Trend of the Month: April 2014

01 Apr, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Customer Facing Technology growing in popularity within the Food Service Industry

technology at the table

According to an October 2013 study by the National Restaurant Association, we are seeing the growth of consumers’ acceptance and use of customer facing technology within the Food Service Industry. According to the study 63% adults use restaurant-related technology to order, make reservations and pay their bill via smart phones. Some restaurants and bars are now going one step further to offer quests tech gadgets at the table to enhance their experience. Chili’s National Restaurant recently ran a 5 month test with table technology for guests to order, pay and play $0.99 games while they wait. The results — 20% increase in sales.

We have already seen some basic recent new technologies for purchasing with credit cards in small businesses. This trend will quickly trickle down to restaurants.

Forecasters from Forbes have put together a list of technologies that they expect to see gaining popularity in restaurants:

  1. Touchscreen kiosks for placing & customizing orders
  2. Mobile ordering applications
  3. Tabletop tablets for ordering and paying
  4. Digital games and entertainment at the table
  5. Mobile apps rewarding customers for loyalty and increasing social media interactions
  6. Mobile-pay apps to pay from a smart phone or tablet
  7. Mobile apps for loyalty/reward programs
  8. Apps for virtual giving and donations – allowing a portion of the guests bill to be donated to charity

As technology based applications quickly become the norm in providing a high level of customer experience in restaurants, we will also see an increase in technology to advance the behind the scenes aspects of your restaurants and bars. There are many options for scheduling employees that offer different benefits, however unless you are using What Time Do I online scheduling software, you are wasting time and money. What Time Do I online scheduling software simplifies the scheduling process by storing employee availability, preferences, skills and contact information in the program for easy access when creating schedules. Additionally the software offers real-time labor calculations, automatic overtime and conflict alerts, as well as communication features allowing your employees to own their schedules.

Try our scheduling software free for the next 30 days and see how much time and money you can save!

The Top 3 traits of the Most Successful Bar and Restaurant Managers!

26 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Managers of bars and restaurants have a long laundry list of responsibilities that are integral to the success of their business; the most successful managers excel these 3 areas:

  • Relationship with coworkers
  • Customer service
  • Attention to detail

In this blog article we will review what makes a successful manager.

Your customers’ first impression of your business is when they first step foot into your business. However it is the full experience including the food, service and atmosphere that remains with the customer long after they leave. Managers play a very important role in providing your customers with the best experience.

Relationship with employees:

  1. Treat employees with respect and remember to give good feedback – without a dedicated and supporting staff, your manager and business cannot be successful
  2. Give staff clear instructions – managers maintain the consistency in customer experience and clearly instruct employees about processes and policies. If there are changes that your staff is not aware of, customers can get a bad impression of your business
  3. Maintain a high quality staff  –   managers must support and praise the hardest workers, while weeding out the employees that aren’t performing (most importantly a manager should never discipline an employee in front of customers)
  4. Be a leader and set an example – managers must follow the same set of rules and policies as your entire staff without exceptions

 Relationship with customers:

  1. Meet and greet – businesses can only improve if they solicit customer feedback and respond immediately to all feedback to ensure that customers feel as though their feedback is valuable
  2. Respect that each customer will have their own opinions – while it might not be true that the customers are always right, managers should look to resolve any situations without argument or insinuating that the customer might be wrong
  3. Ensure that all customers leave happy – word of mouth marketing is very powerful, especially when the feedback isn’t too great, managers must remember this and strive to ensure that no customers leave unhappy

Attention to Business:

  1. Attention to detail in all aspects of the business – managers must have an understanding of what is going on in the back and front of house, to set expectations and handle any potential problems before they become a problem
  2. Do not ignore problems – managers should know inventory levels as well as any issues with equipment to ensure that speedy repairs to help provide each customer with the same high level service
  3. Efficiently manage day to day tasks – managers are responsible for all scheduling of their staff, and the pros use online employee scheduling software like What Time Do I, that records time-off requests and provides automatic alerts for scheduling conflicts and overtime hours to help manage labor costs.

Try What Time Do I today and get your first 30 days free with our no obligation free trial (you don’t even have to enter a credit card to start scheduling).

The History of Restaurants and 20 Fun Facts:

04 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Today restaurants are an integral part of our everyday lives and our social interactions, but have you ever wondered where they started? Did you know that they first appeared in Rome and China and slowly spread throughout the world? The origins came from travelers on long trips when it was not possible to transport food on these longer journeys

Restaurants made their first appearance in ancient Roman and Chinese cities as a place for travels to get a quick meal in cities and in countryside inns. Countryside inns offered guest simple meals at regular times, there were no menus or options; it was simply based on what the chef had and wanted to serve for each meal.

In medieval times most inns and taverns continued offering meals to travelers, however they began to offer options of common foods found in most peasants’ homes at the time also. During this time specialty guilds began to come to light, made of commoners who would offer cooked meals for sale. At this time if you were not a member of the guild it was illegal to sell cooked meat, up until the end of the French Revolution.

During this time and up until the end of the French Revolution royals and aristocrats began having personal chefs in their homes as an added luxury. Once the French Revolution ended these personal chefs found themselves out of work. Chefs in Paris began to establish restaurants and the practice of fine dining became popular.  They offered extensive menus with prix fixe and a la carte options, fine dining slowly became a fine art. Restaurants really began to take off with the invention of steamers, railroads and automobiles and the popularity of eating away from home.

