Point of sale (POS) systems has become a permanent fixture not only in retail stores, but also in restaurants, cafes, and similar establishments.
Why do you need to invest in one, and how can you get the most out of it?
What is a POS system?
Before detailing the benefits of a POS system, it is worthwhile to define precisely what it is and what it can do for your business.
Think of a POS system as a vital component of your business. To some business owners, it may seem like a mere tool used by a company to collect payments for its products or services. However, that is an impartial view of this powerful system.
Used correctly, the right POS system can perform multiple roles in your business, and not just in ringing up sales. It can also be used to monitor inventory and aid in managing your restaurant’s customers. It can also help eliminate the need for other systems and software like cash registers and spreadsheets.
The components of a POS system can be broadly classified into two: hardware and software.
For the hardware, you have the monitor or tablet, barcode scanner, credit card reader, receipt printer, and the cash drawer. The software powers the hardware and can fulfill multiple roles. These roles include sales reporting, inventory management, customer management, and employee management.
Getting the most out of your POS system
Apart from finding the right POS system that meets your establishment’s needs, there are a few things that you can accomplish with the help of this technology to maximize your investment.
Employee theft prevention
Employee theft is a common problem in the food industry. Left unchecked, your establishment could close shop due to the lack of security measures and the lack of care of the managers and employees. Couple that with food waste and inefficient pricing, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, there are a few crucial measures that you can implement to discourage theft from your restaurant’s employees. One of these is to use the POS system to track transactions and cash shifts between your diners and restaurant staff.
One common cause of customer complaints is the length of time it takes to get their orders. In some restaurants, the waitstaff still clings to the old method of writing down orders, which can be prone to mistakes and is slow.
One way to counter that is to use the POS system to systematically divide the item your establishment offers into convenient sections. This makes it easier for diners to pick which items they would like to order. And for your waitstaff, this new system allows them to become more efficient in taking orders.
Alternatively, you can create self-service zones in your restaurant if it fits your overall concept.
Through your POS system, you can use a mobile device to create such a zone. This eliminates the waitstaff from the order-taking equation and can translate to faster service. Your team can then focus their energy toward serving the orders.
Another way that you can use the POS system to serve your diners better is to take advantage of its reporting function. Through your POS system, you can easily see which dishes are repeatedly being ordered and bring the most income for your resto. This allows you to maximize your offerings and generate more revenue.
The best way to do that is to divide your offerings into three groups. In the first group, place the dishes that are in high demand. Ideally, these items should rake in about 70 percent of your sales. In the second group, place the items that net 20 percent of your sales. Finally, the third group goes the items that account for just five percent of your sales.
Through careful analysis, you will be able to modify your menu and add or strike off items, depending on their appeal to your customers as well as their profitability.
Customer loyalty program
The Pareto principle states that 80 percent of a business’s sales come from 20 percent of its customers. That’s how valuable loyal customers are. Having a solid customer base makes sales and marketing more efficient, too.
Your POS system can help you with that. For starters, you can offer discounts and loyalty programs. The key here is to identify who are your loyal customers are and to get accurate information about their visits and purchases.
With crucial customer information gathered, you can evaluate your customers, identify their preferences, and use these to optimize your restaurant’s offerings and service.
Back of the house help
Another source of inefficiency in restaurants is the time it takes for the kitchen staff to prepare orders. Traditionally, the wait staff takes the customer orders and then sends these to the back of the kitchen with notes and serving priority. Afterward, the kitchen staff cooks these orders.
Often, this can take a substantial amount of time.
With a restaurant POS system, you can cut the time it takes to get a customer order out to the dining table. The kitchen staff can either take orders through a printed receipt or a screen. This can translate not only to shorter order times but also to greater efficiency.
To attain these benefits and improve the overall efficiency of your restaurant in critical areas, it is critical to find the right POS system that matches your needs and goals.
Infographic created by Clover, a restaurant POS provider!