Be the Employer of Choice

It’s happening everywhere: customers are coming back but employees aren’t.

While some types of businesses can get by with fewer staff, the restaurant business isn’t one of them. There are several factors creating and contributing to the staff shortage, and most of them are out of your control.

So what IS within your control when it comes to attracting and hiring the best staff?

We hate to say it, but if you want to keep your restaurant fully staffed with great employees, it’s critical to understand that right now you’re competing with a LOT of other places for a VERY small pool of talented and experienced people. You must set yourself apart from the other restaurants vying for these few good employees or you risk taking a major blow to your business. And don’t think simply offering a higher hourly wage will do the trick—even if you can afford to pay them more, that’s just not going to be enough to secure the best talent.

Competent, skilled, experienced workers who WANT to go back to work have their choice of employers, and they don’t have to settle for the first offer.

In this “employee’s market,” ask yourself: what do they want?

  • Servers and bartenders want better tips, happier customers, faster turnover, less stress, accurate orders from the kitchen, and bars that are organized and fully stocked.
  • Cooks and expediters want clear orders, easy view of orders, fewer customer complaints, less stress, and to be able to focus on the food.

And what do YOU want?

  • Happy, productive, motivated employees who stick around!

Getting the right people on your team is the most important thing you can do to help you get the other things you want: more revenue, faster table turnover, less food waste, and real-time numbers and excellent reporting.

Believe it or not, there’s an app for all that!

aBitNow is easy to use and quick to implement–and makes it possible to give employees what they want. Imagine being able to tell a prospective employee honestly that your restaurant uses a system built specifically to make their job easier and help them make more money.

As an aBitNow restaurant, you offer a workplace that’s less stressful, a system that’s more efficient, a loyal base of pleasant customers, and the potential to earn way more tips than they’re used to (without working any harder).

When you interview a prospective server or bartender, tell them:

  • You’ll easily provide better service, and that means happier customers and better tips! Some of your customers will order and pay ahead of time. Accurate orders come straight from the customer and go right to the kitchen, so you don’t have to worry about being blamed for mistakes. You won’t have to worry about getting stiffed on the bill, and you can spend a little more time with your customers instead of running back and forth to the register. Plus, tips are added by default unless the customer chooses to change it…but with the great food and service they receive, they’re likely to give you more than the default!
  • You’ll serve more customers during a single shift. But you won’t have to work harder or faster to make that happen. When customers order and pay online ahead of time, they spend much less time waiting around taking up valuable seats. You can expect to turn tables much faster and earn at least double or triple the tips you’re used to.
  • You’ll build deeper relationships with your customers more quickly. From the first time an aBitNow customer walks in, you’ll probably recognize them by face from their profile photo in the app and be able to call them by name! When customers return, you’ll have notes about them from prior visits you can pull up and refer to. Imagine being able to “remember” the little details that tell customers they’re special to you: ask about their kids by name, or when they plan to return to the favorite vacation spot they mentioned last time…or recommend a dessert you know they haven’t tried yet.

When you interview prospective kitchen staff, tell them:

  • You’ll easily turn tickets faster without feeling rushed. With clearly displayed real-time tracking of times for current orders (and a heads up on advanced orders), it’s never been easier to pace your work and stay on track. Plus, you’ll never feel behind because you know exactly what’s happening and can plan ahead for orders coming in the next few minutes and in the next few hours. When jIT menu items are orders, these can be prepped and served in less than 5 minutes!
  • You’ll enjoy a more relaxed and supportive kitchen. With Dedicated Station Displays, you’ll see not just individual order details, but even cook tips and hints on timing. You’ll gain confidence in the menu and master dishes sooner with easy-to-follow tips unique to the process at your station (fry, grill broiler, sauté, salad, sandwich, dessert, etc.).
  • You’ll manage inventory with less stress. With real time stock counts at your fingertips, if you run out of an item, you can communicate that to your servers right away, eliminating frustration for you, front of house staff, and customers.

You’ll be the clear employer of choice in a tight labor market when you offer employees a workplace with less stress and better income opportunity.

And with aBitNow, you can make good on these promises you make during the interview, and that means you’ll have less employee turnover and you’ll spend less time advertising, interviewing, and training new staff. Your team will bond faster and will work like a well-oiled machine, and that’s good for everyone!

