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Food & Menu: Make it or Break it with Technology

By Nilesh Shah, Co-founder, RanceLab

Thursday, December 21, 2017, 16:25 Hrs  [IST]

Food is of utmost importance when it comes to running a restaurant. Restaurants are experimenting in terms of new dishes, recreating existing dishes and working on the presentations. The quality of the food, the presentation, the ingredients, the taste, all of it contributes to the marketing of the restaurant. After all, the news of good food travels faster than any other marketing tool.

Competition is so tough that you need to offer something extraordinary to your customers to stand out from the rest. Being consistent in terms of food quality is the key. And to ensure it is all top notch, you have to keep a strict eye on the ingredients and recipe. However, maintaining food quality is not the main challenge, but ensuring that every dish of the hundred dishes that go out of the kitchen is up to the restaurant standards, is the ultimate challenge.

Now the question arises, how do you ensure that? There are tools available in some competitive POS software that can help you combat this situation to a great extent.

Recipe Management
A very common tool that many restaurateurs use is recipe management or commonly known as bill of materials. It is an automatic production and consumption entry that POS software allows based on recipe. One can enter the recipe of all the dishes selling in the restaurant. You can also use it for semi-finished items and items produced in bulk. It serves as a standard recipe for your chef to maintain the quality. Also it ensures that your stock is up to date, thus avoiding any situation of stock shortage.

Menu Designing
Another important factor is the menu design. Your menu should be such that it highlights your signature dishes. Your menu should have a balance between the profitable and the popular dishes. POS software helps you identify the high revenue generating dishes as well as the most ordered dishes. Determining the relative performance of each menu item and classify them in a profit-popularity index helps increase the profit margin.

Food Costing
POS software also lets you keep a check on the food costing, which is very crucial. Maintaining a strict control on procuring raw materials at correct rates, issuing in the right quantity and at the right time is essential. This helps in keeping a constant check on food costing and improves quality, hence keeping the costs low and profits high. You can compare the actual consumption (cost and quantity) with the ideal consumption. The ideal consumption is calculated using the recipe of items. It helps you to increase revenue and quality by controlling mistakes (erroneous data entry) and mischief.

A latest addition to POS technology is the Digital Menu or E-menu. The customers can see what they are ordering and customise accordingly. All analysis points that pictures have more retention value than text. E-menus present your menu items in the most delightful way which increase hunger and tempts the guest to place the order. It is also cost effective from the restaurant owner’s point of view as one can easily modify the menu without having to reprint it as compared to paper menus. In the midst of fancy dish names, the customers are also freed of the mayhem as to what the dish actually is with the advent of E-menus.

All in all your food and menu can make or break your restaurant business, as this eats up a major portion of the operating funds and directly affects profits and customer experience. And technology acts as a liberator from these day to day challenges in running a restaurant business successfully.

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

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