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New Restaurant Software: 3 Fears You Have (+3 Reasons They’re Wrong)

By Jamie Bueman

Your customers don’t want the same old, same old. Their expectations are higher by the year: faster service, shorter waits, personalized experiences. In fact, 95% of restaurant goers think technology improves the dining experience—and most of the time, they’re just dealing with restaurant software (not shiny gear).

But adopting new software, whether it’s a new POS, loyalty program, or front of house management software, is challenging. Things can go wrong, staff can become frustrated, and money can be lost. You’ve heard a horror story or two, and they’ve lead you to three fears:

  1. What if my staff are resistant to change?
  2. What if it takes forever to implement?
  3. What if I don’t end up with a positive ROI?

These concerns are reasonable, but for the most part, they’re only concerns.

Most restaurants see dramatic gains from their new restaurant software, which is why they’re pursuing more technology, not less.

“While the POS will remain the central hub for operations in restaurants, we will see increased demand for innovative products that work together seamlessly as restaurant technology shifts from an early adopter into the early majority segments of the technology adoption lifecycle.”

— Brook Stevens, Director of Engineering at Toast

You don’t want misconceptions about restaurant software to keep you from experiencing growth while others around you are thriving—and neither do we.

So let’s jump into these fears, compare them with the latest research, and see if they’re really things you should be worried about.

Fear #1: What if my staff are resistant to change?

Your staff will be resistant to change. They have their routines, know the systems, and are getting pretty good with them. Adding some new software is going to force them to switch things up—and some of them won’t like it.

But here’s the thing: getting your team onboard before they stage a coup isn’t actually very difficult. It just takes a specific strategy.

You, as the owner or manager, must be the champion of the new software.

You know how the tech will benefit the restaurant. You know how it’ll make life easier for the staff. It’s your job to communicate those things to your team.

According to Didier Bonnet, coauthor of Leading Digital, “The job of a manager is to help people cross the bridge – to get them comfortable with the technology, to get them using it, and to help them understand how it makes their lives better.”

Your team won’t magically wake up excited. Don’t ask them to “Google it”. Don’t leave them to decipher the training manual on their own. It’s up to you to show them the magic.

  1. Dedicate a meeting to describing the tangible benefits of the software
  2. Explain how your customers want this for a better experience
  3. Build technology into a core value from the start of every employee’s training

Yes, there will be resistance. But if you give your staff the focus they need to understand, they’ll hop onboard in no time.

Fear #2: Does restaurant software take forever to implement?

No software can be implemented overnight. There’s always some ramp-up time involved as you learn how to work the app, train staff, and get customers used to it.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure implementation happens as efficiently as possible:

Prep your team beforehand. Don’t let your hostess arrive to a sticky note and a new app on the iPad. Schedule a meeting, get everyone hyped up, and start setting expectations on how the new software will impact current systems.

Collect training materials and make them easy to access. Give your team time to watching training videos, go over practice exercises, and ask questions. Walk them through the new processes in person. And once everyone’s trained, leave the training materials close by for access on the fly.

Create a feedback loop. Chances are you’re not going to get everything right from Day One, so make sure your team knows exactly how to submit feedback or requests for adjustments. Be available and listen. If your team starts to feel you’re not paying attention to their concerns or suggestions, they may begin to resent the software.

Those horror stories of restaurants taking months to get their new systems in order? We’re willing to guess they had an unorganized and unfocused approach, because a little bit of foreplanning and intention goes a long way.

Fear #3: What if I don’t end up with a positive ROI?

Adopting restaurant software is ultimately about improving your business and generating more money. When you go through the hustle, put in the effort, and come out behind—well, that’s a nightmare.

Except, that almost never happens.

Restaurants adopting technology are experiencing massive gains in efficiency, traffic, and profit across the country.

Here’s the proof:

  • Optimized front of house systems can save you $1,600+ per month
  • When tech is used in-house to place an order, spend can go up 20% or more
  • Quick Service Restaurants experience 26% higher order tickets from online orders
  • Personalizing experiences with tech turns guests into high-spending customers faster
  • 83% of diners say online reservations are “very important” or “somewhat important”
  • 95% of restaurant owners say technology has improved their business efficiency

The question of achieving a positive ROI is an important one, but as a whole, technology has been overwhelmingly good for restaurants. Profit margins are going up, stress levels are going down, and customers are loving it.

There’s never been a better time to implement new restaurant software.

Your customers want it (and are telling you with their dollars). Software makers are making training easier and faster for your team to get onboard. And the industry as a whole is thriving from new tech.

Don’t let your fears keep your restaurant from thriving. The rewards of adopting new tech can completely revolutionize the way your restaurant runs and profits.