Online ordering has become a critical lifeline for restaurants and their patrons in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, QSR point of sale systems that previously emphasized click and collect ordering on the premises have shifted their focus to QSR online ordering.
The change impacts dining establishments of all types, not just the fast-food and family dining chains that were early adopters of QSR automated ordering. However, QSR POS systems must be implemented carefully to ensure restaurant orders are processed quickly and accurately.
These tips will help restaurants set up and operate their QSR online ordering capabilities in a way that keeps customers happy and cash registers ringing.
Must-Have Features of a QSR Point of Sale System
The goal of a restaurant POS system is to make the operation run more efficiently. Achieving this goal requires a full range of well-integrated features, including employee management, inventory tracking, and customer relationship management.
A functionality checklist for a restaurant POS system will include these items:
- The ability to split, resend, and repeat orders
- Full or partial refunds and item voids
- Automatic gratuities and discounts, including buy-one-get-one discounts
- Variable and fixed-price discounts
- Tax controls per item and order type
- Multi-level, inclusive, and fixed-amount taxes
- Custom order types for third-party delivery apps
Another important feature of a QSR POS system is a kitchen display that presents the orders received online or via a customer-facing kiosk to the kitchen staff clearly, completely, and quickly. The system should be customizable to fit into the restaurant’s workflow and to ensure the kitchen operates efficiently even during crunch times.
The data the restaurant collects from the system about its kitchen operation can be used to generate reports that identify areas where things are running smoothly, and the processes in need of improvement. The result is more accurate order processing, more productive kitchen staff, and happier customers.
Viewing Your QSR Operation from the Customer’s Perspective
It’s one thing to train a restaurant’s staff on the use of a POS system, but it’s quite another to install a QSR point of sale system that will be easy and convenient for customers to use. The QSR POS should be designed to attract customers to the establishment. This factor is especially critical for the system’s online-ordering component.
A mobile POS prevents customers from having to stand in lines to place orders on-premises, and mobile apps also allow them to place orders, pay, and track orders from anywhere. The mobile apps should support a range of pickup and delivery options, including scheduling future orders and delivery times.
Having a clear, consistent online presence helps restaurants attract and retain customers by growing the establishment’s brand and reputation. It also improves employee productivity and morale by eliminating problems related to unclear or incomplete orders. Patrons’ orders pass smoothly to the kitchen after payment is received, and customers are notified immediately when their order is ready to pick up.
A Restaurant POS that Adapts to Changing Times
Retailers have been forced to adjust their operations dramatically in response to COVID-19 restrictions, but for restaurants, adaptability has long been the name of the game. Dining establishments are constantly updating their menus, their layouts, and their marketing efforts as customer preferences and economic conditions change. That’s why their POS systems have to be just as adaptable as they are.
For example, a QSR point of sale system can help restaurants identify menu items that are underperforming and determine whether they will benefit from specific types of promotions. The reports generated by the POS system can indicate which business processes are effective and when the establishment’s business model needs to be tweaked.
Restaurants that rely on person-to-person connections to boost customer retention may struggle to promote customer loyalty among their online patrons. The POS system can help by incorporating customer loyalty programs that feature personalized discounts based on past purchase history. Restaurants can also offer special items or promotions based on the season or how popular specific items have become.
Overcome Challenges by Gaining Insight into Your Customers
Much of a restaurant’s success depends on knowing what brings customers to the establishment, and what is keeping them away. A QSR point of sale system must be able to collect and report on information about your customers, including their demographic characteristics, order history, and how responsive they are to specific types of promotions.
It’s no mystery why the seven tools required in a QSR POS system are all related to improving the customer experience.
- An online ordering portal that is customizable, complete, and easy for customers to use.
- Self-service ordering via a customer-facing display that is inviting, highly visual, and accommodating to customer variations and dietary restrictions.
- Comprehensive order management to ensure clear communication with kitchen staff and provide customers with a range of payment options.
- The ability to update menus in real-time to deliver the variety and innovation that keeps customers coming back.
- A staff-management component that keeps employees up-to-date on changes and processes that affect the customer experience.
- The ability to capture information from every transaction that can be used to learn more about customer preferences and the success of promotions.
- Flexible payment options, including contactless and cardless payments, to meet customer expectations for fast, simple, and accurate checkouts.
Maintaining a Customer Focus Helps Businesses Adapt Successfully
During times of tremendous change, restaurants and other small businesses react by getting back to basics: giving customers what they want. A QSR point of sale system delivers insight into customers that can be used to adjust menus, plan promotions, and offer the personalized discounts that customers are most likely to respond favorably to, whether they’re on the premises or online.
In an era of touchless delivery, drive-thru, and curbside pickup, restaurants need to identify and implement the technologies that will allow them not only to survive, but also to thrive. By integrating their online and on-premises POS operations, restaurants can ensure that customers get the experience they expect, and then some.
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