They say there’s never a dull day in the restaurant industry. Looking back on 2022, that claim certainly stands true. While pandemic protocols receded, labor shortages brought new challenges to already time-strapped restaurateurs. Rising inflation caused the price of certain food items to skyrocket. Recession fears, which show no signs of tapering in the new year, changed consumer spending habits. Yet through it all, guests were seated, steaks were seared, napkins were folded, tips were distributed.

Restaurants adapted. And SpotOn was there to help.

From driving sales with online ordering and e-gift cards, to equipping servers with SpotOn Serve handhelds, technology helped restaurants fend off inflation and maintain profit. In the back of house, restaurant managers incorporated new tech when tackling their to-do list, shaving down admin time and getting back to the job they love.

"SpotOn brought us the technology we need to integrate with third-party platforms, sell gift cards, and see more accurate numbers in our reporting. We can see everything in one place. It has made our servers’ lives easier and my life easier."  - José Luis Arceo, Owner, Rancho Rustico Restaurant

While retail spending is down, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, consumer spending at food services and drinking places increased 14% from this time last year despite a looming recession. Restaurants using SpotOn were able to capture increased consumer spend with labor-saving tech like SpotOn Serve handhelds and online ordering.

Restaurants using SpotOn Serve drove a 6% increase in revenue, while those using SpotOn Order saw a 7.5% increase in sales as the appeal of off-premise ordering persisted. And it wasn't just about keeping pace with inflation and rising costs. Restaurants using SpotOn's QR order and pay technology saw the number of guests they serve increase by 5.7%, showing that tables turn faster when guests pay at their own pace.

At Wisteria, a southern cooking restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, online ordering has proved to be a powerful additional revenue stream. People are more likely to dine in-person than last year, says general manager Christian Collins, but SpotOn’s streamlined online ordering solution has helped keep off-premise ordering consistently high. With SpotOn Order, off-premise orders at Wisteria have tripled.

Outdoor dining has sustained in popularity, proving it’s more than just a pandemic trend. SpotOn Serve handhelds helped restaurants with patios and outdoor dining spaces accommodate more diners by making the order and payment process more efficient and accurate. “The handheld device is essential for restaurants with outdoor seating,” says Momoya owner KwangHo Lee, “It makes our closeout much easier than before.”

In a year where 1 in 5 restaurants have had to turn guests away due to staffing shortages, restaurants using SpotOn Teamwork, a labor management tool, fine-tuned their labor costs to operate more efficiently. Sales and labor forecasting meant general managers, like Lino Suazo at Bungalow Kitchen, could optimize his staffing schedule without time-intensive analysis. “SpotOn Teamwork provides a bunch of key metrics, like forecasted labor percentage. In the past, you would take a pen and pencil to figure it out,” says Suazo. “Now all you have to do is make a schedule and metrics populate on a day-by-day basis. It saves nearly two and a half hours most work days.” In addition to time savings for Suazo and his managers, SpotOn Teamwork’s automatic tip distribution enhanced the staff experience in a year when retention was top priority.

In an industry with historically slim margins, it takes a lot of hard work and creativity to drive meaningful profit—especially in a tough economy. In our free Points of Profit guide book, we’ve outlined proven ways that technology can help boost revenue, save time, reduce costs, and increase your profit margin. We’ve also built a profit calculator to illustrate how much your restaurant can benefit.

It can feel intimidating to introduce new tech when the future is uncertain, but the last three years have taught us that we can handle uncertainty. Integrated, cloud-based technology can help you adapt to whatever the future brings while keeping an eye on your bottom line.

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