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Recent Food & Beverage Articles

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M3 and Avero Announcing Integration Partnership

by
Nicholas Denmon
3 months ago

M3, the hospitality sector’s #1 cloud-based financial and data management platform has partnered with Avero, a restaurant revenue management software company serving the food and beverage (F&B) industry, allowing hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and positively impact their bottom lines. Currently maintaining over 100 integrations with the top point of sale (POS), labor and payroll systems, Avero offers restaurant analytics software that enhances M3 data, revealing powerful insights on server performance, labor and food costs, revenue management and more. “M3 currently integrates with numerous property management solutions in the hotel market” said Todd Rendle, Avero’s Chief Financial Officer. “This partnership allows M3 to extend its system integrations to over 50 different food and beverage point-of-sale systems and consequently improve data quality and efficiencies to drive financial performance.” Utilizing Avero’s F&B integrations and revenue management software, M3 customers can run a variety of successful enterprise-wide initiatives including increasing profit with menu engineering, reducing food costs and waste and improving server performance. M3 customers will also have the ability to integrate their back-office platforms with more than 50 F&B POS platforms, including Aloha, Micros 3700 and Hosted Symphony. M3’s dedicated integrations team additionally focuses on accumulating actionable data to help customers increase efficiencies, maximize data quality by reducing the need for manual entry and intervention, improve guest experiences and drive overall financial performance. “In our commitment to drive hotel financial performance through technology, M3 is expanding the industry’s back-office functions by modifying software integrations to allow the electronic capture of additional revenue streams beyond PMS,” said Scott Watson, M3’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “As M3’s customer base grows and diversifies, we will continue investing in and partnering with solutions like Avero to meet our customers’ specific needs and ensure our solutions consistently deliver to the highest of standards.” Access to Avero’s POS integrations and revenue management software can now be added to any customer subscription by contacting M3. M3’s customer base consists of more than 6,300 hotels, of which, more than half are among the top hotel management companies in the U.S., as ranked by Hotel Business.  

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The Complete Restaurant Software Ecosystem (2020)

