One common issue restaurant owners face is technology failure. It has nothing to do with you, that’s the nature of technology, it is never 100% reliable. That’s why sometimes it is a curse and you will need to plan for it, because it will happen. For example about six months ago, I visited a McDonalds for a quick lunch. Apparently, their POS was having connectivity issues right during rush hour. The manager tried to reset it, contacted tech support but in the meantime he had no choice than to give food away to credit/debit card paying customers for some time. I have no idea of how many meals he gave away before they stopped, placed a “Cash only” sign at their doors and drive thru, but this what I know, a multimillion dollar (or maybe billion) company like McDonalds faced a mayor technology issue right at rush hour.
If you are thinking “that’s probably nothing for them” you are right! But imagine this same scenario happening to you during your rush hour: What would you do? Would you give the food away until you fix the issue? Would you send the customers away with a “Cash only policy” even to those that already placed their orders? Think about it! It is a high probability issue for anyone using technology and could flush a lot of money down the drain. My recommendation: have a backup payment processing system, up and ready to go! Don’t wait until it happens to start calling your bank or an alternate company. This should be a priority!
Technology may also be a blessing for your restaurant. I am still amazed by the number of restaurants that don’t use email listings to promote their offers. Not to mention the number of restaurants owners that don’t claim the business on public directories and address client reviews and comments. That is a mistake that you must avoid. Technology, social media, directories can help you in many ways: people will find you, people will be referred to your restaurant with their reviews. In short, you will be in control of the reputation of your business.
Make sure you are in control of those external factors that you can control, and use technology as a tool. Let me offer an example of ways technology could be part of your back up plan: let’s say there is road construction near your business causing your potential customers to drive away, and as result your sales decline. You send a “tweet” or post on your Facebook page a “special” for those who visit despite the construction. Or you give them an alternate route to get there, what about a construction “special event” and have your staff wear hard hats or construction safety vests, post pictures and drive customers to your restaurant. Again, you take control of external factors and use technology on your favor.
I hope this tips will give you ideas on how to prevent the “curse” and plan for failures, also find great ways to use technology as a tool for your benefit and the benefit of your business. Make sure you plan for the unexpected and plan to bounce back quickly! You can start by drafting your basic plan with the help of the Business as Usual podcast, or requesting a free consultation.