In our digital and ‘on-demand’ world, the traditional restaurant experience is no longer always welcomed with open arms meaning restaurant managers must evolve and adapt to keep their customers engaged. I can almost hear your groans through my laptop as I type this.

‘‘’Going digital’ must mean spending crazy amounts of money on new complicated restaurant software and some sort of fancy, kind of un-necessary, touch-screen, order-at-your-table, tables right?’ Wrong. Although, I do love those tables…

One blessing the digital world has brought us is our smartphones and right now this can be a restaurant manager’s most powerful tool.

I’ve collated a list of 6 apps every restaurant manager needs to maximise efficiency, keep their customers happy and stay relevant – and most are either free or very cheap! Win-win!

bluecart-logo.pngBlueCart is the mobile app that connects restaurants to local suppliers all in one place, eliminating the hassle of placing multiple orders on multiple different sites.

How much time have you wasted exchanging numerous emails and phone calls with suppliers? How much confusion has this caused, thus wasting more time trying to work out what you’ve ordered and how much you’ve spent? How often have your orders actually ended up being wrong amongst all of the confusion? I’m getting stressed even thinking about it!

BlueCart gives you everything you need in one place, allowing you to re-stock quickly and efficiently, giving you more time to focus on other aspects of your business.

velocity-logo.jpgHaving a bit of trouble filling empty tables? Want to keep up with the times and expand your booking process beyond the phone? Why not try Velocity?

If you don’t mind a slightly longer sign up process (a quick visit by a member of the Velocity team), you can gain access to the platform in no time. And it’s free!

The app itself is consumer facing (you’ll be given access to their back-end system to post your available slots) so head to the Velocity website to sign up and a sales executive will be in touch to begin the on-boarding process. In the meantime you can download the Velocity app and sign up as a foodie to take a look at how it all works!

In the digital age, busy foodies want to be able to see your availability and book a preferred time slot, on-demand via their smartphones. Velocity provides this for your customers with a sophisticated interface, whilst also giving you an additional and relevant digital platform to showcase your business with no extra costs. Fed up with paying an extortionate amount for staff with temp agency fees and getting average workers (if they even show up!)? Fed up with struggling for the night when a waitress or barman calls in sick? And what about all of that dreaded paperwork whilst processing timesheets? Ugh!

Syft is an on-demand temp staffing platform available on iOS, Android & Web.

It allows you to post shifts quickly and easily, whether you need a last-minute extra hand or you need to hire 50 workers for an event. You get complete control and choice over who you hire, and can see exactly who you are getting (ratings, previous experience, skills etc.). The app’s unique clock-in-clock-out system generates timesheets automatically – no more paperwork!

Syft charge a 15% fee on top of workers wages, saving you up to 55% on agency fees. The platform is totally free to join and you can use it as much or as little as you like.

Download the Syft app now to hire quality temp staff immediately and eliminate all hassles associated with temp staffing agencies!

orderella-logo.pngOrderella is an app that allows customers to order their food and drinks in advance. We’re sure you’ve faced unhappy customers on really busy days. They’ve had to wait a little longer than usual to order and for their food to arrive, and they’re pretty ‘hangry’. Orderella turns these customers frowns upside down and helps you to deliver a quicker service!

Orderella speeds up the order process from customers deciding what to order to ordering. As you’re receiving the order more quickly and in advance, you’ll be able to serve more customers than usual and in turn increase your earnings for the day/night. Happy customers and a happy restaurant manager! Again – for no extra cost!

Sign up to Orderella.

ZapperLogo.pngSo, you’ve dealt with the ‘hangry’ punters – they’ve ordered and they’ve been fed and watered, hassle-free. Now we have a new issue on our hands. They want to get out of here and it’s taking a while for someone to come and take payment! That’s where Zapper comes in!

Not only does the face-to-face process of taking payment divert waiters and waitresses attention from serving other customers, it’s also unnecessary in the digital age.

Zapper allows customers to pay on-demand using their smartphone, by simply zapping the QR code that will display on the bill and leaving. Zapper also supports bill-splitting – no more agony listening to drunken customers attempting Key Stage 1-level maths to split the bill!

The app also offers a feature to contact customers who have paid via the app with vouchers and loyalty points, so you’re able to re-engage quickly and easily with previous visitors.

You’ve saved time and your customers can leave as soon as they like. Register via the Zapper website.

LevelUp-Logo.pngLevelUp is one of those apps that seems like it does almost everything from payments to ordering to gift cards, but one of its other great functions is its loyalty scheme.

We all know that feeling of pure joy in Starbucks when you get your final star and indulge in your free drink. Why aren’t you giving your customers this feeling?!

The app allows you to create tailored reward schemes for you customers, keeping them engaged with your brand and coming back for more! No more paper reward cards or facing the wrath of an angry customer who ‘had nearly got all of her stamps but then lost her card’ and insists on that free dessert!

This app does come with a price, however it is really Zapper and Orderella rolled into one, so if you were looking to expand your brand digitally with all of the above methods, LevelUp will be worth the cost to have everything in one place. It also has a great analytics feature and messaging option so you can get content straight to your customers and see what is and isn’t working.

Head to the LevelUp website to request a demo.