As for any restaurant enterprise, the hub and starting point for any order is its point-of-sale (POS) system. This is where the action happens, where a server can make orders and take payment.
As technology and the customer experience have evolved, businesses have increasingly come to rely on POS system features to keep their business running. A restaurant POS seamlessly processes orders, accepts payments, and checks inventory levels.
Yet although it’s becoming increasingly indispensable for businesses across industries, not every restaurant is on board. Many smaller mom-and-pop shops are still using analog cash registers and/or spreadsheets to process transactions and update inventory — and they are missing out on what is possible with POS system features.
Let’s look at what restaurants can do with the right POS system. Here are eight POS system features that can simplify business operations and make a restaurant easier to run.
1. Inventory Tracking
Striking the delicate balance between having ingredients on hand and customer demand can make or break an operation. Gauging which items will be popular and which will be left on the shelves has always been one of the industry’s great challenges.
POS software can make a huge dent in those figures by keeping inventory levels up to date automatically. You can keep track of what you’re running out of and what customers aren’t interested in. Some restaurant POS solutions can even notify you when you’re running low on certain items—which is crucial during high-volume times. The last thing you want on a busy Saturday night is to run out of your bestselling entrée.
2. Sales Reporting
POS software can create sales reports and help managers track the performance of individual establishments in different locations. Such reporting highlights which items are selling quickly and shows businesses how to focus on the biggest revenue generators. This data can be critical for demand and revenue forecasting.
Depending on the POS system, reporting capabilities may include total sales, sales for any given time period, sales per item or category, and sales by item or server. Entrepreneur magazine reports that by using an integrated POS system, an independent retailer can cut costs by close to 10%.
3. Customer Management
Some restaurant POS systems have the capability to store basic customer data like names and contact information. This data can give sales managers and servers the ability to personalize the dining experience and thereby improve customer loyalty.
By collecting customer details, retailers can identify valued customers and anticipate their orders. After all, there are few things as comforting as that age-old notion of going somewhere where everyone knows your name and dinner order.
4. Kitchen Communication
POS systems are the key to strong communications and order accuracy at your restaurant or bar. Use a POS system to easily track orders and ensure that customers get their meals quickly and exactly as requested. Some restaurant POS system features allow you to send orders from any front-of-house device to the kitchen with the press of a button.
5. Payments and Labor Tracking
With a POS system, you can track hourly and total sales, average sales, taxes, voids and discounts, and payments by credit card, cash, or gift card.
You can also check labor summaries by hourly labor costs and as a percentage of sales. There are also software solutions that let you see hours by employee and employee class.
6. In-Depth Reporting
When choosing a POS system you need to keep in mind what reports you are looking to get from the software. With the right POS software, you can check detailed reports on everything from labor to sales to activity.
The right POS system should come with a cash drawer that helps manage security at the point of sale terminal. By using two cash drawers that are attached to a single, shared POS terminal and printer, each drawer is assigned to a single server. This type of POS system and cash drawer allows managers to hold employees accountable for the integrity of the till.
8. Combo Builders
Allowing restaurant owners to create combinations or “combos” from existing menu items is a great way to allow creative process in building your menu items. For example, one combo might be a soda, burger, and fries all grouped together as one combo. Grouping items is easier for servers and more efficient for kitchen operations.
Other Restaurant POS Software Features
By bringing in the latest innovations in POS systems, restaurants are investing in resources where they are needed most. POS software solutions offer many different features, but if companies focus on what is most critical, they will seldom fail.
Check out some more features available in a restaurant POS:
- Schedule Shifts
- Customer Database
- Global Outreach
- Simplify Vendor Relations and PO Processing
- Improve Profit Margins
- Transfer Items to Meet Location Needs
- Go Green
Choosing a top POS system is a big decision. Lavu is here to help you make the right decision. See how Lavu’s #1 Rated Restaurant POS System can work for your business.
Download our Beginner’s Guide to POS Systems to get the full details on how our POS can meet your needs and outshine your expectations.
This special guest post was originally written by Peter Chawaga, a contributor for TechnologyAdvice.com, and was recently updated by the Lavu Team.
TechnologyAdvice specializes in connecting buyers and sellers of business technology. By educating buyers on the best technology for their needs, we help them improve their business, and simplify their operations. TechnologyAdvice is based in Nashville, Tenn., and was named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in 2014 & 2015.