Guest Column | March 11, 2021

8 Ways To Clean Up Your Back Of House (And Focus More On Customers)

By Mieke Van Der Merwe, Optimist

Customer Focus

Anyone who’s worked in the hospitality industry knows that a restaurant has many moving parts all need to come together to create an outstanding customer experience.

For your restaurant to run like a well-oiled machine, the front of house and back of house need to work together seamlessly. Many of the common issues that restauranteurs fall prey to stem from insufficient communication between the front and back of house and manual tasks being overlooked or forgotten in the buzz of things.

The good news is that many of these tasks and processes can be automated, allowing your staff to focus on getting deep work done and providing customers with exceptional service.

Top Back-Of-House Processes To Automate

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the top processes to automate to clean up your back of house.


While payments may not strictly be a back-of-house process, the impact of a powerful POS system will undoubtedly be felt in the back of house. In addition to processing payments, a good point of sales solution can streamline inventory, kitchen, and staff management, significantly reducing your managers’ administrative burden. This means they’ll be able to dedicate more time to making strategic decisions that unlock more value instead of performing manual tasks like data entry and reporting.

Staff Management And Payroll

A robust staff management tool means you can automate much of your staff management, removing much of the manual admin involved in scheduling shifts and calculating wages. A mobile-friendly scheduling solution allows your staff to trade shifts among themselves when necessary, so managers don’t have to.

Inventory Management

Keeping track of inventory by manually counting stock and entering data into spreadsheets not only takes up a lot of your staff’s time but also exposes you to errors (and theft) that can be disastrous for your cash flow and stock management.

An integrated inventory management solution that automatically updates stock records and order sheets can significantly streamline your back-of-house operations, making your kitchen more efficient and more profitable.


Procurement – the process of sourcing and purchasing all the products and services needed for your restaurant to thrive – can take up a large portion of your back of house resources. Routine tasks like selecting reliable vendors that provide the highest quality products for the most competitive prices can take a lot of time when performed manually on an ad hoc basis.

Automating your procurement process takes the hassle out of managing relationships with multiple different vendors, creating accurate purchase orders, and approving invoices. It can even help you to identify opportunities to consolidate your vendors.

Accounts Payable And Other Accounting Processes

Did you know that the average business can save up to $26.50 per invoice by automating their accounts payable? Automating your accounts payable and other bookkeeping processes makes it easier to manage your cash flow and take the guesswork out of ordering inventory because you have hard data on historical usage.

Any AP automation tool worth its salt will offer powerful reporting capabilities that take the hard work out of analyzing past purchases and forecasting future demand. Automating accounts payable also prevents missing invoices and enables you to pay invoices on time, helping to maintain good relationships with vendors and even allowing you to benefit from early payment discounts.

Reservation And Guest List Management

There are few things more frustrating than having a long waitlist while reserved tables stand empty thanks to no-shows. While customers have come to expect the ease of making reservations online, platforms like OpenTable can be expensive and don’t give the restaurant full control over the process or the data. While some POS solutions include reservation management and table assignment features, they’re often secondary features that are not intuitive to use. Selecting a user-friendly cloud-based table management tool can empower your servers to update table statuses in real-time and make it easy to keep hosts and guests in the loop.

Menu Planning

Using automation can simplify the menu planning process by instantly calculating ingredient costs and updating profit margins in real-time. Robust food management solutions will often integrate with your inventory management, procurement, and accounts payable automation software, making it easy to turn recipes into inventory orders. Some menu planning tools even offer features to optimize your kitchen training and menu marketing processes.

Marketing And Social Media Management

Keeping up with marketing and social media can be a whole job in itself if you’re not outsourcing it. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that make it possible to automate your marketing efforts and schedule social media posts in advance and reuse the same content across multiple channels. This means your staff can focus on coming up with creative ideas instead of spending all their time manually posting content.

For more on how to streamline your restaurant operations, read The 13 Worst Restaurant Problems and Solutions to Each of Them.