Attracting and Keeping Great Workers Is Just One of the aBitNow Benefits for Managers

Yes, aBitNow can help you attract and keep the best employees. But it can do so much for you and your restaurant. Here are some of the additional aBitNow benefits for hard-working managers:

  • Realize more revenue with faster table turnover and shorter customer wait times
  • Minimize food waste with better inventory management and pre-paid “to go” orders that are always picked up
  • See the whole picture with real-time stats, end-of-shift reports, and other robust reporting
  • Keep the best employees longer with smooth systems and better tips
  • Enjoy more satisfied and loyal guests who order and pay online, then get in and get out quickly
  • Cut down on wasted time by employees taking phone orders and dealing with restless customers enduring long wait times

When you build a great team, massive success is within reach. You just need that competitive edge when it comes to attracting and hiring the very best people out there, and aBitNow can give you that edge. We invite you to schedule a demo with one of our knowledgeable consultants so we can show you exactly how this innovative platform will make you and your restaurant the Employer of Choice.

Schedule a demo now by calling 508-947-1478 or register for a demo online

How Florida Restaurants Are Bouncing Back With Innovative Technology (like robots!)

The 2020 pandemic brought new challenges to restaurant, hospitality, and retail businesses, but Florida is bouncing back! The challenges aren’t gone, but they’re being faced with commitment, resourcefulness, and innovation…so things are moving in the right direction, and they’re moving quickly!

Customers Are Coming Back

In places like Panama City Beach (PCB), where the visitor and tourism industry are key, savvy businesses employ every solution possible to take advantage of the influx of customers that come to attend events, enjoy the beaches, and soak in everything the area has to offer.

Customers are coming back in droves, excited to be out and about, and happy to do their part to support small biz. Walking around PCB on a Saturday night, you’d never know things had ever slowed down. Crowds of both tourists and locals wait in long lines outside some of the most popular bars and restaurants.

Staffing Is a Challenge for the Hospitality Industry

So, while business is booming, according to some reports, it’s been difficult for some businesses to find people to fill open positions, and that means some restaurants are operating at less than 100% capacity—not because of a lack of customers, but because of a lack of adequate staff to serve them. Some folks receiving stimulus money and unemployment benefits are choosing not to return to their previous jobs or even to pursue any work at all.

Robots to the Rescue?

One restaurant in Hollywood, FL, frustrated by the lack of staff but unwilling to turn away customers, went super high-tech and brought in three robots that take customers to open tables. It sounds pretty cool, and customers might enjoy the novelty of following a robot to an open seat, instead of a human host or hostess…but is it enough to make up for a serious shortage of servers?

What can you do if your restaurant has plenty of customers but not enough staff to serve them?

Do you keep tables out of the rotation?

Do you make people tolerate longer wait times and hope they’ll be patient?

Do you cut the hours you’re open?

Do you hire expensive robot hosts?

Technology Is Bridging the Staffing Gap

One innovative technology platform is providing a solution to the staffing shortage problem. The aBitNow platform from jIT Solutions has a surprisingly simple yet powerful way to address the challenge of serving more customers with fewer staff members (and it’s cheaper than a robot!).

With aBitNow, you showcase your entire menu online and give customers an easy way to place their order and pay for it—before they even arrive. Customers then specify what time they want to either pick up their food or come in to dine at your restaurant.

Slash Customer Wait Time and Turn More Tables

When the customer arrives, they pick up and go, or they are seated at a table you’ve designated for aBitNow customers. These folks ONLY use the table while they’re eating, and then they’re gone. When you consider that typically only about 30% of a customer’s time during a restaurant visit is spent eating, and the other 70% is spent waiting, it makes perfect sense to get the customer in and out as quickly as possible. If you can turn even SOME of your tables 70% faster, what kind of impact would that have on your bottom line?

More Positive Interactions Make Happier Customers and Happier Staff

If you worry that turning tables so quickly might not provide enough of a personal touch and friendly interaction between your staff and aBitNow customers, don’t be. When customers place their order, they can include their name and photo, so your hosts and servers can greet them the very first time as if they’re loyal regulars. You bring them their drinks right away, and tell them how many minutes they’ll wait for their food. The personal interaction between your well-trained staff and the hungry customer is efficient and positive. The only thing that’s gone is all that time a customer usually spends waiting…to be seated, to order drinks, to get a menu, to get their food, to get the check, and to get their credit card slip to sign.

