Finally it’s summertime or, as many restaurants call it, patio season! While it may seem like business is exploding in the summer when everyone wants to be in the sun for a drink or a bite, the fact is restaurants often need to bulk up in summer for when times get leaner in the winter.

Even restaurants where it’s impossible to get a seat outdoors may face considerable economic struggles, if the traffic is mostly seasonal. Here are a few ways that you can improve the efficiency of your restaurant’s operation.

Employee Scheduling Software

Like its name suggests, employee scheduling software creates schedules all your staff will love, and does it quickly. This software reduces the time schedule creation takes by as much as 80%, so your employees can spend their time working where they’re most effective.

If you introduce employee scheduling software for your small business you’ll get improved efficiency right away, as off the bat you’ll reduce the amount of texting and phone calling that happens in the process of creating schedules by 70%.

Employee scheduling software also helps restaurants comply with labor laws, as managers get a prompt before scheduling an employee shifts which put them into overtime hours. This way, restaurants can control their labor costs by never accidentally scheduling someone to work overtime. Employee scheduling software can save restaurants as much as 1-3% in labor costs, which is traditionally one of their largest expenses. It’s rare for technology to improve your restaurant’s efficiency this directly.

POS Systems

New Point of Sales (POS) systems make it easier than ever to get customers seated, serviced and satisfied quickly. A POS system is essentially a tablet-style screen that allows your staff to instantly send tickets to the kitchen, order food and drinks, split checks, and more.

All of the information that gets inputted into the machine can be processed and turned into reports that give managers important insights about the restaurant’s economic health. All of the popular POS systems in North America are compatible with employee scheduling software, so all the new efficiency-boosting technology you get will speak to each other.

Initiate New Staff, Quickly

The restaurant industry notoriously suffers from high turnover. Ideally you want to retain your staff as much as possible, but be prepared to break in new staff right away. Efficiency means training new staff to be as good as the old staff, with as little time wasted as possible.

Have an established process that gets new staff up to date quickly, so they can be fully supported and feel comfortable knowing their role without the restaurant having to devote significant time and effort into training.

Many small- and medium-sized restaurants owned by millennials are adopting technological solutions like employee scheduling software to make their restaurants more efficient, because young people tend to be early adopters of technology. But you should take whatever path increases efficiency for your restaurant, so your restaurant flourishes in patio season and beyond.