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The Restaurant Toolbox

The Restaurant Toolbox

Jamie Popp | Monster Contributing Writer

As a restaurant manager, you’re expected to meet the daily challenges of running a restaurant head on and fight daily fires quickly and efficiently. The speed at which business occurs in a restaurant, along with the tight profit margins, means every move counts. Myriad technology solutions exist to reduce costs and streamline an operation. From back-of-the-house software that will manage purchasing, inventory, forecasting, recipes and menu planning to pagers, Web sites and two-way radios, it pays to know what resources are available to make your job easier — and the restaurant more profitable.

Restaurant managers need to know what resources are available to help them reach upper executive status and efficiently handle the day-to-day business. Employers also expect candidates applying for the position to know how to analyze reports and data to make quick business decisions.

“There are three different areas of focus for technology in a restaurant environment,” says Robert Grimes, chairman and chief executive officer at Accuvia, a technology consulting firm for the hospitality industry based in Potomac, Maryland. “There are point-of-sale systems that track items sold and volume. There are back-office solutions that monitor inventory, payroll and menu costing, among others. Finally, a restaurant manager has tools for marketing the business such as Web sites, e-marketing, loyalty programs and gift cards as well as reservations.”

Managers can control the food and labor costs, Grimes says. As much as 60 percent of profits are tied to how well you manage workers and food. So when going into an interview, it’s important you know what tools are available to increase your likelihood of success, he says.

For instance, some programs will tell a manager when to let people leave early during a slow shift to avoid profit losses. Some systems help managers oversee part-time workers to decrease overtime pay and account for underage employees, who may not be able to work in any position or have restricted hours.