When you think of industries at the forefront of tech, you probably don’t include the restaurant point of sale systems among the tech leaders. Yet according to figures compiled by the business finance site Finances Online, 80 percent of restaurants have implemented technologies that streamline their operations and make them more profitable. In addition, 73 percent of restaurant patrons believe that technology enhances their dining experience.
The success of any restaurant — no matter its size, type, or location — depends increasingly on the application of the optimal mix of point-of-sale and other technologies to meet its unique needs. When deciding on the must-have functionality for your restaurant point-of-sale system, these five crucial features should be at the top of your list.
Tools for Managing Restaurant Employees
Restaurant owners focus much of their energy on crafting the perfect menu and creating a warm and welcoming environment for their patrons. However, restaurant managers now spend an increasing amount of time finding, hiring, training, managing, and retaining qualified employees. As Forbes reports, the shortage of chefs and cooks has been an ongoing problem, but in recent years restaurants have been challenged to fill all their open positions, from bussers and servers to hosts and managers.
Restaurant POS systems can make managing employees more efficient by providing a central point for creating and sharing work schedules, monitoring employee performance in various job functions, and preventing unauthorized access by customizing permissions based on the employee’s role. The POS system’s reporting function should also show the tips that each employee has received, and the impact of labor costs on the restaurant’s financial performance.
One way to make restaurant employees more productive is by using a POS system that makes it easy for them to assign orders and dispatch tickets to multiple printers, change and resend orders, and transfer checks between servers. Servers should also be able to split items that are shared across positions so separate tabs can be calculated quickly and accurately. This allows diners to pay by position, open bar tabs and house accounts, and split checks so they can pay portions via different methods.
Tools that Help You Track and Manage Inventory
The best way to keep restaurant patrons happy is by ensuring that their favorite dishes are available when they want them. Restaurant point-of-sale systems need to provide an up-to-date account of all stock on hand as orders are placed and ingredients are used. When products reach a preset threshold, the system issues an alert and may reorder the items automatically.
By providing a more accurate picture of current inventory levels, the POS system helps restaurants reduce waste and avoid being caught short of popular items. The feature also improves communication between the front of the house and the kitchen to ensure the accuracy of orders, which pleases customers while also helping the restaurant’s bottom line.
Other inventory-management features to look for in a restaurant point-of-sale system include support for fixed and variable-priced products, the ability to track suppliers, and the ability to generate purchase orders and print barcode labels.
Customer Relationship Management
Among the POS features that restaurant owners and their customers request most often are support for loyalty programs, the ability to order online, and the ability to make reservations online. Making customers feel at home begins by collecting and securely storing their contact information, including email addresses and telephone numbers. This serves as the foundation of the restaurant’s marketing efforts.
In addition to processing orders and payments, the POS system should be able to track the customer’s history, add customers to orders, apply discounts automatically, support gift cards and loyalty programs, and in some instances offer a kiosk mode and customer-facing display. For restaurants with multiple locations, the POS system can make people feel like repeat customers on their first visit to a particular outlet. Customer databases also let the restaurant know when diners are celebrating a birthday or anniversary without having to ask, and new servers can treat return customers as regulars even though they have never served them before.
Real-time Reports on Sales, Payments, and Tips
The more you know about how well your restaurant is performing, the more likely you are to make the right decisions about staffing, menus, promotions, and other management matters. A restaurant point-of-sale system needs to be able to generate reports that let you get a snapshot of sales in real-time, identify the best-selling items (and those not selling so well), and monitor all cash register activity.
Other useful reports show the sales numbers of each employee by revenue and number of transactions, let you view each employee’s total tips, and make a connection between the cost of labor and the restaurant’s overall sales performance. The reports also provide restaurants with insight into the effectiveness of their marketing activities, including tie-ins to your customer database to learn more about the clientele you have now and the potential customers who are most likely to respond to your promotions.
The Ability to Create Custom Menus
There’s a very good reason why restaurants post their menus outside their front doors. Nothing converts a shopper into a diner faster than an eye-catching and mouth-watering menu. Restaurants take great pride in the culinary creativity shown in their bill of fare, so menu creation becomes a critical feature of their POS systems.
These are among the menu-management capabilities to look for in a POS system:
- The ability to customize menus by applying modifiers and exclusions
- Support for price variations for different sizes of the same menu items
- The option to create combo meals by bundling separate menu items
- Use of images and descriptions to facilitate order processing (by identifying possible food allergies, for example)
- The ability to apply discounts automatically at certain times and/or for specific menu items
POS systems provide restaurant managers with the information they need to keep customers happy, keep the business profitable, and stay a step ahead of the competition. In particular, single-outlet restaurants and small chains can apply the capabilities of a POS system to even the playing field with the biggest names in the industry. To realize the potential of a modern point-of-sale system, restaurants have to make sure the system they choose has all the up-to-date features they’ll need.
Learn more about how the talech POS system helps restaurants and other retailers improve the experience for their customers and optimize the management of all their operations. We work with you to determine the best ways to meet the needs of your customers and employees so your business can thrive. We take the time to learn your business so we can balance your specific needs with your budget and comfort level in a custom POS system implementation. The result is a valued investment that will pay for itself in short order. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and learn more about how talech can be your valued partner in the POS world.