by
Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

As a restaurant owner or operator, you're constantly fielding calls from both new and existing restaurant management software vendors. Whether you're running an independent restaurant or operating one within a hotel, those calls are simply a fact of life. So it's no wonder that it’s hard to navigate the restaurant industry's technology ecosystem and its perplexing web of vendors serving as everything from a turnkey loyalty program to preventive maintenance and project management. That’s especially true when so many have overlapping functionality and similar features. How do you differentiate between each one? And how do you build a software stack that empowers staff, increases productivity and enhances the guest experience? It’s a lot to manage, in addition to everything else. Our goal here is to put some structure around this chaos. So whether you choose a master vendor that packages multiple tools in a single suite or opt to customize your tech stack with several vendors, this resource is for you. We've organized it into categories alongside recommendations on what to look for. As you evaluate the right solutions for your operation, keep a few things in mind: first and foremost is reliability. Cloud-based software is affordable and functional -- but for anything mission-critical, you’ll need an operational plan for when/if you lose internet connectivity. And when things do go south, you want a vendor with responsive and helpful support that never leaves you hanging. Second, think contactless. The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards mitigating limiting direct contact between guests and staff. Your technology should help not hinder the contactless experience. Finally, avoid feature creep. It's easy to get distracted by bells and whistles that you'll never use. This can be especially true when choosing a vendor that provides solutions to multiple industries and not just restaurants; there can be many unnecessary features. Stay focused! Take an honest appraisal of your operation and deploy technologies that serve your existing needs while giving you room to grow. This keeps software costs in check and reduces training time on confusing software.  And now, to the main event: this is the restaurant tech ecosystem in 2020!   Restaurant Management Software Categories Point-of-sale Multi-channel Ordering And Payments Guest WiFi Reservations And Waitlists Back Office And Inventory Management Staff Scheduling And Payroll Business Intelligence And Analytics Food Delivery Restaurant Websites Loyalty Marketing   Point of Sale (Restaurant POS System) Every restaurant needs a POS; it’s the heart muscle of the restaurant. But all POS software isn’t the same. As cloud-based software reduced development costs, the market was flooded with options. Most of them are decent. They do the trick. But a great POS can be transformative.  By centralizing essential operational functionality alongside labor management, payment processing, and kitchen management, your restaurant can operate smoothly and more profitably. The best example of this is integrated inventory management, where each order automatically reduces stock counts and updates orders. This saves a ton of labor and makes kitchen management less burdensome. That being said, a “do it all” POS (also marketed as a “restaurant management system”) may not be the best solution for your restaurant, especially if your chosen POS doesn’t excel at any one feature in particular. You'll end up with a point-of-sale that works well enough but doesn't provide the deep domain expertise and operational impact of a focused vendor. The key is matching your operation to a POS vendor that serves your category well. For instance, a small independent restaurant probably doesn't want to go with a multinational conglomerate that specializes in large restaurant groups or hotels. Not only is it cost-prohibitive but you’ll be a small fish in a big ocean. It’s best to go with a vendor that can provide the level of service and attention your operation needs. What to look for: Reliability is paramount. Most restaurants simply cannot function when the POS goes down. if you know that your internet connection is unreliable, a cloud-based POS needs an offline mode to keep your operation going no matter what.  Gift cards can be a sneaky way that POS vendors overcharge or lock you into a less-than-desirable ecosystem. Make sure to ask about how gift cards are handled, from securing physical cards to redemption costs. Gift cards are fantastic for incremental revenue, so avoid surprises!   Integrations are also a key piece of any POS system. Look for a vendor that integrates with the other technologies in your operation so that you have seamless sync and eliminate the hassle of manually exporting data from one system to another.  Lastly, hardware like iPads or self-serve kiosks is a major consideration.  Think through your guest journey and ensure that your vendor has the proper functionality to operate in your current or future workflows. Vendors to consider: This is the most saturated category of restaurant tech! Crave Interactive recently expanded into restaurants with its contactless experience ServeSafely. InforPOS is ideal for larger operators with multiple revenue centers. Lightspeed POS and TouchBistro are all-in-one solutions. POSLavu is tablet-based, which reduces the upfront cost of installation, and offers a loyalty app with in-store payment and pre-ordering.  OraclePOS specializes in hotel food and beverage operations. Also by Oracle is SimphonyPOS, a MICROS-based POS for restaurants that’s less clunky and more extensible than past legacy systems. Billed as restaurant management systems that do it all, HungerRush includes a delivery module, Toast has a modern look-and-feel and QSR Automations specialized in quick-service restaurants.  Enterprise brands, such as Oracle, have dramatically improved the look and functionality of their restaurant point-of-sale systems.   Multi-Channel Ordering And Payments The restaurant business has expanded beyond on-premise sales. There’s takeout, delivery, gift cards, merchandise, packaged goods and even DIY “cook at home” kits.  And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic put revenue diversification at the top of the priority list.  Since selling across multiple channels insulates your operation from unexpected dips in demand from a single channel, you’ll need software to support multi-channel ordering. You also need the ability to take payments seamlessly across each of your chosen channels. These channels could include your website, text messaging, or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. Equally important is safety; by offering a digital ordering system, you reduce touchpoints between staff and guests and keep everyone that much safer. Customers can order and pay on any device and your staff can focus more on fulfilling orders rather than answering the phone, swiping cards and handing receipts back and forth. What to look for: Cross-device compatibility. Any device, whether an Android phone or an Apple tablet, should be able to access menus and order easily across all devices. Depending on the size of your operation, a mobile app may be ideal so that you can give a centralized way for customers to interact with each of your locations. Payments should also be easy for customers and staff. Ideally, you want to eliminate the need to take any physical payment for online orders, Some systems offer e-wallets, where customers load money into a dedicated wallet so they don't have to enter payment information for each transaction. E-wallets were popularized by Starbucks, which made it super easy to order on mobile by offering seamless payments and auto-reloads when account balances drop below a certain amount. You also want to think about how people will order. Do you want to let people order via text message? Voice calls? Social media? Or only through your website? Or maybe you want an app for your restaurant to streamline all of these things? Do you need contactless digital menus and tableside ordering via QR code? Make a list of your must-haves and go from there. Vendors to consider: Olo and Tapmango are for bigger companies seeking a platform that can include branded apps, e-wallets, digital ordering and loyalty marketing. Pizza restaurants may find the ideal solution with ThrivePOS while other quick serves use Restolabs and restaurants in the Middle East use EatApp.  Chatfood’s commission-free platform supports ordering on Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, while ChowNow and Checkmate are popular online ordering systems for restaurants. For on-premise contactless ordering options, Bbot Smart Ordering allows guests to order and pay right from their phones. Most all-in-one POS and restaurant management systems also include multichannel ordering and payments, so check out that category above.   Many restaurant website builders also make it easy for guests to order online (seen here on BentoBox).   Guest WiFi Wi-Fi has become a standard part of the on-premise guest experience. That's doubly true for categories of restaurants that serve a large proportion of work-from-home guests, such as coffee shops and some fast-casual restaurants. “Fast and free” WiFi can earn customer loyalty, better online reviews -- and even free press coverage. With so much bandwidth being consumed, Wi-Fi can also get costly. It’s a balance between guest expectations with the reality of providing fast internet access. One way to mitigate some of this cost is to go with an ad-supported model that requires guests to engage with advertising prior to access.  Another way is to use WiFi as a marketing asset that generates value by providing ongoing engagement opportunities with guests. You could require a sign up with email or social profiles, which can be used for future marketing campaigns. Or you could even ask for a bit more demographic information to build a more robust guest profile. There’s real value and longer-term ROI when this information is added to your POS and loyalty programs. What to look for: There are some serious security implications when offering Wi-Fi to guests. Your back-office systems should be isolated from everything else. There should be an ironclad firewall between both systems to avoid costly and embarrassing breaches of payment data and sensitive guest information held in your POS.  Your guest internet portal should be user-friendly, device-agnostic, fully customizable and adhere to all local data privacy regulations.  Also: Your employees aren’t IT support specialists -- and restaurant operations are already tricky enough. Keep it simple and functional, with a vendor that provides responsive support for troubleshooting issues. When guests expect the internet, and the internet is not available, it can cause conflict with staff and become the focus of negative reviews. Avoid at all costs! Vendors to consider: Facebook offers free Wi-Fi to businesses; customers can access free Wi-Fi when they check into your business, giving them a perk and you an organic boost on the platform. Social WiFi offers a responsive and customizable internet portal that combines special offers, social logins, GDPR compliance with customer communication and marketing segmentation. SpotOn focuses on simplicity with multiple social logins, analytics, marketing, and reviews, as well as “controlled access” plans that allow you to restrict time spent, connection speed and data usage at the user level. Another popular option is CLOUD4WI’s Splash, which is used by many global brands to provide Wi-Fi and deepen relationships with customers.   SpotOn’s simple interface makes guest WiFi easy and attractive.   