SaaS Sales Channels: Best Practices
Best practices for SaaS solutions that focus on back of house solutions and online ordering platforms for restaurants and the food and beverage industry include upgrading from older systems, focus on the customer experience, focus on mobile and digital experiences, making invoicing and other administrative tasks more efficient and accurate. These solutions do this by offering good menu features, allowing for customer interaction and feedback, and using predictive analytics and reporting functions. The best practice for restaurant SaaS solutions is including analytics and reporting and predictive analytic features that can point out inefficiencies, reduce food costs, increase savings, and predict customer behaviors. These trends are described below.
- It is among a few systems that support Android for table side management, subscription-based with the ability for add-ons like loyalty programs, and physical and digital gift cards, allows sending of KPIs to help owners and staff track performance and kitchen efficiency.
- Flexible menu display, iPad POS system that greatly increases service efficiency, wide array of payment partners, sales reports and other customization tools, tool set for menu management, sales features, and staff management features.
- Upserve uses Amazon Machine Learning to develop ML models for its SaaS service to help individual restaurants.
- Training mode and staff training, quick menu searches, its online ordering integrates with POS, and menu intelligence that pinpoints dishes that are liked by customers are benefits. The software also enables restaurants to interact with customer spending, social media, and other data with predictive analysis. They plan to grow this feature to include thousands of models to expand further than their 7,000 customers.
BEST PRACTICES OF RESTAURANT SAAS SOLUTIONS
1. UPGRADE FROM OLDER SYSTEMS
- Ethan Stowell Restaurants (ESR) had three pizzerias but growth was inhibited as a result of their legacy systems not being able to handle their counter service, full-service, to-go, on-line, and delivery-based business model. They moved their system to Toast and cite the integration as seamless and as a result they rolled it out to all of their locations after two weeks, and now they currently have over 13 stores. Online ordering soared for the company and they sold over $10,000 digital gift cards in one day. ESR credits increasing online revenue through their website without "the headache" of handling multiple menus due to the seamless integration with the back of the house and real time menu updates.
- ESR puts that Toast provides great advantage over legacy systems, and their focus on development and hospitality and frequent software updates make them perfect to serve the restaurant community.
- Restaurateurs that move to Cloud-based systems are almost always happy with the change made their businesses safer, more efficient, and more profitable and legacy POSs are continuing to decline.
2. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
- SuViche is a company that has a heavy focus on perfect customer experiences, and they use Toast in their restaurants because of the capability to collect real-time guest feedback, give guests great table side experiences, and reduce turn times with kitchen display screens. They also receive feedback from their takeout and delivery guests.
- Upserve began using Amazon Machine Learning to create predictive models that integrates table management, POS, and other systems to forecast number of guests in store and even the menu options that will be popular.
3. MOBILE AND DIGITAL ORDERING
- Le Ferme Blanche d'Asie can place their drink and food orders directly from an iPad on their table, a practice they cite as a game changer.
- Customers are interacting with restaurant technology 50-plus% more than two years ago. Mobile solutions assist with secure, back-end management functions that are accessible on mobile devices.
- Kenji's Ramen credits Upserve with their online services saving them 10 minutes for every online order, and in one month that saves them over $1,500 in third-party online ordering fees.
- Kammerer states that their company started with one iPad as the POS with Upserve and then added iPads for phone orders, as a result they were able to archive orders and had access to data they had never had before that allowed them to stay current with customers' demands and expectations.
4. EFFICIENT INVOICING AND ACCOUNTING
- Clover Food Labs among others cite MarginEdge with increasing their efficiency, reducing food costs, and streamlining its commissary kitchen. The company is also now equipped with reporting tools in the platform and the ability to export information and dissect it on their own, and they hold weekly meetings to examine the results and implement new procedures to increase efficiencies. Greg Casten credits MarginEdge has having saved the company 2% gross in their first year of implementation.
- Chef Geoff and partner Tracy put that the amount of time they put into their invoicing plunged, accuracy went up, and the cost of processing was lowered, and the company states they saved at least $400,000 a year along with many man-hours.
5. ANALYTICS AND REPORTING FUNCTIONS
- Clover Food Labs uses MarginEdge to aggressively weekly track 15 key value items to adjust in-store procedures to enhance ingredient usage. They have also been able to use the service to time menu and ingredient rollouts with seasonal price rollouts, and quickly make individualized store recipe changes using the data. One example of which was switching from tomatoes that were 1.5 inches in diameter to tomatoes closer to 3 inches.
- Real-time oversight of inventory and purchasing has saved Chef Geoff's restaurant group "inestimable" money and time and created numerous efficiencies.
- Press Bistro credits the abilities of Upserve to increase their revenue by 30% and a 10% drop in time-to-table orders. The Smoke Shop credits them with identifying a sales loss of almost $2,000 a year and giving them a way to track menu items that drove return business.
We first searched trusted sources such as Forbes for SaaS companies that focus on the back of house and online capabilities for restaurants and the food and beverage industry. From that search we identified Toast, Touchpoint, and MarginEdge as top-performers in the restaurateur SaaS solutions for back of house and online ordering.
Our next strategy was to search for case studies for customers of these companies for quantitative and qualitative information regarding the success of the solutions for the companies to identify best practices.
We conducted a search of customer reviews and social media mentions of these companies for more information regarding the success of such solutions and best practices.
Finally, we examined any existing case studies for the identified companies for their best practices and things that made them unique and included that information as well.