The restaurant industry has adopted tech in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years, but adoption has been unevenly distributed. According to the National Restaurant Association, only 1 in 10 restaurant operators believe their establishment is leading edge of tech adoption across the board. The most common areas for tech and restaurants to partner up on are Point of Sale systems, websites, and wi-fi distribution. Restaurant owners and operation managers are so focused on tech which has a direct effect on their bottom line, they often overlook opportunities elsewhere on the value chain.
One often overlooked, but crucial area is vendor/buyer communication. You need to communicate with your vendors and the potential for efficiency that lies within your buyer/vendor relationship. This is an untapped source for increased revenue. Whether you’re running a restaurant or operating a supply chain, establishing a strong operational channel between you and your vendor/buyer opens the door to enhanced efficiency in:
- Quality of service
- Order accuracy
It’s common practice for restaurant vendors to develop their own app to be pushed on their buyers to help streamline ordering, inventory, and payment processing. These vendor apps are rarely developed intuitively and are generally focused on creating efficiencies for the vendor, not the restaurant or end-user. For that reason, finding apps to benefit all parties in the supply chain can be a tricky proposition.
Here are three apps which exist solely to help improve the relationships between all parties – restaurants, vendors, and buyers:
1. Food Safety Test Prep**: Even if you aren’t preparing for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination, the American Food Safety Institute Food Manager Examination or the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Certified Food Safety Professional Examination, this app will do wonders for you and your buyer’s/vendor’s understanding of food safety and compliance. It’s imperative to educate yourself on the rules and regulations in regards to food safety in this industry and the Food Safety Test Prep app provides a one stop shop for compliance information. Food safety also plays a leading role in minimizing food waste, a topic that is expected to continue trending through 2017. Want to keep your buyer/vendor relationship airtight? Educate yourself on food safety procedures to avoid as many product recalls as possible.
2. Outlook: Email has been the cornerstone of business communication for decades now. Outlook grew to become the #1 email app on the market – and for good reason. Outlook automatically organizes your inbound emails into categories based on importance and relevance, which pushes spam and automatic messages to the bottom while pulling time-sensitive emails to the top of your inbox. The app also automatically works with your calendar for side by side scheduling with your emails. This way, an urgent email from a restaurant group or your supplier will reach you when it needs to instead of getting lost.
3. BlueCart: If you want to rely less on emails altogether then procurement systems such as BlueCart are a great way to maintain your personal buyer/vendor relationships while simultaneously increasing ordering and inventory efficiency. BlueCart does away with email dependency and instead allows buyers and vendors to run leaner inventories by eliminating the need for recording back of the house operations manually. BlueCart users were proven to have 5 times less returned orders, order inventory twice as fast, and reduce food waste by over half. Taking away the need for daily and weekly emails to your buyers or vendors saves you time to spend on other areas of your business. Fewer returned orders means more smiles, and when you’re talking about a long-term business relationship there’s nothing more important than buyer/vendor satisfaction.
The common goal from the apps listed above is taking everyday systems and streamlining them to make you more productive. As we usher in 2017, restaurants and suppliers are evaluating their current systems and whether they have the best operational solutions moving forward. Ask yourself “is my buyer/vendor relationship as good as it can be?”, if not, evaluating the tools you’re using to run your business is the first step to starting 2017 on the right foot.