If you run a restaurant business – be it a chain of fast casual eateries, a friendly café or an elegant restaurant – you know how important the Point of Sale (POS) is. From a simple terminal for payments, the POS has transformed into a fundamental tool for customer service. This is where orders are registered, where servers can check which dishes are ready in the kitchen, where staff can find all the information they need about their guests, from previous orders to how long they have been waiting for service. Or is it? Too many hospitality businesses are still running systems that were developed years ago, and cannot respond to today’s demands for a personalized, seamless dining experience. Many of these restaurateurs are aware that they are behind the curve: according to Hospitality Technology’s report on POS software trends “Frictionless POS”, 60 percent of restaurants plan to add new functionality or features to their POS software in the coming year, while 33 percent plan to look for a brand new POS solution. Are you using the right POS in your restaurant business? Here are three common situations: if you recognize yourself in any of them, I have bad news - it’s time to start shopping around for new software.
1. Your POS can only conduct sales transactions
… and that’s that. The POS doesn’t allow you to note down customer orders and send them to the kitchen. Instead, orders are written down on a pad, and a member of staff physically has to take the strip of paper from the front of house to the kitchen. The POS doesn’t help you recognize customers who have visited before; all you can do is rely on your memory for faces. When your diners are ready to leave, they have to make their way to the cash register to pay (and perhaps queue there while you are serving other customers), as you cannot run the software or close payments on mobile devices. If they decide they want to split the bill, the system is no help: you have to print out the bill and split it manually. And what if a diner wants to pay part of the bill in cash, part with a card, and part with a voucher? Well, tough luck! That just can’t be done. Does any of this sound familiar? If the answer is yes, then you definitely have an outdated software on your hands.
2. Your loyalty program consists of a paper stamp cardIf you are still using paper stamp cards and coupons, chances are that it’s because you have no better way to register loyal customers. It’s time to change that! On top of making you look like a dinosaur, this kind of outdated loyalty program has two enormous disadvantages:
- Paper cards tend to get lost or damaged. And when that happens, your customers have lost the incentive to come and visit you.
- You have no way to track your most loyal customers! One of the key reasons to implement a loyalty program is the chance to collect customer data (how often do your customers visit you? What items are usually bought together? Does their gender, age, location influence their purchases?), and then use this information to improve your product offering and marketing, and to personalize your most loyal diners’ experience.
Today, the most forward-thinking restaurateurs offer loyalty programs that can be easily accessed and managed via the POS and back office. Staff can scan the diner’s loyalty card at the POS, and access the customer’s transaction history, points status and personal information. This information is then used to stay in touch with customers in a personalized way, for example sending promotions and offers linked to their tastes. If your Point of Sale software doesn’t allow you to register new members and recognize them when they visit you, you better start looking around for alternatives.
3. You spend a lot of time trying to reconcile data in the back office.
Your back office and POS are part of two separate worlds, and you have to waste a lot of time to reconcile information. After each day, you have to look into how much was sold at the POS; then you have to register it in your back office; finally, you must make sure that your inventory is accurate. Not only: it’s also up to you to analyze your sales, and understand what you are doing right, what you could improve on, and where you should save money. If your back office and POS aren’t connected, your only option when it comes to seeing, for example, which dishes are popular and which should be discontinued, is to go through all the sales in your POS, and understand the trends. If only you had a modern POS with a back office system, or an all-integrated restaurant system, how much time you would save..! You would also be able to eliminate all the mistakes you make when copying and calculating numbers, and you could use the system’s reports to understand what is working in your business, and what you are doing wrong. An outdated POS can put a restaurant in trouble in so many ways (… and counting). Your restaurant software should be the backbone of your business, sustaining you while you create tasty dishes and great customer experiences. If the backbone doesn’t support you, how can you expect the rest to stand? If you need help choosing a Point of Sale for your restaurant, download our whitepaper and learn 8 tips to help you buy the right POS system.