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| May 25, 2022

Your Legacy System is Holding You Back: Here’s How to Upgrade Your Restaurant

Making the shift to a cloud-based system in your restaurant will change and better the future of your business.
By Sam Roper |

4 minutes

Even in 2022, the vast majority of restaurants are still running legacy applications that have become increasingly obsolete. Despite the bottlenecks, aging hardware, and cumbersome, time-consuming coding, restaurant businesses remain hesitant about making the shift to cloud computing. 

This hesitance stems from a few different factors. Many business owners are concerned about the amount of time it will take to migrate systems – getting all their employees from multiple locations on the same page. Others worry about the extensive employee training that will be required. Some are simply unaware of the full benefits and the freedom that comes with this upgrade. But no matter the reasoning, if restaurant owners want to elevate their businesses, they’ll first have to overcome their own mental programming. 

Moving Beyond Uncertainty

When humans are presented with a decision involving two or more complex choices, there is a whole set of mental gymnastics that takes place in the brain. Because our minds prefer to simplify decisions, we have a very human tendency to rely on heuristics, or shortcuts, that make our choices easier. 

When decisions are difficult and have potentially impactful consequences, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and, as a result, choose the option that requires the least “cognitive cost,” or mental effort. This often means that we stick with the default option, instead of venturing into new creative territories. In behavioral economics, there’s a term for this: default bias. When your default bias becomes your legacy system, it is holding you back.

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The Business Case for Change

It’s not hard to understand why so many restaurants continue to stand by their tried-and-true legacy systems. These owners undoubtedly have a significant amount of financial capital tied up in their company’s technology, not to mention the hundreds of hours of training and fine-tuning they’ve invested in getting it up and running.

But the truth is, legacy systems are quickly becoming outdated and archaic. Their design is inherently inefficient for today’s users; employees want intuitive and adaptable interfaces that can anticipate their needs, but what they get with a legacy system is clunky, high-maintenance technology that restricts their freedom. Since a business’ system was likely custom-designed for their specific needs, it stands to reason that they’re much more involved in its operation than they’d like to be. This kind of manual, home-grown system often leads to bottlenecks when only one or two higher-up individuals have the clearances or knowledge to make necessary adjustments, while everyone else simply has to wait around for them. 

Embracing the Future

The future of business technology lies in cloud computing. Cloud-based systems provide substantially more flexibility in terms of users and permissions, can be accessed from anywhere remotely, and offer real-time data analytics. The collection and storage of data is fundamental to any restaurant’s growth. Understanding trends and patterns in your data is necessary for making well-informed business decisions. But with your legacy system, you are likely storing your data inefficiently or within multiple systems that do not integrate well. 

Similarly, payroll integrations and other data that require high-level security are more safely managed on a cloud-based system due to its built-in redundancy. This protects your data from unforeseen disasters that could wipe out your entire server-based system. It also makes your end-of-year reporting a breeze compared to having to download information from a server in a physical location that may not be easily accessible. 

Having one dashboard where you can access everything you need to know about your restaurant (especially if you have multiple restaurant locations) frees up your management staff to perform more future-oriented tasks rather than compiling and reporting information that has already taken place. The whole point of technology is to automate the tasks that can be programmed, freeing people up to ponder the aspects of business that only people can understand. 

Paradigm Shifts Don’t Come Easily

It’s clear that having an intuitive and upgraded system in your restaurant is essential to running a successful business. Will implementing a new cloud-based system come with challenges? Sure, but all progress does. You’ll find that this shift will catalyze your restaurant’s growth into a whole new level of success. 

Ask yourself where you want to be spending the most time. Do you want your management staff to be focused on administrative tasks, or do you want your best minds working on the future of your business and its potential for growth? It’s safe to assume that your current system does not offer the flexibility to make these changes. The last thing you want is for your legacy system to fail while your competitors are miles ahead of you in their transition to cloud computing. If you want to sustain that competitive advantage, you’ll have to reach a wider audience and integrate systems so you can access your data from anywhere, anytime. 

That being said, it’s important to understand that this transition will require time, patience, and consistency. Assure your employees that you are prioritizing a support system for them when they have questions or concerns about this new technology. Remind them (and yourself) that a clean transition takes time and they need to respect the growing pains that come with these changes. From what I’ve seen, the amount of time a business has to transition is directly proportional to the success of that launch. As every great business leader knows, change isn’t easy, but it’s often worth it.

Sam Roper
Executive Author

Vice President, Lightspeed

Sam Roper works as a Vice President of Hospitality Sales at Lightspeed. view profile

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