SBGA helps optimize the restaurant industry with Clover products

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Despite economic uncertainties over the past decade, the leisure and hospitality industry has enjoyed sustained growth. In fact, just last year, restaurants in America enjoyed overall sales of over $799 billion, a 4.3% increase over the preceding year. Moreover, as high-quality convenience-fare continues to be a huge hit with consumers, these trends are only predicted to continue further.

However, amidst these notes of optimism there are certainly some growing concerns as well, especially amongst owners of full-service restaurants. While incomes have been rising again post-recession, this growth has still been relatively modest, and on the whole customers are still showing some reluctance to spend their disposable cash. Alongside these tighter controls on spending, the number of dining options available for consumers has continued to increase; and this wealth of choice has only been enhanced further with the introduction of smartphone apps that provide detailed reviews on even the most obscure eateries.

Simply put, restaurants are facing more competition today than ever before, not just from rivals within the industry but from alternative consumer expenditures as well. Now before eating out, customers are asking themselves, whether they’d rather save their money to spend on electronics, or big-ticket items like cars instead.

For both new and established restaurants, the answer to these new difficulties has been a renewed focus on process optimization. Four areas in particular have come into focus:

How SBGA perfects your customer experience

According to research from Harvard Business School a simple, one-star increase in Yelp ratings can yield a 9% increase in revenue. With statistics like that, it’s clear that restaurants need to dedicate more time and effort to ensuring a memorable dining experience every time.

But in order to achieve this goal, managers must be able to put the right staff in place, in adequate numbers, at the necessary time. In addition, supervisors must be available on the floor at all times to handle customer concerns, special requests, and bookings. All of these tasks require efficient scheduling procedures.

Communication between employees and customers

Organizing workforce requirements for a restaurant is an inherently erratic process. Employee turnover is generally high, hours are usually flexible, and short-term requirements for extra hands during peak hours can necessitate frantic, last-minute calls. In addition, managers have to be able to account for shift swaps, and absences at a moment’s notice.

The biggest obstacle for getting on top of all these issues is communication. Restaurants need an inclusive, real-time method of communication between employees, customers and managers; that can easily integrate into existing processes.

Employee Retention increases productivity

Staff turnover costs restaurants approximately $146,000 annually, with the cost of replacing just one employee estimated at over $20,000. With that in mind, retaining experienced employees should be amongst any managers’ biggest concerns. However, empowering and engaging employees can be difficult when you’re constantly under pressure to make the most out of your limited resources. After all, hourly wages have increased 4.2% in the restaurant industry in just the past year. Managers must figure out how to maximize labor productivity without impeding employee freedom.

Inventory Management and Pricing

Wherever a large quantity of perishable goods is present, the prospect for costly shortages and oversupplies becomes a very real possibility. Effective inventory management can help managers prevent wastage and plan resource requirements for peak business periods in advance. In addition, statistical analysis can help managers ascertain the cost of ingredients over time, and set menu prices accordingly; with real-time data these prices can be adjusted depending on the seasonal cost of inputs.

Enter SBGA (Small Business Growth Alliance)

If you’re wondering how restaurants are suddenly able to drive these efficiencies in their operations, the answer is cutting-edge technological innovation. In particular the Clover Flex POS system offered through SBGA has been fundamental to the continued success, and growth of many smaller businesses in the industry.

SBGA is a cooperative association formed by experienced small business owners in a variety of industries. With extensive expertise the group works to provide members with direct, affordable access to a range of trusted service providers across multiple functions, including: web development, digital marketing, SEO, payroll, shipping and credit card processing. With these best-in-class solutions, small businesses can optimize their back-office activities and create profitability, streamline operations, and mitigate future risks to the enterprise.

On the back of these services, SBGA has received an astounding number of sterling five-star reviews from a laundry list of thankful small business owners.

What is Clover?

Clover is an integrated business management system that provides a range of real-time tools purpose-built for small business owners. These applications are available 24/7 from any location, via cloud-based portable devices and software, so on-the-go business owners can manage key aspects of their business from any location, at any time.

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Clover Capabilities

Scheduling

Clover provides an intuitive interface for creating, adjusting and managing employee shifts and timings.

