A restaurant POS system is the cornerstone of a business’ entire operation. For those who aren’t familiar with them, POS stands for point of sale and it’s the system that a bar or restaurant (or any retailer, for that matter) uses to process payments for goods or services. In the bar and restaurant industry, a POS is the system that servers and bartenders use to swipe cards and track cash payments for drinks and meals.
Seems pretty simple right? Yes and no. Simply using a POS system is easy as pie, especially if you opt for the newer cloud-based systems that focus on ease of use. However, making the most out of your POS system is a whole different story.
Here are 10 tips and tricks that, if followed, might actually increase your bottom line (yep, how you use your POS system can make that much of a difference).
1. Start with the best equipment
There’s simply no way around it—you get what you pay for when it comes to a POS system. The key is to select the system that has all of the features you need and nothing more— the cost of a POS doesn’t always correlate to quality. If you’re running a simple operation, you might not need all the bells and whistles, but if you’ve got a complicated inventory to manage, opting for a POS that can handle that with ease and make your life easier in the process is the way to go.
2. Opt for EMV compliant
As Nation’s Restaurant News explains, “as more chip-equipped credit cards are released into the marketplace… restaurant operators are wise to purchase equipment which is EMV compliant.” EMV compliance is not the law, and thus not necessary, but it will cause you costs and hassles down the road if chip-equipped cards flood the market.
3. Take advantage of analytical features
Many restaurant POS systems offer analysis tools that many restaurant owners simply don’t use because they’re used to doing it the old way by hand. Not only can POS systems sort your inventory, but many can also analyze traffic and the buying behavior of your customers.
4. Use your POS to identify popular items
“With such rich sales, inventory and cost data collected by a POS system, operators can use it as a tool to guide their business dramatically,” Nation’s Restaurant News notes. Use the information your POS system gives you to identify the winning and losing items on your menu and adjust accordingly for maximum profitability.
5. Craft a loyalty program
Yep, POS systems these days can create and manage loyalty programs, those brilliant systems that keep guest coming back again and again. Using the customer information POS systems gather, you can even offer individualized discounts to customers based on their buying habits.
6. Develop a self-service zone
As Modern Restaurant Management says, “this alternative service option doesn’t fit every concept in the restaurant business… but [in] those concepts where self-service is appropriate and won’t surprise customers,” using your POS system to allow customers to serve themselves can make things flow much faster on busy days.
7. Centralize training
Advanced POS systems can even house training capabilities, taking the stress off your management staff and allowing new hires to train at their own pace.
8. Offer one-touch tipping
The tablet-based POS systems now offer handy buttons with pre-determined tipping amounts that make selecting a tip easy breezy for guests and the result is more tips for your staff and happier, well-tipped workers.
9. Guard against theft
While hiring staff you can trust is always the best option, tracking everything from cash flow to inventory and comparing that to sales can help owners identify if theft is occurring. The sooner you spot it, the better.
10. Integrate online sales with the in-house workflow
Online ordering apps are all the rage these days. Customers love it, but they can be a pain for restaurants if there isn’t an easy way to work the influx of online orders into the meals being prepared for customers in the restaurant. If you use a POS system that manages everything in one place, tackling both online and in-house orders at the same time won’t be a hassle at all.