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Restaurant Management

Restaurant Management

Going Paperless at Work: 5 Easy Steps and 10 Helpful Tools

Paper was once considered a necessity for office work.

Remember those days?

In the typical office setting, paper piled up virtually everywhere. It covered every desktop, filled every filing cabinet, and spilled out of recycling bins and trash cans. Employees tacked it on walls, pinned it on bulletin boards, and shoved it in their bags. They also lost and misplaced it.

stacks of papers used to a common site in offfices

When you think of your own office, consider how much space you use simply organizing papers for later reference. It’s overwhelming, right?

There are many reasons why more and more offices have decided to go paperless. Paperless alternatives are economical, earth-friendly, efficient, and fairly easy to implement. With a paperless system, it’s simpler to find what you need when you need it. And, of course, paperless filing is more secure too.

If you’re worried that going paperless at work will be an intimidating process, don’t fret! This guide will walk you through the process step-by-step, and we’ll even include some handy tools to help you get started.

Step-by-Step Guide to Going Paperless at Work

So, you’ve got files everywhere and more paper coming to your inbox every day. How can you possibly organize all this paper into digital files? We’re so glad you asked. Believe it or not, paper isn’t an invincible enemy. It’s more like a pet that needs to be trained to obey, and that may take a little time. But it’s not difficult. 

1. Rally the Troops

First, you need to get your team onboard. Gather everyone who regularly handles paperwork and let them know the plan: you’re going paperless. Tell them it may be a slow transition, but you appreciate their help making the switch.

get everyone on the same page to kick things off

2. Keep It Simple

You may get a little pushback from employees at first. This is normal. Most people are accustomed to using paper for everything, and old habits die hard. That’s why it’s best to make things as easy as possible. Lay out a clear plan with a list of best practices moving forward.

“Paperless” means different things for different offices, but here are some basic ideas:

Accounts Payable

  • Scan invoices and store digitally using keywords or tags for easy search.
  • Pay invoices via bank transfer or credit card.
  • Use digital systems for invoice approvals or purchase orders.
  • Use a system like Sourcery to digitize and manage your Accounts Payable

Accounts Receivable

  • Use digital deposit for checks and cash. Store credit card receipts digitally.
  • Email invoices or customer receipts when possible.
  • Use payment kiosks for credit card transactions.

General Office Procedures

  • Store reports digitally.
  • Email when possible. Avoid mail or printouts unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use note-taking apps instead of sticky notes and “to do” lists.
  • Set up email to organize incoming information into manageable folders.
  • Use digital calendars for reminders and employee scheduling.
  • Consider using tablets or other devices for taking orders, etc.

3. Start Now

You may think it’s best to make the paperless switch when you have time to organize all your current paperwork. That’s a great way to make sure the switch never happens. As humans, we tend to procrastinate, and something will almost always seem more important than digitizing your paperwork. Instead, start now and work on the older stuff later. If you’re not sure where to start, the inbox is always a safe bet. Don’t have an inbox? Gather all the papers on your desk and start with the top of the stack. Or, you can choose one simple process and start there.

Starting now gets you one step closer to a paperless office

4. Trash Old Files

Once your paperless system seems to be running smoothly, you can start tackling those old paper files. First, set a “trash” date. You don’t need to keep old files forever. Talk to your accountant to determine how long you should keep tax documents, receipts, invoices, and other information. Then trash or shred anything older than this date.

For the files you need to keep, start digitizing the most recent paperwork first, then work your way backwards.

5. Ask for Solutions

As you’re making the switch, remember to ask your vendors and associates for their paperless options. Many offices have paperless correspondence available, but fail to mention the options to others. You may be surprised to find how simple things can get when you ask for paperless solutions.

Helpful Tools to Make Going Paperless Simple and Easy

Wishing you had some help to make going paperless at work simple and easy? Good news – help is on the way. There’s a tool or app for every piece of the paperless puzzle. Here are some favorites that can quickly cull down your paper piles and make life simpler overall.

