From First Date to 50th: How Restaurant Marketing Nurtures Guest Loyalty
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Selecting a point of sale (POS) system for your restaurant is one of the most important decisions you will make. Whether you’re opening your first location, or upgrading your technology stack, a POS system can help you streamline accounting and inventory, in addition to a whole host of other benefits. Here are 5 reasons (that you might not have considered) to get a POS system today.
With advanced reporting, it’s possible to identify which dishes are the most and least profitable. Knowing which items on your menu are not performing well can give you the opportunity to make changes that can continue to increase profits, including adapting your dishes, your menu or deciding to highlight certain high selling options in your marketing and in the restaurant. A POS system provides in-depth analysis of guests' ordering behavior automatically. By simply reviewing a month’s worth of orders, you’ll be able to identify what your guests are responding well to. This advantage will allow your restaurant to adapt its needs without having to waste time pouring through spreadsheets to find the answer.
A POS system offers robust information about your guest, but when paired with a reservation management system, the integrated platforms become incredibly powerful. When your reservation system is connected to your POS, you can track important details across the entire guest journey and store them all in one holistic profile available to your staff. From tracking a guest’s favorite items, to being able to access the visit and spend history, to offering proactive suggestions while in-service or for post-visit marketing -- an integrated POS and reservation system are the first step in really knowing your guests and being able to boost guest loyalty.
This is especially true when you take the guest data and use it in your strategy to send personalized, targeted messages to guests once they leave the restaurant. Use this information to adapt your event invites or promotions for each of your customers. This makes each guest feel known, taken care of and special when you’re sending them something that’s relevant to them.
The purpose of a POS system is to process payments but it can also be to save your business time and money when you do your research. Restaurants that simply get a POS without taking any further steps to understand all the features available are not realizing their system’s full potential. Improving productivity and increasing ROI is an ongoing process, not something that you can achieve all at once. Here’s how the right POS system with the right features can help you achieve this:
POS systems can make the order input and checkout process faster and easier for employees when the user interface enables them to access promotions or popular items on the menu screen easily. Thanks to menu organization within a POS, restaurants can display items under their correct menu category and highlight special items, so employees aren’t scrolling through long lists of items to punch in an order. By eliminating the extra time spent on both labor and training, you can increase profits to your bottom line. Not to mention, the elimination of costly errors that often occur from inaccurate order entry.
POS systems let restaurants analyze sales patterns, manage inventory, and flag items for reorder. At its core, a point-of-sale system is a cash register, but it opens up a new world of data about your business based on all the inputs you collect shift after shift.
The main benefit of a digital POS system over a cash register or old school cash box is the sophisticated and detailed sales reports it provides that allows you to analyze the data. It’s possible to analyze sales in different ways, such as by time period, or by location if you have more than one. You can view revenue, profit and average sales and follow sales growth, making comparisons to previous days, weeks, even months and years. You will also see which items are selling well, averagely, or selling poorly.
In addition to providing you with the tools to report and analyze your restaurant’s performance, a robust POS system will help your chefs and team perfect their ordering. They can check on how much of certain items to order for the coming week based on past week’s performance, taking into account an upcoming holiday or seasonal special.
Good business is all about quality and providing service at a reasonable speed for guests – more specifically, an optimal ratio between the two. A slow or unresponsive POS system that delays service and causes grumpy customers is one thing you want to avoid during a rush. When researching POS systems, ask yourself the following questions:
The best POS systems work offline too, meaning that if the internet connection goes down, you will not have to take orders on paper sheets. You can still take orders and process sales.
Access to the most relevant information during service is key to making better business decisions on the fly. Your POS should provide real-time visibility of stats and information. In addition to accessing data, you want the system to be easily accessible to your staff, so find a POS with an application that can work across laptops, iPads and Android tablets, which can reduce the initial cost greatly.
POS software tracks inventory and indicates if something is causing a high amount of food waste or if you are losing money for another reason. Overbuying is one of the main causes of restaurant food waste. If you are tracking your sales with ingredient inventory accurately, you should have a good grasp of how many raw ingredients you're using each day and when you are overbuying a specific item.
Planning and buying can be down across your entire group. If you have multiple locations, with the right cloud-based POS, you’ll easily be able to manage multiple restaurants from the same account. If you have a centralized procurement time, they will access to analytics and data across all your locations.
Take your time to do your research. There are many POS systems available to restaurants, and you should decide which features mean the most to your operation. The five reasons discussed in this article are a starting point in evaluating systems, but hopefully, help provide further validation as to why a POS system is critical for business success. No matter what system you go with, your POS should be easy to set up – it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. If you pick the right one, you’ll be on your way to saving time and money before you know it!