High Streets Initiative 14 May 2018

How technology is helping independent restaurant businesses survive

technology independent restaurant businesses
Innovations in technology have breathed new life into the restaurant industry

Writing for Business Advice ahead of Local Business Week, food industry expert and founder of GoKart, Anx Patel, offers his tips on what independent restaurants in the current climate need to do in order to survive and thrive.

The entire restaurant industry is facing immense pressures from all angles, making it difficult to turn a profit and thrive as a business.

Considering the magnitude of troubles being faced by big name chain restaurants, such as Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo and Byron Burger, the independent players have an even tougher road ahead than those with the infrastructure to make it through.

Facebook Ordering

A purpose-built mobile app for browsing and placing orders is considered a basic essential for any restaurant owner in modern commerce, but of course, this is a costly and time-consuming process.

Thankfully for independents, Facebook Ordering offers an affordable and customisable way for customers to place orders with restaurants.

Bear in mind that taking on any kind of social media for a business – which should also be considered a necessity if you are going to get your name out there and generate a following – will require constant attention and fresh content. According to Forbes, one restaurant achieved a ten per cent surge in sales as a result of implementing Facebook Ordering.

Free Wi-Fi

Another of the basic requirements for a 21st century business is that customers can stay connected wherever they are and whatever they’re doing, and that means the provision of free Wi-Fi in the restaurant.

Business owners can look around and find a good business Wi-Fi deal, which shouldn’t be a major expense, especially when held up against the additional custom it brings in. This simple change can deliver considerable value for money.

Extend your reach

Food delivery services such as Just Eat and Deliveroo have become major players on the scene recently, and can bring significant additional income by extending the reach a restaurant achieves.

Figures suggest that restaurants who use online ordering services like Deliveroo and Just Eat bring in as much as 30 per cent more business than those who operate independently.

During quiet times, sales can be boosted by using real time voucher companies such as City Munch to send regular customers vouchers or attach promotional discounts to orders.

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Smarter supply chains

The challenge of establishing and maintaining a cost-effective and logistically sound supply chain is significant for independent restaurants, especially with the constant fluctuation of prices.

Big name restaurants have the security of tried and tested supply arrangements that provide them with quality ingredients at the most competitive prices, but independents have to play more by ear. In many cases, independent restaurants end up paying different prices for the same ingredients, because of the lack of transparency they are afforded by traditional supply means.

By combining the buying power of independent restaurants, stable prices can be achieved and operational costs minimised, with figures suggesting savings of around 20% can be made this way.

GoKart is a purpose-built app for independent restaurateurs that ensures the best ingredients at the best prices are achieved every time. The user-friendly app allows people to view their order history, to remember favourite items, place orders simply and quickly, and receive free delivery the next day. The combination of technological innovation and human interaction guarantees users a highly efficient service that will make a significant difference to their operations.

The restaurant business is a notoriously competitive one, with a lot of work involved, and all too often, very little payoff for those who put the effort in.

But, recent technological innovations have breathed new life into the industry, which in many instances can be put to better use by independent businesses than their franchise counterparts.

Although there are elements of running a restaurant that are more or less out of the manager’s hands, such as lease costs, tax and wages, which go with the turf, there are areas where corners can be cut, and better deals can be found.

Downsizing to modest but appropriate premises and selling any unneeded furnishings or equipment is a good way to shave the operational expenses of an independent restaurant, but finding ways to further minimise outgoings and increase income is the real crux of making an independent restaurant successful and set up for a thriving future.

Anx Patel is the CEO of GoKart, with 17 successful years experience in retail, wholesale and technology. He has a real passion for life, and how we can use technology to improve the way we do business, and manage our lives.

GoKart is a fast growth UK B2B business mobile trading platform that saves food businesses up to 20 per cent on their ingredients by combining their buying power in their simple to use ordering app.

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