Living in San Francisco, it’s only natural that I want to have a technology savvy business. Innovation runs rampant in this neck of the woods. I hear about new cloud based apps and tools every day that can potentially make guests’ visits easier or help my business stay on track. I believe in using these tools and will do just that, but first there’s choosing the right ones and the overall mix to make the biggest operational impact with the littlest cost impact.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, lunch can get pretty pricey when you start to talk tech. Everything comes with a monthly fee, often a setup fee, and all things are not created equal. Dodging the flavor of the week is the name of the game because usually there are multiple tools that tout the same capabilities. Some are new and good, some are new and mediocre, some are tried and true with a price tag to match, some have just enough to get you by (which is sometimes all you need), some may be gone tomorrow.
Hmmm….luckily I have a tech savvy husband who is helping me with my technology plan. I know exactly what I want when it comes to online ordering, gift cards, loyalty program, all of the industry specific stuff. These things I’ve researched and have narrowed in on the winners. But, when it comes to the more generic, boring if you will, phone, internet, or SEO service, my interest (and knowledge) dwindles. Of course, I want to do much of the research myself and/or have an understanding, but my husband is savvier (we’re talking tech here) and more patient than I (we’re talking everything here). He’s in the tech industry himself, so this has his name written all over it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Last note: ‘Team’ is the key word when it comes to technology (and every other part of starting a business and running a bakery for that matter!). The tools that I’m speaking of aren’t loners in the cloud. They are teammates that must work together, living in the same small space, to get the job done. That’s why this requires research, strategy, and an overall plan. We’re looking for technological nirvana here (deep, isn’t it??). Scene One: [clouds split...sun beams through...a capella choir sings "ahhhhhh"]
So, here’s the partial list of my business needs that I hope can be met with a tech tool, along with a few notes:
Online Ordering – I want to make it convenient for people to order and pickup, skipping the line
Mobile Payments – Again, convenience for those guests that don’t want to have to take out their wallet
Loyalty Program – Lots of ways to skin this cat
Gift cards – Some POS systems include gift card functionality, others require use of an outside service…physical card or paperless?
Phone – I want the functionality of a land line business phone system without the infrastructure
Music – Cloud based services are easy, flexible and legal!
Internet – Need speed and reliability
POS System – Want an IPad POS system, but there are so many (unequal) players. Efficiency, usability is most important to me. Cloud based reporting is pretty sweet.
Mail list – Using Mailchimp and love it!
SEO – Ugh! research required!
Email – Using Google Apps which is a great service and integrates with all of the other google tools, such as calendar, docs, etc.
Feedback – Using fdbk.com – simple tool for collecting real time feedback from guests
Security – Top secret!
Scene Two: [me baking, husband with 3 laptops, printer, routers, writing code, and lots o' fun tools in tow]
This is a good scene. I wish that I had a picture to share. :)