Dylan Erlendson, Notch’s VP of Sales, joined Jay Ashton on the Restaurants Canada MENU Unplugged podcast to discuss invoicing in the food service and restaurant industry. This blog covers the key takeaways from the discussion.

Listen to the whole episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. [December 2023]

Picture this.

You walk into the backroom of your restaurant or food service establishment and see stacks on stacks of invoices waiting to be manually inputted into your accounting and inventory systems, and approved.

You have a million other things to do. Including approving a new menu item, hiring 2 new hosts and 3 new servers to cover you during the upcoming patio season, and putting the next schedule together.

That invoice processing is probably looking pretty unappetizing right now. Isn’t it?

Yet, this is the reality for many restaurant operators. Juggling too many balls at once. Having to choose which fire to put out first.

But what if all that could change with the snap of a photo?

It might sound too good to be true, but hear us out. OCR technology is something we use every day. Ever scanned a cheque in your online banking app to deposit it? That’s OCR.

Imagine how much magic that could work if you could use the same technology to process your food and beverage supplier invoices.

Well, you can. (Come on, you didn’t think we’d get you hyped up for nothing. Did you!?)

A better way for restaurant invoice processing is here. Let’s dive in.

Stay profitable with accurate inventory data

Staying profitable in this economy is a moving target. With rising rent costs, utility costs, and food costs–what’s not getting more expensive? 

Finding ways to carve out profit in your operations is one of the few ways that you can positively impact your bottom line without changing the quality of your experience or passing that cost onto your customers.

Learn more in our guide: 5 Steps to Improving Restaurant Operations and Increasing Profit

One of the best secret weapons for unlocking untapped profit in your operations is inventory and accounting data accuracy. Now don’t go running. Data doesn’t have to be scary or cumbersome. Think of data as a tool. 

Having incorrect inventory data can lead to over or under-ordering items. This can cause restaurants to lose out on huge profits when they have to 86 an item off the menu. Or, this can result in tons of lost inventory to food waste.

Additionally, accurate, real-time inventory data can help you ensure you’re keeping yourself profitable as food costs change. If your inventory program, like Optimum Control, isn’t up to date, it’s going to be really hard to react to fluctuations in pricing and adjust accordingly.

OCR Technology: Your golden ticket to time back in your day

It’s not only inventory data and accounting data that help you unlock profit related to inventory. OCR technology can also help with your labour costs and allotment.

Many restaurant operators, managers, or even chefs spend hours each week on inventory processing. Not only is this a cost in terms of labour hours, but it’s also a cost in terms of what higher-value tasks could be getting done instead.

If your chef is spending all their spare time on inventory, when will they have time to create that next dish that’s going to put your restaurant on the map? They won’t.

Let chefs be chefs. Let managers manage and create an unforgettable guest experience. 

Let OCR technology and computer programs do the work they’re best at.

How does Notch’s OCR technology work?

Notch provides a seamless payments experience for the payor and the payee, so companies can keep their payment process quick, automated, and accurately documented.

Upload or snap a photo of your invoice and Notch will automatically apply the GL code, and sync with your IMS, ERP and accounting systems. Each invoice upload is powered by OCR and AI, reviewed by humans.

Learn more about Notch Bills & Invoices.

Turn hours spent on invoices into minutes

Switching away from manual invoice processing towards a more automated approach may present some challenges at first.

Managing change is one of the most difficult things to do as a leader. Humans are naturally nervous about change. In the very short term, it’s easier to keep the status quo. But in the long run, there’s a huge payoff to be realized for spending a little time outside your comfort zone.

When preparing your organization for change, it’s important to make sure you’re set up for success. Choosing the right partner can make all the difference.

Dylan shared in the episode, “We modelled Notch to be a bespoke hospitality company that happens to sell software. Not a software company that sells to hospitality. We really burden ourselves with the work to get the client to where they need to be.” 

Baby steps are the key. And sticking with it. In no time, you’ll have created a new habit and can’t imagine going back to the old way of doing something.

When hours spent on invoicing turn into minutes, it doesn’t take long for muscle memory to kick in.

To learn more about OCR technology in the restaurant industry, listen to the whole podcast episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.