6 ways you can help your restaurant limit one use plastic

In the restaurant business, the use of plastic can sometimes be unpreventable, as it serves many purposes and plays a vital role in our consumption of food.  So going plastic free for a business can seem like a daunting process. While a lot of plastic is made for longterm use, and can be re-used, you will find that when it comes to plastic for restaurants most items are one use only and that is where the problem lies. A lot of restauranteurs are unsure how to start with the removal of one use plastic items in their restaurant, so thats where we step in.

Below are 6 ways you can limit your plastic use in your restaurant today.

1. Get rid of plastic straws

Straws in a restaurant are a necessity and are us, so you can not remove the complete use of straws . Did you know that they are used for roughly 20 minutes, but can last in a landfill or the ocean for 20+ years and are the top items picked up from littering.

How can you change it?

Now a days finding a sustainable alternative is easy.  You can opt for re-usable straws like steel or glass, or go for recyclable options like bamboo or paper.

2. Change your takeaway containers

Takeaway containers are littered frequently because they are usually used away from home. They are often made of polystyrene, which is toxic, and pose many health concerns for not only our wildlife, but us as well. We recommend that polystyrene is NEVER used for food packaging.

How can you change it?

When it comes to containers there are several options.

-BYOC (Bring your own container) You can allow customers to bring there own containers for takeaways or left overs.

-Provide re-usable containers. You can sell containers, or offer a discount on a next purchase when the containers are returned.

-Some businesses assume that plastic containers are the only choice due to hot liquid or the need for containers to be freezable. However there are many options that are compostable and will work for heat and freezing.  Make sure you check that your products are not only biodegradale, but compostable too. Products made from Biocane (bagasse) are a good example of this, and then the obvious is for food that is not wet, cardboard is also an option.

3. Cut back on the plastic cutlery, for delivery

Lets be real, if your delivering food to someones home they have cutlery. So there is no need to provide plastic utensils with every delivery order. The majority of single-use cutlery given with delivery orders end up being thrown straight into the garbage without being used. Takeout, however, is trickier because a customer might want to eat on the go.

How can you change it?

Try adding a form to your online ordering to your form that says, “Do you need cutlery?” . You can also make sure your staff ask takeout customers this question when they order over the phone.

If you do need to provide cutlery go for bamboo/ wood  this would be the best option.

4. Say no to plastic plates and cups

Please if customers are eating in serve them in re-usable plates and glassware.  There is no need to use paper and plastic items that get one use.

How can you change it?

You can opt for reusable items for starters. Choose stainless steel cutlery and ceramic plates. These items are cost-effective in the long run and reduce waste volume and costs to your business.

Alternatively you can consider 100% compostable items that meet home compost standard. For plates and bowls, choose items made sustained, preferably – biocane (bagasse). For cold cups, look for paper.

5. Buy inventory in bulk

You won’t only reduce your food costs when buying in bulk, but you will help save the environment-so why not? When you buy in bulk you receive less packaging therefore limiting your trash output.

6. Go for paper bags, not plastic

Plastic bags are usually the cause of wildlife entanglement and ingestion. Degradable and biodegradable bags are NOT a good alternative. Degradable bags break into small pieces quickly and are readily ingested by wildlife. Biodegradable bags take up to 2 years to biodegrade in the environment, and by that time they have often done the damage.

How can you change it?

-Provide sustainably sourced paperbags

-Provide recycled cardboard boxes

-Encourage customers to bring their own bags

The shift to sustainability is all on us. We all need to do our part to help the earth, even if it costs a bit more.  These small changes will make a huge impact on the environment. You will help by keeping our waters clean and gain more like-minded customers that will return to your restaurant because they like your values.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

How to prepare a profitable patio space this summer season

The summer months are an exciting time for restaurant owners with customers coming out of winter hibernation. You will notice your sales will start to boom in comparison to the winter months.  So whether you live in the warm sunshine all year long or you’re looking to take advantage of the summer rays, consider transforming your unused outdoor space into a profitable patio destination. Outdoor dining areas range from simple sidewalk stop overs to lavish beachfront bars.  Is your restaurant’s patio ready to go for the summer rush?

There are a few points that you will need to consider in advance to make sure all your efforts are successful so let us show you how to prepare for a profitable season outdoors.

1. CHECK LOCAL LAWS

First and foremost, just because you have an outdoor space that actually doesn’t mean you can just go ahead and use it for alcohol and food service. You need to make sure you look into local, state and federal laws/regulations around patios for your restaurant or bar. Remember each state is different so make sure to check out all the info in your state.