Evernote

Evernote is an amazing app that has nearly unlimited functionality. The basic idea is that Evernote functions as a digital notebook. You create individual folders based on your own categories. Then you place whatever you need within the notebook. “Whatever you need” can include internet sites, images, photos, drawings, scanned files, etc. You can add tags to help you find what you need later, too.

Trello

Trello is a collaboration tool that helps you and your team manage ongoing tasks. You can organize tasks by importance, assign certain tasks to certain team members, add notes and comments, and keep up with what’s done, what’s pending, and what hasn’t even been started yet. Trello sync across multiple devices, so everyone can stay on the same page with current projects.

Trello is a easy tool to manage projects

Google Calendar

There are many different digital calendar systems available, but Google Calendar is arguably the most popular. It syncs with most third-party calendars (such as the built-in iPhone calendar), so you can see all your events and reminders in one place. You also have the option to plan your entire day, hour-by-hour, if you like.

Todoist

Todoist is basically the most organized “to do” list you will ever meet. To set it up, simply add all of your current tasks. Then you can organize the tasks by priority, category, due date, and more. As a bonus, you can set your most important tasks so they show up first. It works online and also has both iOS and Android apps available.

Earth Class Mail

Earth Class Mail is a unique service that lets you skip physical mail completely. You choose an address to give for physical mail, then Earth Class Mail scans and digitizes your mail for you. After viewing the mail, you can choose what to do with it: trash, forward, store, etc.

CheckDeposit.io

If you’re tired of keeping track of paper checks and bank deposit paper clutter, CheckDeposit.io may come in handy. This service lets you fill bank deposit slips digitally, then print the deposit with an envelope and mail to your bank for deposit. You never have to leave the office, and your records are digitally stored.

Hello Sign

Most people assume contracts still need to be printed so they can be signed by hand. Believe it or not, though, there’s an app for that too! Hello Sign lets you sign documents digitally, so you can skip all the annoying paperwork. The best part is that everything can be handled via email, making the whole process more efficient.

LastPass

LastPass isn’t strictly a paperless app, but it certainly helps you keep everything organized and secure. It’s a password storage app that quickly stores your website and app passwords for later access. Even better, LastPass can generate a super secure password when you need one. There are web browser add-ons, an iOS app, and an Android app available, and they all sync together to make your life easier.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a storage service that lets you organize, store, and share files via the internet. Simply upload your files, organized via folders and tags, then share with colleagues. You can set different privacy restrictions for your files, limiting who has access to read-only or make changes. It also integrates well with Google Docs, which is a free, internet-based word processing application. You can also use Google Sheets, which is the spreadsheet equivalent of Google Docs.

Sourcery

Sourcery not only lets you digitally organize your bookkeeping paperwork, it also automates the AP and AR processes. Invoice approval, payment, storage – Sourcery does it all. It also works with your current bookkeeping system, making it super easy to use. Request a demo today to see how it can help your business.

Final Thoughts

Going paperless at work may seem daunting, but it will probably be easier than you think. In fact, many people find that paperless processes are much easier than traditional paper ones. Email is much faster than snail mail, scanning is quicker than faxing, and digital processes tend to work more smoothly with fewer hang-ups than those involving countless man-hours.

Whether you’re hoping to get rid of paper entirely or just want to make a few changes, it’s easy to get started. Choose one task that could be more efficient if it were implemented digitally. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can quickly move on to other tasks until your whole office is paperlessly organized.

About the Author

With a degree in business and 12 years of work experience in an office setting, Savannah Richardson is a freelance writer and former accountant who primarily focuses on business and finance topics. Her love for organization and efficient processes are evident in her writing, and she loves to share her insights with others.

Restaurant Management

PR for Restaurants: Top Tips and Tricks to use Public Relations to Drive Restaurant Growth

You can spend hours trying to crunch numbers and improve your margins, but at the end of the day, real growth is all about how many people you get to walk through your door. Today’s restaurant market is more competitive than ever with diners’ attention divided between familiar chains, growing grocery delivery options, and other independent restaurants trying to stand out from the crowd. If you want to make sure people are thinking about you when they’re hungry, follow these tips and tricks.

