Imagine launching a new food and beverage concept, armed with only a microwave and a kettle? Sure, it's a laughable scenario. But some people approach restaurant technology with the same mindset.
To many people, a POS is just a 'till'. It's a place where you take basic orders, collect the cash and run off reams of paper receipts as records. Some restaurants go a little further ... settling for basic POS technology and run cheap or freebie apps that can only handle the simplest of tasks and offer little in reports.
That may have worked years ago but it's a big mistake today. It's a rather like thinking a phone is just for making voice calls or that a smart TV is only for watching BBC1. You'll be missing out.
There's a whole world out there beyond the POS basics. And if you don't embrace newer tech, then there are consequences. At best, you'll waste hours of precious time on manually-intensive tasks, at worst you'll lose your grip on profit & loss, customer service and day-to-day operations. Simple systems Vs advanced POS tech
Here are three examples of how advanced POS technology can make all the difference ... #1: Managing your menu
In a simple system, you can create your menus using basic fields such as item names and prices. That's fine for a bottle of cola, but what about handling more complex menu items?
An intelligent POS will give you size options, ice/no ice, and lemon/lime for drinks etc. And if it's a gourmet pizza or burger for example, there are all the possible topping configurations, sides, quantities and upgrade prices. With a smart POS, guests can customise at will.
Taking orders then becomes super-easy. Upsell hints become automatic. And it's simple for staff to make changes to orders without restarting. Plus, it's also a breeze for managers to change the menu.
But every decision has an important business implication ... that the POS always remembers and passes on, as accurate data plugged into the heart of your business. The POS will count the sale for you, make adjustments to your inventory, indicate when stocks are low — and even line up orders for you. #2: Forecasting with artificial intelligence (AI)
With simple systems, restaurants are usually operating based on perhaps 10% of the business data they really need, with the other 90% being guesswork based on gut instinct.
But when it comes to arranging your staff schedules and orders for the weeks ahead, how do you know you won't suddenly run short of key supplies or be short staffed at a busy moment? When potential panic exists around every corner, there's an instinct to over-staff, over-order and then waste.
But a top POS will let you take advantage of AI-based forecasting. Based on the patterns of previous trading patterns, you'll be shown exactly how much to order of each item — and how many staff you'll need. With a few tweaks for things like special events and weather, the system could hit 96-99% accuracy in its predictions.
Once you start seeing your future (with actionable insight brought to you at your finger-tips versus wading through teams of out-of-date. static reports), you won't want to let go. Think of this as self-driving, rather than having to pedal furiously uphill. With a top POS, you're ticking over nicely ... and automatically. #3: Staying on top of Profit & Loss
Do you know what your P&L is at any given moment? Or is it something your accountant prepares for you once a year? With only a simple POS and a few apps, then it's almost impossible to get an accurate picture. You're relying on stock takes, tillsclosing and reconciliation of cash ... all happening precisely on time.
But with so many moving parts in a busy environment, it's easy for the figures to be plain wrong... outdated, approximate or have rogue numbers slipping in, so you can't even trust the most basic report.
However, an intelligent POS will give you an at-a-glance indication of exactly what's happening, whether you've got just one restaurant or dozens of venues. It'll crunch all the important numbers within a single business suite — and provide reports at the click of a button. That way, you can be 100% confident in the figures you see, spot any financial issues easily, and support your cash-flow. Choose a POS that's smarter than the rest
It's worth selecting a restaurant POS that'll do all the things you either cannot do — or simply don't want to spend your life doing. An all-in-one POS system will give you the edge.
If you got into the restaurant business because of your love or food and people, then enlist a top POS to take care of all of the dry and repetitive admin, accountancy and operations. Free yourself from the grind, while it works intelligently in the background.
When choosing a POS, don't settle for simple. In reality, restaurant life is complex — so you need a system that handles all the detail with ease ... so you don't have to. Do the extra due diligence, look under the bonnet and aim for true 'business control'. You really need a POS that's connected end-to-end and comes to you with insight, suggestions and can even take action on your behalf.
A simple POS will let you down sooner or later. A smart one will have your back.
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