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IT Needs When Opening a New Restaurant

By Sam Darwish

As the restaurant industry continues to grow in 2017, it is important for restaurant owners to understand the importance of technology as it relates to the success of their business.

When opening a new location, restaurant owners have a long list of tasks they need to accomplish before opening the doors for business. From hiring and training staff members, to designing the space and ensuring all technology components work seamlessly, it can be easy to miss something. In order for restaurants to be successful today, they must leverage technology effectively. POS (point-of-sale) devices are constantly becoming more advanced, security systems are evolving, digital menus and signage are in high demand and self-service options are continuing to grow in popularity.

Restaurant owners do not have the bandwidth to handle complex IT issues, and if an issue does arise, it can wreak havoc on their success. Therefore, understanding how leveraging technology can play a vital role in staying ahead of the competition and remaining successful.

Consider these three recommendations when opening a new restaurant location:

1. Plan Ahead

As a restaurant owner with plans to grow, understanding the IT components needed will set the foundation for success. During the design and layout phase of a restaurant, it is important to brainstorm all of the IT elements that will be necessary to ensure the success of your growing business. Next, make an action plan and timeline for each IT item so that you can be prepared when installation begins during the construction of the new facility. For example, below is a list of potential IT needs to get you started.

  • Cabling
  • Computer and network needs
  • Database collection from customers
  • Digital menus
  • Digital promotional screens
  • Intercom systems
  • Linked network of cash registers
  • Music systems
  • Physical and cyber security system
  • POS systems
  • Receipt printers
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Wi-Fi access

2. Find a Partner

During the conception phase, use your list of IT components when interviewing potential IT partners to ensure they can meet each of your needs. Finding an IT partner early in the planning process will ensure a smooth transition from groundbreaking to grand opening. It is recommended to hire one provider who can offer customized solutions tailored to your restaurant and streamline the process by supplying all technology components. Hiring one company, as opposed to several providers who offer various solutions, will allow you to have one point of contact and one partner for all IT needs. Ideally, this company should act as a team member working with your restaurant, striving for mutual success and adapting as the restaurant grows and evolves over the years.

3. Perform Ongoing Maintenance

If an IT issue arises, a trusted partner should be accessible at a moment's notice so the business does not suffer and lose money in the interim. Schedule quarterly or semi-annual meetings with your IT provider in order to confirm all technology components are up-to-date and working properly. This will allow the provider to fix any issues ahead of time before a problem arises that could negatively impact the restaurant - and especially its customers.

As the restaurant industry continues to rapidly grow, it has never been more important for restaurant owners to understand how technology plays a vital role in their ongoing success. In the years to come, leaders within the industry should expect to see technology play a larger role as IT tools grow in popularity. Restaurants that prioritize their technology needs and hire an IT partner committed to the longevity of their business will find success and stand out in the competitive food service industry.

Sam Darwish Sam Darwish is the president, CEO and co-founder of Skinny IT. Based in Frisco, Texas, Skinny IT delivers a wide range of customizable information technology solutions to more than 150 enterprises worldwide, helping them to optimize operational efficiencies and increase the bottom line. The company offers a wide array of IT services for converged solutions providers, large-scale national retailers and value-added resellers across the country. For more information, please visit

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