How Restaurants Are Doing More With Less *

Restaurants Are Doing a Lot More With Less

In March 2020, the industry woke up to a new reality, rife with massive changes, layoffs, furloughs, and hard business decisions to triage a wounded hospitality and service community. 

The pandemic has been nightmarish for a majority of restaurants and for reasons that have been beyond their control.  Brands are having to adapt to a rapidly changing world.  In an effort to control costs and ensure the survival of the business, they are, for the most part, being universally asked to do more with less as a result of COVID-19. 

A typical restaurant has had to survive without much of the personnel that used to handle administrative work, like IT solutions.  But while the bulk of the administrative teams might be gone, the work still exists, and it’s now being heaped onto staff, in the corporate suite and at the restaurant level.  That means that even if brands go out and purchase technology to help run their restaurants more efficiently, it’s being done with less manpower to implement, administrate, and support.  

These mission critical technologies rely on people as much as people rely on the technology.  The challenge today is how do brands deliver vital technology and information to stores that need it, elevate their operations, and realize their path to digital transformation?  The advent of COVID-19 means this question is being asked at a time when personnel and resources are at an all-time low—it’s a Catch-22. 

“One thing we all suffer from, especially now, is that we don’t have enough time,” says Michael Beck, vice president of sales and marketing at Restaurant Magic.  “Every brand is trying to be profitable.  Accomplishing that means, now more than ever, that they have to insulate against over-ordering, protecting against theft, food waste, and loss.  The best way to achieve that is with a back-of-house technology solution like Restaurant Magic’s Data Central.  The reality is that these brands are being asked to implement solutions with far fewer people on their teams than they’ve had historically.” 

Prior to COVID-19, the team at Restaurant Magic—which has been a leader in back-of-house technology for over 30 years now—says it brainstormed how to go above and beyond for its operator clients. The result was Concierge Services, a solution that unburdens restaurant leaders from the heavy lifting of software administration work, such as creating log-ins and password changes, recipe maintenance, and setting up POS-system data importation. Instead, Concierge Services provides restaurant brands with a team of seasoned restaurant professionals, in the form of Restaurant Magic employees, that do that work for them.  In that way, the Concierge Services offering has been the perfect antidote to the rounds of layoffs that followed the pandemic.

“Concierge Services ensures that operators no longer have to administer their back-of-house solution, and that they can instead solely interact with it as a user,” Beck says. “They don’t have to babysit the technology that they paid for. When there are menu changes, or an LTO is added, Restaurant Magic takes care of it. When something breaks, Restaurant Magic fixes it. How valuable would it be for every operator out there if they never had to deal with those headaches again?” 

“There are some brands out there that offer technology that might appear to be similar to ours,” says Sarah Brown, manager of Concierge Services at Restaurant Magic. “We have more accurate reports, our system is much easier to use, and honestly, what really sets us apart is our people.” 

Brown says that in order to get an interview with Restaurant Magic, it is required to have had experience working in a restaurant. That means the team members can empathize with the challenges operators are facing right now. 

“I think most of all that means that when an operator reaches out to us because they have an issue and they need help, we know they need it right then,” Brown says. “We don’t have a few days or a week to get back to them—they need that information now, and we’re going to get it to them.” 

The result of implementing Restaurant Magic and its Concierge Services, says Beck, is a slew of net positives. Brands can save thousands of hours, and hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, in the salary they used to pay software administrators and IT experts. Brands can roll out back of-house-technology and related initiatives rapidly across an entire brand footprint. Brands no longer invest time training system administrators to manage the back of house solution—that  can be handled by the Concierge Services team at Restaurant Magic. Ultimately, Concierge Services allows operators to reinvest their time, and focus their attention, on their customers, team members, and improving the overall guest experience. 

“Restaurant brands have invested in technology. They depend on that technology to not only be working but also accurate and actionable to ensure their success,” says Beck. “However, at the end of the day, most franchisees and restaurant operators are admittedly not technologists. Having walked in the shoes of those operators, our team at Restaurant Magic began to ask the question, ‘What would life be like if our restaurant partners didn’t have to do one bit of administrative work to ensure their digital solutions are running properly?’ 

“Our clients regularly tell us that this is truly a ‘life-saving offering.’ Our question to the hospitality community is this… ‘What would that mean to you, if we could make an admin free back office part of your new reality?’”


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