The worst feeling in the world is getting a great opportunity to network or market your restaurant… and not being able to find any of the information you need to seal the deal. Running a business is stressful enough without making a mad dash around your office every time you need to find a specific piece of paper or number.
It can be even worse when you need to email them out ASAP, but you only have the print copies. So much time is wasted by doing these tasks at the very last minute every time a particular document is needed in someone’s inbox. But that’s where technology comes in.
Thanks to today’s computers and the cloud, it’s easy to organize your various important documents (PDFs, Excel, Word, etc.) and then sync those files with your other devices so they’re always at your fingertips. Google Drive, Apple Cloud, and Dropbox are just three of the most popular places to synchronize the handiest of things people ask for.
But even if you can keep them all in one place on your computer’s desktop, at least you’ll know exactly where they are when you need them. The trick is to take the time to ensure all your digital documents and images are in the right place.
Here are a few of the more crucial items you should definitely have available at a moment’s notice on your computer.
1. Contact Lists
Do you work directly with organizations in your community? Do you have multiple vendors you reach out to for certain ingredients? Are there other restaurants in your area you’ve networked with? At minimum, you should keep those organized in spreadsheets or word processing documents and in an organized folder on your computer. That way, when you need to make an important phone call, you know exactly where to find that number.
2. PDF and Text Versions of Your Menu
Your menu will be shared in different ways both online and off. You’ll want it on your website, on your profile for any review/search site, on your Facebook page — and if you’re a participating restaurant with Rewards Network, you’ll want it on your merchant details page, too.
Make sure you keep a pdf version and a text version of your menu on hand. The PDF is great for printing out high resolution copies of your menu or posting easily to social media or sites like Yelp. The text version can be easily changed if you switch out items or raise prices, and is a little more flexible for copying and pasting individual items.
Many website developers also appreciate being sent text versions so that they can use live text on the site (which can help improve your search results). If you start working with any marketing professional, they’ll want multiple versions of your menu to use in their projects, so keeping both kinds of documents on hand will make those projects go more smoothly.
3. Business Profiles
If you haven’t already, take some time to type out a little bio on your restaurant to send out to public relations people. It can include your business’ history, your chef’s menu concept, your focus when it comes to service… anything you think would be appropriate for PR. Also consider having mini-biographies of each owner and your head chef and manager ready as well. You can adapt this from similar copy you’ve already posted on your website, but be sure to write it in third person (“he,” “she,” or “they;” not “I” or “we”) so whomever you’re emailing it to can use the text.
4. Promotional Photos
Keeping a folder of your food/restaurant photos is always a smart idea. You might share them on social media, use them for promotional posters, or send them out as part of general PR. It’s important, however, to make sure they are actually your photos, not customer photos, stock photos, or random photos of other restaurants’ food you’ve found online. You don’t want to get into any legal hot water. If you’ve taken any promotional videos, it’s also smart to keep those on your computer.
5. Good Reviews
Keep a running document of any good reviews from guests or food critics you’ve seen online or you’ve been sent for your restaurant. If the review comes from a particular website (including Rewards Network), include the URL with the review in case you ever need to point to where your good reviews are coming from. If you can’t reach the guest who left the review, make sure you put down their initials instead of their full names to maintain their anonymity.
If your review comes from a written out or printed note, type the message into the document. Whether it’s for your website, ad marketing, or other promotional project, you’ll need actual text, not an image of text that’s been scanned into your computer. Take the time to create digital text you can highlight, copy, and paste easily so it’s ready the next time you need a testimonial.
Like with reviews and your bio, keeping your business logo in a convenient place on your computer can do wonders when you need to send promotional items out. Every logo should be a high quality, high res image (at least 300 dpi), ideally with different formats in case the person you’re sending it to needs a JPG, PNG, TIFF, or other format. If you have different variations of your logo — black and white, one color, a special one for events — it’s good to keep them all in the same folder but properly named, so you can easily find the specific one you need when you need it. Also, make sure you have a logo with a transparent background as well. Many websites or graphic programs require that.
7. Employee Handbook
While having an employee handbook printed out on site can be helpful, keeping a digital copy is highly recommended. For one, you can easily email the document to potential or newly hired employees. A digital employee handbook is also easily searchable, both by the glossary and by the search function in your PDF reader.
8. Emergency Plan and Emergency Contact Numbers
Whether it’s a bad snowstorm or a major property issue, having your emergency plan and emergency contact numbers for all staff on hand can be the difference between things going smoothly or disastrously. Being able to quickly find specific contact info using the digital copy’s search function is a major timesaver, particularly if you run multiple locations or a large chain. If you keep your work computer at the restaurant, make sure to put these documents on your home computer as well. That way, if you can’t make it into your office during a winter storm or other emergency, you’ll still have this information on hand.
9. Social Media Info
Do not go through the hassle of resetting your passwords for your social media accounts every time you forget what they are. Try using a password manager like LastPass to keep those passwords where you can find them but also keep them secure. Anytime one of them slips your mind, you have the password manager there to remind you.
Want to take better photos to have on hand for marketing opportunities? We have a step-by-step guide: