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Gifts that Keep on Giving – The ROI of Technology

Happy New Year! Thank you for your readership, friendship, confidence and communications through the year. We are all very busy, but taking the time to provide guidance through this column, and your willingness to read and share your opinions. It keeps me motivated and happy.

This time around, I want to make you happy. Happy with your very smart decisions on using and utilizing (and paying for) technology. To that end, let’s talk about money, honey. Your money, what you spend it on, what you expect. In today’s world, the terminology is ROI. Return on Investment.

ROI, that is why you spend money, right? What’s in it for ME? What VALUE do I get for dishing out my hard earned Visa credit limit? Or god forbid, your hard earned cash?

So, what is the value when you buy your produce? Your proteins? Your matzo balls, your meatballs? Quality, consistency, and paying a price that allows you to make a profit. Easy enough.

How about the money you invest in your cooks? Your servers? Your ROI when you pay for those guys to clean your hoods or haul away your dumpster contents? Again, pretty well defined as to the expectations of ROI and value. Be on time, do a job you can be proud of, represent you and your business properly, and above all, pay for yourself on a regular basis. No doubt about it, when you pay that recurring $1,000 a week for your GM or chef, they darn well better have a reeealy good ROI. Pay for themselves over and over, or you will get a new one that will, right? Of course!

What is the ROI for technology? It needs to be great, because those costs never seem to end. They better pay for themselves over and over and over for the good dollars you are paying. If they do not, think again, and do the same thing you would do if a manager or cook was underperforming. Get a great value and ROI.

That cable bill, that sports package, the cost of replacing those big screen TV’s. Are they bringing people into your place? Do those people spent time AND MONEY while they are there, or are they going where they DO have the NFL package? Where they DO have the HD, 1080P, 3D, Smart 100” state of the art TV? Are you getting value?

Your Website maintenance. What is the value? First of all, are you maintaining it? WHAT? You do not have one? I am not even going to talk to you anymore. Hmmm, and your prospects will not either? So, assuming you have a really nice one, right away, the ROI and the value is that you can compete in today’s marketplace, right? If you have a nice one, your head is nodding right now. If you have a crappy, or dated one, you are getting gas as you read this, knowing I am right and you are wrong. Fix it! Keep it up to date! Post your specials! Link it to Facebook, Twitter, your on-line-ordering, etc. etc. Do it and now, and the value will come back to you. Over and over again. As it should. You spend good money on it, right?

Your Point of Sale (you knew I would not forget that one, right?) What are you getting from it? What are you paying for it? What is the value, and what is your ROI? This one is the gift that keeps on giving … or taking, right? So, are you getting cloud COMPUTING and Analytics, or still getting the reports from your POS? Are you getting the bang for your POS doing the analyzing for you, or do you have to drudge through? Are you minimizing theft? Are you minimizing labor and food costs? Are you selling the heck out of gift cards? Are you promoting the heck out of loyalty programs that bring customers through the door and get them to spend more? Are the screens in your kitchen increasing your table turns, or are you still using those archaic printers? Are you getting what you are paying for, over and over and over? If not, maybe you should do what you would do if your manager or chef were not earning their keep, eh?

So, keep your eye on your balls and on your money. So to speak. Happy 2014 and as always, let me know where and when I can help.

About the Author

Henry Pertman is Director, Hospitality Consulting at CohnReznick, located in the firm’s Baltimore, Md. office. He can be contacted at 410-783-4900 or henry.pertman@cohnreznick.com.

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