For restaurants whether it is a quick service sandwich shop or a fine dining culinary scene, the goal of restaurants is to provide an experience that customers will remember. When it comes to Point Of Sale (POS) many restaurant owners have different opinions on the affect they can have on their restaurant. The truth is whether you’re looking at it from a restaurant perspective or a business one, POS can have a huge impact on your guest experience and your bottom line. In what way you might ask? Well below are 3 examples of how using the right technology can create a guest experience that will separate you from others and have a significant impact on your customers.
1. Is Your POS Restaurant Specific?
A common theme with having up to date technology in your restaurant is getting a system that may look flashy and cool but isn’t built for restaurants. For example, when using a retail-based system in the food service industry, it can be harder for servers and bartenders who are on the day-to-day grind to use simple restaurant functions, such as splitting checks, changing menu items and 86ing (running out of a dish on the menu) items. This can also have an affect on your back of house reporting as well. Systems with a retail focus may not be the best for tracking food costs, create menus and targeting loyal customers who come in every week. Having a restaurant-specific POS will help day to day operations that will help create a more memorable experience as well as an uptick in tips for your servers.
2. Pen and Paper or Handhelds?
When it comes to many restaurants many still use pen and paper before entering an order into the POS or cash register while others use handhelds. In reality, our world is continuing to move towards everything being faster and more efficient, especially in the Hospitality Industry. For a quick service, how much easier would it be to break up the lines with Kiosks or servers taking orders on a handheld? Places like Panera and McDonalds have already almost streamlined technology in their restaurant by breaking up lines. As for casual and fine dining, some feel that too much tech would ruin face to face interactions but in fact, technology would improve that.
Consider this scenario: A waitress with a handheld goes over to a table of four to place drink orders. First, she mentions the drink specials that the guests may be interested in. She takes the order on her handheld and sends them right to the bar or servers’ station. Since she was able to put the orders in on the spot, rather than having to travel back to a POS or kitchen she can now interact with guests asking the party how their day is going, what the occasion is and so on. Drinks come out and now she can take the party’s dinner orders and send them right to the kitchen on the spot. This gives the server another opportunity to interact with guests. Meanwhile, the restaurant-specific handheld has a timer on the party of 4 that will inform her when the food is actually ready. So instead of the server constantly having to run back or fourth to the kitchen to check on her order she can now tend to other patrons and create more opportunities to delight and serve.
Not only does this create a great experience for the guest but now the tips increase for the server, creating a more rewarding position for her in a very tough industry. In turn, it will help with retaining that employee in an industry that has a turnover rate of restaurant staff that is OVER 70% consistently year after year.
3. How Do I Know Which Technology Will Be Best For My Concept?
Here is all comes down to 3 factors:
Are you a quick service, café, pizza shop, ice cream parlor, casual dining, fine dining or food truck?
What is your restaurant layout like? Do you have a large floor plan with a patio or are you a small family diner with a line out the door?
What experience are you trying to create? Are you a fast serving pizza shop with the goal of getting food quickly to your customers? Are you a fine dining restaurant with a gourmet Chef offering exquisite architectural views and that serves a 12-course meal? Or are you a sports bar trying to capture moments that some will remember forever during the World Series or Super Bowl?
Gauge what kind of customers you are looking for and the memories that you want people to have about your restaurant. Choose the POS, based off creating the best for your team and for your guests. It isn’t always easy but do your research and check out companies you can trust and that are restaurant specific and go from there. If you think tech is only for computer science majors think again. The restaurant industry is moving faster than ever before and you’ll want to be ready.