Restaurants worldwide are faced with the same daily challenges: tough competition is squeezing budgets, forcing each eatery to strive to be better than the one next door. With constant access to brutally honest reviews on social media, customers have never had better opportunities to go somewhere else to get a unique dining experience, resulting in a high demand for innovation. So how do you put your business one step ahead of the others? One of London’s most popular restaurant chains found a way.

Restaurants are stuck in the past

You can always change your menu, décor or even your name but if you really want to differentiate, you have to look at the work processes behind the scenes. There is a high number of modern tools which offer to handle sales, table reservations, marketing, etc. – and most restaurants have already implemented those to automate otherwise time-consuming routines. But many are still using pen, paper and spreadsheets to run the most important part of the whole operation – their workforce management.

Clever workforce management is what keeps your business together and if you are not in constant control of those processes, your front of house will fall apart too. And then there’s no point in investing in marketing or booking services.

Read more: Restaurant management software – these are the ones you need

Many restaurant owners and managers are stuck in the past, handling rotas, HR, payroll and communication through slow, manual processes from inside their office while important business opportunities are passing them by outside in the real world among customers, suppliers and employees. While pen and paper can be useful as a starting tool, it won’t be able to grow with your business. What happens when your restaurant expands? Or when you need to hire more people? Your paper processes won’t be able to keep up.

The solution is to adopt a modern workforce management tool to handle all the administrative parts of running a restaurant, saving managers time and money, and putting focus back on what they love to do. But restaurateurs still hesitate to make the change.

What’s the problem?

While early adopters of smart workforce management are reaping the competitive rewards of having such a system, most restaurant managers are worried that tech tools are difficult to implement, complex and expensive. However, POS systems and social media marketing platforms are already well-integrated within the industry. So, what’s the problem?

Today, the best workforce management systems are online, mobile and extremely user-friendly. Most systems even include a highly-qualified support team, who are ready to help with any questions or problems popping up along the way. At the same time, the cost of having such a tool is very low as you only pay a subscription fee for the bits of the system that you actually need instead of buying a heavy piece of software.

Read more: Use these KPIs to measure your restaurant’s success

One restaurant to have taken the plunge and is now saving time and money on their internal management processes is a well-known restaurant chain in the heart of the British capital.

Clever workforce management means better business

Polpo is an award-winning group of restaurants in London, managing 350 employees across eight locations. With such a high number of staff and locations, the manual processes that the head office team used to rely on were starting to consume huge amounts of time. Tackling a series of complex daily challenges – from rotas and shift swaps to holidays and collating hours for payroll – meant less time to build the business and maintain the excellent standards that their customers love.

The team at Polpo were in no doubt that they needed to change the way they handled administration. They were looking for big savings on admin time, better communication and more efficient ways of working. It was then that the idea of having an online workforce management tool caught their attention.

Today, their workforce management system is enabling managers, chefs and waiters to work together across different locations and job positions, staying on top of payroll and keeping in touch all day. And Polpo’s managers can feel the positive change it has had on their everyday lives.

“Our system enables managers and chefs to work together more effectively, which strengthens the communication across different locations and job positions,” Charlotte Whiting, Head Office Manager, Polpo.

“As Head Office Manager, I am able to have a constant, real-time overview of rotas, staffing budgets and HR files. It saves me a lot of time every week and keeps me updated on the business,” Charlotte Whiting, Head Office Manager, Polpo.

Charlotte and Polpo grabbed the opportunity to handle their management for 30 days, free of charge. You can do the same, and find out what a workforce management solution can do for your business.

You’re welcome to give it a try right here – free.

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Lisa Andersen
Lisa Andersen Content Editor
Part of Planday’s content team in Copenhagen, Lisa is into yoga and loves good writing. Her experience includes working with communication and PR for international grassroots organizations in Argentina and Bolivia.