Don’t forget that you might need to run electricity for lighting or your point-of-sale system or things like plumbing & gas if you want to do food preparation or have a full bar outside. You even need to check on local laws around allowing peoples furry friends to sit on your patio. Don’t leave any detail unattended to.

2.SEATING PLAN

Similar to that of seating strategies inside, ideally you want to have a strategic setup of tables and chairs outside-selling the right seat to the right customer at the right price and for the right duration of time. A strategic setup includes understanding your target market, their ideal length of stay, and average party size in addition to overall space for comfort and traffic flow for guests and staff. Again, this additional seating must also align with production levels in the kitchen and bar.  What would happen if you were at full capacity, both inside and outside? Have a plan in place and analyze your revenue per available seat-hour to maximize each moment throughout the day.

You also need to remember to stay true to your brand identity. Are you trying to create an ambiance? Or simply add more tables to maximize your space?Remember, while adding atmospheric elements to your patio reduces the amount of people you can seat, it can create a memorable experience guests will want to visit often. A smaller seating section also creates exclusivity. This can build demand and excite guests looking to enjoy the warm weather outdoors.

3.PEST CONTROL

Take the time to meet with your pest control vendor and discuss your plans for outside. They can suggest safe bug repellents and means of keeping away other animals and critters like mice, squirrels and even birds. Sanitation is a critical component in any restaurant and the patio cannot be overlooked. Put a preventative action plan in place to deter any bugs or animals from potentially ruining a guest’s experience. There’s nothing worse then eating outside and being attacked by flies or seeing furry critters run by.

4.OUTDOORS BAR

You may want to consider creating an outdoor bar station whether it offers full service to patrons, or is a quick service bar for your waitstaff. It offers many benefits like serving customers who are waiting for tables, or allowing your waitstaff to turn tables quicker with faster service.

5. OUTDOOR COOKING

If you have the space for it, you could bring kitchen equipment onto your patio including grills, pizza ovens, and outdoor smokehouses. The intoxicating smell of barbecue on the grill or margarita pizza fresh from the oven will entice customers walking by and encourage patrons to spend more on food.

Your restaurant will instantly become more transparent as guests can see there food being cooked right in front of them, providing visual confirmation that what they’re getting is fresh.

6.MAKE A PLAN FOR MOTHER NATURE

Nowhere is immune to inclement weather. Here are a few tips to prepare your patio for weather that may not be conducive to outdoor dining:

  • Stay on top of wiping and drying tables and chairs after a rain storm
  • Add outdoor heaters for those chilly summer nights
  • Make sure to have shade whether its umbrellas or deck covers
  • Place fans or misters for those super hot days that are unbareable
  • Be prepared to shut down the space and have a plan for seating your guests elsewhere if the weather gets too bad.

 7.BE STRATEGIC WITH YOUR POS

As patios are only seasonal spaces, they are not always ideally located. Stop servers from having to run back and forth to the bar, kitchen, and terminal by investing in a point-of-sale system that offers handheld operations like PointOS.

A handheld system can be fully integrated sending orders directly to the kitchen, includes inventory information. Your guests can easily pay, sign, and tip right at the table allowing faster more efficient services for your guests. Overall creating a more pleasant experience and turning tables quicker.

8. DON’T FORGET TO ADVERTISE

A great patio season could be destroyed if it’s not coupled with a great marketing campaign. It is vital to inform your guests of your patio and the plans you have for it throughout the season. Warm weather attracts tourism and gets locals looking to re-explore their surroundings. The restaurants and bars that provide the right mix of planning and energy are the ones that will attract a consistent level of guests throughout the patio season. Look for ways to utilize live music, theme parties, unique menus and interactive games on a daily or weekly basis throughout the patio season to drive seasonal success.

Remember there is no detail too small so make sure your conscious of your customers’ outdoor dining experience as you will gain a competitive advantage during the warm days of summer. A happy customer means a happy restaurant bottom line.

What other things would you recommend for a great patio experience for a restaurant or bar? Tell us in the comments below.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

6 Restaurant marketing ideas for summer

Summer is approaching and everyone is ready to come out of hibernation and spend some time and money on good food, and social experiences. However you can’t rely on the good weather to attract your customers. You need to convince them why they should be spending with you instead of your competitors.

This all comes down to your unbeatable marketing tactics. Summer is about  creating envious Instagram pics and experiences worth dressing up (or down) for. If you’re not sure how to turn those insights into a successful seasonal marketing campaign, you can borrow from some of our tips below.