Use PR to fill your restaurant

1. Create Campaigns Based on Local Events

Local events can bring in large numbers of tourists plus an influx of local residents who wouldn’t usually be out and about. They all have to eat somewhere.

Even if you’re not directly participating or even in the same neighborhood, large local events will likely create more traffic in all directions. This includes people coming into town, locals looking for a quick meal on their way to or from the event, or people who want to do something outside of the main event area.

To take advantage, tie an advertising campaign into the event. This could be as simple as running an ad campaign in the run-up to the event. Of course, an even better tactic is to run a special during the event days to give people a reason to stop by.

2. Get Involved in the Community and Let Everyone Know It

Eighty-two percent of consumers consider social responsibility, including community involvement, when choosing where to spend their money. Even the remaining 18 percent isn’t out of reach — while they may not necessarily favor your community involvement, they’ll still remember your name if they see it more.

Volunteering can get your name out there

Your involvement options range from direct charity to sponsoring events to setting up a food stand at a popular local event. Whichever you choose, there are three groups of people who you want to reach.

  • The participants who will see you there.
  • Additional participants who become aware of the event through your PR campaign and decide to participate and check you out at the same time.
  • People who may not be able to attend but will decide to support a restaurant that’s involved in the local community.

How do you let people know what you’re doing? Through standard channels like press releases, social media, and traditional advertisements.

3. Turn Your Regulars Into Net Promoters

You can divide your customers into three groups:

  • Detractors who will go out of their way to tell people about a negative experience.
  • Passives who won’t share their experience with your restaurant at all.
  • Promoters who will actively tell people to seek you out.

There is no publicity like free publicity, and promoters are the best way to get it. The easiest way to earn promoters is to tip passives who already like your restaurant over the edge into becoming promoters. On top of generally good service and things like remembering their names, this might include things like loyalty discounts or coupons for bringing in a friend.

4. Have a Story

What sets your restaurant apart from all of the others? If you don’t have a story, you’re just another diner competing on taste and price. But what really keeps consumers coming back is shared values — 64% say that’s why they continue a relationship with a brand.

Your brand story might be tied to your personal background, or it can be an entirely fictional legendary tale. What’s important is that it sets the stage for what customers can expect. This might be something basic or often used, such as New York bagels or Chicago pizza, or it might be a completely immersive tale like a medieval dinner show.

The end result should be that customers and the press don’t just talk about your food. They talk about where it came from, how it’s just like back home, or how they felt like they were traveling somewhere new.

5. Become an Expert

Don’t just talk about coming to your restaurant. Think about what you can become an expert on. Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts than advertisements.

This could be as simple as providing unique cooking tips or recipes. Some people might feel this gives away their secrets, but people go to restaurants because they want someone else to do the cooking. It just keeps you in mind when they feel like staying at home.

Sharing expertise is a great way to make a name for yourself

You could also become an expert on something else, such as sharing stories about your home country or how you became successful in business. Your goal is to become a resource that news outlets and others can turn to for information while mentioning your restaurant in passing.

6. Create an Experience

If you want to grab attention, you need to create an experience. 72% of millennials prefer spending money on experiences rather than things. Serving good food is part of that, but you need something extra to create a buzz.

Famous examples include the themed experience of Rainforest CafeCracker Barrel’s country stores, and the open flames of Japanese hibachi chefs. Other options might be allowing customers to assemble their own meals, game nights, or live entertainment. Whatever you choose should tie back into your brand story to enhance your overall reputation rather than just being a gimmick.

7. Know What Journalists Are Looking For

Whether you’re trying to get on TV, the radio, or in the newspaper, you need to know what the journalist you’re reaching out to is looking for. This comes down to watching, listening to, or reading the segments you’re trying to get in.

Are other stories rags to riches stories about people? Are they about community involvement? Do they give the readers an activity they can check out this weekend? While promoting your brand message is important, you also need to find an angle that ties into the type of stories that your local outlets like to publish.

