Going paper-free: Beyond sustainability

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

How much of your restaurant business are you operating paper-free?

With 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard being used in the UK each year, there’s already a lot of focus on recycling. But what about the tech alternatives to paper based approaches – the opportunity to remove paper all together?  

In this blog we look at some of the alternatives available to restaurateurs; and how making the move from paper to tech is about more than just running an environmentally sustainable business.

Digital menus

Have you thought about digitising the menu? Many restaurants already have a menu available on their website, but how about having a digital version available for guests to order from when they visit?

Yes, whether you present your menus via onsite digital displays or a mobile app, there’s an up-front investment involved. But it’ll make menus much easier to amend; not to mention the ability to show different products and offers at different times of the day.

Staff rota software

Are you still handwriting your staff rotas or building them on excel spreadsheets? Moving over to using intelligent software to build and share rotas will not only be a paper saving activity, it’ll save you a huge amount of time. 

What’s more, with solutions such as Rotaready, you can update staff rotas in real-time, easily share the rota directly with your employees, and build rotas automatically based on past trends and future demand.   

Reservation systems

Implementing a digital booking system will help improve your business efficiency by automating the burden of taking bookings manually . Your customers can also opt for their details to be stored for future use; saving them time when they rebook. Plus the administrative overhead associated with amending or cancelling bookings is taken away, as diners can manage this themselves. 

What’s more, if you integrate your booking system with your staff scheduling system, you’ll be able to align your covers with your rotas to ensure you’re always appropriately staffed to meet demand.

App based ordering

Say goodbye to pen and paper and provide your waiters and waitresses, or even the customers themselves, with the means to order digitally. Again there’ll be an initial investment in technology, but the operational advantages that come with it make it worthwhile. 

If you adopt a system that relays orders to the kitchen instantaneously you could significantly improve your speed of service. A digital approach will also remove the risk of paper based orders being lost and/or read incorrectly. 

Using software to help you with this is beneficial to those waiting tables too. If the system you’re using gives visibility over stock levels, your staff will know exactly what is and isn’t available as they take orders. Helping them manage customer expectations in real-time. 


No more paper payslips. With popular providers such as Xero and Sage payroll you can now share your employees’ payslips with them electronically. Not only does this save on paper and admin time, it means payslips don’t get lost and can be easily accessed for future reference.

You should also consider integrating your payroll system with your time and attendance monitoring solution, so payroll is 100% accurate every time.

Centralised document management 

Where possible store important employee documents digitally. Even better, store these documents somewhere they can be used to inform other areas of the business; such as rota building, attendance management or payroll systems.

Having everything in one place and easily accessible will be a great time saver, and helps with compliance too. What’s more, if you use a system such as Rotaready for storing employee documents, you’ll be notified as and when they’re coming up to their expiration date; so there’s never a risk of documents becoming out of date and therefore invalid.

Digital loyalty cards

Say goodbye to the plastic and paper loyalty cards. Consider getting an app to track customer loyalty or implementing a way for your customers to store a digital loyalty card in the wallet on their phones. 

Monitoring loyalty this way will give you greater visibility of your returning customers along with their preferences. And as far as your customers are concerned, it’s one less card to carry, or lose!

Just one last thing… 

As you can see, moving away from paper based approaches comes with many more benefits than just sustainability. What’s more, digitising  some or all of your operational processes will enable you to deliver more personalised marketing. By having all customer data recorded and stored in one place, you’ll be better aware of customer preferences and special occasions, such as upcoming birthdays, frequent orders and number of visits. With this insight you can take your customer experience one step further.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you get the most from a paper-free approach to running your restaurant business then get in touch with us at team@rotaready.com or drop us a message via the live chat.

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