1. High heat, low prices

First and foremost the easiest way to attract loads of customers to your restaurant is by slashing your prices. Think day-long happy hours, free refills on lemonade or free beverage with your meal.  The one thing you need to do is to be careful not to hurt your profit margins with these promotions. A day-long happy hour deal is a great idea when done occasionally but financially, it’s unfeasible as a daily offering. You should let your  inventory influence your specials. Fresh ingredients keep for shorter periods in the hot months and you can get rid of them quicker by putting them in dishes and drinks on promotion.

2. Refresh your menu

It’s always exciting when a local restaurant has a new menu. It feels like a relaunch on a smaller scale. You can introduce a whole new menu or create a seasonal menu.  A good idea would be to go local. Opt for dishes with local produce such as strawberries, tomatoes, arugula, salad greens, peaches, bell peppers, squash, zucchini and fresh herbs.  If your near the sea ad fresh seafood dishes. You can keep your menu fresh with daily dishes. You can  find the inspiration from your patrons. What are they always asking for that you don’t offer? It might be beneficial to run a survey or finally go through that mostly ornamental suggestion box you have at your front of house. Give the people what they want and they’ll keep coming back all summer long.

3. Put yourself on the map

Most millennials and tech-savvy patrons  will type in or “beer garden near me” instead of looking up a specific restaurant by name. This means that you need to optimise your restaurant’s Google search-ability.  There are a few things you can do to do this.  You can invest in Google Ads, claim your listing on Google Maps, or optimise your website’s SEO so your restaurant ranks highly in organic Google search results. If any of this sounds foreign to you, consider enlisting the help of a digital marketing specialist or take an online course for some basic training.

4. From May to Sept 

Don’t forget to maximise on every holiday that occurs throughout summer. From memorial day, to 4th of July and straight through to Labour Day people will find any excuse to celebrate, and you can use this to your advantage. So find all the days that you can celebrate fun occasions. If it fits your restaurant’s image, you can provide live entertainment and charge a small entry fee.

5. Summer events

There are so many events during the summer no matter where you live. Find out what’s happening locally, and see whether you can run a booth or sell food from a trailer or a food truck. A mobile POS system makes these kinds of sales easy to manage. Regardless of whether you can participate directly, you can piggyback on the event with social media marketing and GPS-targeted advertising campaigns.

6. Partner with local tourist attractions

During the summer, referrals from local hotels, motels, museums, art galleries and amusement parks can increase your revenue and cover the shortages caused by reduced business from regular customers. Your customers are traveling, so it makes sense to replace them with tourists to your city.

You can offer discounts for hotel guests, leave copies of your menu in the lobbies of local hotels or provide hotel delivery service to capitalize on visitors to your city.

Getting creative with marketing ideas for summer can help keep your restaurant busy in summer.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

How to help prevent employee theft with a POS system

Lets face it, not everyone is honest, hard-working, and loyal. We know its hard to think badly of the people who work for you, how could they look at you everyday? Unfortunately you need to be cautious when it comes to your bottom line. Sure most of your employees are probably wonderful people, you just can’t guarantee that all of them are. The short interview you had with them or the few hours a day that you interact with them might not be enough to give you access to their true nature.

Employee theft is the biggest threat that can happen in your company. The restaurant industry sees a total of 3 to 6 billion dollars in theft annually. A staggering 75% of restaurant employees have admitted to stealing from their employer at some point. These statistics aren’t easy to hear or believe, but it’s a hard truth you must face.  One way to control your employees is by using POS.

Before we identify how the POS will help, lets first mention you definitely need to get rid of the cash register and invest in a POS system, as you are putting your business at high risk for theft. Staff can literally put there hands in the drawer and take out cash, or not ring something up, or record it at a different price and pocket the change. Then if you even notice something its hard to say who has actually taken the money because your employees can say it was someone else, or that there was a counting error.

Ok-now that we have hashed that out. There are many features of a POS that you can use to help prevent employee theft. Here are some tips for you to follow:

Security settings

A POS system allows you to give different type of access to different employees. The most common to focus on in this case would be the “VOID” button. Make sure you limit who can verify voiding to a manager. There are legitimate reasons a customer would want to void from picking the wrong item, they don’t have enough cash or ordered the wrong size. However, cashiers and waiters could also use this method to commit fraud. For example when a transaction is voided out, the purchased item is not necessarily returned . This happens because the access to cancel a purchase is not restricted.

