David Scott Peters over at TheRestaurantExpert.com wrote an interesting article on how something as simple as a checklist can save you a lot of headaches as a restaurant owner. One of his readers, Margaret P, loved the idea, but wasn’t sure where to keep her paper checklists so that they wouldn’t be forgotten or overlooked, especially since she had a lot of people working in a small kitchen. Luckily, Margaret, there’s an app for that.
So you know how checklists help give your team directions and hold everyone accountable. After all, it’s a pretty simple concept. Just write down everything that needs tobe done and what time to do it and have employees check it off as they go.
But then suddenly the 50 copies you made at the start of last month run out in the middle of a busy day. And then you go to review the week’s checklists because you know that you have to follow up on them if you want your staff to actually use them and you realize they are all out of order and several have gone missing. Your simple solution isn’t working for you, after all.
Don’t worry! There are a lot of innovative folks out there who worked hard to develop apps that solve this problem.
App beats paper
There are a lot of reasons why using a checklist app is far superior to using paper checklists. For one, it’s impossible to run out of digital copies. And you also don’t have to worry about where to keep your checklists. They’ll be stored on the cloud ready for you and your team to access them from any computer, smartphone or tablet with an Internet connection.
But aside from the simple logistics, there are also a number of perks you get from a good app that paper simply can’t deliver. For example, what if you decide to add a task or change the time a certain set of tasks are performed? If you’re using paper checklists you’ll have to print out new copies and make sure you track down and toss all the old versions in the waste bin. With an app all you have to do is log in and make the changes and your checklist is instantly updated on every device using it.
Remember the last time you stressed out because you wanted to make sure everything was getting done but couldn’t keep all your paper checklists organized? A good app will make sure none of your checklists get lost or out of order and let you easily find whatever record you are looking for in a matter of seconds with a Search feature.
What to look for when going digital
There are a lot of options out there and it’s important to invest time and do your research. Once you’ve picked a checklist app, you’ll want to be able to stick with it. Think about your needs. If they are pretty basic, you may want to choose from one of the free options that are available. Just be aware that you always get what you pay for, and if you’re not paying anything, don’t expect much out of the app. In my experience free apps tend to be good for personal use, but fall short when it comes to your needs when running a business.
At the same time, the priciest option isn’t necessarily the best either. There is no point in paying for features you’ll never use. But keep in mind that a lot of checklist apps do offer additional features that you might find very useful like the ability to comment and send messages or attach files/images to tasks on the checklist. You want an app that you can afford and that delivers added value.
One last thing to consider is integration. When comparing options, look to see if the software company offers other products that may be of interest to you - either now or in the future - and check if their products work with each other seamlessly. You’ll save yourself a lot of future headaches if you are able to find all of the solutions you need offered on a single platform or software suite.