Fun Facts:

  1. “Restaurant” is a French term that originally described rich bouillons, served at taverns to restore spirits and relieve aliments
  2. The restaurant industry is the largest employer in the USA, with almost all restaurant employees currently considered “part-time employees”
  3. Almost 40% of all Americans have worked in a restaurant at least once during their life
  4. The world’s largest restaurant is Bamwabet Dimashq Restaurant in Syria with 6,014 available seats
  5. The world’s oldest restaurant is Botin Restaurant located in Madrid, Spain which was established in 1725
  6. The oldest restaurant in the United States, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is The Oyster House in Boston, established in 1826
  7. The most expensive hamburger is currently served at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; it is the Fleur de Lys and costs $5,000
  8. Currently Americans spend more than $2,500 eating away from home
  9. On average Americans eat out an average of 3 times a week
  10. Houston has the highest number of people who eat out 4 or more times a week
  11. Russia has the lowest number of people worldwide that eat in at restaurants
  12. On Valentine’s Day Americans spend almost $8 Million in restaurants
  13. Daily Americans eat more than 100 acres of pizza
  14. In Japan there is no custom of tipping servers
  15. The cities for the worst tippers in the United States are San Francisco and Seattle. New Orleans has the best tippers in the United States
  16. Most restaurants offer perks and rewards to customers who will sit in the most undesirable seats in the house, such as by the kitchen
  17. The slowest day for most restaurants: Monday
  18. The busiest day for most restaurants: Saturday
  19. Friday is the second busiest day for restaurants
  20. Scheduling is the number one frustration in the restaurant industry, but it doesn’t have to be. What Time Do I offers the future of scheduling by reducing the time you spend creating & dealing with schedules by 75%, with automatic scheduling conflict alerts, and much more. Forget trying to remember the scheduling preferences of your employees and let the system display that information on the schedule for you.

Click here to sign up for our 30 day no obligation free trial.


Why should you pick Online Employee Scheduling Software? Part 3: Benefits for Staff

14 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In this third piece to our series, we will review the benefits offered to your employees by following our newest client Tom, whose company just began using What Time Do I staff scheduling. His story matches the story of countless employees whose companies are now using our software.

In the past, there had been many issues around who was approved for time off requests after multiple employees had requested the same day off.  Employees would complain that one co-worker always was given the day off, and oftentimes there were arguments about who submitted their request first. To make matters worse the old system of leaving a note on the manager’s door was problematic at best. All too often employees complained because the scheduler never got the Post-It notes that were left on the door. It seems that between this and simply forgetting requests, the scheduler constantly had to update the shift schedule. This left Tom, and his fellow employees, feeling like they never really knew when exactly they were expected to be working.

Right away Tom saw the added benefits of What Time Do I online scheduling software, simply with the availability of the schedule. Usually, Tom would call in each Monday and hope to reach an employee who could run to the schedule, and read him his upcoming shifts. Now, Tom simply logs into the program from home and checks his schedule. He can also see who else is working, and if a last minute change comes up, he can swap shifts.

Late one Monday night, Tom couldn’t remember what time his shift started the next day. Luckily, because his schedules are now posted online, Tom was able to review his schedule and to his pleasure realized that he didn’t have to be at work until late morning (allowing him a few more precious moments of sleep).

There were many other benefits that Tom noticed right away:  fewer revisions to the schedule each week, and with the ability to enter and log requests for time off in the system, a record of who took days off. He also loved how he could set up alerts for upcoming shifts, so that he always knew what time he had to be at work. Recently, Tom felt that he had not been getting many prime shifts and that he had asked the scheduler for, however there were no records of past schedules to look at. Within a month of using What Time Do I, the scheduler and Tom were able to look over the history of the schedules to ensure that in the future, everyone was getting not only an even number of shifts, but also an equal number of prime shifts.

To learn how What Time Do I can help your business, Click Here and try our no obligation 30 day free trial (we won’t even ask for a credit card!)

The secret to getting new patrons is spelled “F-U-N”

03 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Your restaurant is unique, with a style all its own. You’ve worked hard to create an atmosphere that welcomes patrons to spend some time eating good food, relaxing at the bar with a martini or glass of wine, and enjoying the company of friends.

But you’re well aware that your restaurant is not the only game in town. You vie for patrons with many other establishments in your general area. And while you have a large number of loyal locals, you need to attract new patrons from other areas of town who want to do more than just eat and run—but to eat, drink, and hang out for the evening. This is the best way to ensure your restaurant’s long-term success.

So what do you do to attract more patrons?  How about turning part of your bar area into a game area? You can place ads in the local newspapers and online, and hang a funky sign in the doorway that proclaims, “Game Room,” with a hand pointing to the new game zone. While the older crowd might have little interest in pool, younger folks will be delighted to spend their money on pool, darts, cocktails and appetizers—and you’ll be happy with your new patrons and profitable venture.

You can expand on the “fun” theme by adding activities like trivia nights, comedians, musicians and other “bar” games such as darts. Trivia nights are sweeping the nation and bringing large crowds to bars. Many patrons will remember happy days in college, when their on-site bar sponsored a weekly darts league. They’ll fondly reminisce about the Thursday nights they spent with dozens of students and friends, vying for the top spot on the leader board. Like many restaurants, pubs, and bars, your games atmosphere has the potential for huge success—not only in terms of bringing in new clientele, but also in significantly boosting bar revenue.

At the end of the day, you’ll benefit not only from excellent earnings, but also dozens of new and frequent patrons looking for good food, good drinks, and a good time. So the moral of the story is, “To get patrons to spend more time—and money—at your establishment, you don’t have to spend a lot of money—just spend it on things that spell F-U-N.”

Don’t forget that What Time Do I scheduling software can assign duties and tasks to your staff to ensure that all patrons receive excellent customer service and that you bar is adequately staffed at all times. You can try it out free for 30 days!