8. Capitalize on All Channels

Let’s say you manage to get a TV news reporter to do a segment on your restaurant. What happens next?

  • The story and video get posted on the news channel website and possibly social media.
  • People watching the news head to your website to learn more about you.
  • People check out your social media profiles for recent news and pictures.

So what do you need to do?

  • Have your website basics down — hours, direction, menu, etc.
  • Have more information about what the news featured on your website, and make it easy to find.
  • Make sure your social media accounts are active. If you’ve been ignoring them, start posting daily before the news segment airs.
  • Retweet, like, follow, and share anything sent out by the news company to further promote it and make it easier for customers to connect to you off of the news story.

Remember, the news story is just an initial wave of attention. You want to give those people a reason to get in their car and drive to you, and you want to make it easy for people who missed the news to see what other people have said about you.

9. Write Press Releases for Your Audience

Whether you post them online or send them out to local news outlets, press releases are a great way to spread the word about what you’re doing. When you write a press release, it’s important to think about what’s important to who’s reading it. You want to brag, but why should your customers care about how long you’ve been in business or your new oven?

That’s not to say that you can’t spin anniversaries and routine events into things your customers care about, but you have to make the connection for them. This might include things like discounts for a special event or new, improved, and unique dishes. To make sure you’re on the right track, start with press release templates and customize them to your own style. Need someone to write it for you? Hire expert press release writers instead of slogging through it yourself.

Conclusion

Growing your restaurant is all about cashing in on publicity. To do so, you want to create an experience and story that hooks customers in and gives news outlets a reason to keep talking about your restaurant. If you can achieve those goals, you’ll set yourself far ahead of the restaurants who only think about food.

About the Author

Erin Forst is a business writer focusing on SMBs. He turns complex topics from advertising to taxes into actionable insights that business owners can use to grow and manage their businesses.

Restaurant Management, Restaurant Software

Compeat: Restaurant Software Overview, Review, & Alternative

There’s no shortage of restaurant software on the market today, but two of the leading ones are Compeat and Sourcery. Perhaps you, as a restaurant owner, are wondering if Compeat or Sourcery is the better option for your growing and thriving business. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of opening your own restaurant and are looking into different software alternatives before your grand opening.

chef sprinking salt

Let’s take a look at how Compeat stacks up against Sourcery in the market today.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Things to Consider
  • Pros and Cons
  • Price
  • Conclusion

Part One: Overview

Compeat touts itself as the premier, all-inclusive restaurant software that integrates accounting, back office, workforce, and intelligence data. By providing real-time insights into such things as labor costs, inventory costs, and logbook costs, Compeat claims to “ensure your general ledger is always in balance from corporate to every location with seamless integration with inventory and labor.”

According to CrunchBase, Compeat’s headquarters are located in the Southern US. They have between 101-250 employees, and thanks to their partnership with Ctuit, they are “the largest provider of integrated accounting, back office, workforce, and business intelligence solutions.”

Based in San Francisco, Sourcery is a premier software that provides both accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) data. In addition to being an ideal solution for restaurants that have many locations (i.e., a franchise), or a chain, wholesalers are using Sourcery to keep their food and recipe costs updated in real time.

Part Two: Things to Consider

There’s one basic formula to remember when discussing the restaurant industry: keep your costs low and your profit high. And one of the best ways to do that is to keep track of your prime costs.

Prime costs are calculated by adding the cost of goods sold (COGS) to the cost of labor. This will give you the total cost of the goods you’re serving to your customers. Obviously, the higher the prime cost, the lower the profit margin, and vice versa.

check prepping

It’s important to remember that COGS involves, not only tabulating the cost of food and beverage but to tabulate the cost of all that goes into serving the food and beverage (such as ice, napkins, tablecloths, etc.) In addition, the only labor that goes into your prime costs is the cost of the labor for the actual restaurant staff (i.e., waiters, food runners, sous chefs). Any labor that is administrative in nature (such as an office manager or an accountant) is not included in the labor costs when calculating the final prime costs. In addition, kitchen costs — such as the cost of a refrigerator — supplies for other aspects of the restaurant (such as toilet paper and soap for the bathroom), and utility bills are not included in the prime costs.

