Don’t want to waste time vetting a bunch of potential IT services providers? Then figure out what you should be looking for before you start looking.
You know how tough the restaurant world can be. Margins are razor thin, the daily schedule is packed from morning to night, and every day brings new challenges.
Because of this, one of the strategies of surviving – and, ideally, thriving – in such a cut-throat industry is to simply eliminate all the unpredictable, potentially dangerous variables and hope that you can deal with everything else.
One of those variables? Your technology. If you expect to be able to serve customers quickly, keep detailed and accessible records, take payments via methods other than cash, etc… then you need technology that works – simple as that. Or, at least, it should be.
Given how hardy and longstanding some of the legacy software used in the culinary world is today, some may think it would at least be consistent. But you and I know that’s not the case.
The software that helps your servers track orders and print bills will fail. Wi-Fi that your customers come to your business for will cut out or – and in many people’s opinions, worse – will slow to a crawl. Your debit machines will stall and refuse to connect, leaving your customers without a way to pay, and you with an unpaid cheque.
So, when that happens, what can you do? Get your waiter that fixed it last time to abandon their section and try to sort it out? Ask your PC-hobbyist line cook to leave the kitchen and see what he can do? Try to figure it out yourself?
Not likely. Everyone working in a restaurant has a specific duty to attend to. When one cog isn’t turning in perfect alignment, the whole machine grinds to a halt.
That’s why you need IT support – but then there’s the matter of finding the right IT support.
In a nutshell? You have to find someone that knows your industry. The fact is that the culinary world is a bit of an insider’s club. You’ve either worked in a kitchen, or you haven’t – there isn’t an in between.
In the same way, while some may assume that IT is IT and tech is tech, that’s not necessarily true when it comes to the technology you rely on. It’s really only a few key types of IT you need to keep your staff and customers happy. If a potential provider can’t give you the support you need for that tech, then you need to move on to someone who can.
With some room for variation here and there depending on your model of service (fast food, casual sit-down, fine dining), it really comes down to two primary restaurant-specific technologies:
The fact is that, for a POS system to run properly, you need to have the right system and supporting infrastructure in place. A potential partner in IT services should know what you’re talking about when it comes to POS, and know what needs to be done.
While some providers may offer their own POS solution, it’s frankly just as viable to simply work with someone who has experience in supporting a popular, legacy POS system. Whether it’s Oracle Micros, Quadranet, or another POS system you prefer, you should always vet potential IT services providers to make sure they know how to work with it.
While it may not be an old staple of the industry, it’s certainly an expected facet in many restaurants, cafes, and other eateries in operation today. When customers are spending money on your food, they don’t want to be spending their limited cellular data as well.
That’s why ineffective and poorly supported Wi-Fi can be so detrimental to the atmosphere in your restaurant. If people expect it and it doesn’t work, it’s so much worse than not having it in the first place.
Make sure your potential IT services provider can consult on a powerful, reliable Wi-Fi setup before you decide to work with them.
While it all may sound simple, it’s vitally important to the way you work every day. You shouldn’t have to even think about your technology when you have so many other things to worry about.
Globalquest can help – we’re proud to provide IT services in Buffalo to a large network of clients, including those in the culinary industry. Our team will keep your POS responsive and bug-free, and your Wi-Fi fast and reliable.
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