Smarten Up on Mobile Apps

It’s time to embrace restaurant technology that will contribute to your bottom line

From service management to food delivery, tech-savvy restaurant managers are using apps to drive the front and back of the house. Have your fingers at the ready to check out these worthy finds.

Makes health inspection scores searchable

What it fixes: You got a great score and want to brag about it. What the Health is an app that gives consumers access to restaurant health inspections. It can drive traffic to high scorers but also keep lower scorers on alert.  

How it works: The GPS-driven app has a search function and shows nearby restaurants, along with their health scores and reports. For states that don’t assign letter grades, What the Health’s algorithm crunches the data and assigns one.  Available for 10 states to date.

What it costs: Free

For finding the right staff—stat

What it fixes: Whether it’s nabbing an additional bartender for the holiday rush, a cook to fill in when half the kitchen gets the flu or an army of servers to handle a temporary promotion, finding short-term staff sucks—especially on a moment’s notice.

How it works: Shiftgig offers workers who have been vetted and background checked—for tonight, if need be—with just a few taps. Workers have covered more than 50,000 shifts since the app first launched.

What it costs: Free for workers. Restaurants pay a per-shift fee.

Reduces the problem of wasted food

What it fixes: Food waste isn’t just a drain on the planet, it’s a drag on your bottom line. Nearly $165 billion worth of food hits the dumpsters every year, according to the National Resources Defense Council. The MintScraps app helps eateries track trash, recycling and composting, and reduce waste.

How it works: Tap the app every time you toss something in the trash, and MintScraps will discern real-time waste generation patterns to help streamline operations. You’ll get a weekly report calculating the amount of money the kitchen is squandering along with customized suggestions for reducing it.

What it costs: Restaurants pay a subscription fee based on their size and the amount of waste tracked.

Talking with staff from afar

What it fixes: If you and your staff are up to your eyeballs in Post-it notes and phone lists, Shift Messenger might save your sanity. 

How it works: The free messaging app lets you divvy staff into separate phone lists for easy group messaging. Anyone can initiate a group or private message, so it’s easy to encourage peer-to-peer shift swaps or send memos. Users have to shell out for texting charges or swap their private phone numbers with their co-workers. 

What it costs: Free to download and use.

Turn tables faster while winning over millennial diners

What it fixes: Velocity’s pay-at-table app promises to slash the time between diners deciding they want the bill and leaving the restaurant. On a busy night turning tables faster can mean more revenue and less annoyance from impatient diners. A plus: Velocity also claims that app users spend 14 percent more, on average.

How it works: Diners download the app and check in at a participating restaurant. Once they finish the meal, their card on file is automatically charged, along with a user-set tip. Users can also split the tab, either by amount or percent. 

What it costs: Fees vary by operation.