Reservations And Waitlists Reservations and waitlist management have always been a chokepoint. Thanks to OpenTable, many guests are accustomed to the convenience of online reservations. But this convenience comes at a cost to restaurants, and not just in the fees paid to these platforms: reservations are made but not canceled. No shows mean empty tables, frustrated staff and less revenue. Combine no shows with a long waitlist and you get angry guests wondering why it’s taking so long for a table when there are empty ones available.  Some POS systems may include these features but often come across as afterthoughts. With something that your staff and guests interact with often, pick a dedicated solution that’s easy-to-use for everyone. Most software also manages table assignments to keep servers happy and reduce conflict around who’s next in the rotation. What to look for: With cloud-based software, table management is easier than ever. Hosts can walk around the restaurant to manage table statuses in real-time -- so much better than pen and paper! Even better: with POS integration, table statuses will automatically update and eliminate the constant circulation of hosts.  It’s also possible to ditch the costly pagers. Most cloud-based options will send a text message to guests, which not only reduces pager loss but allows guests more room to roam while they wait. “Range anxiety” is real and it makes the wait feel longer when guests are tethered to the immediate vicinity.  Reduce your reliance on OpenTable and look for a vendor that links your reservations portal into Google search, Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor (as well as taking reservations on your website). Vendors to consider: HostMe has a neat way of reducing no shows: deposits and cancellation fees, all automatically debited when a guest no shows or cancels late. With SEVENROOMS, you can offer customizable reservation upgrades (chilled champagne on arrival? Of course!), store guest preferences and even share those preferences across multiple locations.  Yelp for Restaurants and OpenTable for Restaurants are appealing because they connect directly with these two most popular restaurant finders in the world (but you’ll still pay fees per cover). Your guests can send a text to join your waitlist with Waitwhile. There’s also Wisely and ResyOS which has adapted to COVID-19 by including capacity controls, curbside pickup management and remote waitlists.   Back Office And Inventory Management Accounting, bookkeeping and inventory management software may be the least sexy but most impactful software for your restaurant. It's how you keep track of your cash flows and monitor profitability, not to mention reduce overordering and theft. Running on instinct is never a good idea when it comes to inventory management. You should base orders on historical data and forecasted demand. The right software can take care of all of this for you so you’re balancing supply and demand. What to look for: Menu engineering! The only way to really know whether your menu is profitable is either manual menu costing via spreadsheet or to use software that inputs ingredient cost and calculates each item’s profit. Spreadsheets for cheapest but take a lot of time to manage. The software makes this process seamless and consistent, enhancing your profitability without sacrificing your chef’s sanity.  Vendors to consider:  apicbase centralizes your recipes, menus, kitchen training, food costs and inventory orders so you can see performance at a glance across all outlets. xtraCHEF has similar functionality, with an added focus on automating invoice management and making bookkeeping more precise. There’s also FoodNotify and Avero, which also offers business intelligence features. For accounting and bookkeeping, you can’t go wrong with Xero or Quickbooks for managing day-to-day bookkeeping and end-of-year accounting. Larger vendors such as Birchstreet, Long Range Systems and Adaco provide a full suite of tools that include key financial integrations, such as “procure to pay” that automates kitchen ordering and associated bookkeeping.   Employee Management And Payroll Even though it can be available within your POS, a standalone staff scheduling tool is helpful in the foodservice space and broader hospitality industry due to high labor costs. Your staff is going to want mobile access because not everyone has a computer at home. And they’ll need a simple way to trade shifts. As you likely already know, trading shifts is a manager’s nightmare. Staff should manage this on their own, and a POS-integrated solution isn’t the most reliable or user friendly. What to look for: In addition to smartphone support and shift trading, look for a staff scheduler that puts shift management at its core. Managers should have a hassle-free experience and be able to pull reports to identify potential labor overages. Small touches like color-coded shifts can make a major difference for managers starting at schedules all day. Vendors to consider: HotSchedules, 7shifts and Schedulefly are employee scheduling software specifically made for restaurants. Many POS also include these features, such as POSLavu and TouchBistro. For payroll (including managing tips, which tends to trip up traditional payroll software), look at Proliant and Kitchensync. ADP and Paychex have plenty of restaurant clients too.   Business Intelligence And Analytics Business intelligence and analytics software is a companion to your accounting software. Whereas accounting software tracks your financial data, your BI and analytics tool makes sense of your demand data to give you key insights around future forecasts and menu profitability.  What to look for: Most smaller operations are well-served by the reporting tools within most point-of-sale systems. For larger multi-unit operations, it makes sense to have a standalone tool that automatically pulls data from multiple sources into a centralized dashboard.  The most important considerations are that the business intelligence tool integrates with your entire tech stack and that its dashboards are easy to understand.  it does no good to have incomplete information presented poorly. Insights should be automated and actionable; otherwise, the investment isn’t worth it. Vendors to consider: Womply is really interesting, as it turns your POS data and revenue analytics into a powerful marketing tool across email, digital ads and online reviews. In addition to sales forecasting, Avero surfaces granular operational data, such as which servers sell the most and which menu items are most popular. For larger operations, Adaco combines business intelligence with accounts payable and accounting features.   Sales forecasts, server performance and menu profitability are a few of the insights unlocked by business intelligence software for restaurants. (Avero shown here).   Food Delivery Food delivery has been a growing part of the restaurant business for years. This trend has accelerated during the pandemic, as consumers reduce the frequency of restaurant visits and see contactless delivery as a safe way to order out.  Statista found that nearly 42% of respondents are likely to purchase food online amid the coronavirus pandemic. As demand shifted, more restaurants than ever before joined third-party platforms like GrubHub, Postmates and UberEats. While it's great to have an instant source of demand, the associated fees are significant costs that eat into already-thin margins.  For many restaurants, the cost is an adequate trade for not having to support in-house delivery. But for high-volume operations, such as pizza parlors,  fees can be a major issue. High-volume restaurants can boost profit margin dramatically by using food delivery tech to bring delivery in-house. This isn't feasible for every restaurant type, as it requires not just a technology investment but also an effective marketing strategy that drives demand directly to your platform rather than third parties. But when it works, in-house food delivery is lucrative. What to look for: If you're not going with a vendor that integrates food delivery management into your existing multichannel ordering system or POS, then it really comes down to integration. You want to minimize disruption as you deploy new technology. Your food delivery tech should keep your kitchen organized with reliable order tracking and make it hassle-free to assign drivers for each order.  You’ll also need accurate reporting to track driver tips and performance during each shift. Efficiency is one of the main values provided by third-party services. They are constantly updating their algorithms to assign drivers the most efficient route. However, third parties have a lot of other factors to consider, such as other orders in the queue. You'll have a leg up with delivery technology that optimizes routes so your drivers can get to your customers quickly and safely. Vendors to consider: HungerRush (mentioned earlier) supports delivery management, both for third-parties and in-house, with order taking, kitchen production, and driver routing for peak efficiency. The pizza category has a dedicated solution for delivery management and point-of-sale with Thrive POS, while breweries have a pickup and delivery solution with 2nd Kitchen 2Go. GetSwift’s delivery management software starts at $0.29 per delivery.     Restaurant Websites Your restaurant website is your calling card. You want it to be representative of your brand and put yourself in the best light possible. Your website should be modern and easy-to-use across devices so that people can find relevant information easily. What to look for: Your restaurant website should be secure and SEO-optimized, with a user-friendly design that supports online ordering, easy menu updates, and loyalty marketing. You also may want reservations and an e-commerce module for gift card purchases. Vendors to consider: For restaurant websites, look past Wix and Squarespace and go for vendors like that specialize in the unique needs of restaurants, such as BentoBox, Upmenu, Let’s Eat, FlavorPlate, or GloriaFood. If you’re more tech-savvy you could choose your own WordPress template or a custom website from a creative agency, but this may be too costly and time-intensive for most restaurateurs.   Loyalty Marketing You also need tools to manage your guest relationships so that you can market to your most loyal guests without having to constantly pay third-parties, such as OpenTable, to put butts in seats. These tools can be loyalty marketing platforms based on building rich guest profiles or they can be specialized tools, such as text message platforms for engaging past guests on their phones. Many ordering platforms also integrate loyalty into their products. This makes a lot of sense, as all transaction data already comes through the multichannel ordering platform and/or your point-of-sale system. You then get a holistic view of your customers so you can segment and target campaigns to specific profiles. Many reservation and waitlist management platforms also include loyalty marketing, so look at that category above for more ideas! Vendors to consider: Boostly is an automated text marketing system that drives incremental visits without much input on your end. Thanx uses credit card numbers to streamline loyalty earning and redemption. Fivestars is loyalty for smaller operations that don’t want the hassle of a standalone app or loyalty program. Mobivity combines loyalty marketing via SMS and mobile with robust analytics. The guest experience platform from SEVENROOMS adds loyalty marketing to its reservations/table management system so you can market to individual guests. For larger chains and bigger budgets, Stuzo and Astute leverage Big Data and AI into 1:1 marketing and automated campaigns. PosIQ uses your POS data alongside its “guest tracking” technology to personalize marketing at scale.     Get to know your guests so you can personalize the experience and market more effectively. (SEVENROOMS pictured here)  

