Running a restaurant takes a lot of energy, ambition and time, as the owners of top Australian restaurants will testify. Often, being the only person who has responsibility for all areas of restaurant management means that you can be pulled in several directions at once. Not being able to have an overview of the whole operation can lead to mistakes, oversights on ordering stock, poor customer service and errors occurring on the cash and accounting side.
For complete management of your restaurant, the best route is to use technology in order to work smarter and streamline all your business processes. This is where a Point of Sale or POS system is as necessary to your restaurant as having a chef in place. This computerised system will enable you to track not just your cash flow and sales but act as a food inventory, market research tool and simplify the accounts and bookkeeping. It sits at the heart of the business enabling the company to process orders and keep financial management on a tight rein. So how can it help manage your restaurant business? Let’s start with customer orders.
From the moment that the customer sits down at the table or comes to the counter and places their order, the POS system ensures it goes straight through to the kitchen area. This will speed up the service and ensures that mistakes are cut down to a minimum, saving money on wasted food orders, for example. Even drinks orders can be taken at the table both outside and inside the establishment providing increased consumer satisfaction due to the mobility of the service. It also cuts down on wasted staff time going to and from the bar or kitchen, because orders are sent directly through to a display system set up in the relevant areas.
Communications are simplified between the waiters and the kitchen staff, which means less time dealing with any complaints or queries from customers kept waiting for their order. The quality of food is maintained as kitchen staff integrate the orders and improve kitchen efficiency, which means less spoiled or wasted food orders. As a manager, you do not have to be on hand at all times to check on the smooth running of the ordering service, in some instances, you can check this from the comfort of your smartphone, if you have to be in the office, dealing with other issues.
Cash and Credit Transactions
Getting the cash flow right and being able to ensure customers can pay by credit/debit card is key for any business. A POS system can be set up to take payments and credit card transactions at the table and will be able to keep a track of every cent and dollar spent at your restaurant. Some even offer the option of bill splitting which is a bonus for consumers and large parties. It offers a secure method of payment which is important for the customer and cuts down on the opportunity for staff theft. Staff log in as an individual so that it will record every transaction they are involved with and so are accountable for all of their sales.
As most POS systems are easy to use and the display interface can be personalised to your menu and options, it makes it easier to train up staff. Some of the systems also have features such as a floor plan display. This will not only help guide your waiters and servers to the right table, but also speeds up delivery from order to plate so the diners will experience excellent customer service.
The difference between stock coming in and sales going out can be down to a number of factors, human error, theft, spoiled stock, poor stock control and rotation and is known as shrinkage. All businesses want to reduce their shrinkage figure and the POS system is one way of keeping this to a minimum. This is down to an automated stock inventory system, quicker and accurate ordering from customer through to the kitchen and reduction in the possibility of staff theft. Normally keeping an eye on all of these factors is down to the owner or manager, but an automated system can take most of the leg work out of this management process.
Inventory Management and Centralized Control of Menus
Centralising the control of pricing, menus and promotions will reduce the workload on the restaurant owner because it can be carried out at the touch of a button. Cloud based restaurant POS can change prices or set up new menus and promotions instantly. If you have more than one outlet, this can be applied across all the businesses or you can keep local preferences depending on what you require.
Stock ordering and control is automated, and you can set levels so that once you fall below a pre-set order number, this can alert you to order more or can automatically send orders to supplies if required.
Reporting and Analytics
Michelle Garnaut, one of Australia’s most respected restauranteurs and founder of the M restaurant group in Hong Kong, speaks of market research as an essential aspect of developing a successful hospitality brand. This along with consistency and quality being paramount, is the mantra that has seen her develop and run successful restaurants since 1989. (Source: Advance.org Sept 10 2016)
A POS system captures an enormous amount of data about your clients, their eating and spending habits, their preferences and when launching a new menu, can be used to check if you have got this right.
Your restaurant POS should provide a loyalty programme so that you can offer rewards and incentives and personalise the consumer experience (e.g. automated 2 for 1 offer on their birthday emailed in a timely manner direct to their inbox). You can then run other targeted marketing promotions but using the POS system to take the work out of marketing and promoting the business.
The POS system acts as a time clock and is invaluable when it comes to preparing the payroll. It can be used to track staff shifts and performance so that payroll will be accurate. It can also organise sales tax information as well as profit and loss statements ready for the end of year accounts. Keeping a track of receipts, orders, payments and staff pay is no longer down to one individual as this can all be automated. Accounting data can be produced in a report format that will make tax returns a lot easier.
For complete management of your restaurant business, peace of mind and making the most of your time, speak to a POS specialist today.