How a Restaurant POS System Can Improve Your Business
Those in the restaurant business know that running a restaurant is a bit like trying to wrestle a tornado. It’s controlled chaos. Sometimes barely controlled chaos. It’s exciting, certainly, and part of the reason we love it. However, to be successful at running a restaurant, you’ll need systems in place to manage the insanity. Systems are necessary to keep tabs on inventory and customer preferences and give clarity about finances, employee behaviors, and a host of other useful metrics. What you need is a restaurant POS system.
A POS for restaurants is a software and hardware package, often running on an iPad or Android tablet. They allow restaurant owners to create menus, generate checks, take payments, track inventory levels, and schedule staff. They also allow owners to generate detailed reports to help understand what’s happening inside their restaurant.
There are many different packages on the market, all with different feature sets, customization options, and price points. We’ll discuss how POS systems can dramatically improve your business generally and mention a few specific products along the way. Whether you have an older POS that needs replacing, or you’ve never used one before, this article will provide an excellent primer of what a modern POS can do for you.
A restaurant POS system can make your business more efficient
Restaurant software like POS systems offers business owners many features that increase their employees’ efficiency and the efficiency of the business in general.
One of the biggest bottlenecks in any restaurant or cafe is the cash register. Even with a few to choose from you often end up with servers and bar staff waiting to process payments. However, with tableside systems, your servers can accept payment from customers right at their table using a restaurant POS iPad or tablet.
TouchBistro is an excellent example of a full-featured tableside POS. It lets servers send orders directly to the kitchen staff. You can also take payments at the table, and quickly split checks with simple drag and drop functionality. It removes the need for memorizing orders or scrawling them onto tickets to be carried manually back to the kitchen. More efficient servers mean faster service for your customers.
A POS system for restaurants improves communication efficiency between staff members as well. With real-time inventory monitoring, back of house staff can be alerted when specific ingredients are running low and can quickly alter or remove menu items. This decision is then instantly communicated to the front of the house. Share critical notes immediately to all staff members and display them on their restaurant POS iPad or tablet.
Lightspeed is another excellent POS best suited to large establishments. It allows wait staff a bird’s eye view of their sections down to the table. They can shift patrons, monitor table status, and quickly view orders.
The kitchen staff has their own screen display which makes accessing open tickets simple. It can alert them to tickets that are running behind and makes certain orders aren’t missed or bungled. If there are special requests, like food allergies or substitutions, the wait staff can attach the notes to the order, which removes the possibility that something important is forgotten between the table and the kitchen.
Lightspeed also offers other efficiency features that greatly enhance your customer’s experience. Place tablets at each table, at the bar, or anywhere that your establishment would like customers to have the option to place orders themselves. The simple interface makes it easy to add drinks, extra food items, or desserts at the customer’s whim, which can increase check amounts. It gives patrons a feeling of control. They no longer need to wait for their server to be available. They can place an order whenever they’re ready.
A restaurant POS system gives businesses useful insights
Before the advent of the modern POS system for restaurants, data collection was difficult and inconsistent. Managers had their hands full running the day to day operations, scheduling, ordering, and menu planning. That left scant few seconds in the day to compile information about what was ordered each shift, whether inventory is being utilized effectively, and other data that could be useful for spotting trends.
Today most iPad restaurant POS systems collect automated, real-time data throughout the day. These systems record every transaction as the staff takes and fills orders. Additionally, you can shift notes and a virtual logbook allow staff to make comments throughout the day. In the end, a restaurant POS system keeps managers and business owners in touch with the realities of their day-to-day business.
Business insights only a restaurant POS system can deliver
In general, the better you understand what’s working in your restaurant, and what isn’t, the more equipped you are to make smart decisions that will benefit both you and your employees. The costs associated with these packages can be very affordable. Slimmer-featured entry-level systems easily pay for themselves in terms of the utility gained and the money-saving/generating insights business owners can derive from consistent use of the software. If you’re struggling with an outdated POS, it may be time to consider looking into a modern restaurant POS system.