Restaurant automation: 10 ways to accelerate performance

Imagine if you could automate up to 80% of daily routines in your bar or restaurant — and what difference this could make to your bottom line? Let’s explore how it’s achievable.

Hospitality is a ‘people business’. Nothing can change that. The creativity, energy and attention to detail of you and your team is what sets your brand apart.

But let’s be honest here. Much of what happens inside a bar or restaurant isn’t what attracts people to the industry. So many routine tasks are a drain on resources, especially record-keeping.

To stay on top of business, you need accurate data. But record-keeping must rank as one of the most laborious and thankless tasks going, from counting inventory and calculating how much to order, to creating staff schedules and prep plans, plotting sales forecasts and creating reports for investors.

Running at optimal efficiency actually requires something beyond record-keeping. You don’t just need accurate data from across your business … you need it in real-time. And this data then needs to be fed continually into your operation, so one activity can inform another, instantly.

And this is where automation and artificial intelligence comes in.

What is restaurant automation?  

Leaving aside any wonky notions of robots and vending machines, restaurant automation is the business of capturing events as they happen across your operation — with little or no human effort. Then it’s about having a unified system acting on this data to drive its own processes automatically.  

As well as freeing up your team for more valuable tasks, this takes you a huge way towards becoming a self-driving operation. So let’s look briefly at 10 ways this can happen:

#1 Forecasting: Artificial intelligence can use algorithms based on historical data and external events to produce sales forecasts with up to 95% accuracy out-of-the-box.

#2 Prep plans: These can be generated automatically — for morning, evening, or on an hourly basis — following your forecasts.

#3 Supplier orders: These can be created automatically, based on forecasts and delivery schedules. Orders can be sent to suppliers automatically too.

#4 Delivery acceptance: The system will remind managers when deliveries are expected to arrive. As soon as managers confirm acceptance on a smartphone, with any adjustments required, the stock is added automatically to the inventory.

#5 Stock taking: With automation, these can take just 15 minutes a day using a mobile phone. A spot check list is created automatically. The system knows the correct answers already and it will guide staff. It will show managers any discrepancies instantly.

#6 Real-time reporting: Because events are captured as they happen, managers can check sales, stock movements and a whole range of KPIs in real-time — and generate reports right away. 

#7 Staff motivation: Sales and other employee performance metrics can feed instantly into a rewards dashboard to motivate staff.

#8 Automatic write-offs: Any expired products can be written off automatically after a shift closes if required.

#9 Online and mobile ordering: These orders appear automatically in the same system — without any human action required.

#10 Notifications: The system can be your automated back-stop. It’ll prompt employees about upcoming tasks and alert managers if something is going wrong.

The benefits of restaurant automation

With highly-automated processes, your team only needs to think about the nuances and fine-tuning of managing your operation. The basics are all covered.

There are a wealth of business benefits to be gained from restaurant automation. These include improved stock control, reduced waste and having a business that flexes effortlessly with customer demand and market changes. With zero paperwork and minimal system inputting, you can also save hours of valuable staff time and avoid costly human errors.

Overall, you gain outstanding visibility and control over your operation — with trustworthy reports, based on real-time data, rather than relying on out-of-date numbers, guesswork and gut instinct.

More focus on the customer

Increasingly, highly-automated bars and restaurants will stand out because they’ll be operating at optimum levels — and be free to devote more time and energy to the customer.

Restaurant automation is a must-have in today’s digital world. For a single restaurant, it’s a headache solved. For a small network of outlets, it’s a game changer. And for a large chain, automation can deliver a stunning transformation in performance.

Discover more by contacting our team today.