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Impulsify Announces Arrival into Grab-and-Go for Glamping Retail Stores

by
Janine Williams
4 months ago

Retail technology company, Impulsify Inc., who provides cloud-based point of sale, self-service kiosk solutions, and data-driven retail design services to the hospitality industry, has just announced their arrival onto the Glamping scene. The Denver-based software company recently signed several Glamping sites and will soon launch the general store of its first luxury campground in Escalante, UT. A fusion of glamour and camping, "glamping" allows visitors to experience unique parts of the world without sacrificing the comforts and luxuries of home. With a mission to provide upscale, self-service retail "anywhere people live, work, chill, crave" – Impulsify's plug-and-play retail solutions and expertise extend seamlessly into the campground general store of some of the most desirable glamping sites in North America.  "Our experience designing unique and convenient self-service retail for discerning hotel guests makes our move to glamp-grounds a logical next step," says Impulsify CEO, Janine Williams. "Offering technology-driven, well-planned retail in campground general stores is an essential for any glamping site where guests crave both comfort and convenience - and owners seek proven, effective sources of incremental revenue!" Impulsify's software technology and revenue results present developers, owners, and managers an easy-to-implement solution designed to benefit both the glamp-ground and the guests who visit.  

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan - 2020 Step-by-Step Guide

by
Hotel Tech Report
3 months ago

So you're considering getting into restaurants? Godspeed. The restaurant industry can be tough but like any business it's got both ups and downs. But it's also one of the most rewarding, especially for those with a deep passion for food and the art of hospitality.  The first year of your new food restaurant will be the hardest of all - but this guide will help fortify your launch. In both boom times and downturns, a proper restaurant business plan is an important piece of a successful business and your roadmap to success whether you're launching a fast food concept or a fine dining restaurant. The business planning process will help you further define your concept and sharpen your approach so that you can stay focused during build out and maintain competitiveness after opening. New restaurant owners should be especially committed to this process so that they can learn as much as possible about the industry and their potential concept --  and be prepared for the road ahead. Yes, it takes a bit of work and time investment to write a compelling business plan. But that’s the whole point! Whether this is your first restaurant or your hundredth, a great business plan structures your concept to give it the greatest chance of success.  To put yourself in the best position to achieve your dream of owning a restaurant -- or building an empire -- here's everything you need to write a winning restaurant business plan.   A great restaurant business plan doesn't need all 10 components; however, if you omit one of these you should be able to explain to investors why you chose not to include that section. 1. Cover Page 2. Executive Summary 3. Restaurant Team 4. Concept Overview 5. Market Analysis 6. Operations Plan 7. Marketing Plan 8. Financial Plan 9. Investment & Capital 10. Business Plan FAQs   Why You Need A Restaurant Business Plan First and foremost, your restaurant business plan should answer the question: “Why does the world need this specific food-service concept -- and why now?” The planning process helps you refine the concept, clarify priorities and catalyze the opportunity within the context of the broader market. Beyond that primary objective, the business plan functions as a blueprint for building your vision. It's a framework for moving forward that keeps you on track and prevents you from drifting away from your vision. That drift can be significant: you’ll make hundreds (if not thousands!) of decisions during the build-out and pre-opening phases, each of which can contribute to gradual drift absent a clear and shared framework. Your restaurant business plan is not just a critical operational tool. It’s also a sales and marketing asset. The average restaurant startup cost varies by concept and geography, but ranges from $1,808 per seat for casual quick serve with smaller footprints to over $6,000 for high-touch fine dining and larger establishments. With that kind of money on the table, you need to do your homework, create a realistic and comprehensive business plan and show investors that you know what you’re doing. “You have to show any potential investor that you have an actual plan, you know what you’re talking about, it looks professional, and you’re not just screwing around.” Charles Bililies, owner of Souvla Above all, remember that the majority of restaurants fail within the first few years. It's an incredibly challenging business! Your plan should address this head-on and emphasize any unique competitive advantages that insulate your business and make it more resilient. Investors will be looking for these types of competitive moats that can make or break a restaurant!   What You Need To Include In Your Restaurant Business Plan Restaurants aren't the place to use the Lean Startup framework. There's no Minimum Viable Product. We're talking about a physical space that can't easily be adapted to serve new customers or do new things. You're quite literally limited by the dimensions of your space and the types of equipment you've installed in your kitchen and bar areas. That doesn't mean that you can't evolve your business over time; on the contrary, it's important to build that flexibility into your plan and how you design your space. You just need to be confident and what you're doing because it won't be easy (or cheap) to change directions if it doesn’t work out! And that confidence should come across throughout your business plan -- your confidence in your product gives investors confidence too. Every statement you make should be backed by data (including the reason for choosing your concept and target market) and all challenges should be called out. Alongside data and research, honesty and directness go a long way in a restaurant business plan.  Cover Page Make a great first impression by putting your logo front and center. Don't have a logo? Your plan may suffer because the logo gives potential investors their first impression of your concept and its marketability -- as well as a basic test of your professionalism and vision for the concept. You'll also want to add your contact information and any relevant social media handles that can  provide more background as potential investors do their due diligence.  Executive Summary The Executive Summary or company description introduces your concept and provides a brief overview of what’s to come. Resist the temptation to over explain or cram everything in. It should fit on a single page! The objective of the summary isn’t to give investors everything they need to make a decision; it’s to capture their attention so that they want to read more. We recommend the “6 Ws” framework that underpin the Lean Six Sigma management technique. Briefly answer the following questions, using bullet points to make it easy to digest: Who We Are: Introduce yourself and any partners, as well as any key hires already attached to the project and your chosen business structure.  What We Sell (And To Whom): The concept and the target customer segment When: The timeline for the plan, from build-out to pre-opening to opening. Where: If you already have the location selected, show this information. Otherwise, offer a brief explanation of target neighborhoods. Why: Your vision for this concept and highlight your hopes and dreams for the future. Is it expansion? Franchising? Sticking to a single location? Close out the executive summary with a high-level financial summary, including estimated pre-opening costs and gross revenues in the first three years.  