15 Things That Could Make Or Break Your Restaurant

15 Things That Could Make Or Break Your Restaurant

October 14, 2021

Restaurant insurance, point-of-sale systems, and payments can be confusing; that's why we worked with The Hadfield Group to help us bring you all the information you need.  Check out the helpful guide below:

1. Cloud Based Systems

There are many different types of point-of-sale systems around for restaurants, bars, and small businesses, some are easier than others. Cloud based systems update in real time so that the manager can update or review nearly every moving part of their restaurant from their laptop or phone and it automatically syncs with the point-of-sale.

WHY? Cloud based systems are essential today because they eliminate the need for back office computers which force restaurant owners and managers to view reporting, change prices, and create schedules on site.

2. PCI Compliance

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance was a standard set of policies created by the Card Associations to reduce the potential for fraud. Any business that accepts credit cards is required to follow 12 security standards to ensure their policies, network, and technology is safe against any potential threat thrown their way. To ensure this, businesses are required to complete an annual self-assessment questionnaire (which varies based on business type and payment technology) to certify their compliance.

WHY? It is required to be PCI compliant so it is essential to have a point-of-sale and payments provider that understands each of the security standards to help guide you into the best practices.

3. Offline Mode

Proper backup technology for when the internet goes down is essential. When you have open bar tabs and a restaurant full of patrons who haven’t paid, an outage could be an extremely costly event. Offline mode should allow your restaurant to seamlessly continue operations and push through stored card authorizations once connectivity is regained. There is a risk that a card may decline once it can be authorized, but that lose pales in comparison to eliminating the ability to collect at all. 

WHY? Internet outages. If your internet goes down and you don’t have a point-of-sale system that has offline mode then you will likely not be able to accept credit cards during that time. There was a recent TSYS outage that caused entire sports stadiums to not be able to take credit cards and therefore could not sell concessions as they were cashless stadiums.

4. Basic Insurance Coverage For Any Restaurant

General Liability, Property, and Workers Compensation are a given for any restaurant. Your insurance agent should be able to shop for the best value for your restaurant, taking into consideration both adequate coverage and pricing. Consider if your agent has any additional services and resources that will save you time and money - including sample HR handbooks, OSHA safety training, and loss control to help you implement easy ways to lower risk of accidents to both employees and patrons.

WHY? Financially protect your business from third party lawsuits with General Liability coverage and physical assets from property damage due to fire, theft, and any other curveballs that could be thrown at you with Property coverage. ALL California employers are legally required to carry workers compensation if they have employees.

5. Employment Practices Liability

One of the most common insurance coverages that most restaurant owners overlook until it’s too late: Employment Practices Liability. Even the best employers can have a disgruntled employee that finds reason to create a lawsuit. Employment Practices Liability Insurance (or EPLI) covers claims AND provides legal defense for employees alleging employer misconduct including discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination.

WHY? Especially with changing COVID-related employee mandates, it can be tricky to navigate employee situations. Have a plan in place for employment related lawsuits that could arise.

6. Cyber Liability

Did you know that small and mid-size enterprises (SME) are among the most vulnerable to cybercrimes, even targeted more frequently than large companies? Not only are small businesses targeted more frequently, the impact left by an attack is often enough to shutter doors; over 60% of small businesses who endure a cyber attack will be out of business within six months. Even a basic cyber liability insurance policy can keep a team of cyber crime experts at your fingertips in the event of an attack, including support for cyber forensics, data repair & recovery, 3rd party liability, and public relations to mitigate negative press.

WHY? Businesses of any size can be targeted and fall victim to cyber attacks. Arm yourself with a team of cyber crime experts that can help you navigate an attack.

7. Training On Best Practices For Card Acceptance

Accepting credit cards is one thing, but doing it in the most cost effective manner for your business type is another. Reducing fraud, overcoming chargebacks, and ensuring the proper data is being entered and passed along with each sale for the lowest transactions costs are just a few things that should be paid attention to.

WHY? Knowledge is power. By understanding the ins and outs of accepting cards, you reduce risk of liability and provide protection for your business.

