What is your Technology ROI?

Everything you do in your place of business, and probably anywhere you spend money, is associated with a Return On Investment (ROI). It may be conscious or unconscious, but it is always there. What value am I getting if I spend this money is how and why you spend it. Except on vacation and on your spouse or girlfriend, of course in which case you may just spend it for fun, or, come to think of it, maybe to get something in return. Let’s not go there.

When you decide that your manager deserves a raise, it is because there is an ROI, right? He or she has worked hard, proven their value, and makes you money. When you invest in a new under grill refrigeration unit, the ROI is getting food out more quickly and efficiently so that it pays for itself over some reasonable period of time, or you just would not do it. There is rarely a “cool factor” when it comes to spending money in your business. You want, need, and must have an ROI. The ROI when you spend $5,000 on the annual “Best of Your Town” event, may be PR, new customers, reviews in the newspapers and the like, or else you do not continue to do it, right? The ROI must be there.

So, what are you getting out of the money you spend on your cell phone, your cable packages, your POS, your … technology? Are you or your staff taking pictures with your cell phones and posting them on social media sites? Huge ROI potential here, at virtually no cost to you! Beautiful pictures of beautiful food, busy restaurant, important customers, maybe a YouTube video you post after filming your cooks putting together a catering job, and so on and so on … Are you getting that ROI, or are you just making phone calls? Worse yet, do you still have a, I cannot even type this without shaking, a FLIPHONE? What? A Princess phone on your desk in the back? Again, make no mistake, the ROI here is HUGE. Just do it.

Do you pay for the Football Package every year? What is your ROI? If you are showing the games on 32” TV’s, then the ROI is not going to be obvious, and you are scratching your head as to why you are spending all that money, month after month. On the other hand, if you have invested in some great big flat screens, you have signs all over the place promoting your specials during football games, you have trained your staff to upsell food and beverage to the massive number of people coming to your place during football games, AND you are having those giveaways of your logoed shirts and hats … then you know exactly what that ROI is. And if you are not doing this type of promoting and leveraging, then, well, you probably are making enough money and do not need advice. That’s GREAT!

Is your POS providing everything you paid for, and more importantly, you continue to pay for in terms of maintenance agreements, help desk agreements, hosting fees for cloud based services, etc? Does it pay for itself with increased business, better service, lower food costs and decreased labor? Make no mistake, not only should it be doing all of those things, it MUST do all of those things, so that the ROI for the continuing costs makes sense, right? If all you are getting out of your technology costs is remote printing and letting you know how many hours everyone worked and how many burgers you sold, then you are not only under-utilizing this important component of your business, you are costing yourself money and ROI! Are you open the right hours on the right days in the right season, or 11-11 seven days a week, come hell or high water? Analyzing this data properly will save you thousands in labor every single year. Do you regularly do a sales mix analysis? Remove the dogs, make specials based on historical data of what sells, at what margin, so the specials are slam dunk sellers which are very profitable … ahhh that is ROI, and easy to do. Just do it.

Next month’s article will continue these thoughts so that as we approach the holiday season, I can help you find the money you are leaving on the table. In the meantime, feel free to be in touch to chat. Anytime, OK?

About the Author

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

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.