Team This section is all about what makes your team the rockstars that are going to execute this vision! Using brief bios (with photos) of management, operating partners and key hires, you’ll carefully construct the narrative around why this is the right management team to not just bring this concept to life but to build it into a profitable business. Keep it brief but impactful by focusing on the most relevant experience for this specific concept. The Restaurant Concept This is arguably the most important section. It's your chance to showcase your vision,  expertise and unique approach. In it, you’ll share the inspiration behind the concept,  what types of food will be serving, the service style, and a sample menu. The objective of this section is to clearly explain what's unique about your restaurant and what makes you the one to bring this concept to life. Be sure to include the following: A mission statement. Mission statements certainly can come across as fluffy and high-level. If that’s the case with yours, you’re doing it wrong!  your mission statement should encapsulate what you hope to accomplish with your business, and give you a North Star to guide your decisions. A well-crafted mission statement can do wonders at keeping you focused --  especially amidst the avalanche of decisions to make during build out. Here's a list of restaurant mission statements to get the juices flowing. A sample menu. This menu is extremely important for three reasons: first, it's a tangible representation of the concept and what you plan to serve. Second, the menu informs the design of the kitchen and bar areas; without a menu, you can't select kitchen equipment and thus can’t accurately estimate the cost of the kitchen. Finally, it should show that you have adequately costed out your menu items (using what's known in the industry as menu engineering) to ensure the viability and profitability of the concept. Bonus points if you can show the estimated profitability per item within the sample menu! The draft Shake Shack menu, as scribbled on a napkin by Danny Meyer. The legendary restaurateur keeps the sketch framed in his office next to a sign “The bigger we get, the smaller we need to act.”   Concept design. At the very least, include an architect's rendering of the space.  Even if you don't have a specific location selected, this helps investors visualize the concept and its atmosphere. Take some time to explain the service style and how the guests will experience the space. It never hurts to get into the weeds here: the types of glassware, the lighting, the seating choices. Concept location: If you already have a location selected, explain the nuts and bolts of the build-out phase, especially any costly renovations such as adding a hood venting system. Add as much detail as possible about the specific location, including photos, blueprints, etc. Startup costs. A quick overview of what it will cost to open your first location. You'll provide a more detailed look at startup costs in the Financial Plan section.  You'll include things like restaurant software and technology in this costing. Finally, we recommend doing a SWOT analysis of your concept, which is an honest appraisal of its  strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Good investors are not easily swayed by smoke and mirrors, so use data/research to back it up! Answer the following questions in your SWOT to round out this section. Strengths: What makes your concept stand out? Weaknesses: Where could you potentially fall short? Opportunities: What makes this the right time, the right team  and the right location for this concept?  Threats: What is the competitive landscape that may hinder your success?   Market Analysis In this section, you'll make the case for why this concept is filling a hole in the market.   The key here is to do your research. Instinct and expertise only go so far at convincing investors that this is a sound investment. You need to drive home the opportunity using as much research and data as possible --  especially when it comes to high risk investments like restaurants. Industry Analysis. Start with a high-level overview of the current market trends when it comes to restaurants at the macro-level. Keep it brief; restaurants are inherently local so these wider trends aren’t as useful as the local market ones. Local Market Overview. Next, zoom into your local market to highlight the opportunity in the city and neighborhood that your restaurant will occupy. Do a thorough analysis of the area’s competition, as that heavily influences your success or failure. You need to be very clear about what differentiates your restaurant from others in the area so that consumers have a clear reason to patronize your restaurant over others. You’ll need a crystal clear differentiator in a cluster of similar restaurants. Images work well here, as do graphs and other relevant visuals. Guest Segmentation. Be specific about what types of people will frequent your restaurant. Use personas to show a deep understanding about who your target consumers are and why they would frequent this restaurant. You'll want to tie this segmentation into your earlier Market Overview. For example, if there are new developments in your restaurant's neighborhood that could contribute additional demand from a specific demographic, mention that. When it comes to research sources, you have a few options. The National Restaurant Association not only has nationwide data (such as the 2020 State of the Industry report available free to members) but also has local chapters that can assist with market-specific information. Your local Chamber of Commerce and/or Economic Development agency can provide local market statistics around regional growth and even neighborhood-specific data. Neighborhood associations are also useful sources of information -- not to mention eventual allies for your new restaurant.  Operations Plan Once you've established the concept, and how it fits into the local market, it’s time to detail your plan to build and operate the restaurant. Staffing. Your personnel plan should clearly lay out how many staff members you anticipate needing for daily operations. You’ll also want to include any other talent that will influence your success, such as  your attorney, accountant, bookkeeper, architect, designers, general contractor and/or marketing consultant. Briefly introduce them and highlight any relevant accomplishments or expertise. Training. How will you train your staff? Make a clear plan that outlines not just pre-opening training but also staff training for regular operations. Remember that turnover in restaurants is quite high, so you want to have a very complete Employee Handbook and Training Plan that aligns with your service standards. Suppliers & Vendors. To show preparation and organization, identify your chosen suppliers and vendors. The list should include (but isn’t limited to) the following: POS, payment processor, printers, kitchen/inventory management system, accounting, staff scheduling and labor management software, payroll processor, food safety, digital marketing agency, website builder, and delivery, if applicable. Crisis and Business Continuity. Recent events have reminded us all about the power of planning. Extra credit for those who include a section around planning around businesses continuity in crisis situations: staff illness, food poisoning, natural disasters, and unexpected economic headwinds could all potentially impact your business. Some may only attack your reputation while others threaten your very existence. Preparation is key. Marketing Plan A restaurant is only as good as its marketing. Ok, well, that’s not entirely true -- the food, service and ambiance matter too! After all, the most delicious food, the most exceptional service, and the most inviting ambiance mean nothing if no one walks through the doors. Marketing can also be a clear competitive advantage over competing restaurants. So, if that's the case with your restaurant -- and it absolutely must be if you are planning to open in an area with fierce competition -- make that case here. Elements of a successful marketing plan for a restaurant include: Website. Potential guests often use search engines to find restaurants. In fact, “restaurants near me” is  an extremely popular term. Your website is your calling card for those guests.  It also helps those who add a reservation or NovaSure restaurant to find your address. Your website should be easy to use and put the essential information up front: the address and the menu.  Organic Social Media. Restaurants are one of the easiest business types to market on social media -- the content is always rich, colorful and engaging! Foodies can be found all over social media and the platforms are naturally built for the images and videos that restaurants create. Demonstrate your grasp of the power of social media by showing how you intend to use this free marketing platform. Or mention your impressive digital marketing agency that will help you build your brand online by finding and nurturing a community of passionate followers. Paid (Digital) Marketing. Organic visibility is only one part of your marketing strategy.  