When you cut the wait time, you increase the percentage of time a customer spends ENJOYING the dining experience, and while that means fewer touches by your staff, it means more of those touches are positive. Happier customers pay bigger tips, and bigger tips make happier staff. It’s a win-win all the way around.

Tech That’s Easy to Use

Reluctant to add yet another technology component to your business? That’s understandable! The great news is that aBitNow is NOT another clunky tech system for you to manage. It’s a streamlined platform that’s easy to learn and easy to use on a simple tablet. Or, implement aBitNow as part of an all-in-one solution, where once an order is placed, there is seamless integration with point-of-sale, kitchen tickets, and server interface. You don’t have learn multiple systems or stress about compatibility, and you don’t have to add yet another tech cost to your monthly expenses. The whole system is easy to learn, easy to implement, cost-effective, and designed specifically to save you time, money, and headaches.

Technology is helping restaurants, retail, hospitality, and events meet customer demand with fewer staff. Robots is one way to go. But we recommend you check out aBitNow and find out what it can do for you.

Sign your restaurant up today and get our platform FREE for 30 days!

Consistency – Key To Restaurant Success

If you run a successful restaurant, chances are you have a loyal base of customers who return often and tell others to give you a try. While it’s nice to see familiar faces, it’s more than just good feelings that come with repeat business: it’s the foundation for reliable revenue.

On average, repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers do, and the longer they’re with you, the more valuable they are. In fact, according to Bain & Company, the average repeat customer will spend 67% more in months 31-36 with your business than they did in months 0-6.

One surefire way to grow a loyal customer base is to focus on consistency, and in few industries is consistency more important than it is in hospitality and restaurants.

The human brain may be wired to seek out novelty, but when a customer returns to your restaurant because of a previous good experience, they’re not looking for novelty. They’re looking to repeat the pleasure they had last time, and they expect to have an experience that is at least as satisfying as it was before. They have expectations, and if you meet those expectations, you could create a customer for life. If you fail to meet expectations, you’ll likely lose the customer. . .and you risk having them talk others out of giving you a try.

Let’s look at four areas where consistency can make or break customer loyalty: food, staff, cleanliness, and wait times.


People like knowing that if they had a great dish last time they visited, they’ll have the same experience if they order it next time.

We all know the disappointment of looking forward to enjoying a particular meal we remember being awesome, and then having it show up undercooked or overcooked, seasoned differently, or with a different side dish or substituted ingredients. . .it’s such a letdown.

If they feel let down, some customers will chalk it up to a bad day, and they’ll come back to give you another chance. But many customers operate on a “one strike and you’re out” rule, never to return.

Whether you’re serving casual sandwiches or high-end French cuisine, it’s essential that your kitchen team know how to put out a perfect dish every time—even during the meal rush. Recipes need to be documented and followed, food should be tasted, and quality control has to happen at every point in the process.

Keep in mind, if your customer had a good meal last time, they expect a good meal next time. If they had an excellent meal last time, they expect an excellent meal next time. So whatever your standards are, hold your line and never let them slip.


Part of what make a dining experience enjoyable is the interaction with your employees. Even if they’re ordering at a window or from a food truck, customers expect an efficient and friendly exchange. And if the service was good and the employees were pleasant during their last visit, customers expect the same level of interaction on their next visit.

Customer service is demanding, but no matter how rough their day, your servers need to provide excellent and friendly service. When customers sit down and dine in, they definitely want to feel like they’re the most important customer of the day.

Your waitstaff take the brunt of every customer complaint, so do everything you can to keep things running smoothly from the back to the front of the house. Equip them with the tools they need to take orders quickly and get accurate information to the kitchen. Streamline every process possible to minimize mistakes.


Some customers are germaphobes and others are quite the opposite, so you can’t make everyone happy. But repeat customers have an idea of what to expect when they visit your restaurant, and it’s important you meet those expectations. A sticky table, lipstick on a glass, dirty silverware. . .any deviation from what customers expect can drive even a loyal patron away to the competition. Whatever your minimum cleanliness standards are, make sure your entire staff is well aware of those standards and put systems in place to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

When you’re being slammed by a meal rush, sometimes it’s cleaning that gets skipped. Having a way to deal with a massive influx of customers can help you avoid being caught off guard and accidentally seating someone at a table before it’s been cleared (a big no no!). Making customers wait longer to be seated than they’re used to can be a major turn-off as well, so make sure your cleaning protocols are clearly communicated and easily executed.


