Deciding to implement new technology in your restaurant is exciting. It can lead to higher profit margins, happier customers, and more productive employees. The key to helping your company adopt it successfully lies in how you implement. It’s just as, if not more, important than your decision to upgrade. Consider using some of our top tips below to help your next technology implementation project go smoother.
Organize an implementation calendar. It’s a good idea to get organized before rolling out any new software or hardware in your restaurant. There are many significant steps involved. Invest time to meet with your developers, managers, and other colleagues to discuss big picture issues, such as what successful implementation should look like, and more detail, such as where you’re starting from and how to get to your final destination from that starting point. An implementation calendar will serve as an outline to keep you on track and will hopefully prevent you from skipping any vital steps.
Involve users in new technology’s design phase. It may seem cumbersome to pull working employees into the process so soon, but this step can make or break the project. It’s easy for developers and technology companies to spend loads of time creating a product they believe will solve your restaurant’s problems, but it’s not until you connect with users that you know for sure. They should be involved from the beginning to the end, offering valuable feedback that only a day-to-day user would be able to.
Offer a solid training program. To get buy-in from your employees, it’s important that they know how to use the new technology effectively. For example, let’s assume you decide to implement a new employee scheduling system to minimize errors, increase visibility, and provide more convenience. If employees are not given thorough training on how to use the software, they may become more frustrated than before, exacerbating the problem the software should be helping to solve.
Assign a product champion. A product champion is someone who believes in the new technology and will commit to supporting its strategic success. This person will help to promote internally and externally, ensuring that neither employees nor customers (when appropriate) lose sight of the upcoming changes. Having a product champion has proven to increase the chances of a new technology’s success in an organization.
Develop a feedback process. As the technology is distributed throughout the company, it’s essential that you have an efficient way to gather feedback from new users. The sooner you are aware of flaws or incompatibilities, the sooner you can begin working with developers and the technology company to resolve. Challenge your managers to seek regular feedback from employees. Consider sending out a survey or opening an internal forum where users can discuss their frustrations.
Reward employees for early adoption. Sometimes, it’s difficult to adopt a new way of doing things, especially for those employees who didn’t see a problem with the old way. This is why getting employee buy-in as soon as possible is so important. To encourage employees to be among the first to adopt, consider offering a half day of paid vacation or a gift card to the restaurant. The more employees begin using the software in the early phases, the better its chances for success.
Technological innovation is vital to your restaurant’s success in this market. As competition increases, your employees must be able to work more efficiently and effectively. Just keep in mind the challenges organizations face when implementing a new technology, and do your best to be proactive.