Hiring someone who can flawlessly keep track of your monthly inventory, financial statements, track your sales, keep track of your table orders all while communicating with the back of the house seems like a tall order.
So why hire someone when your POS system can do all that and more? Having this system in place can be a game changer when it comes to opening or managing your restaurant, and maximizing your ROI. But does it take away from the friendly smiles of your staff?
“While we always like to stay up to date on new tech trends, any technology that we want to introduce to The Meatball Shop needs to be able to improve our guests’ experience, and/or the efficiency of our restaurants. We don’t do bells and whistles, or technology for the sake of technology- we want to make sure we’re thinking of our guests and teams first,” said The Meatball Shop’s CEO Adam Rosenbaum.
The Meatball Shop has always used the same POS system, as Rosenbaum discusses the positives and negatives. “The pros are that a large enterprise based platform typically has a lot of back end capabilities and strong reporting function. The cons are that the enterprise system probably has a little less flexibility than newer, cloud-based systems. It’s less customizable, and that can be tough to work with.”
With all this technology at their fingertips, restaurant owners and their staff have to learn the product in order for it to run efficiently for them. With the POS system tracking your sales, inventory and labor management. So how do you choose what system is correct for your restaurant?
“We evaluate our needs, how much time it may take to implement, look for best in class and of course budget,” said Bobbie Lloyd, Chief Baking Officer, Exec. V.P. of Operations for Magnolia Bakery. “Our current POS provider (Aloha NCR) provides all the bells and whistles we need with an enterprise platform that also supports a reporting app. It also generates alerts for potential theft which has become a big issue in our sector of the industry.”
With traditional cash registers being technology of the past, new restaurant owners face the task of researching and choosing the correct Point of Sales (POS) system for their restaurant. No matter how talented your staff is, you need a proper business infrastructure in place. When choosing the correct system for your establishment there are many companies to choose from.
A POS system is a major part of the infrastructure of a smooth operating restaurant. Taking orders and ringing up sales are the systems of the past. A proper POS system helps you manage every operational aspect of your restaurant.
To track sales, a POS system allows debit/credit to be on the same machine, making transactions secure and efficient. Each server, along with management have their own user ID ensuring accountability for each individual. The system tracks their sales down to the penny making nightly closing more accurate and eliminating employment theft.
The next consideration in the selection of the correct system is Labor and Inventory Management. The POS system tracks daily inventory, real time tracking helps to analyze usage patterns, minimizing waste and reducing over ordering of products. The systems also keeps track of employee hours, making payroll simpler and more efficient.
Sean Berg, director of education for Shift 4, the Parent Company for Harbor Touch, Posi Touch, Future POS and Restaurant Manager explains that when they start working with a new restaurant they focus on the needs of the individual restaurant. “The industry is evolving. All products have the core features, it’s our job to customize for each customer,” said Berg. “We figure ways to cut costs, provide more features, work faster and more efficient. Make our customers money.”
Shift 4 offers over 25 solutions, including older models all which offer lifetime support, the hardest challenge for Sean and his team is finding the correct product for the individual owner. Guiding new business owners toward the correct product all depends on the type of establishment. Whether it be high-end dining, bakeries, bars or fast food chains all the technology is the same.
Guiding new business owners toward the correct product all depends on the type of establishment. Whether it be high-end dining, bakeries, bars or fast food chains all the technology is the same. Once a system is installed, that is not the end of the updating. Technology is constantly changing and upgrading.
With the POS industry changing so rapidly restaurants are always being offered new options. Leaving important decisions to be made on what system is correct for you. And while these systems are the core of how the restaurant runs, what business would be successful without friendly faces, and outstanding service?
“I am opposed to replacing staff with technology, the capability for the product to be simple and operate smoothly will allow one staff member to multiply, you can get more from more individuals. That is why we train the staff to be able to make the core as simple to use which will in turn make the business owner more money and save valuable time,” noted Berg. With the technology being so extensive, a rising concern is whether or not these systems will take away minimum wage positions.
“This year we changed accounting platforms as well as adding a platform that scans and codes invoices which then are imported into this platform,” added Lloyd of Magnolia Bakery. “This has allowed us to have more accurate reporting as we no longer have to do manual entries and at the same time eliminating a full person in our accounting team I believe that over time technology will take jobs away from the minimum wage category. To be able to cut costs we have to look at technology and how we implement cost saving measures without compromising customer service.”
“There is always a need for people in the hospitality business and technologies that can improve day to day functions. The human element here is key to making an experience awesome,” noted the Meatball Shop’s Rosenbaum. “It’s always situational, but if you’re going out to dinner, it’s the servers, hosts/hostesses, managers and chefs that make the dining experience one to remember- whether you’re in a casual or high-end setting, having someone there to take care of you, to talk with, is a luxury, and that will always need to be fielded by a person.”
No matter what POS system the restaurateur chooses it must be focused on outstanding food, and great service both in the Front and Back of the House. Financial accuracy with the right POS system selection supports that recipe for success.
Article written by Erica Janosko. Erica has covered a number of beats from politics to lifestyle for newspapers in the New Haven, CT market. The Southern Connecticut State University graduate focuses on the latest technology for Total Food Service.