Products, Restaurants, Tips

Best 8 Apps For Restaurant Owners and Managers

There are many components to running a restaurant besides making food and serving it to your wonderful guests. We’ve done some research and pulled the best apps to help owners, managers, and all staff work in a more smoothly run restaurant.

Management Help:

Between managing inventory, making employee schedules, budgeting, and tracking the data from those aspects, one might need a great system.

  1. Numbers

This is an app that offers templates to track inventory, budgets, and staff schedules. It also creates graphic reports at the tips of your fingers. This app has the ability to be exported into an Excel spread sheet and is cloud based letting the owner bring up the data always up-to-date and on multiple devices.

  1. 7shifts

Creating schedules can be one of the most complicated tasks of restaurant management. You have everything set then someone comes up with a shift they can’t make it to. This app allows staff to easily swap shifts and offers direct messaging to each employee.

 

POS System and Loyalty Programs-

Of course you could always go old school typing in each menu item price, but these apps offer efficient, user-friendly systems to give workers as well as customers the greatest experience possible. Loyalty programs are also on the rise. Many restaurants still offer cards, but apps are more easily accessible and more fun for a customer to use and see how their loyalty to the business is affecting them.

  1. Revel Systems

An iPad based POS system, Revel is one of the greatest. It offers ease of seating, ordering and serving, PLUS catering to the financials of the business. With bill-splitting features, individual employee logins, and social media integration, this system is everything you could want, and more.

  1. RM Monitor

This app integrates with your POS system to provide real-time monitoring. It monitors labor costs, sales and payments, key performance indicators and sends alerts when something out of your ordinary day pops up such as a staff member heading into overtime.

  1. Belly

Loyalty programs are all the rage now that they are easily accessible and most people are on budgets. This app allows customers to scan codes and earn rewards every visit and the restaurant can customize rewards offerings. Belly encourages fun rewards and builds customer profiles to allow restaurants to offer the most useful prizes.

  1. OrderAhead

Many people are often in a rush during their lunch hour or have had a long day and want to head home quickly after work. OrderAhead is a lifesaver in that situation. This app allows the busy people to find the restaurant, order, pay, and set a pickup time at their own convenience. There is also a re-ordering feature for the regulars.

 

Social Media and Creative

  1. Hootsuite

9 times out of 10, restaurants are on social media. This includes managing multiple social media accounts and Hootsuite helps you do that as easily as possible. This app allows you to manage posting times and cross-publish posts and photos.

  1. Skitch

This app understands that not everyone is Photoshop savvy and provides photo editing and visual branding features at a user-friendly level. It is social media integrated so you can share your brand with the world.

Digital Menu Board, Software, Technology, Tips

Support Quick Tips for Menuat

Guest speaker!!! Alex is here to offer support tips to everyone!

  • Connection issues? If you see a “No Device ID” error on your Menuat screen, this is a sign that the device is not receiving internet signal. The first thing that you should do is run a power cycle, this means turning the power off and on the media player that is giving you this error, the same goes if you have SSSP screens. You also have to make sure your dedicated internet to your Menuat screen is working and the device is receiving this network signal. 
    1. If you are still not sure if the device displaying this connection error is receiving internet, please go to network settings and check that the network status says “connected”.
    2. If it shows “not connected”, please make sure the wifi is turned on and you have selected your dedicated wifi network from the list. If you do not see your dedicated wifi listed, please make sure you have internet service.
  • What to do when your power goes out? Power outages can be very common in fast moving businesses such as restaurants and may cause electronics and networks to malfunction. It is recommended to use a surge protector with a battery power backup, also known as “Uninterruptible Power Supply”. This device will keep any electronic powered on when a power surge occurs just as long as it meets the voltage requirements.

A good affordable Uninterruptible Power Supply we recommend is the APC BE550G: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16842101311

  • Would you like to send a software reset to your menus?If you would like to send a software reset to all your menus in order to refresh them without having to contact our 24/7 support line then you can do this by logging into your Menuat Edit dashboard. If you have Menuat Edit unlocked, then you can do this as well as the ability to make instant live edits to your menu. Please do the following to send a reset to your menus. 
    1. Log on to Menuat Edit with your username and password.
    2. On the top right your will see a gear icon, click on it.
    3. As soon as the edit page windows appears, scroll all the way down until you see the ”save” button and click on it.

If you do not have Menuat Edit unlocked and would like to add it to your plan, please contact Sean by phone at (904) 495-0616 ext.704 or email him.

Digital Menu Board, Menu Design, Tips

Are you FDA approved?