With such intricacies that go into tabulating costs, it makes it all the more essential to not only remain aware of your data but how to accurately keep track of it. Tracking, analyzing, and — most of all — acting on your data will allow you to increase the efficiency of your workers, cut down on waste and over-spending, and even allow you to redirect your marketing efforts more effectively.

For this reason, it’s important to choose your restaurant software wisely.

Part Three: Pros and Cons

Compeat Pros

  • Compeat allows you to streamline your finances. By providing a touch-point for accounting, Compeat can allow you, as a restaurant owner, to take control of your bottom line.
  • Compeat allows you to keep track of your inventory. One of the biggest problems that restauranteurs consistently report is their failure to accurately maintain their on-site inventory. In fact, inventory loss — through misreporting, employee theft, and food spoilage — is one of the biggest problems that restauranteurs face today. But by allowing you to keep consistent track of your inventory, you can significantly reduce — if not outright eliminate — loss.
  • Compeat keeps track of labor and payroll. By gathering complete and accurate data about your employees — and by tracking workers’ logs to get a more accurate overview of actual hours worked — Compeat can allow you, the business owner, to spend less time filing W-2 and SSI/STI documents. What’s more, Compeat can help you keep track of hours to prevent from breaking any labor laws (for instance, Compeat will allow you to calculate if an employee worked more than 40 hours, or if an employee didn’t take enough time on a break, or even if the employee took too much time on his/her break).
  • Compeat boasts an “intelligent” dashboard. Perhaps the biggest “pro” of Compeat is that it provides its users with an “intelligent” dashboard that not only provides all sorts of data at the same time but also allows the user to fully customize the dashboard to get as little — or as much — processed data as they want or need. It’s a dashboard that can pinpoint the problem areas of the restaurant, and also shows where the restaurant is thriving. Best of all, by providing detailed insights and fully processed reports, restauranteurs can make intelligent and informed decisions about their pride and joy.

Compeat Cons

N.B.: These were compiled from Compeat’s verified user reviews on Capterra.

  • Liam C. writes on his review on Capterra, “Occasionally, it will decide to update overnight, and we’ll have trouble getting in the next day.” Being unable to get into a system can be detrimental to productivity.
  • Joely R. and Jessica S. both report on their reviews on Capterra that customer support “can take a while,” and that when there is a new rollout of software, “there are always bumps” and it’s “long and intensive.”
  • A verified LinkedIn user told Capterra that the setup time was “challenging,” and that when it came to customer support, “[it] seemed to be all on us to figure it out.”

Sourcery Pros

  • Sourcery provides online cloud service. By storing data “in the cloud” rather than on a local server, Sourcery not only ensures accurate data output but ensures the security and safety of the data you provide. And there’s no need to worry about “downtime,” because User Temesclar reports that the cloud has an excellent support team.

“The support team is very responsive and is working to continue to develop the product in response to our needs,”

chef at work

  • Sourcery provides real-time data updates. User KringJ says that Sourcery has:

“simplified our accounts payable process and quite literally saved us time and money. The tool makes invoice processing and management effortless.”

 

“…import my invoices directly into QBO. They get super accurate data in from my invoices, and make paying vendors a breeze. Top notch!”

  • Perhaps unlike any other similar software on the market today, Sourcery is able to integrate fully with QuickBooks, making it easy to not only keep track of accounts payable and accounts receivable, but allows for one-click bill pay. Best of all, when it’s fully integrated with QuickBooks, Sourcery eliminates the need for manual data entry. Just scan all the restaurant’s invoices into the system, and QuickBooks does the rest!
  • Sourcery has a proprietary app, allowing for mobile ordering — making it one of the most forward-thinking programs out there — and has high-touch process management. User RCB says that he’s:

“really excited to see the [proprietary app] on the Apps marketplace.”

  • Sourcery’s users report seeing an immediate return on their investment. A high ROI is, in fact, the main key to a program’s success in business.

