It's no secret that running a restaurant is hard work and costs can add up fast. Not to mention there are many expensive services and softwares that claim to be the best of the best. This is why as a restaurant owner, you need to take advantage of free, yet effective services whenever you can.
To make it easier on you, I've rounded up some of the best free services for your restaurant. They're all easy to use and will help keep your restaurant organized and functioning smoothly.
First we'll start with Yelp. We've talked about Yelp in a few articles and why it's good for businesses to use. Yelp is a great free service for restaurants because not only does it serve as a platform for your customers to share feedback, but it gives you the opportunity to connect with them. In the end, this increase customer relationships and opens the door for your restaurant to gain an abundance of loyal customers.
They key to making the most of Yelp is to keep an eye on it every week. You should respond to the good, the bad, and the ugly. As fun as it might be to leave snarky replies to rude customers, you want to avoid coming across as rude and sarcastic, unless this is actually your brand image.
Yelp is free to use and set up, and the only paid feature of the site is if you decide to run ads. In full transparency, I highly recommend that you don't run their ads because they are extremely expensive. There isa chance that your business might already have a Yelp page and you just don't know it. All you need to do from there is claim the business and add relevant information that wasn't there before.
Overall, I really like Yelp and the platform is trusted by customers, which is great for your business.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed or frustrated with the way your restaurant looks when you have 10 customers waiting for a table? It can start to become a problem when it's rush hour and things at the host stand aren't organized. This is where Waitlist.Me comes in. It's a mobile app that makes it easier for customers and staff when customers have to wait for a table.
This app uses text and call notifications to notify diners when their table is ready. The best part about this is you don't have to deal with outdated pager systems that get dirty or broken easily. All of this gets handled right from the customers phone.
The key features include tracking the customer age, gender, party size, any special needs or requests such as high-chairs or booster seats for kids. Once customers are added to the waiting list, they receive a notification on their iPhone or Android device. They also get another notification when their table is ready.
As the hosts and hostesses seat customers, they assign the tables to the customer, as well as a member of the wait staff. This means everyone is waited on promptly and should lead to your overall wait time declining.
Hands down the coolest feature on this app is that it has a public waitlist view, which allows guests to check the status of their table through their phone. This means your staff won't get flooded with questions about the status of someones table.
Google My Business
In today's current age of progressive internet algorithms, it's important to keep your online presence relevant. This means having to make sure your website is optimized for search engines and that you show up when someone Googles something relevant to you. Another key aspect of this is having a Google Business Listing for your restaurant. If you have never heard of this, you've at least probably seen it.
This is what a Google Business Listing looks like when it's properly filled out with all the necessary information. Whether you're a restaurant, yoga studio, or landscaping company, you want to have one of these. They're free to set up and are extremely user friendly. The good news is you don't need to have a digital marketing company set these up for you.
When people look up your restaurant or are near your restaurant, this will pop up and be the gateway to all your information.
Creating the weekly or bi-weekly schedule for your restaurant can be what feels like an impossible task. You have to worry about time-off requests, availability, and shift switches. This is where Sling comes in. It's an easy-to-use software that helps you create and manage your employee schedules. And did I mention that it's free?
With Sling you can create schedules by the day or week. To keep it easy, you have the option of copying schedules to create and turn them into custom templates for future use.
The app also tracks employee availability and any time off your employees have requested. As you create the schedule, you have the ability to enter the estimated sales for the shift, so you can compare labor costs with estimated sales. This will help prevent over-scheduling and properly budgeting.
Also, your employees can use the app to clock in and out of work. Again, now you don't have to worry about time being wasted while your employees try to find an open computer to clock in and out.
Having a loyalty program for your restaurant is one of the most important things to keep customers coming back and keep giving you business. It's also a great way to further strengthen the relationship between your restaurant and your customers. However, most of the loyalty programs out are simply too expensive for small & medium sized businesses.
This is why Loyal was created. Having a program that benefits your customers shouldn't drain your monthly budget. Loyal is a free digital loyalty program that comes with a variety of features to reward your loyal customers. Everything is done straight from the app and doesn't require any hardware or difficult installations. This means you don't have to worry about your POS system breaking down and not being able to reward your customers.
With the app, you're able to target 1000's of existing customers on the platform, as well as track vital KPIs and customer behavior. With the one-click, simple integration, your new loyalty program is just five minutes away. (If you're asking yourself why you haven't heard of this before, it's cause it's brand new!)
Hopefully you're able to try out some of these awesome free services for restaurants! If you do, let us know by emailing us or getting in contact on one of our social platforms.