By: Sam Darwish, President and CEO of Skinny IT
Let’s say you’re opening a new restaurant. You’ve hired and trained the staff, the space has been decorated and furnished, and the menus are printed. However, the day of your grand opening the point of sale (PoS) systems are down. Without PoS systems, customers cannot make payments via credit card. Your customers and staff are unhappy, and the guy who installed the technology is not picking up the phone. What do you do? Enter the panic mode.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, it is essential to hire an IT services partner you can rely on. Every successful restaurant must leverage technology in today’s digitally-dependent world in order to maximize longevity within the competitive restaurant industry. However, there are hundreds of IT providers all vying for your business. How do you know which one is the right partner for you?
Consider the following list of expectations you should require when hiring an IT provider:
- Open Communication – An IT provider should be available whenever you need them. If there’s a technology emergency, your provider must be accessible to fix the problem immediately to ensure the business does not suffer. The last thing you want is to not be able to communicate with your provider in times of need. Additionally, having an open line of constant communication allows for the provider to be a true extension of your own management team.
- Location – Don’t let location hinder you from selecting an IT partner. Some providers are headquartered in one location but have trusted teams throughout the country so they have the ability to service clients anywhere. If the IT company that is the best fit for your business is out of state, ensure it has a representative or team that is located nearby to provide immediate service, installation, maintence and issue management. A reliable IT partner should be able to provide services anywhere, regardless of geographic location.
- Industry Knowledge – It is important your IT provider has years of industry knowledge and experience. They should remain up-to-date on industry trends and have the ability to forecast future technology capabilities to keep your company both efficient and relevant. You cannot be expected to be knowledgeable in all IT matters and have a full list of technology components you need. Therefore, your provider must be able to assess the current situation of the restaurant and offer their expertise on what IT aspects you need and ensure all parts work together seamlessly.
- Proven Track Record – It is critical to partner with an IT company that has a proven track record. Before choosing a provider, check references and see who they have worked with in the past to determine if they will be a good fit. Although it can be tedious to spend time conducting this initial research, it will pay off in the long run knowing you have a reliable partner who has proven themselves successful with other clients.
- Ability to be a Partner – You need an IT provider that can be a true partner as your business grows. A partner should have the ability to adapt with the changing marketplace, as well as the ebbs and flows your restaurant business may experience. IT should not be a one-and-done deal, as the latest technology for restaurants is always evolving. Your provider should make you aware on what will help your business run even more smoothly.
- Holistic Solutions – Your IT partner should have the ability to provide solutions tailored to your specific needs. Expect the provider to evaluate the current state of your IT system and develop a customized plan to enhance it. Restaurants are not all the same, as each has a different floor layout and team structure. Instead of a standard default list of IT needs, you should expect your IT provider to offer customized, holistic solutions.
Just like all restaurants are not created equal, neither are all IT providers. When searching for your partner, keep these five qualifications in mind to have a successful partnership and ensure the prosperity of your restaurant.
About 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 www.skinnyit.com.
About 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, visit www.skinnyit.com.