You must supplement that work with strategic paid digital marketing that amplifies your message and gets your restaurant in front of people deciding where to eat.  Your digital marketing may include: Search ads, social media ads, and potentially Yelp/TripAdvisor. Certain types of restaurants also do well on radio and TV.  Loyalty. It's so much easier to keep a customer once you have them. What's your restaurant strategy for building a loyal customer base and not relying on paid advertising to get people to the doors? Outline strategies for getting online reviews (and improving your ratings), building a database of customer information for regular promotions (such as email newsletters) and  encouraging your best customers to show their experience with friends to build word of mouth.  Loyalty programs can help bring back happy guests in higher frequencies but if guests don't have a great experience at your establishment - a bad first impression can turn loyalty into an uphill battle. Public Relations. It's not realistic to just expect that your restaurant will capture the attention of journalists once it opens. You'll need a detailed PR strategy that puts your restaurant in front of relevant local food press and national food press. Another great way to build PR and give back is to engage with community events and charity galas.  best intimate events give you a chance to meet your customers face-to-face outside of the restaurant and so your commitment to the community.  Financial Plan Restaurants require a lot of upfront investment. From rent to insurance to permits, printers and POS terminals, there’s an endless list of expenses. Even if you’re acquiring an existing property, it's not a cheap business to start up. As you create your budget, refer to the Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants, the gold standard restaurant accounting. Not only will it show you how to set up your own books but it may also give you an idea of common expenses you may be overlooking. Although these projections are created long before you open for business, they still matter greatly. A thoughtful approach, backed by explanations for the numbers, highlights your professionalism and expertise to investors. Start up costs. Include anything and everything required to get you to opening day: build-out costs, equipment cost, licenses and permits, architects fees, rent, insurance (business interruption, liquor liability, general liability) and labor (pre-opening management salaries and training new staff prior to opening). On top of the total startup costs, add at least a 10% buffer for contingencies, or unexpected cost overruns. And don’t forget working capital -- You should assume that you won’t fully break even until a year too, and have enough working capital to sustain your business as you work toward profitability. Profit and Loss (P&L). Combine your revenue forecasts with your costs to show your potential for profitability over the next 3-5 years. Include both your fixed costs (things that won't change often, such as rent and insurance) and variable costs (things that change such as labor and food costs). If you’re not comfortable with numbers, lean on your accountant for help. There are also vendors that offer business plan creation software that greatly simplifies the complexities of financial projections. The right software can make a world of difference. It will track your business progress over time to benchmark against projections --  and save you time from spreadsheet hell! Additional Analysis. In addition to the other analysis, include a break-even analysis and cash flow projections. These detail what it will take to get to break even (where your revenue covers your expenses) and show your expected cash flows (and that you’ll be sufficiently capitalized to make it through the early years of the restaurant).   Investment & Capital Required Close it out with a clear breakdown of the investment required to get this restaurant off the ground and support its operations until it can sustain itself through cash flow -- and ultimately profit. You have to be careful to avoid directly asking for an investment, as that could be seen as a solicitation for investment. Every country (and locale) has its own Rules regarding how and where companies can solicit investments. So be very careful to abide by those rules and avoid breaking the law in your jurisdiction. One way to go about doing this is to break down how you would use the potential capital. It can be as simple as the following: Total Capital: $400,000 Build Out Cost: $300,000 Contingency: $30,000 Initial Inventory: $20,000 Marketing: $10,000 Working Capital: $40,000   Restaurant Business Plan FAQs To close out this guide to writing a restaurant business plan, here are answers to common questions. We hope these help you as you start the long but valuable process of building out a plan for your new restaurant concept! Why do I need a restaurant business plan? The business plan process puts structure around your idea and makes it more marketable. Since restaurants are not simple or cheap to start up, it's likely that you will need investors. Structure and marketability will come into handy as you talk to potential investors (such as family, friends, and angels). if you're seeking financing from Banks, then you will be required to have a plan that goes into very clear detail on all aspects of your business, especially the financials. If you find yourself balking at the thought of building out an entire plan, at the very least you should do the One Page Business Plan. While we don't recommend these short plans for Investments as complex as restaurants, they may help you collect your thoughts What are some sources for researching my restaurant idea? Successful restaurants are rarely built on hope and instinct. Putting some third-party research into your plan will help you sell the idea. And talking to potential customers will help you show why your idea is filling a gap in the market. Here are a few resources: National Restaurant Association (U.S). The NRA has nationwide data (such as the 2020 State of the Industry) as well as has local chapters with market-specific information. If you're outside of the United States, look to your country’s own association for additional information. Local organizations. Many cities and communities have Chambers of Commerce and/or Economic Development agencies that exist to facilitate new business activity. Reach out to these entities to see how they may help you with research and other support.  Google Forms. It's never a bad idea to talk to potential customers. You can do this face-to-face or send out a survey with a free tool like Google Survey. Neighborhood associations. Restaurants are community businesses. Engaging the local neighborhood association will not only introduce your concept to potential customers, but it will also give you critical insights into your restaurant’s neighborhood. Where can I find restaurant business plan templates? There are several business planning software tools that allow you to both build your business plan from a template and model your financial projections.   Restaurant business plan samples can also help speed up your planning. There’s a major time savings to using software that includes financial modeling; without it, you're stuck with a spreadsheet that doesn't always adjust to any changes. It's just much easier and a better experience when you can easily change numbers and see the impact of various scenarios. A quick search for restaurant business plans give you options to evaluate. Why do restaurants fail? There is no way to sugarcoat it: owning and operating a restaurant is a difficult enterprise. There are easier ways to make money! More often than not, restaurants fail due to two things:  owner/operator burnout and undercapitalization. Since restaurants are such intense businesses, it can be exhausting over time. In addition, the razor-thin margins of most restaurants means that they need a healthy capital cushion to weather head winds. Other common failures include a poor location, bad food/service (and resulting reviews), unscrupulous owners (tax evasion) and poor cost management (out-of-control labor and food costs).  