Did you know that if you have a restaurant your menu and menu boards need to be in accordance with the FDA? Whether its calorie counts, catering menus, or specialty items, such as alcohol, there are certain guidelines to follow. Guidelines will be enforced starting May 2017. Menu boards are the easiest way to keep up with regulations.  Menuat will review your board for free, try it now!

On the FDA website you can view 58 pages of the law (21 CFR 101.11) written out, but it can be difficult and plain boring to read. Or you can download our simplified version that provides all the information you need and print it to hang in your restaurant. It’ll look great next to your labor laws poster!

Did you know that Menuat offers free digital menu boards and can handle all your menu needs.

TRY NOW FREE

 

FDA Guideline Banner Download

Client Profile, Digital Menu Board, Menu, Menuat, Opinion, Restaurants, Tips

Customer Testimonial: City Coffee Co.

Robyn Mooney, Owner of City Coffee Co. in Saint Augustine, Florida shares her experiences with Menuat’s Digital Menu Service.

City Coffee Co. has had Digital Menus and an Events Board from Menuat for about a year. We recently added a third monitor to their menus and added Instagram integration during their annual redesign. Their full menu is available here.

Schedule a Demo with Menuat!

Digital Menu Board, Menu, Menu Design, Menuat, Restaurants, Tips

Digital Menu Boards: Animation & Video Clips

Adding a video stream or advanced animations to Digital Menu Boards, if done effectively can boost engagement while cutting perceived queue time. However, if the animation or video is too busy and distracting, it can birth rage in hungry patrons.

There are infinite ways to attack this beast. The type of video or animation being added will make or break your customers’ experience. You want to animation to be relatively subtle, enticing and most importantly supportive to the material you’re trying to promote. If your animation upstages your menu content, customers’ attention is focused on the animation rather than the actual messaging.

With that being said, using a subtle animation or a dedicated portion of one of your monitors to display promotional videos that support your menu content can be extremely beneficial. The key is to finding the balance in infotainment. You want the customer to be entertained, but even more importantly, you want them to be informed of the action you want them to take, may it be up-selling on drinks, purchasing featured menu items etc.

Lets take up-selling drink purchases as an example. You’re trying to sell more soft drinks, adding a video or animation in a promotional section of your board of a frosty cold soda gently fizzing is extremely enticing. However, if the soda flies across the whole screen with a blazing comet trail behind it, it is extremely distracting. It may be entertaining, but it is distracting from the other menu content. You want the sale from the promotion to be in addition to what the customer was already going purchase, resulting in a higher ticket value. When the customer is browsing the menu and suddenly the monitors are taken over by a giant flaming soda, the customer has to wait for the animation to finish before they can make a decision on what to order.

Here are a couple of examples from Menuat’s Design Team of subtle animations and video clips that support menu content. Schedule a Demo with Menuat Today!

 

 

Digital Menu Board, Digital Signage, Menuat, Products, Tips

How to Select a Monitor for Digital Signage

Shopping for monitors for digital signage can be overwhelming. When selecting a monitor that is appropriate for your specific needs and location, there are some important specs that you need to keep in mind.

Brightness

Brightness is measured in ‘Nits’. This information is readily available on the most manufacturers’ websites. A larger number of nits indicate a brighter picture. The brightness of the screen needed is determined by the ambient light of the monitor’s location. For indoor use with indirect ambient light, a minimum of 400 nits is recommended. For outdoor use, monitors over 900 will be visible in direct sunlight.

Bezel Size

The bezel of a monitor is the plastic frame around the screen. Although this sounds superficial, the size of the bezel determines the actual size of the screen on the monitor. If you were to run out to your local big-box store and purchase a 50” monitor with a 1” bezel, the available screen space is actually only 48”. These two inches can make a lot in difference in the amount of content you are able to fit on the screen.

Screen Size

The size of the screen, and the number of monitors to purchase, can be a difficult thing to determine. Basically, it comes down to viewing distance versus the number of lines on text on your menu. If you email your menu to Menuat, we will be able to recommend the size and number of screens you’ll need.

Ventilation

Most consumer grade monitors are only made to be turned on for six to eight hours per day. Digital signage is typically on display for much longer than eight hours per day, causing consumer grade monitors to get very hot. The ventilation systems on consumer grade monitors can be easily over worked. It is important when selecting a monitor for your digital signage that you choose one with adequate ventilation.

 

Commercial vs Consumer Grade Monitors

Another element to take into consideration when selecting the right monitor for your digital signage needs is choosing between commercial and consumer grade grade monitors.

