A tempting menu, delicious food, and excellent customer service are perfect recipes for running a food service business.
But there is a host of responsibilities that comes along with this business for which service managers have to prepare themselves. They have to work on cost control, food safety, staff management, supply management, waste management, and regulatory compliance.
They have to sweat out hard to solve every piece of the puzzle. With fierce competition and evolving preferences of customers, the job of a food service manager becomes even more critical. In order to thrive in the business, food service managers need to innovate their traditional working style and differentiate their business by adopting smart technologies.
A food service management system can be a valuable tool in simplifying managers’ tasks and taking control over business processes. The food service tool allows them to profoundly manage the menu, ingredients, nutritional value, food allergen details, etc., everything on a granular level.
Food service management software available today caters to different purposes of the hospitality industry based on specific requirements – some are designed for more generalized food service work, whereas others are built as an all-in-one food service management solution from booking a reservation to tracking online orders and scheduling employees’ tasks.
The food service operators can select the software solution depending on the budget, business requirement, or usability. However, there are a few tips that could assist business owners in selecting the best food service management system. But before that, let us understand the applications of the food service management software.
Types of Food Service Systems
- Conventional food service system: The food is prepared on-premises and served to the customers. Restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, dining halls, takeaways, etc., are examples of conventional food service systems.
- Commissary food service system: The food or raw material is prepared at a centralized location; from there, it is distributed to other outlets. The staff uses these raw materials to prepare the final product and serve the customers. Starbucks and Costa Coffee are examples of commissary food service systems.
- Ready-prepared food service system: The food is prepared in advance and preserved for use over a longer time. Frozen food such as burgers and French fries are examples of a ready-prepared food service system.
- Assembly service system: Fully prepared foods are purchased from the manufacturer and served simply by preheating or thawing.
Tips to Finalize Food Service Management System
- Real-time tracking: Restaurants and caterers elevate their customer experience by delivering food to customers at their doorsteps. They want their food delivery to take minimum time and serve customers with the best service. The food service management system integrated with the navigation system allows the delivery man to quickly locate the customers’ whereabouts.
- Support mobile devices: The trend of online food ordering has given thrust to the food service business, and mobile devices have played a central role in boosting the business. Mobile devices give customers the flexibility to order food from any corner of the world and easily access providers’ services. The customers can filter food recipes based on ingredients, nutritional value, and allergen details through mobile apps; it helps them to choose food that suits their diet and avoid the health risks due to allergic foods. So, it is imperative that food service operators choose a food service management system that can be accessed through mobile devices.
- Third-party tool integration: Like any other business, a food service business also deals with business processes such as accounting, human resources, inventory management, etc. It could become easy for food service operators to manage various business processes if their food service management system supports third-party tools such as accounting software, inventory management software, ERP software, marketing automation software, or even payment gateway software.
- Data analytics: The food service industry heavily relies on automation and produces a large volume of data. This data holds valuable information about the business that could help operators or managers make critical decisions for their business. They can collect various information such as repeat customers, frequently ordered food, payment preferences, order delivering time, marketing campaign performance, track food half-life, etc.
- Security and compliance: Food service management systems store sensitive and private information about the customers; if it is accessed by an unauthorized person, it could exploit customers for financial gain. Besides that, the food service industry is tech-driven and highly automated. It makes them a soft target for hackers. It is advisable that food service operators choose food service management software that supports strong security features such as multi-factor authentication, role-based access, data backup, etc. Every part of customers’ interaction with software should be traced, tracked, and verified. Besides that, food service operators have to ensure that software vendors meet all the regulatory compliances implemented by regulatory bodies.
A comprehensive food servicing management software can tackle some of the most complex challenges of the food service business, and here are a few features that assist food service operators in fine-tuning business processes from a single interface.
- Cost Accounting
- Delivery Management
- Inventory Control
- Menu Planning
- Online Payments/Funding
- Point of Sale (POS)
- Production Management
- Recipe Management
- Table Reservation
- Warehouse Operation
The above tips could be critical in finalizing the food service management system, but there are other attributes such as software deployment method (on-premise or cloud), scalability, robust customer service, and software pricing that one should also consider.
There is a momentum shift in the food service industry, and the reason behind this is the changing priorities of consumers for food. Modern consumers choose food services that offer quality food, faster services, and reasonable prices.
It means the food service operators have to become efficient in their supply chain, tracking food quality, cost-cutting, and staff management. Relying heavily on traditional methods to manage the food service business could lead to chaos.
It requires a professional approach to streamline entire food service business processes, and by collaborating with advanced technology such as food service management software, they can make a business profitable.
Since the food service business is versatile, it becomes essential that business owners choose the food service management system that matches their business requirements and budget.