Sponsored by TransAct Technologies.
It’s no secret that back-of-house automation is a critical piece of running a financially viable restaurant, especially in a tough labor market. Automating routine processes can help many restaurants streamline their operations piece by piece. You might start with investing in a smarter labeling system one year, and checklist management the next. The shift from manual procedures to automated ones is a big step. It can be useful to tackle things one by one, but this can often lead to managing multiple vendors and systems, which can be problematic.
One multi-unit, quick-service restaurant owner and operator in California says, “Having too many different software providers in the back-of-the-house can become a burden on the restaurant. With no integration and no data sharing combined with different user experiences and a lack of consistency, the technology can lose its effectiveness.”
For example, if a restaurant needs to add a new menu item or update its pricing or ingredient list, changing this data across several systems becomes very time consuming, eating into the payroll the software was intended to save. This multi-unit operator says one of the biggest challenges facing his brand before automation was managing inventory—that is until his brand invested in a complete back-of-house ecosystem: BOHA! – a suite of solutions offered by TransAct Technologies, which provides labeling, food prep, delivery, checklist management, temperature tracking, inventory, and much more.
“Inventory was an extremely time-consuming process that required hours of labor each week by a skilled person like a manager,” the operator says. “BOHA! has allowed us to cut inventory down to minutes and allows any staff member in our restaurant to do it. Multiple staff members can even work in tandem to split up the work on multiple devices. BOHA! has also increased our temperature-taking compliance by taking a tedious process that was done with a pen and paper and turning it into something fun using a smart device.”
Because this ecosystem creates a single-vendor solution, food prep processes are managed in conjunction with the inventory and sales data, which helps the team know exactly how and what to prep each day.
“We’ve reduced our on-hand inventory significantly which has freed up money that was sitting on the shelves, through BOHA!’s suggestive ordering. We’ve also seen a huge reduction in food waste since BOHA! suggests how much to prep daily. We found that we were frequently over-prepping and wasting quite a bit of food that was increasing our food cost.”
BOHA! Recall alerts staff when there are product recalls and walks them through steps for handling them. The operator also stated that date code labeling alone saves a few hours of payroll, as well as four hours from inventory management, and an hour a day on temperature taking.
But this complete software ecosystem doesn’t have to be a struggle to implement. The operator says he was able to buy pieces as he needed them and then add a software bundle later for more solutions and extra features, giving the brand flexibility in how it rolled out the software. Since installation, he has seen dramatic improvements that make the system worth the investment.
When the back-of-the-house is efficiently connected you’ll notice that the technology tends to disappear and becomes part of the smooth daily operation,” the operator says. “Staff can spend more time doing the important things, like increasing sales and driving new customers and less time worrying about configuring various systems, learning how to use them, and dealing with food safety issues. Once you factor in the total labor savings, reduced on-hand inventory, reduced food waste, and huge increases in food safety—which minimizes the chances for a very public brand-damaging food safety incident—BOHA! becomes a no brainer for any restaurant in my opinion.”
By Peggy Carouthers