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How Your Restaurant Can Make Money with Point of Sale

March 23, 2018

Start thinking of your POS system as the nerve center of your business that monitors your operations, interfaces with external systems, and integrates with business applications.

You may believe your POS system is a cost of doing business and you can’t make money with POS. If so, it’s time to change your thinking. As a restaurateur, you know business practices are evolving. Restaurants have a growing online presence and many have mobile apps that allow them to push messages and offers and to foster loyalty. Customer data is helping to pinpoint marketing efforts, and location-based technology may be used to message a customer nearing a restaurant’s location. 

In physics, efficiency is defined as the useful work a machine performs compared to the energy it took to make the machine work. When you think about it, the definition in business isn’t so different. You want the most “useful work” for the least effort. You want to reduce waste and labor hours while still getting the desired result — satisfied, loyal customers while operating a profitable business. Point of sale (POS) systems have responded to these needs, evolving into powerful profit and loss (P&L) tools. Understanding what POS systems can do now that they couldn’t do years ago can help you understand how to capitalize on these new capabilities to make money with POS. 

There are a number of changes you have to make in your perception, however, to get the most out of a next-generation POS system: 

Remember, It Is Not a Cash Register 
If you consider your POS system only as a “cash register,” that will be the limit of the functionality and benefits it will provide to your restaurant. Start thinking of your POS system as the nerve center of your business that monitors your operations, interfaces with external systems, and integrates with business applications.

Once you adjust your view of its capabilities, you will begin to leverage your POS system to collect and analyze data to help you gauge business performance against the goals you have set. 

Take Advantage of Your POS provider As a Valuable Resource 
Successful restaurateurs are experts in their industries, but they are not necessarily experts in POS technology. Your POS provider is an expert, however, and has extensive experience working with businesses like yours to help them select, install, deploy, and maintain a POS system that supports their operations and business goals. 

Just as your POS system is not just a cash register, your POS provider is not just a technician. As a trusted advisor, your POS provider can perform periodic assessments to make sure your restaurant has everything it needs to make money with POS. Your POS provider can also help you plan and budget for upgrades and new functionality that will keep your POS system operating at peak performance and capable of providing you with the tools to maintain a healthy bottom line.

For example, if one of your key performance indicators (KPIs) is table turns, you can track this metric with your point of sale system, as well as performance in each step of the process from seating guests, wait staff service, food preparation, and settling the check. You can also correlate this with guest feedback to see if successfully carrying out the process resulted in satisfied customers. 

In addition to being able to make money with POS by hitting goals such as turning more tables, POS systems also help you save money. Your POS system’s inventory control capabilities enable you to avoid over-ordering ingredients, resulting in less waste, and to set alerts when ingredients are nearly depleted or are close to their expiration dates. Your POS system also has functions that address loss prevention, such as cashier ID required to access the system, creating accountability. 

Take Stock 
When you look at your operations, are they as efficient as they could be? When used to its fullest capacity, your POS system reflects the rules of how your business must run and can help you enforce those rules, from how guests are greeted to how cash is accounted for. Leveraging your POS to standardize and automate processes will save time and will reduce errors, waste and shrink, which will help your restaurant operate more efficiently. 

Efficiency in Terms of Dollars and Cents 
It may be easier to understand how operating more efficiently can save money, which helps your bottom line, but can operational efficiencies truly make money with POS? Here are five possibilities:

• Using a guest management tool that automates reservations and wait lists, you can seat guests more quickly and turn tables faster. Faster table turns equal more sales.
• Your POS system can prompt your staff to upsell and cross-sell. Asking customers if they would like to add complementary menu items or to upsize their orders is a way to increase sales. Your POS system can make sure it happens.
• Mobile POS devices at tables enable customers to place appetizer or drink orders without waiting for a member of your wait staff to check on their table. Because customers don’t have to wait, they could find time to have an extra drink. In addition, you can consider sponsored messages that scroll on these mobile devices, adding a revenue stream for your restaurant.
• POS software that manages delivery, takeout, and curbside pickup can provide you with new revenue streams, and help schedule delivery drivers for the maximum return on each trip.
• Offering and managing gift cards through your POS system enables customers to use them like a payment card, and customers often order more than the gift card amount when they redeem the card, increasing the amount of the sale. 

Restaurant operations that are not efficient erode profits. It’s clear, however, that operating efficiently with the help of your POS system not only protects you from losses, it helps you increase revenues.

Restaurant practices are evolving, and your perceptions must evolve as well. Invest time into educating yourself on all of the capabilities of your POS system, and take advantage of your POS provider’s expertise to learn how to make money with POS.

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