8. Liquor Liability

If you serve any type of beer, wine, or liquor, you could potentially be roped into a lawsuit if a patron gets into an at-fault car accident after consuming a drink at your establishment. Commercial insurance policies don’t automatically include it so be sure you’re covered. $1,000,000 liability limit might seem like a lot, but the limits can be quickly eaten up when you take into account the legal defense costs.

WHY? If you serve liquor, beer or wine and they get into an accident, your business could be pulled into a lawsuit. Including this coverage should be a no-brainer if you serve any type of alcohol.

9. White-Glove Support From Service Providers

Let’s face it. Restaurateurs have their hands full. There are hundreds of moving parts in running a successful business and not enough hours in the day. For this reason, choose vendors that pride themselves on going above and beyond for their clients post-sale. For example, the point-of-sale system is responsible for collecting nearly every penny of revenue for many small businesses, so a payments partner who swiftly handles equipment replacement, technical troubleshooting, and ongoing staff training is a necessity today.

WHY? By having a dedicated customer service person assigned to your account you will be able to resolve issues in a timely manner without extended amounts of downtime.

10. Employee Benefits

Savvy restaurant owners work with benefits experts that can: 1) benchmark data to review average cost and types of coverage offered in your industry, 2) annually review HR and Compliance requirements to avoid potential liabilities and penalties, 3) enroll you in technology that offers Payroll and Benefits systems integration, 4) help you find Association Plans that offer discounts for your industry.

WHY? You should expect more from your employee benefits broker. They should be your top resource for HR compliance related questions and have services to make your job easier.

11. Accountant Accessibility

When your point-of-sale, time clock platform, labor, and pertinent tax reporting categories are all in sync and online, access can be provided to accountants to eliminate the time and effort in sending details back and forth. When done correctly, even processing payroll can take minutes, automating it to the point of a quick review and a click of a button with no additional manual entry. 

WHY? Giving an accountant direct access to reporting online can reduce the entire owner to accountant transaction thus saving you time and money.

12. EMV Readers

EMV or Chip Readers were designed to create more security in every transaction and decrease fraud. Chargebacks used to be protected by the credit card companies but in 2018 they pushed the responsibility to those that are not EMV compliant. If your business doesn’t have EMV (chip card) readers and a customer files a chargeback then your business can’t contest it.

WHY? EMV Readers will decrease chargebacks on your business meaning less liability for your business.

13. Gift Cards

Gone are the days of handwritten gift certificates, so it’s time to say hello to physical and digital gift cards. Today, restaurant patrons can buy a gift card online and have it emailed or texted to the person they’re giving it to. You can even have it timed specifically to send to someone on their birthday, for example. These codes are generally redeemed on location via QR code readers embedded into payment devices making the process smooth during purchase and redemption.

WHY? Gift cards encourage people to come back to your business and create repeat customers. They also create an interest free loan for the business by allowing them to collect the money but not immediately lose the product. 2-4% of gift cards also unredeemed according to Forbes.com.

14. Direct Online Ordering

Did you know that restaurants that offer online ordering increase by an average of 30 percent and 1 in 5 double their takeout revenue? This helps take the pressure off of the phones at your restaurant so staff can focus on the dine-in customers. It has also been known to increase the average order size. Furthermore, choosing commission-free, point-of-sale integrated options ensures you can control the client experience and own your customers data for future marketing. 

WHY? Sometimes people don’t want to dine in but still want restaurant food. By allowing customers to order online you increase accessibility and allow your servers to spend their time taking care of dine in customers instead of taking excessive amounts of phone orders.

15. Online Time Clock & Scheduling

Electronic scheduling tools eliminate the need for excel spreadsheet schedules and other inconvenient ways of scheduling. They allow staff to get their shift details, request time off, and even track their weekly wages all from an app on their phone. In addition, restaurant owners can eliminate early clock-ins by connecting the schedule to their POS time clock, run payroll in minutes, and easily manage labor costs.

WHY? Excel spreadsheets are a thing of the past, with online time clock and scheduling, it takes on a lot of the work that would otherwise fall on the restaurant owner or manager. It will automatically calculate overtime, eliminate early clock ins, and it reduces back and forth communication by allowing employees to communicate through the app.