Do your customers expect to quickly get in, get fed, and get on their way? Or do they plan to spend hours in your establishment, enjoying a leisurely meal? If they have to wait for a table, do they expect to stand outside, or can they relax in the bar until a table is available?

Whatever expectations you’ve created for your guest in terms of wait times, you need to be consistent. If customers usually come for a leisurely meal, you can’t suddenly rush them out. If they expect to get in and out in a specific period of time (because they’ve had that experience in the past), you can’t surprise them with long wait times. They may have scheduled you as part of a day or evening with other events, and if they’re repeat customers, they have an idea of how much time they expect to spend at your business, and it’s important you do your best to meet those expectations.

As you know, one way many restaurants give their guests a way to manage their wait time expectations is by allowing them to make reservations. Reservations used to be just for the “fancy” places and on busy nights, but having some sort of similar system might be just what you need to keep your guests happy and to keep tables turning at an efficient rate.

One way you can give your restaurant and your patrons all the benefits of a reservation system is by using aBitNow. Rather than calling ahead to make a reservation or calling to place a “to go” order, customers who use aBitNow can place their order online. The time savings for your staff is obvious, as no one needs to answer the phone, take down the name and phone number for dine-in guests, or write down an order being picked up. Because the customer places the order online, accuracy is almost 100% assured! Plus, the customer can specify the time they either want to pick up the food or dine at a table at your restaurant. Smart aBitNow restaurants even set aside a certain number of “jIT” tables (just in time tables) that are designated for guests who ordered online and want to spend time there eating instead of waiting.

Want to give aBitNow a try? Register your restaurant and you’ll receive your first 30 days FREE, with absolutely no commitment! Visit to sign up today.

The Growth Of (And Problems With) The Booming Online Delivery Market

The food delivery service space is booming, and has been for years. The unprecedented events of 2020 didn’t create the demand for more frequent and varied delivery, but they certainly ramped things up. Frost & Sullivan estimated gross revenue in 2018 to be around $82 billion, with the industry poised to hit $200 billion in 2025. That’s a lot of lasagna!

Use for a better experience than the big box online ordering guys

But as people continue to get busier, and technology gets smarter and faster, more of our cravings can be met, and it doesn’t stop with food.

The big names in the delivery space have recently started making it possible to have everything from groceries and alcohol to clothing and electronics brought right to our doorsteps by a person who does the shopping for us. We’re getting spoiled!

So if you want someone to do your shopping for you and bring your items or your meal right to you, you have more than a few options. We will leave it to you to research the online reviews and see if it’s worth taking the risk of paying upfront and then dealing with customer service if things aren’t quite right. Not only are the customer service teams usually overseas, but they’re not exactly known for embracing the “customer is always right” philosophy. Plus, when a store or restaurant contracts with an outside company that then contracts with countless independent contractors, you’ve got a mess on your hands. If you’ve ever opened your package to find the food is cold or an item is missing (or worse, your meal never even arrives!), and called to get satisfaction, you know first-hand how often each party passes the buck to someone else. The driver blames the technology, the restaurant blames the delivery company, the delivery company blames you, and so on. If you’re lucky, you get a coupon for your next order, but more often than not, you’re left feeling frustrated…and hungry!

We recommend you try using aBitNow next time. It’s easier to use than the other apps, the fees are lower, and you’re dealing directly with the restaurant or store—every time.

A decade ago, if we didn’t feel like cooking dinner, we had a few options–pizza or Chinese food were the mainstays, if we were lucky, some of our favorite local joints offered delivery within a few miles. And if we didn’t mind making the drive, we could call in an order and then hop in the car, pick it up from the restaurant, and bring it home.

Plus, you know how you sometimes watch your app to see that the driver is 5 minutes away, and then 12 minutes away, and sometimes they don’t even show up? That doesn’t happen with aBitNow because you get notified at every step of the fulfillment of your order: when the restaurant receives it, when it’s in the kitchen being prepared, when it’s ready to be picked up, and when it’s on it’s way. Never wonder again when your food is coming!

