What is a POS system? Well, at its most basic definition, a point of sale system is a set of equipment which processes and records transactions between a company and their consumers, at the time in which goods or services are purchased.
A point of sale system can be the catalyst for a restaurant’s success or failure. POS systems are no longer “black boxes” or clunky cash registers taking up counter space. The restaurant industry is now flooded with sexy, cutting edge, innovative technology that take up minimal counter space, and are sleek platforms that enhance the guest experience.
In addition to ringing in order, restaurant’s utilize point of sale systems in a variety of ways to benefit their operations:
An often-overlooked facet of the restaurant business is also one of the most important, and that is the customer experience of actually paying for the meal.
One extremely important piece of the payment puzzle is ensuring you’re capable of accepting all forms of payment, including cash and card.
In an age where fewer and fewer people are carrying cash, not accepting card payment is an almost inexcusably poor customer experience, and one that can be avoided completely by simply using a modern point of sale system. Not to mention the fact that customers typically spend more money when paying by card.
The restaurant business is expensive, and even the most successful of restaurants run on notoriously tight budgets.
The key to controlling restaurant costs is managing your inventory, and that doesn’t just mean keeping track of how much stock you have left.
Effective inventory management means understanding your inventory inside and out: how much inventory you have on hand at any given moment; how much of an ingredient is supposed to be used per menu item versus how much is actually being used; how much is being lost to spillage, spoilage, incorrect order send-backs, and other issues—and the lost profits that these issues represent.
With a point of sale system that doubles as an inventory management software, you will make more informed decisions on things like employee management, kitchen practices, menu management, and pricing. This makes each dollar you spend on your inventory as profitable as possible.
When operating a restaurant, one of the chief concerns is security—of both the restaurant itself and the customer.
With a monumental amount of customer data exchanged in digital transactions, it’s easy—and smart—to be wary of customers’ personal information being exposed in a hack or data breach. For this reason, the best restaurant point of sale systems are implementing top-notch security measures, such as cloud-based storage and regular, automatic security software updates.
Equally important is the security of the restaurant itself—particularly against employee theft. As a restaurant owner or manager, your employees can often feel like family, and it can be a difficult thing to consider that any of them would steal money from you.
But the hard truth is that annual costs from restaurant employee theft total between $3 and $6 billion. Statistically speaking, your restaurant is going to suffer from attempted employee theft eventually.
Luckily, a robust point of sale system can also assist in detecting and stopping several kinds of employee theft. In their article on the most common types of restaurant theft, cornwelljackson.com indicates several ways a POS system can help curb these losses, including tracking orders by employee I.D., more transparent tracking of payment against orders, and tracking tip records, among others.
Tracking & Reporting
The transaction is complete, the money’s in the register, and the customer has left full and satisfied, but the sale process isn’t over yet.
Now it’s time to track and generate reports on the sales figures.
There was a time when this step could become a daunting process—so many different reports to run from so many sources of data can get unwieldy and tedious.
The good news is that a quality point of sale system can help to alleviate this stress as well. A POS system that holds different kinds of data and integrates seamlessly with various reporting software can make generating reports such as unit comparisons, labor reports, and food cost analysis a breeze.
No one in today’s business world is unfamiliar with the term “Omni-channel”—the philosophy that a business must give equal attention to the customer experience across all of its channels (“brick and mortar” locations, direct sales, online shopping, etc).
You may, however, be scratching your head at its use here in relation to restaurants.
Once upon a time, it was only considered a concept that applied to retail stores. Nobody would have dreamed that a restaurant could benefit from having an online store.
But innovation—as it always does—found a way, and if you own a restaurant these days, it’s a good bet that you have at least some online presence, from social media to actual online ordering.
Benefits of an Omni-Channel Restaurant Strategy
So why should you consider an omni-channel strategy for your restaurant? Well, focusing on an omni-channel restaurant model doesn’t just make you trendy. Savvy restaurateurs recognize that, just like any business, opening and properly fostering new channels opens up brand new revenue streams and can drive sales in ways that weren’t possible before.
For the customer, an omni-channel focus means more and better ways to engage with and buy from a restaurant. A consistent and high-quality customer experience across all channels, combined with the convenience of options like online ordering will make customers more likely to choose your restaurant in the first place, and become repeat-customers down the line.
If you’ve already got an online ordering service and delivery, you may think you’ve got all of your omni-channel bases covered, but that is far from the case. In addition to taking a close look at how well-maintained and up-to-date your current channels are, there are always more channels to consider. A few that you may look into are:
- Curbside Take-out
- Food Trucks
- Curbside ordering/Drive-thru
- A Dedicated Mobile App
With the right restaurant point of sale system, all of these unique channels can be brought under the same roof and managed together.
Ready to learn more? Check out our Restaurant Point of Sale Solutions Guide, and begin your journey to better restaurant management today!