Many restaurant owners don’t spend much time thinking about their POS system, but they should.
The success of every restaurant depends on several factors. It must have a good location, delicious food, exceptional service and convenient hours—these things are a given—but business owners often miss the single biggest aspect that impacts all of the above: efficiency. Restaurants have multiple systems that need to run smoothly at all times, and a restaurant POS system can simplify time-consuming tasks and increase profitability while getting more out of employees.
More than anything else, a restaurant needs speed. The clock starts the moment customers sit down, and—no matter how good the food is—if the service is slow and the attention to detail is missing, chances are that people will leave disappointed. You can’t please everyone, of course, but you can improve the process with a modern POS. Your system will link every step in the process and ensure a fast and seamless flow of information from one workstation to another.
The server takes an order on a touchscreen device and sends it to the kitchen staff, and when the order is fulfilled, the kitchen alerts the server that the order is up. This method of channeling and simplifying communication can save time and reduce chaos, particularly during busy times of the day.
Easy to use
Gone are the days when POS systems consisted of a big, clunky computer with software that required an IT degree to install. Today’s POS systems are created for portability and convenience. Some of them even run on a tablet. Such a modern touchscreen interface is familiar to employees today; most of them will find it easy to learn a system that mirrors the functionality of an iPad.
Restaurant owners usually feel a sense of dread when it comes to managing inventory, and with good reason. It’s a never-ending task that takes up a lot of time. However, inventory control is essential for long-term survival, since margins are usually slim for restaurants. POS systems make the process of managing and ordering inventory much easier.
Your POS system will keep a record of entrées, appetizers and drinks as diners check out, automatically adjusting inventory levels in real-time. When inventory hits a preset low point, the POS will automatically generate a sales order for you. At any time, your managers can monitor the status of stocked items, new product orders and shipped goods so adjustments can be made to the menu. This is a huge timesaver for a cumbersome yet crucial process, and it will help you focus on other important aspects of running the business (1).
Keeping track of employees
It takes a lot of people to keep a restaurant running smoothly. From greeters and servers to chefs and busboys, eateries usually have a lot of employees. A POS system will help you manage them all with greater accuracy.
Employees can sign on and off effortlessly with touchscreen interactions, and the system will log their hours and breaks, compiling and packaging the data for you. This makes tracking employee hours simple and instantaneous (2).
Reports and business intelligence
Every business needs to measure labor costs, inventory fees, product pricing and overall profitability in order to run successfully, and it requires accurate reports to do it. Reports are the only true way to assess which components are working and which ones need improvement. A modern POS will give you access to all this data, pulling information from multiple sources—including online sales—and compiling it in a neat and easily digestible format.
Promotions and marketing
Most restaurants use some combination of promotional programs and advertising to bring in new customers. This used to mean running ads in the newspaper or on radio and television, but marketing today involves maintaining a digital presence as well. From the menu on your website to the posts on your social media pages, marketing is a vital part of growing a hungry customer base. Your POS can integrate your advertised offers with transactions, making it easier to track the results of your campaigns. A POS can also integrate with your CRM and track customer behavior. If one particular lunch special or entrée is a big hit, you will see it in your transaction data.
Most importantly, a modern POS offers advanced security protections that will help keep customer information safe. Restaurants are prime targets for cyber attackers, and a data breach can literally put you out of business. By using standard encryption and firewall features, you can help insulate your business from risk and worry less about customers swiping cards at your register.
The chief advantage of using a POS system is efficiency and optimization. It links all the vital aspects of your business together, allowing you to gather data, manage processes, control inventory and increase profitability. Serving good food is only one ingredient for success. If you also use a point of sale to keep the machinery of your business running smoothly, it will help keep people hungry for more.