Sourcery Cons

The only “con” that consistently comes up about Sourcery is that there are, literally, no complaints from the users.

Price

Compeat does not make its pricing publicly available. Interested customers are required to contact the company to request a custom quote for their business.

While larger businesses are, of course, required to contact us at Sourcery for a custom quote for their business solutions, we offer two basic pricing plans, which we call “Single Serving” and “Family Meal” (for a single location restaurant, and a restaurant with multiple locations/a franchise, respectively). The “Single Serving” plan is $69/week, per location, for up to 5 locations and 25 invoices a month. Any restaurant that has more than 5 locations, and/or handles more than 25 invoices a month will need to go on the “Family Meal” plan and needs to contact the company directly for a quote.

prepping plates

Conclusion

While the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true, it is also true that, as a business owner, you need to get as much proverbial “bang for your buck” as possible.

Compeat is a company that prides itself on allowing its users to count inventory, assets and forecast alcohol and food costs. However, investors believe that Sourcery’s software is robust enough to expand into different verticals, and for good reason: it allows users to upload invoices and/or receipts to the proprietary app, and the program then extracts the relevant data.

This eliminates the need for manual data entry.

In addition, by storing data in a cloud rather than on a local server, data is both safe and secure. Finally, the unanimous customer raves about Sourcery’s integration with QuickBooks, real-time data updates, and premium customer service make it the obvious choice for today’s tech-savvy restauranteur.    Contact us today to schedule a demo.

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March 2, 2018
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January 16, 2018
How to Price Your Menu
January 4, 2018
Restaurant Management

7 Key Tools Every Restaurateur Needs

Restaurant owners and managers wear many hats. Some even wear a chef hat. More commonly, though, they are responsible for accounting, inventory, marketing, menu design, online presence and many other aspects. All of these functions combine to make fun, challenging and, yes, stressful days. Fortunately, a few key tools can reduce stress and boost your restaurant’s bottom line. Here are a few of our favorites:

Read more

Restaurant Management

How to Price Your Menu

When you open a new restaurant, one of the most exciting duties is writing the new menu. As you decide what you’ll offer, you create your brand and establish your place in the local economy.

It’s not enough, though, to know what you want on the menu. You also have to consider how you’re going to price each item.

Price your various menu offerings too high, and you risk selling less of each dish. Price them too low, though, and you damage the profitability of your establishment. Eventually, this could drive you out of business.

So where’s the middle ground?

Read more

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Restaurant Management

How to Perform a Portion Audit And Save Your Restaurant Money

If you’ve ever been out to eat at a restaurant where you and your dining companions ordered the same dishes, you know just how different the same entrees can look.

While this may be mildly amusing as a diner, it sheds light on a serious problem many restaurant owners face. The problem is portion control, and the consequence is decreased restaurant profitability.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to get the issue under control and ensure it doesn’t hurt the future of your restaurant.

Read more

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Restaurant Management

4 Areas Where Your Restaurant Can Go Green AND Save Money

 

With consumer concerns regarding environmental sustainability continuing to grow, more and more restaurant owners are becoming environmentally conscious and searching for new ways their business can go green.

One of the main challenges faced by restaurateurs is aligning responsibility with their business’s bottom line. The good news is that there are a number of sustainable practices that can actually help restaurant owners save money — all while catering to a customer base that is becoming more demanding.

Read more

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January 16, 2018
Restaurant Management

Are You Losing Money to Food Waste?

As a restaurant owner, you are undoubtedly familiar with the problem of food waste. Businesses are typically obligated to offer everything on the menu, whether or not it’s ordered twice daily or twice weekly.

Much waste also comes after the food has been ordered and offered to the customer. Not everyone cleans their plate, even if the service and culinary techniques are impeccable. Even if you’ve made a profit on that meal, the value of that food goes into the compost.

Thankfully, there are ways to curb commercial food waste in order to help your bottom line and prevent further harm to the environment. This not only increases stability in your restaurant budgets but promotes an overall philosophy of sustainability in food production.

Read more

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