Today’s food franchise owners have a plethora of technology franchise tools at their disposal. Some of them are designed to help the customer. Some are designed to help the franchise business. Both are becoming popular with food franchise owners. Combined, they are helping shape the way business is done in what is a very competitive and sometimes grueling business .
Today’s technology can greatly help improve productivity, lower expenses, increase profitability and assist with marketing programs for food franchise owners. What follows are some of the top technology franchise tools and solutions available for franchisors and franchisees in the food sector.
Franchise Tools and Solutions
This company has a solution called Mynextstep . This single-point restaurant management tool allows labor, inventory and sales reporting to be performed from one interface, system-wide. All the activities can be performed for one location, or multiple locations, which sounds like a great fit for busy multi-unit franchisees.
The Centers for Disease Control  (CDC) reports that 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of food-borne diseases every year.
In order to combat food-borne illnesses, the food service industry has put into place “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points,” (HACCP) and have processes designed to not only ensure that food is cooked thoroughly, but is also held at proper temperatures to prevent pathogens from getting in.
Very Smart Technologies (VST) provides integrated HACCP software solutions for both PCs and PDAs to provide food franchises with the tools they need to implement, monitor and control all seven of the HACCP critical control points.
This San Francisco-based company offers a software solution that helps food franchise managers perform employee scheduling in a super-efficient manner.
Food franchise managers spend way too much time on employee scheduling. With Hello Scheduling , managers can create their employee schedules in one click, and communicate changes easily. The changes can be tracked online by the employees on their computers, tablets or smartphones.
Employee no-shows are minimized, and managers can free up their time to focus on revenue-generating activities for the franchise business.
ONOSYS  is the online and mobile ordering backbone for more chains than any other online ordering company in the online ordering space.
Started by three Case Western Reserve University students, ONOSYS provides a way for online customers to quickly place their orders. Not only that, the software knows how to “intelligently” up-sell high-margin impulse items based on what the customer has ordered in the past. There’s even a way for customers to place future orders.
Stellar Restaurant Solutions
While take-out is a great revenue generator for food franchises, it can be taxing on staffs who are trying to take care of the guests that are already in the restaurant.
This company feels that the way to increase efficiency and sales is by having a third-party handle take-out services and transactions.
Stellar Restaurant Solutions provides restaurants with their proprietary state-of-the-art call center and order processing system. Agents handle their clients order processes to grow sales and provide guests with a wonderful “order to food pick-up” experience.
The newest product from Mindshare Technologies is OpenTell .
Today’s consumers expect a great deal of transparency from businesses that they frequent. OpenTell allows managers at each location to post responses to customer reviews, so they can work transparently on resolving customer issues.
And, when it comes to online reviews, reviews that are published by customers and that are hosted by a third party are the most trusted sources of information for consumers. OpenTell does just that.
Venuelabs  software solution allows franchise businesses to focus on what customers are saying about the business. Venuelabs transforms local user-generated content  into actionable intelligence that can inform all facets of your organization. Franchisors and franchisees can improve their marketing, advertising, operations and customer service.
Here are a few specific examples of things franchisors and franchisees need to know about:
- What are customers saying at checkout?
- Which franchise locations have the happiest customers?
- Are there any new channels where customers are starting to engage?
- Which marketing initiatives are resonating with customers and which ones aren’t?
Venuelabs specializes in getting those questions answered…and more.
Today’s food franchise owners need to stay active on all of the major social media channels. Most franchisors are trying to assist in this effort through the corporate office. It’s a large undertaking. That’s where companies like Expion  come in, as they can manage 1,000’s of social media accounts from just one interface.
Expion’s software streamlines all social media activity and it can be configured to work within the structure of each franchisors operational structure. Franchisees have access to Expion’s tools, and can take advantage of the systems automation capabilities which can really save a lot of time…a commodity that franchisees don’t always have lots of.
The marketing automation solution that MindMatrix  provides allows franchisees to bring a local element into their marketing efforts. Customers like marketing and advertising that provides a local feel, and franchisors and franchisees that can provide it help attract more leads which can turn into more revenue.
MindMatrix can also create high-converting franchisee website landing pages that can be used for grand openings, one-day sales or special promotions.
The Front Flip  App helps franchise businesses by keeping guests coming back again and again. The App gives guests the chance to win instant prizes every time they visit, and also sends them automated offers to their mobile devices to drive them back to franchise locations more frequently. The App is fun, and provides instant gratification. Guests don’t have to wait and see what they’ve won. They can even tell their friend about their prizes on Twitter and Facebook which engages even more potential customers.
Loyalty programs work  and the team at Front Flip can help integrate Front Flip into your overall franchise marketing mix. Front Flip loyalty programs are designed to help build profitable long-term relationships between franchisees and their customers.
Today’s smart franchisors and franchisees want and need great technology to help them become more efficient and more profitable. There are plenty of choices, with more coming online every year.
What franchise tools and solutions are you using?
Pizza Hut  Photo via Shutterstock