Photo by Mai Pham
The sandwich industry is booming, with the total market projected to grow by $11.69 billion from 2020 to 2025. The most successful sandwich shops and brands are leveraging ever-smarter technology solutions to make the most of the opportunity.
But when you’re running operations using disconnected spreadsheets, software platforms, and data, things can get as messy as eating an overstuffed baguette.
Manually transferring orders from a third-party platform’s tablet to your POS system during a busy lunchtime shift wastes time and leads to errors. And trying to calculate the accurate profit margin for your best-selling sandwich is a nightmare without accurate inventory data.
The challenge is bringing your data and tech solutions together in one system to get rid of these complications.
In this guide, we’ll look at the most useful tech solutions that help operators run more profitable sandwich shops.
Keep reading to discover:
- What each tech solution does and how they support profitable sandwich businesses
- Recommendations for the best tech tools for each area of your business
- How to bring it all together into a coherent system
You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the tools available and exactly how to use them to make your sandwich shop more efficient and profitable.
The Sandwich Shop Technology Checklist
Most successful sandwich shops are already using technology to more efficiently manage their complex menus and modifiers, to accept orders from third-party marketplaces, and to optimize kitchen operations during the busy lunchtime rush, among other things.
But when those systems are not connected it leads to a host of problems, for example:
- Staff have to manually enter orders from third-party delivery and marketplace tablets into the POS system
- Menus have to be manually updated on multiple platforms to make a simple change
- Understanding current inventory level is a complicated, manual process
- You have to be at the restaurant to run a report generating an accurate daily sales total
These problems are only exacerbated as you grow and open more shops. With a system that brings together menu, order, sales, and other data, a lot of these complications and manual processes can be avoided.
With the right tech stack you’ll have an efficient and scalable operational machine, as satisfying to use every day as a well-assembled sandwich is to eat.
Let’s take a look at what you need.
The POS, or point of sale, system is more than a terminal for staff to take orders and process customer payments. It also provides essential functionality to manage your restaurant and acts as a hub to interact with nearly all of your restaurant’s technology.
The POS is the foundation of your tech stack. It links your sales channels with your back-of-house operations and stores your core restaurant data.
A modern cloud-based POS system typically includes:
- Omnichannel ordering
- Cash, card and tap-to-pay
- Cloud-based functionality accessible from anywhere
- Central menu management
- Integrated reporting
- Delivery management
- Inventory management
- Employee scheduling
Online and App Ordering
As the ultimate convenience food, sandwiches need to be served quickly and efficiently—and your ordering system needs to live up to that expectation as well.
First-party online ordering is offered via custom-branded websites and mobile apps that display your menu to customers and allow them to place orders and pay online. The ordering process should be as easy as possible to navigate.
Relying entirely on third-party marketplaces for your online ordering leaves you with little control over the customer experience, no customer data to build relationships, and means paying hefty commissions of as much as 30% on each order.
In contrast, a branded ordering website or mobile app provides the best possible ordering experience outside of in-person ordering at your restaurant. It presents your menu as you want guests to see it and gives you control over your customer data, which enables you to run targeted marketing campaigns to boost loyalty, calculate exactly how much each sandwich makes you, and make better business decisions.
Integrated Third Party Orders
Sandwiches are perfect for takeaway and delivery orders. Successful sandwich shops give customers the widest choice of ordering options for the best experience, no matter how they choose to order and pay.
Instead of having several tablets pinging at the counter as orders come in from different marketplaces, all orders should flow automatically into your POS system.
This means your front-of-house team members don’t have to manually re-punch orders into the POS system which slows down service and leads to errors. And for the kitchen team, all orders are displayed in a consistent format for more efficient sandwich assembly and dispatch.
Some POS system providers have direct integrations with marketplaces. The HungerRush DoorDash integration, for example, sends DoorDash orders straight into your HungerRush POS. From there they can be routed in a consistent format to your assembly line printer.
- No re-punching of orders, which often leads to errors and takes time
- Central menu management allows you to make menu changes once and push them out to all your sales channels, including third parties
- Own your customer relationships even when they order through third parties
Restaurant inventory management helps you manage your ingredient and dry supply stock and automate key inventory processes, like purchasing fresh ingredients and keeping track of food waste. The best inventory management software incorporates recipe data and automatically adjusts stock levels as items are purchased.
Sandwich menus can get fairly complex with multiple bread types, fillings, and sauces. Keeping track of inventory without a central hub of data is tricky.
Proper inventory management is vital for making sure your sandwich shop is profitable. It helps you make the most of what you have, reduce waste, and make smarter purchasing decisions—all of which help you cut costs and increase profit margins on every item sold.
Food Costing and Menu Planning
Food costing, the process of calculating the exact cost of making each sandwich and other menu item, is often done on separate spreadsheets with whatever data is available, often last week’s invoices and receipts. Purpose-built restaurant food costing software automates many of your essential calculations and uses accurate, to-the-minute data so you know what you’re spending on food today—not just what you spent last week.
Food costing is essential for serious sandwich sellers to know where and how they are making their money. The results from your calculations should inform your menu planning decisions. You can only optimize your menu when you know not only your most popular sandwiches and fillings, but which are the most profitable.
Loyalty solutions working with your POS system capture and store your customer data for use in loyalty and rewards programs and remarketing campaigns. Loyalty programs incentivise occasional customers to become regular customers by rewarding them. Rewards can be personalized making customers feel special and establish a unique connection with your restaurant and brand.
Here’s what a powerful loyalty solution can do:
- Auto-send offers and promotions based on behavioral triggers
- Send personalized offers to the right customers
- Reward customers immediately for instant gratification
- Use coupons to engage customers and introduce new products
Email and SMS Marketing
Email and SMS marketing allow you to reach your customers directly. When you own your customer data, you can re-engage them based on their habits and preferences to encourage repeat purchases.
- Email marketing has proven to be extremely effective. You can easily send out targeted offers and promotions that link directly to your ordering website or app.
- Text ordering has come a long way since the days of infuriating chatbots sending customers into endless loops of frustration. Advances in AI now enable customers to have a quick and convenient ordering experience via SMS. You can send a text reminder, and they can place an order just by replying.
Email and text marketing are cost-effective ways to automate the delivery of loyalty promotions directly to your customers’ pockets.
Employee Scheduling and Communications
With labor shortages still plaguing the hospitality industry, keeping staff happy and engaged is vital to the success of your sandwich shop. Staff scheduling tools have become super smart, helping managers and employees get on with their jobs with less time-consuming administrative work.
The best tools use sales forecasts and real-time insights to help you make better staffing decisions. They also support easy communication with built-in messaging and the ability to view and amend schedules on the go.
Here are some of the top benefits of smart labor tools:
- Allow employees to view schedules and make requests from anywhere
- Create and automatically send schedules to your team with ease
- Improve engagement and accountability with digital checklists and task management tools
- Track performance and get insights with detailed labor reports
Stack the Benefits with the Right Sandwich Shop Technology
The benefits of the right tech stack for your sandwich shop are clear. Tools in every area of your business make it easier for staff to perform their daily tasks, improve operational efficiency, and even increase the margin on every sandwich sold.
When implemented correctly, the right tools can also provide you with all the data you need to make the right decisions and remarket to increase customer loyalty.
To get all of this working correctly, your best bet is a system designed for your entire business. With all the tools you need built-in or seamlessly integrated, an all-in-one system gives you the functionality you need without any data silos.
The post The Sandwich Shop Technology Checklist: Everything You Need to Thrive in 2023 appeared first on HungerRush.