Evaluating point of sale systems can be a daunting task even for the tech savvy. With many vendors and solutions to choose from, how do you find the right POS for your restaurant company?
Remember when a cash register and a loud, booming voice to the kitchen was all it took? Technology has changed many areas of the business, and the most successful restaurants are taking full advantage of point of sale systems to control costs and grow their businesses. Those restaurant operators know it takes dedicated research and asking the right questions to find the right system.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when POS shopping and what to ask POS vendors:
- Flexibility and choice. Keep your options open. Technology changes rapidly, so choose a POS provider with a history of regular upgrades and a solution that is open and flexible enough to let you integrate the next big technology solution you can’t live without. How can you tell? Look at the number and quality of technology partners that integrate with a POS solution. Don’t box yourself in: make sure you have the flexibility to integrate new technology solutions down the road. Ask the vendor: What APIs (or integration tools) do you offer for connecting the POS with head office systems or third-party apps and applications?
- Food and Labor Cost Controls. Your restaurant POS should easily track employee hours and multiple jobs and pay levels. It should have built-in sales forecasting and labor planning tools to predict sales and staffing needs to meet labor targets. And integrated scheduling to predict and plan for the volume of business you can expect each day, each hour—and even broken out for delivery, carryout, and dine-in. You want your point of sale system to help you cut food cost out of the box by reducing human errors and waste. But by taking advantage of inventory and portion control features and other loss prevention tools, you should be able to shave more points off your food cost. Ask the vendor: How can your POS save me on labor and food cost? Can you provide some customer examples?Like this one: In this Pizza Marketplace case study on Nancy’s Pizza and SpeedLine POS, the bottom line was a 5% reduction in food cost chain-wide.
- Inventory Tools. Inventory is cash on your shelves: waste, over-stocking, theft and spoilage can impact your bottom line significantly. If your business is pizza, does your POS vendor’s inventory solution easily track the ingredients you use, even for create-your-own pizzas and half-and-half orders that pose a challenge for traditional inventory applications? The right inventory application calculates inventory accurately for build-your-own pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, salads and buffet. Ask the vendor: How does your POS handle my restaurant concept’s unique menu requirements?
- Accurate reporting and analytics. Knowing your numbers is critical. Your POS should be able to deliver numbers quickly and accurately—when you need them. From sales to customer data to labor stats, detailed reports and analytics take the guesswork out of managing a restaurant company. Ask the vendor: Can I access my store reports anywhere, anytime? How?
- Proven reliable support. With any technology solution, timely expert support and training are critical. Do your research, and choose a partner with certified trainers and technicians, live support, and an exemplary track record for customer satisfaction. You understand how important a reliable, effective POS system is to your operation. Protect your investment with a solid support contract. Ask the vendor: Can you provide me with response and customer satisfaction statistics for your support services?
Your business is one-of-a-kind, so choosing a point of sale system built for your business model only makes sense. Remember to ask questions, and choose wisely!
Posted by Tricia Hoy| Author's website