Ken Burgin

Working Remotely – resources for cafe & restaurant owners

There are a lot of new habits and skills to develop – by nature we hospo people just ‘walk around and do it’. Working from home or away from a venue doesn’t come naturally or easily, and if we have to keep a ‘social distance’, we need very different tools and ways of working. We need to sit down more…

Here’s a bunch of resources to help make your remote work almost as good as being there.

Use cloud-based management systems, so you can work and monitor results anywhere. Accounting systems like Xero to track your numbers and profit situation, plus online rostering like Tanda or Deputy and plenty more. Ramp up online customer ordering with systems like OrderUp, TabSquare, MrYum and Bopple. And always keep a close eye on recipe costs. When functions resume, there are excellent cloud-based systems to manage and promote them.

Order with suppliers through systems like Foodbomb or Ordermentum – check with vendors for their own systems. Plan new menus and events with simple project management systems like Asana (free version) or Trello (also free). Watch your shop with video security, and keep track of sales via your POS system’s online reporting. So much can be done from home.

Upgrade communication with staff – email is easy for people to ignore, and texting can become a flood of random comments. Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams will be much more flexible, with the app on everyone’s phone – they also give you more control of the conversation. A staff-only private Facebook or WhatsApp Group can be very useful. Facebook’s separate Workplace is another option – experiment with a small group, before rolling your choice out to the whole team. And there are still many great ways to train staff, even if it’s done remotely – the group can be the training hub.

Boost your customer communication with more and better social media posts, including regular Facebook Live. Add email and SMS to the mix – you’d be surprised by how much customer contact data you already have – start using it!

Start to use video conferencing, using a tool like Zoom – they offer a wide range of training options, including short videos and support articles. I recommend doing one of their live webinars on using Zoom Meetings. There are many opportunities here for training, team meetings and new ways of working – how often could you avoid a trip to the restaurant?

Keep learning: the SilverChef Training Webinars are an exciting new development, and we focus on practical ‘survive and thrive’ topics. LinkedIn is offering 16 of their Video Courses for free, on the topic Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success. If all this technology makes you nervous, keep breathing… and you’re not alone. There’s usually a YouTube video to explain just about every problem – this new focus is just reactivating some brain cells that have gone rusty!

Your comments and suggestions are very welcome – please send them to me through Linkedin or Facebook.

This Post is a Work in Progress: I’ll add new resources and suggestions here and on Twitter. Lots of exciting ideas are being shared as we find ways to pivot from live to virtual.