April 1, 2018 |

Mike’s Monthly Tip: Embrace Tech

By Pizza Today

How to use smart phones in your restaurant

Remember Napster? Remember how short sighted it seemed when musical acts tried to fight Napster? Metallica looked horrible fighting against the up-and-coming technology. They fought for years against having their catalog available for download and streaming, but eventually they had to give in.

Now let’s look at ourselves. We can try to fight the uphill battle of technology entering into every facet of our business, but wouldn’t it be better to embrace it, and have it work for us instead of just being another headache?

The debate of having a point of sale system or credit card processing is over a decade old and technology won. I’m not going to write on the need for those things — because if you’re reading this article, odds are you probably know the deal on how necessary those are.

Today’s fight is how to use smart phones in your restaurant.

Yes, the smart phone. It can either be a nuisance or your direct link to your staff. You can try to fight your staff having a phone with them when they work, but it’s a lost cause. I remember about five years ago trying to take staff cell phones and put them into the safe until after their shift. To anyone still doing that, how’s that working out for you?

Fact is all your staff has them, and they are using them on the shift. Most likely to check the time, or a text every hour or so. If that’s all it is, and they are washing their hands, it’s really not a hill to die for.

Your staff, especially your key staff, should all have high-grade smart phones and you should maximize their use of them. If you have managers using dated technology, I go so far to say you should get them a phone and split the cost.

Here are some things I do:

  • Smart Schedule: I believe the best staff is the one present at your store, so make sure that process is simple and efficient. Online schedulers make sure your staff knows their shift, there’s no ambiguity on it, and shift trades don’t become a game of “he said, she said.” Next level steps would be using it for labor expectations, roles in the restaurant and maximum efficacy.
  • Cloud File Storage: For recipes and HR forms, I would rather my staff print it from their phone through our Wi-Fi than be in an office for hours looking stuff up. All my cloud files are “read only” and can’t be deleted by my staff. All of their access to the files is individual so when and if we part ways, I control removing their access. Also, if I need to update a form or change a recipe, it’s instantly in their hands.
  • Team Project Management: There are several group forum programs that act like a Facebook for business, and each user can contribute to a “project.” This is used by me for menu development or new site builds. But in store, my team can start a project for all caterings and communicate as a team on when they are put into the POS, any onsite modifications or notes, who is delivering, etc. Really anything you can think for a project, all in one place, updated with notifications for all to see.

With all that said, I also use a camera system to watch my staff from — you guessed it — my smartphone. I scan to see who is on their phone all day versus who is using it for a glance here and there to do their job. For the ones abusing it, they are given a written warning. After that we terminate.

A typical smartphone has more technology in it than what it took to get a man to the moon. Surely it can help you run your team more smoothly.

MIKE BAUSCH  is the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a frequent speaker at the International Pizza Expo family of tradeshows.