“From Kitchen automation to sophisticated staff and operations management systems, back of house technology will help shape the restaurant industry in 2017.”
The article highlights how back of house technology is moving to the front of many operators’ minds as they look to streamline operations and boost their bottom line. We’ve pulled out some of the highlights here, as well as a link to the full article.
“Over the past 15 years, back-of-house technology has tended to focus on cost control in terms of labour and stock — everything else is still done on Post-it notes, white boards or hugely complex Excel spreadsheets. In other industries, workflow and workforce task management is part of the IT budget, but hospitality is still far behind. Some staff are still doing long hours of administration.”
Joe Cripps, co-founder of operations management tool Trail.
Trail, a smart checklist for operations management, was created to change this. At its simplest, it provides a daily list of tasks for teams to do and has been devised as a way of simplifying processes with social media-type tools that can be used by teams on the go. However, when integrated with other software and services, it becomes the central operational hub for an organisation and allows for a move towards a paperless operation.
“Health and safety is still being done on paper. When you are managing a multi-site operation, you often don’t know whether you are compliant across the business day to day. Trail is a real-time checklist tool that replaces paper and allows management to know if all teams are on track.”
Healthy food brand Tossed is one such company attempting a paper-free operation. The 24-strong business turned to Trail after it discovered that its best people were spending more time on admin than with customers and that the volume of emails the company was dealing with was drowning out its priorities. Also, all of its critical compliance processes were on paper and training procedures were out of date, unclear and inconsistent.
With Trail, tablets were given to Tossed teams to allow them to carry out repeat tasks, such as compliance, training and scheduling, with ease. It also allowed the company to include one-time actions where needed to replace the ubiquitous emails and Post-it notes it previously used to communicate information company wide. “Trail helped us get rid of paperwork and gave me visibility across a growing business,” says Tossed founder Vincent McKevitt.
“Once a business goes above eight sites it needs a different operational structure. The ops manager has become an area of specialisation. Businesses have been slow to adopt this kind of technology in the past because it has been hard to use, but the rise of technology has changed this.”
According to Joe, a paperless environment for restaurants is now a reality. Previously, he says that technology had been designed to replace paper with something that looked like paper but that tech such as Trail is actually a digital tool that offers far greater benefits — allowing businesses to communicate in real time and compare sites across the group.