  • Provide each member of your staff with a unique log-in and you can automate their clock-ins, and clock-outs
  • Create templates out of your schedules and duplicate them from week to week, making changes where appropriate
  • Integrate real-time information on employee availability and upcoming leaves
  • Monitor productivity by comparing labor costs and scheduled hours against actual hours worked for each employee

Inventory and Order Management

Clover inventory management allows managers to track and manage inventory according to size and function. Using the app you can also monitor stock levels, and add or subtract items in line with your business. With these analytics in place, you can then import your menu and make adjustments to the items sold in real-time based on stock levels. In addition, you can set fixed or variable prices for your item based on how it’s sold.

If any of your menu items allow for customer preferences, then you can input these options into your order system as well. For example, if you offer extra cheese on your burgers, then you can add an additional “cheese” modifier to your menu item, and input a relevant price. Finally you can add appropriate sales taxes to your menu items, by choosing from either the pre-set default tax option, or entering in your own custom tax point.

Transaction capabilities for POS and mobile

Clover’s POS system is backed by First Data, one of largest credit processers in the world. With this support in place, Clover can process multiple forms of payment from cash to credit and even checks without any issues. Clover also works with mainstream mobile payment options including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

Unlike other cloud-based services, Clover isn’t reliant on internet access for functionality, if your Wi-Fi or internet does go down you can continue taking payments with Clover’s offline capabilities or 3G services.

Most important of all Clover employs a state-of-the-art encryption system to ensure the privacy and safety of consumer data in every transaction.

SBGA will help you engage with your customers

Clover provides a range of handy features that can help you create significant customer loyalty. Through the POS system you can collect contact details, and other personal information for any customer that dines at your restaurant. Using this data, Clover creates targeted customer profiles that can help you better interact understand and communicate with your target audience. With these insights you can:

  • Identify your best customers and create tailored rewards programs to incentivize their continued loyalty.
  • Create integrated mailing lists to get the word out on promotional offers and one-off events.
  • Interface with customers through the medium of your choice, be it email, text or the proprietary Rewards app.
  • Build segmented lists of customers based on spending habits, number of visits or a myriad of other categories.
  • Post targeted offers for online through Facebook and Twitter.
  • Print promotional offers right onto receipts.
  • Allow customers to leave feedback on the digital receipt sent directly to their email; with all replies sent directly to your inbox. By providing unhappy customers with the opportunity to talk one-on-one regarding their concerns, you can avoid the fallout from a bad online review.

SBGA provides valuable reporting and analytics

Clover compiles handy visual reports and statistics that cover every area of your business. From any location you can view detailed information on payments and expenses during a period, or you can compare your overall sales figures against inventory levels. With these insights you can:

  • Analyze customer spending patterns and make business decisions accordingly. For example, you can determine which menu items are generating consistent sales, and which have fallen out of favor. These considerations will in-turn affect your inventory purchasing.
  • Based on customer preferences you can forecast marketing trends and make proactive changes to your menu accordingly.
  • Develop market segments for your customer based on whether they’re repeat customers, new diners, or just visiting.
  • Assess how your new marketing efforts and customer engagement programs have impacted sales. You can even narrow this information down to reflect how you’re doing in certain coveted market segments.
  • Match your figures up, against other competing businesses and develop performance benchmarks to measure your future success against.

SBGA offers table management from Clover!

For restaurants efficiently turning tables is a constant preoccupation, especially during peak periods. Effective customer throughput requires an in-depth knowledge of which tables are available, how long customers have been seated, and which staff members are taking orders.

SGBA’s table management solution provides restaurant managers with custom table layouts, additional details for each table, and status updates on table availability. With these tools, managers can develop a custom map that accounts for the specific layout, and dimensions of the restaurant. Using this map, your host will be able to:

  • Monitor table availability in real-time
  • Seat customers based on the size of their party
  • Assign servers based on their current workload
  • Servers can instantly send orders to the kitchen staff, by pressing the “Fire” button. This allows them to stay on the floor, and deal with customers as needs arise.

Ultimately the ability to customize your table management on-to-go, allied with the wealth of targeted information provided by the specific tools works to turn tables faster. That means smoother service on even the most crowded occasions.

Of course when you keep customers moving smoothly, with minimum wait between orders and delivery, you can be assured of a great customer experience which means more revenue for your restaurant over time.

Getting alerts from Clover!

Clover also offers emails and text alerts based on your critical requirements. You can use the alert app to notify you when:

  • Payments, refunds or discounts above a certain amount are made
  • An order is deleted
  • A custom order is made
  • An online order is made
  • Stock levels fall below threshold limits
  • An item you’ve scanned in using your barcode scanner is nearing expiry
  • An order stays open past a threshold limit without being fulfilled
  • Cash is removed from the till