How the right POS design can increase productivity in your chain of restaurants

Written by Randy Haar | 15 November 2019


Based on new research, almost a quarter of restaurant owners and operators who have not upgraded their core restaurant management and POS system within the past three years plan to do so in the next 12 months. If you find yourself within this category, how can you make sure you choose the right technology and get the most from your investment? 

Your POS system is the heartbeat of your business, and replacing it is a big deal and high risk. That’s why so many restaurants find themselves stuck running old cash registers and antiquated POS systems. Sure, you know it’s not ideal, but your staff is comfortable using a system they already know. It doesn’t let you do all you would want to, and it forces you to do a lot of manual work and workarounds, but it gets you by. Despite the drawbacks of your current system, you don’t want to face the hassle of a complete technology overhaul, and you’re reluctant to make a big investment without knowing what the payback will be. But chances are, your old technology is costing your business, and holding you back in more ways than you realize.

Aside from the high running and maintenance costs you’re likely paying out to support your existing system, you could be missing out on a whole host of benefits that modern technology brings. POS systems which are 15-25 years old just don’t offer the kind of functionality, flexibility and scalability that you need to optimize efficiencies across your operation, deliver the customer service your guests expect, and make it easy to open new outlets.

So after much consideration, you’ve have finally decided you need a new POS system.

But where do you start?

The first thing to consider is that not all POS systems are built the same. You need a modern POS which is future proof and designed to meet your unique business requirements. The right solution could completely transform the way your staff work, delivering you returns in productivity – and even staff satisfaction. In fact, if you design your POS system the right way, it could increase efficiency on your restaurant floor by a minimum of 20%. Not convinced? Read on and we’ll tell you how.

A POS which mirrors your menu

Engineer your POS system so that it mimics your menu, and it will pay you dividends in the long run. It sounds obvious, but so many restaurants are missing out on this trick.  

Organize and present each food item from your inventory, including modifiers, in your POS according to how customers would see it on the menu, and you’ll make life far easier for your staff. It’ll allow them to handle conversational ordering, where they can take orders in the same way that customers reel them off. Want no ketchup on your burger and an extra side? No problem. You can set your system up so that your staff can spend more time interacting with your customers rather than amending orders and navigating a convoluted user interface to find customized options.

So in the morning, when customers are ordering from the breakfast menu, your servers see the exact same ordering options on the POS. It means they can quickly deal with customer requests, flip easily between menu items and improve their upselling potential because they see the upsell items on their POS.

Your special breakfast may have eight different components, all of which can be customized. Eggs sunny side up. Two sausages, no bacon. Fresh grapefruit instead of berries. Wheat toast or white? If you drill down into all the numerous menu options, it sounds like quite the challenge for your staff to serve a large table and get the order right. But not if your POS is set up in the right way.

Indeed, we’ve worked with a large restaurant chain which has seen efficiencies on the restaurant floor increase by as much as 40% because their staff are using a POS system which mirrors the menu. They’re able to handle order inquiries faster. Customers are happier because they’re getting great service, and they’re in and out of their seats quicker too.

Clever color coding

So you have your POS set up in the same way as your menu. You can make it even easier for your staff to use the system by giving each course a color code. Starters are blue, mains are purple, and desserts are pink. And you could break it down further by having color-coded sections within your courses. Soups in brown, say, and salads in green. Yellow for chicken. White for fish. Red for steak. And help your staff turn over a higher profit by flagging upcharge items too. With these kind of color cues (which can be set as greyscale for those who are colorblind), staff will be able to flit between courses within seconds and clearly see all the specific options for each menu item. Filet, ribeye, sirloin and prime rib. Rare, medium rare, well done and so forth. Setting your POS menu out in this clean, concise way will allow your staff to focus on providing good service, and it will help them work more efficiently too.

Flexible dining and payment options

A group of diners enter your restaurant. They’ve booked ahead online. Your staff pull up their booking details within seconds on the POS, which includes details about food allergies and special dietary requirements, and get them seated promptly. Nearby, they spot their friends at another table placing their order. They ask if they can dine together and still have their food served up at the same time. No problem. Because of the way the table management works, your staff can easily use the in-built seating application to move diners around and feed information to the kitchen in real time to ensure their food order is in the correct queue and all meals come out together.

At the end of the meal you have a group of satisfied customers. They’re really impressed with the service they’ve received, their meals were served up promptly, and there were no issues handling their specific dietary requirements. Now they want to pay, and they want to split the bill multiple ways. Some want to pay for the bottle of wine they shared, and others want to pay for their own drinks. Again, using the intuitively designed POS, your staff can accommodate their needs, easily splitting the cost of the bill correctly, allowing for gratuity and automatically taking into account taxation. No mistakes and no hassle.

A single source of information for everybody

Design your POS in the right way, and you can boost productivity across your entire business, and not just on the floor.

Role-tailored, permission-controlled user interfaces which all tap into the same central system mean that your staff can communicate effectively and access the information they need with just a few taps of the screen. If everybody is working from a single source of the truth, you can empower them to work more efficiently and allow them to focus on the task at hand.

By selecting a POS system that enables you to customize it to your restaurant’s flow, you can reduce the risk of mistakes and make life simpler for your whole workforce. And when the POS is part of a centralized system, managers can get the vital information they need to understand the business and identify operational strengths and weaknesses, so they can take action, fast. One point of management, one source of information, one general ledger, one system of record, one successful business.

To find out how we can help you redesign your POS and your business to run more productively, contact us. We’ll be happy to show you what our complete restaurant management solution, LS First, can do for you.

The future of retail and hospitality: free report from NRF 2020

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