The Most Valuable,Timesaving Utensil Might Not Be in the Kitchen

You’re searching frantically through the restaurant tools and utensils you have at your disposal. The dining room is packed and the kitchen is slammed, and you’re looking for that one item that will ensure you’re able to manage tonight’s rush crowd. You see all of the usual suspects, those timesaving friends that have seen you through the tough spots before: the immersion blender, the food processor, the micro-plane zester—and then you spot it. It’s exactly what you were looking for. It’s your… smartphone?

The restaurant kitchen and dining room are often fast-moving and high-stress places to be—and you’re likely carrying around the one tool that can help you keep up with the pace. Many apps exist that can assist you with front- and back-of-the-house tasks, as well as aid in building great relationships with your patrons. Here are a few to try:

1.    Tabbedout

This app is a true timesaver, both for you and your customers. In addition to enabling customers to open and close tabs at your restaurant from the comfort of their mobile phones, Tabbedout also provides you with the ability to capture valuable analytics on the orders placed and the customers placing them. Rather than shuffling through old order receipts to decipher the evening’s most-ordered menu item, this app tracks that information for you, making it easier and quicker for you to provide great service to your customers.

2.    Uncorkd

Choosing a wine that pairs well with dinner can sometimes be difficult for your customers. Uncorkd helps you provide detailed information on your wine, spirits and beers, to make the ordering process a little less intimidating. You find that you’re out of a beverage and the delivery truck won’t be there until end of week? No problem! This app allows you to make real-time updates to your menu and track all drink order data so that you can easily place wholesale orders for best-selling items.

3.    NoshList

Any host or hostess who has worked front-of-house will likely tell you that the most challenging part of the job is effectively managing seating arrangements and estimating wait times for restaurant patrons. There’s an app for that, too—it’s called NoshList and it provides an easy-to-use waitlist management system that not only helps you notify guests via text message when tables are ready, but also offers valuable demographic and wait time data. This information can help you predict your rush times and make appropriate operational and menu adjustments to meet the specific need.

So, the next time you’re in a pinch and the Sunday brunch crowd seems like it’s more than the restaurant can handle, try looking in your pocket for the tool that might help you the most.