The main difference between commercial and consumer grade monitors is that commercial grade monitors are specifically made for the digital signage application by amping up several key features to ensure lasting utility.

Run Time

Commercial grade monitors are made to be turned on 24/7 and employ systems that prevent burn-in. Burn-in occurs after prolonged use of a static images, text, or tickers. This causes a distortion in the picture.

Warranty

Warranty is another important difference between commercial and consumer grade monitors. Most consumer grade monitors are strictly meant to mounted in landscape mode. Mounting a consumer grade monitor in portrait mode will void most manufacturers’ warranties. Commercial grade monitors are made to be mounted either portrait or landscape to accommodate for multiple different applications and come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty. The consumer grade alternative typically comes with a standard one year warranty.

It is also worth mentioning that most manufacturers will declare a warranty void if the monitor is used for commercial purposes like digital signage. This comes down to the difference in durability of commercial and consumer grade monitors. Commercial grade monitors are specifically made to withstand higher temperatures and the indoor pollution of the restaurant environment.

Consumer Grade Screens

We do recommend a commercial grade screen as they’re tested in commercial environments to perform for many years. However, they can be cost-prohibitive. As a low-cost alternative, we’ve helped our customers source consumer-grade monitors from stores like Best Buy and Walmart. The screens we’ve recommended have performed well for digital signage purposes, although we haven’t tested them over years as commercial screen providers have done.

Based on model, make, and specifications, we can recommend the following consumer grade screens. These three models are fairly similar in that they are all 450 nits or higher, have a small uniform bezel, and decent ventilation. All models below are priced under $800.

Panasonic AS530

LG LB5900

Samsung UNH6203AF

When purchasing a monitor, be sure to ask about the in-store extended warranties available. Many of the Big Box Store offer a ‘No Questions Asked’ policy that will cover burn-in and allow you to mount your new monitor landscape or portrait without voiding your warranty.

If you would like to purchase a warranty after you have purchased or installed your monitors, you can go through a third party like squaretrade.

Schedule a Demo with Menuat Today!

Digital Menu Board, Digital Signage, Menu Design, Products, Tips

Photo Editing Apps for Digital Signage & Social Media Images

At Menuat, we get a lot of questions from business owners about creating images to use on their digital signage or social media pages. Many problems seem to come from resizing images to fit the appropriate space. Most of the time these edits are not too difficult or involved if you know how to use a few simple tools. Here are a couple apps to help you create striking photos for your digital signage or social media pages.

Pixlr Image Resizing

Pixlr is a photo editing application that can be used for photo editing (resizing, watermarking, adding text, effects, stickers etc.). Here is a basic tutorial for resizing images through Pixlr.

First, download the Pixlr app on your computer (there is a phone app also but resizing is not available). Then go to the ‘File’ dropdown menu on the top left of your screen and open the image you would like to resize.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.28.49 AMScreen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.29.40 AM

Next, go to the ‘Fast’ drop down menu and select ‘resize’.

pixxxlr

From this screen, edit the shorter side of the to your desired dimension while keeping the aspect ratio locked. Don’t worry about the opposing dimension becoming larger than the your desired size. We will fix that in the next step. Click Apply.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.28.17 AM

 

Next go to the ‘fast’ tab again and select crop. When the dimensions appear, change the opposing dimension to your desired height or width. A grid will appear previewing the image at the specified dimensions. Use the dot in the center of the grid to move the grid to capture the area of the image you would like to display and click apply.

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Then save the image with an appropriate filename and adjust quality to ‘medium’ for a faster load time.

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.27.44 AM

There are a lot of photo editing apps available on the App and Chrome Stores. Most of them basically do the same things. Some alternative user friendly apps for photo editing include RePix, PhotoScapeX, and FX Photo Studio Pro.

Digital Menu Board, Legislation, Menu Design, Restaurants, Tips

FDA Menu Labeling Resource Guide

Today FDA is releasing the final ruling for a new set of guidelines for the Menu Labeling Provision of the Affordable Care Act. These new guidelines require all franchises, vending machine companies, movie theaters, concession stands, and any other similar retail food-type establishments with more than 20 units to accurately display the calorie count of all menu items on paper menus as well as menu boards.

Here is a resource guide to help you navigate the new regulations:

FDA Resource Guide

US Federal Register Guide

FDA Press Release

Now more than ever Digital Menus will help restaurant owners stay on top of their printing costs, especially for those restaurants who shop around for different brands of indigents. Every time the brand of an ingredient is changed, the calorie count of the menu item will change as well. To stay compliment with these new laws, restaurant owners will have to change their menus often.

These new regulations will take effect on December 1, 2015.