Your day is filled with simmering stock, sizzling steaks, chopping fresh vegetables, writing menus and other food-based activities— all in the back of a truck, van or bus. However, as a busy chef and mobile restaurateur, you have to focus on more than just food. In addition to managing staff and prepping food, you also get to act as your company’s chief IT expert, regardless of your knowledge base. The rise of technology in the food industry can be scary to those who aren’t tech savvy, but you can get started easily with this handful of hardware essentials.
Tablets take up far less space than clunky PCs, and they look sleek and appealing when left out, lending a little modern feel to your mobile station. Restaurateurs can utilize a new tablet computer to track their inventory, organize their payroll, and other managerial tasks.
However, according to National Public Radio, many restaurants and food trucks are now using tablets to perform some traditional server duties as well as managerial duties. Apps like SmartCellar give patrons advice on food and wine pairings while other apps help them to flag down an employee. Some restaurateurs are offering tablets to their customers as a cure for boredom in long lines, and others are downloading their menu to create a self-ordering system for customers. A digital menu gives customers the chance to interact with the kitchen, and digital menus are always easier to update than a paper, allowing you to make changes midshift.
In order to be secure, you need a different password for each website that you use. However, remembering the passwords to your bank accounts, your food vendors, and other services isn’t that simple. Enter myIDkey, a must-have security solution for business owners.
myIDkey is a password depot that can be plugged into the USB port of a PC or connected to a tablet with Bluetooth. Once connected, it draws your passwords from a secure cloud-based password management site. Best of all, you never have to worry about anyone stealing your passwords. If myIDkey detects too many unfamiliar digital fingerprints, it deletes all of its contents.
Point of Sale
With Square, you can seal the deal anywhere, making it the perfect point of sale device for outside catering events or festivals. Simply attach Square to your smartphone or iPad, and it instantly becomes a mobile payment device.
If you want more features, try Pay Saber, ideal for use as a inhouse point of sale. Designed for iOs devices, the Pay Saber POS is a complete point of sale solution with a credit card reader, a barcode scanner, and a thermal printer. Both of these devices are free, but you have to pay a small fee for the service. Most restaurateurs find the rates to be comparable to other credit card services, and these services are a great way to get accept credit card payments without committing to a more expansive or expensive service.
If you decide to integrate tablets into your food business, you will need a place to charge them. Multidock is just the solution that you need. This cool-looking device lets you charge up to 10 tablets, e-readers, or smartphones. Perfect for the restaurant or truck filled with tablets, this device can also be useful for letting your staff charge their personal devices.
About the Author: Debbie Joshua (Social media, technology and branding. These are just a few of Debbie’s favorite things… Those and her husband, and 2 kids.)