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4 Tips For Hoteliers to Manage Retail Inventory Better

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Hotel Tech Report
2 months ago

Managing inventory for retail outlets isn't always second nature for hoteliers. It's a bit different than managing room inventory...after all, you can’t swap out your rooms for better ones! There are also two big differences in optimizing the retail product mix for peak profitability: what's on the shelves directly impacts how much product is sold, and what's kept in inventory (and for how long) affects overall profitability. The main objective for inventory management technology is to stock the items that guests want, and keep just the right amount of those items in stock to meet demand -- all without over ordering and leaving too much money sitting on the shelves (especially important for perishable goods). When deployed properly, inventory management can also help with: Efficient use of limited storage. Most hotels are starved for space. An inventory management system keeps you're ordering streamlined and minimizes carrying costs or wastage from spoiled inventory.  Choosing winners and losers. As we noted above, the main objective is to get the right items on your shelves -- and keep them there. Inventory management technology separates the winners from the losers, so you stay streamlined on stocking inventory.  Promotions and other marketing activities. The technology can guide you in creating promotions centered on high-profit items. Start practicing healthy inventory habits: here are 6 tips to help you run your hotel’s retail operation like Amazon. For this article, we'll be using Infor POS as our reference vendor to illustrate the functionality that helps build these habits quickly.  Infor's point of sale pantry management solution automates highly profitable lobby retail outlets that grow incremental revenue.   #1: Know the costs of your inventory Successful retail inventory management starts with a solid foundation. There are three key terms to understand: Ordering costs. This is the amount of money that you spend on ordering items from vendors, as well as the labor cost associated with making these orders. That second bit is often overlooked! If your staff spends hours each week counting inventory and making orders, it's going to cost you a lot more money than just the goods themselves! Shortage costs. This is the amount of money that you lose from having items out of stock, as well as the opportunity costs of tying up cash in inventory. For example, running out of sunscreen in the middle of summer would lead to lost revenue at your lobby store!  Carrying costs. This is the cost of storing your inventory. Each square foot of space has a sunk cost; you have to carry that cost for each item in your inventory. Once you get a handle on these three costs, you’ll be well-positioned to optimize your retail operation. With a point of sale solution like Infor your hotel will have real time visibility into these key metrics to make better decisions around merchandising and stocking.   #2: Practice FIFO Healthy inventory habits extend to ensuring the health of your guests. Don’t underestimate the importance of using FIFO, or First In First Out, when managing inventory. FIFO means that you won’t waste money on throw away expired goods. This means that staff will rotate stock, and put the fresh items behind the older ones when restocking shelves.  FIFO also has a side benefit: it actually makes for more accurate inventory counts. Inventory management solutions can trigger alerts for expired goods based on shelf life which saves time. When you train your staff to always rotate and stock from the back, they take more time with the process. This leads to more consistency in both how items are stocked and how inventory is counted.   #3: Be strategic about your SKUs “SKU” is an acronym for Stock Keeping Unit, the global standard in product management. Each product has its own unique SKU, like a fingerprint, so that individual products can be accurately tracked. Each SKU takes up space on the shelf, and a strategic inventory manager will analyze the carrying cost of each SKU to determine whether it's worth it. Unless there’s a reason to keep a product stocked, such as certain necessities, underperforming SKUs would be discontinued. In an ideal world, only high-performing SKUs would remain. Smart SKU management also means that you make bulk orders wherever possible. There’s a cost savings to ordering in bulk, so hoteliers should strive to balance those savings with the carrying costs of storing inventory in the back of the house.   #4: Use data to shape product mix and placement Each transaction provides a window into a guest’s mindset; from the time of day to the items purchased to the guest’s length of stay, the metadata is an important piece of the retail puzzle. This information identifies your winners and losers, which then keeps your inventory tight and focused on your guests’ actual needs. Any unexpected discoveries should influence your product mix -- and how it’s displayed on the shelves. A vendor like Infor POS has a massive database of transactions that helps with these product and placement decisions. This database of over 5 million helps it make recommendations about what to stock (and how to display it). That way, you benefit from industry-wide benchmarks and won’t have to only rely on instinct or habit to decide what guests prefer. It’s like having a dedicated store manager -- but without the labor cost.