But here’s something really special: you can actually order your food online, and then go to the restaurant and eat it there—at the time you tell them you want it ready! You get all the convenience of online ordering, no wait time at the restaurant, and everything’s prepared for when you get there. You can even pay using the app or pay the restaurant after you eat—whatever works best for you.

And if it’s place you frequent, you can even save preferences in your account so your food is the way you want it, every time.

Is your favorite restaurant using aBitNow? Click here to check, and if they aren’t, nominate them! Sign up today and you could win a $250 gift card!

jIT Solutions Brings aBitNow to Bay County, Florida

Technically Speaking With jIT Solutions

By Marta Rose-Thorpe

Dan Stolts, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of jIT (Just in Time) Solutions (, likes to stay behind the scenes for the most part.  Dan comes from the technical side and started out as a program engineer.  “More of a Bill Gates than a Steve Ballmer kind of guy,” he says, referring to Gates running the technology side and Ballmer running the business. 

jIT Solutions, based in Lakeville, Massachusetts, is an innovation company that launched in 1995 and later became incorporated under Bay State Integrated Technology in 2002.  A veteran-owned business, Dan served in the U.S. Army for four years, from 1987 to 1991.  “I went into military because I wanted to serve my country,” he shares.  The experience helped him narrow his focus and his thought process:  Creating solutions and applying technology to the challenges businesses face.

“We take a different approach with how we do things,” says Dan.  “We understand the challenges of the business and take a holistic approach to creating whatever solutions are needed.  Xerox (his past client) needed to get their products out faster, as well as improve employee morale.  We showed them how they could use innovation to save time and money while drastically improving employee morale.”

Throughout his career Dan has written in-depth certification books on architecting Microsoft Azure solutions, Cloud migrations, and Security.  For the first 25 years of his life, he used his gifts for creating technical solutions for other people, as a consultant, trading dollars for hours.  “Three years ago, I realized we needed to do this to scale.  Instead of focusing on one problem, we needed to think about problems for the entire industry.”

jIT Solutions, says Dan, is not a products company, it is an innovation company.  Enter one of his newest innovations, a time management POS system called aBitNow ( which has been in development a little over a year and a half.  “We’re rolling it out now,” he says.  Consider this scenario.  A customer goes into a busy, crowded restaurant to have a meal with their dining companion.  The hostess lets them know there is a 20-minute wait.  In 20 minutes, they are ushered to their table where they wait for the server to greet them.  They place drink orders and wait for the drinks.  They then place their meal order and then wait for the meal.  They then wait for their check, wait for their server to come pick up the credit card, and then wait for their receipt to come back. 

“Our technology saves people and businesses time, energy, money and aggravation,” says Dan.  With aBitNow technology, customers will view a dynamic menu on their own device (a smart phone, iPad or PC), pre-order their meal, and pre-pay.  Once they arrive at the restaurant the hostess gets them seated without waiting in line – the rest of the dining experience flows.  This cuts out all the wait for the customer and makes it possible for them to enjoy a nice, sit-down meal even if they have a finite amount of time – like a lunch break.  On the restaurant side, the server can take on many more tables because of all the time they are saving. 

“Whenever we optimize, we optimate everything around that entire business,” explains Dan.  “We think through the whole process.  Restaurants and other businesses need dynamic menus and need to be able to change the menu on the fly.  Restaurants are being slammed now with large POS fees – sometimes 30% or more.  With our product, they’ll only pay a max of 1% for all of our tech and innovation.  Restaurants deal with food theft and need to know if a consumer is in good standing or not.  We will have the ability to let the server or bartender rate the customer and put notes on the customer so they can develop relationships.  This program provides a massive improvement in customer service.” 

Another component is JiT Meals, a program for the restaurant’s kitchen staff whereby pre-cooked meals are cooked in advance.  “This can be anything,” says Dan.  “Baked catfish, shrimp scampi, spaghetti and meatballs.  We have all these recipes that the restaurant can adopt and have high quality meals out in two minutes.” 

Dan is passionate about teaching and sharing his knowledge – it’s what drives him.  “It’s about taking something I’ve been doing my whole life that helps other people, and share” he says, explaining that he developed this thought process from his mother.  “I’ve been gifted with being technical-savvy and the ability to innovate and think outside the box,” he says.  “I want to use this to help make the world a better place.” 

aBitNow Panama City Beach Team
Debra and AmyMarie, both part of the aBitNow team in PCB, smile at a sponsored event.