Top Tools of 2018 That Solve the Biggest Problems in Multi-location Restaurants

 In Restaurant Tips

Multiple locations can be great for business. Besides standing as additional sources of revenue, nothing beats them for developing your brand, increasing brand awareness, and providing a consistent, dependable product customers can look forward to. They build a foundation for longevity, scalability, and growth, and help you stand out in overcrowded local markets. Along with the benefits, they can also pose unique problems. We’re going to pinpoint some of those, and then share with you top multi-location restaurant tools to keep your restaurant moving in the right direction.

Top Tools of 2018 That Solve the Biggest Problems in Multi-location Restaurants

The problems:

Consistency and compliance

Restaurant owners can’t be everywhere at once. How do you keep the main idea, vision, menu, and culture of service consistent, across locations, without instituting the managerial equivalent of a totalitarian regime? Compliance is key because consistency has to be checked and enforced.

Strong teams united under a common vision combine consistency with excellence, and build compliance from the inside out, not simply requiring constant enforcement from above. Underdeveloped teams create “OK” experiences for customers and muddle or even damage your values and reputation.

All restaurant owners know what a challenge this is. A healthy team builds a reputation for customer service. And repeated, positive, on-brand experiences are the golden fleece of business consistency.

Localization

From building reputation and search engine optimization (SEO), to meeting customer needs and responding to customer problems, restaurants need to be connected to their locations in order to thrive. But how do you do this?

Thriving goes both ways. A restaurant can be highly successful in terms of income (think of geographically ubiquitous, very large chains), but not pour back into the community. You want both.

The key to staying connected in each location is by embracing the “both ways” principle. Instead of simply pushing your brand hard, creating an information flow in one direction, you need to invite large amounts of information your way in the form of analytics and customer and employee feedback. You’ll only know how to localize by receiving dependable feedback from customers in these locations.

Staying “real”

People need to know about you, like you, and praise you. But people can often get the impression that “chain” means you won’t cut muster in service, appeal, nutrition, personality, or sustainability—that you won’t be “real.”

This is increasingly not the case, of course, as multi-location restaurants get more creative. But customers are savvy, and multi-location restaurants have the whole history of fast food looming over them. Part of your marketing challenge is reversing expectations.

As you grow, you need to stay “real.” That is, you need to stay rooted to your original vision, and demonstrate that concretely, even in a higher level of organization and standardization. You have to make your roots part of your culture as you go, and not compromise your strongest values. Even as you grow, you have to stay close to the ground.

The solutions

You need multi-location solutions that will:

  • Indicate restaurant and staff health across locations
  • Keep consistency together with the ability to personalize
  • Help you leverage customer feedback

A few of the top tools include:

Training and hiring

Improve your training and hiring system through staff-friendly technology, role-playing, manager shadowing, accurate and accessible materials and videos, and very careful hiring. Be known as the chain that retains. An excellent multi-location staff all starts with people who care about the local community and can become brand ambassadors. You want to retain people who are familiar with your brand, loyal, and understand your culture. A strong team can also give you dependable feedback and serve as miner’s canaries for the health of your staff across locations, and the health of your business model as it grows.

Inventory system

Is your inventory system keeping up with the demands of several locations? Make sure you can track the inventory of discrete locations as well as oversee the inventory flow of your whole restaurant. For example, some locations may not stock the same brand of ingredients, or provide the same local produce, meat, or dairy products. You will have to manage decisions about restaurant decor and furnishings, and whether to stock the same brands of restroom and cleaning supplies. Arrangements with vendors, shopping trips, menus, consistency, and customer service can all be planned with better care and farther in advance when you update your inventory system to handle multiple locations.

Original Review customer feedback platform

We offer a unique tool for building your multi-location business. Here’s why:

How OR meets you where you are

Original Review is designed to help restaurants thrive, through the power of real-time feedback. From every location, diners can leave quick, personalized reviews when they pay the check. These reviews then populate your own, 100% secure online review page, to help spread the word about the great service and food you offer. You’re keeping your ear to the ground, hearing from real customers from open to close, every day. OR is a fast-track to knowing your customers and their milieu, and is a powerful tool for reputation building.

OR also organizes large amounts of information for you, pooling and comparing review results in real time, onto manager dashboards. You can literally watch how operations and service are unfolding over a day, a week, or years. They’re great for problem-solving on the fly, and for developing and tweaking your business plan over time.

A multi-location business is a big ship. The sooner you can spot trouble on the horizon, the better. Customizable alerts can let you know when any diner leaves a review below a certain threshold, allowing an owner or manager to intervene and turn the situation around before the diner leaves the restaurant. One of the greatest opportunities to make an impact is when something goes wrong.

With OR, you’re hearing back from customers, building consistency, and staying real. We revolutionize the way restaurants approach business. Ready for more? Check us out online, or sign up for a free demo.

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