business credit card.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.