POS software allows you to limit who is allowed to access void out sales. Thus, you can minimize the possibility of thievery.

Cash tracking

As we mentioned above cash is the easiest way for your employees to steal money from you. So without tracking who was working and what type of sales they were making you won’t be able to find the culprit.

With POS software you can easily track which employees were working how many times they “voided” a sale or hit “no sale”. Another thing to mention is that most restaurants set there POS operations to have only ONE cash drawer- so only one person is responsible for the cash going in and out of the till. Waiters will usually hold onto there cash through-out there shift. There sales printouts will tell how much cash they owe to the restaurant. This limits the amount of hands in cash drawer and makes the waiters responsible for there own cash.

Frequent auditing

Using POS software will make it easier for you to monitor everything related to your employees activities.

You can easily monitor the below by pulling reports directly from your POS.

  • Price changes
  • Order voids
  • Removing items from orders
  • Security violation
  • Time clock changes
  • Cash & CC Sales
  • Inventory levels

Being able to monitor these things will help you find out which of your employees has the potential to commit thievery. You also can take precautions before those misconducts happen in your company.

So if you don’t have a POS yet go and get one because thats your first step to preventing theft, and catching the thieves.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany

The essential restaurant POS features to grow your business

The food and beverage industry is fast-paced so you need a POS system that will keep you “out of the weeds” (if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you know what this means) . From easily moving line items on a check, to tracking inventory and sales,  a point of sale software is an essential ingredient to running a successful restaurant.

We at PointOS know exactly what your business needs to grow, so we have put together a check list of key features your POS for your business should have.

1. OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT

Multiple Locations

From one location to many, your point of sale system should be able to grow as big as your entrepreneurial spirit. Manage your enterprise with ease using the same POS system across all locations.

Payment Processing

People carry less cash these days then they used to. Mobile payments and CC’s are where a majority of payments come from. Make sure your POS system has integrated credit card processing with fair rates.

Table Management

You can design and build a custom floor plan to match the exact layout of your restaurant on your POS. This will help you to manage your tables accurately and know what tables are about to turn and which ones were just sat.

2. INVENTORY MANAGEMENT

Keeping track of your inventory is a no brainer. Unlike the retail industry, restaurant inventory doesn’t just fall out of fashion, it expires. Keep product waste and food costs to a minimum with tighter inventory controls.

Inventory Management

Don’t tell your staff that item is “86’ed”. Track menu items and raw goods for each dish. Know what you have on-hand, when it will expire, and when you need to order more.

Vendor Management

All your vendors should be in one place-no more searching through your phone or on that messy desk of papers. You can should easily be able to keep track of all vendors and purchase orders right from your POS system.

 3. REPORTING

A restaurant POS system should have all the analytics you need to make smart, data-driven decisions. It should be as easy as clicking the right buttons.

Sales Reports

Sales reports are the life of every business and they provide an overview of all transactions over a period of time.

Shift reports make it easy to track important shift details like payouts, pay-ins, tips, and sales activity.

Labor Reports

Labor reports provide insight into how labor is translating into sales and help keep your labor cost percentage in check.

4.MENU & ORDERING MANAGEMENT 

From daily specials to unique modifiers and custom orders, make it easy for customers to tell you exactly what they want.

Integrated Online Ordering

Integrating other features onto your POS is key. Opting for an integration with an online ordering app will grow your revenue channel and help grow sales.

Check Management

No more long hand mathematics at the table. You should be able to take orders, split checks, and transfer tables with just a few taps.

Modifiers

Modifiers are a great way to cut down on food waste. If someone doesn’t want onion-no problem, save it for someone else.

Meal Courses

Eliminate the guesswork of firing appetizers and entrees. Use proper coursing to keep your servers and chefs in sync throughout the customers’ dining experience.

5. CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Customer loyalty doesn’t just happen, it’s earned. Creating a memorable dining experience and exceptional dishes are only part of the equation. Customers need to feel value, especially if they are regulars.

Rewards Program

Reward loyal customers and keep them coming back for more. Create special offers and incentives with a customer loyalty program to drive repeat business.

Gift Cards

Accepting gift cards is a no-brainer. On average, consumers spend 20 percent more than the value of the gift card and restaurant gift cards are the most popular type of gift card to give.

Special Events and Promotions

Make your loyal customers feel like royalty. Give them first access to special events and promotions.

Like our stories or want to hear more? Drop us a line @ Blogpointos@gmail.com.

See you next week!

Your devoted hostess,

Brittany