Technology can be a life-saver.
Whether it’s an app, a POS system, or reservation software, restaurant technology has changed the way your business runs for the better.
And restaurant technology has never been more abundant. New tools are popping up every day, and existing technology is rapidly changing.
But this often leaves restaurant managers in a sticky situation…
You want to try new apps and technology, but you’re not quite sure if it’s worth the investment.
The last thing you want to do is make a bad decision or get ripped off by something that sounds good, but just doesn’t cut the mustard once you’ve purchased.
In order to help you navigate the sticky world of restaurant tech, we tackled the 5 most common restaurant tech rip-offs in the industry.
#1 Not Being Mobile
All of your relationships and interactions with the world today are based on your mobile devices – your phones and tablets.
You call your mom.
You text your friends.
You tweet and Instagram your dishes.
You scroll through your emails at the end of a long shift.
Your phone goes everywhere with you and you can do most everything on your phone.
So why doesn’t your restaurant technology do the same thing?
All your technology today should be able to go where you go and help you run your restaurant – from your kitchen to your back office, to the hostess check-in, and even from your home.
There’s no excuse for restaurant technology companies not to make their technology available on your phone or tablet.
If they can’t offer it, they’re probably not upgrading their software regularly, which means they really don’t care about helping you.
#2 Setup Time that Takes Forever
Some restaurant technology companies will tell you it takes 6 months to a year to set up their solutions. And if the vendor timeline doesn’t cause heartburn, the investment time from you will.
This means you won’t see increased efficiency or money in your pocket until… well, a long time.
Time is money, especially in this industry. Committing any significant amount of time to set up technology is difficult, if not nearly impossible.
Of course, as with any worthwhile venture, you’ll need to invest some time in the setup process.
But the real rub is in understanding exactly what that entails.
Here are a few questions to ask:
- Does the technology company have a clear path to getting the technology implemented as quickly as possible?
- Does it have an onboarding team?
- Can it provide a clear outline of responsibilities and time frames?
- How much of your time is needed… exactly?
Get the details up front. And get them in writing.
And if it’s going to be more than 6 months… you may want to reconsider.
Today’s technology should be mobile and fast.
This path should be as painless as possible for you, as well. You’re already pressed for time… setting up technology should be efficient so you can get back to doing what you love.
#3 Being Nickle and Dimed for Additional Features
Don’t you just love it when you want to add another user, and your software charges you an extra fee for it?
Add-ons and additional features charges like this can make your restaurant technology costs creep up.
And it’s difficult to fight once you’ve already purchased and set up the software. You can’t cancel the annual, up-front contract you signed, so you just accept paying the extra fees for what you need.
Restaurant owners and operators can avoid this rip-off by carefully examining the details before signing on. And plan for growth.
Make sure everything you want is included…present and future.
If you’re currently paying extra for additional features, see if you can re-negotiate your contract. Fit everything into one sum so you aren’t constantly seeing increases in your bill month over month.
#4 Annual Contracts
Every software company offers an annual contract for you to opt into, and many times the contract will save you money in the long run.
It’s a win-win situation.
But if you’re not comfortable signing a long-term agreement, restaurant tech companies should give you another option.
Even if you’re convinced the app will work for you, there may be an unforeseen issue where you aren’t able to use it anymore.
Request the option of monthly or quarterly agreements when signing on to buy technology. It’s a smart business move.
#5 Making You Start All Over
We’ve heard it time and time again.
You decide to go with an online ordering solution. It asks you to abandon all your long-time suppliers and only use the ones who’ve signed up on their platform.
You have to form new relationships with suppliers from whom you may not even want to purchase.
This is one of the most prevalent and annoying rip-offs in restaurant technology, and it runs rampant across all solutions, not just online ordering…
Forcing you to change your processes… to your detriment.
Good restaurant technology companies are designed to help you take your existing processes and make them better.
Here are some restaurant tech companies getting it right… without the rip-offs…
Rockbot takes the music you’re playing and makes it sound better.
Upserve gives you metrics straight from your POS so you can make better decisions.
Split lets your customers pay separately and helps your servers.
ShiftNote makes it easy to leave better shiftnotes online.
Gather makes it easy to manage better events.
The list goes on and on of restaurant technology companies who are making restaurant managers’ lives easier. But there’s also a laundry list of companies who make your life harder by leaving you worse off than when you started.
Don’t fall for this rip-off.
Make sure your restaurant is set for success by only purchasing solutions that complement your existing processes and truly make you more efficient.
The Secret Sauce… Can You Try It… Before You Buy It?
A demo is great. But a pilot is even better. This isn’t the 1990s, people. Today’s technology should be mobile, fast, inexpensive, flexible, and even testable.
If Ford will let you test drive a new car for the entire weekend, why doesn’t my restaurant tech company let me dip my toes in the water before buying?
How do you know if their products will be a good fit for your business if you can’t try them out first? The best way to avoid rip-offs is by giving the product a test drive before you sign any kind of contract.
If you can’t give it a good kick… buyer beware.
At Orderly, we eat our own cake.
We’ve baked these ideas into our standard procedures.
It’s mobile first because that’s how you roll. It’s deployment in 30 days (most of the time, less) because your business moves fast.
It’s valuable tools that align with your process because change is hard.
We encourage you to try something awesome…
Check out the Orderly App.
It’s the free, easy-to-use, do-it-for-me restaurant app designed to make your restaurant more profitable. It’ll put an end to the crazy paper trail of invoices and let you get a solid look at the health of your restaurant in no time at all.