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Food & Beverage Category Press Releases

M3 and Avero Announcing Integration Partnership

M3
3 months ago

M3, the hospitality sector’s #1 cloud-based financial and data management platform has partnered with Avero, a restaurant revenue management software company serving the food and beverage (F&B) industry, allowing hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and positively impact their bottom lines. Currently maintaining over 100 integrations with the top point of sale (POS), labor and payroll systems, Avero offers restaurant analytics software that enhances M3 data, revealing powerful insights on server performance, labor and food costs, revenue management and more. “M3 currently integrates with numerous property management solutions in the hotel market” said Todd Rendle, Avero’s Chief Financial Officer. “This partnership allows M3 to extend its system integrations to over 50 different food and beverage point-of-sale systems and consequently improve data quality and efficiencies to drive financial performance.” Utilizing Avero’s F&B integrations and revenue management software, M3 customers can run a variety of successful enterprise-wide initiatives including increasing profit with menu engineering, reducing food costs and waste and improving server performance. M3 customers will also have the ability to integrate their back-office platforms with more than 50 F&B POS platforms, including Aloha, Micros 3700 and Hosted Symphony. M3’s dedicated integrations team additionally focuses on accumulating actionable data to help customers increase efficiencies, maximize data quality by reducing the need for manual entry and intervention, improve guest experiences and drive overall financial performance. “In our commitment to drive hotel financial performance through technology, M3 is expanding the industry’s back-office functions by modifying software integrations to allow the electronic capture of additional revenue streams beyond PMS,” said Scott Watson, M3’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. “As M3’s customer base grows and diversifies, we will continue investing in and partnering with solutions like Avero to meet our customers’ specific needs and ensure our solutions consistently deliver to the highest of standards.” Access to Avero’s POS integrations and revenue management software can now be added to any customer subscription by contacting M3. M3’s customer base consists of more than 6,300 hotels, of which, more than half are among the top hotel management companies in the U.S., as ranked by Hotel Business.  

Impulsify Announces Arrival into Grab-and-Go for Glamping Retail Stores

Impulsify
4 months ago

Retail technology company, Impulsify Inc., who provides cloud-based point of sale, self-service kiosk solutions, and data-driven retail design services to the hospitality industry, has just announced their arrival onto the Glamping scene. The Denver-based software company recently signed several Glamping sites and will soon launch the general store of its first luxury campground in Escalante, UT. A fusion of glamour and camping, "glamping" allows visitors to experience unique parts of the world without sacrificing the comforts and luxuries of home. With a mission to provide upscale, self-service retail "anywhere people live, work, chill, crave" – Impulsify's plug-and-play retail solutions and expertise extend seamlessly into the campground general store of some of the most desirable glamping sites in North America.  "Our experience designing unique and convenient self-service retail for discerning hotel guests makes our move to glamp-grounds a logical next step," says Impulsify CEO, Janine Williams. "Offering technology-driven, well-planned retail in campground general stores is an essential for any glamping site where guests crave both comfort and convenience - and owners seek proven, effective sources of incremental revenue!" Impulsify's software technology and revenue results present developers, owners, and managers an easy-to-implement solution designed to benefit both the glamp-ground and the guests who visit.  

Tock Named 2018’s Top Rated Food & Beverage Technology in the 2018 HotelTechAwards

Hotel Tech Report
1 year ago

February 12, 2018 -  Hotel Tech Report has named Tock 2018’s top rated Food & Beverage Technology based on data from thousands of hoteliers in more than 40 countries around the world.  Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology products competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The HotelTechAwards platform (by HotelTechReport.com) leverages real customer data to determine best of breed products that help hoteliers grow their bottom lines. “Tock is a game changer for guest and reservation management across hotel  F&B outlets.  Just as Airbnb has popularized the experience movement, Tock goes beyond just making great reservation software and allows for hotels to highlight and sell more of their F&B experiences.  In the end this increases average guest spend, reduces inventory costs and solves one of the biggest problems for restaurants - cancellations,” says Hotel Tech Report’s Jordan Hollander. Tock is poised for sustained growth in 2018. Hoteliers recognized Tock’s impressive return on investment where Tock exceeded the category average by 11%. One Chicago based F&B manager calls Tock “game changing” software that “increases revenue, improves the guest experience and provides outstanding support.”  Another Philadelphia based Corporate Director of F&B Marketing Strategy for a national hotel company says that Tock helps them bring their hotel and restaurant properties to life through events and experiences. To read the full review and more, head to Tock's profile on Hotel Tech Report