Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Your restaurant point-of-sale system is one of the keys to your smooth running operation - helping to keep the orders flowing correctly and the cash coming in. But are you overlooking some of the ways your POS Software could help you boost your restaurant's bottom line? Here's 5 common features that many restaurant owners neglect - but that can make a real impact on your profit!
If you are not tracking individual customer behavior with your point-of-sale system and tying that to your marketing program, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your customers, boost repeat visits, and increase ticket averages. Your POS software may have a customer database that lets you find customers who haven't visited recently or who love your Chicken Parmesan. Your POS software may even have a built-in loyalty program, that encourages customers to identify themselves and lets you reward customers for purchases. It may tie in to a marketing automation system, that helps you keep in touch with customers via e-mail, text message and social media. Don't let the goldmine of customer data sit untouched! Even a simple action, such as welcoming new customers with a follow up email or postcard, can make a huge difference on your bottom line.
No one likes counting cans and boxes and spending long nights doing data entry. That's why very few restaurant operators use any of the inventory and food cost controls they've got built into their POS systems. But you can make a difference on your food cost without getting bogged down in all the paperwork. Just pick 5 high cost, high risk or "indicator" items. High cost - like steak or cheese. High risk - like liquor, beer or wine. And "indicator" items, such as cups or boxes, which can point out when food items are going out unaccounted for. Just pick 5 to start, set them up in your point-of-sale software, and count them on a weekly basis. You'll learn valuable information about your operation, and send an important signal that you are paying attention to food costs.
Does your point-of-sale software let you track house accounts? Does it have an accounts receivable function? Does it track businesses and hotels? How about charity affiliation programs? These bells and whistles are designed to help you make more money! You may have never taken the time to set them up, but it's worth the investment in learning. These features allow you to provide special service to some of your potentially most profitable customers, and those who will recommend your restaurant in the community.
Of course, your standard restaurant POS system gives you timekeeping functions so you can feed your payroll system. But are you taking advantage of all the management tools available to keep on top of this critical cost center? Alerts when employees approach overtime can help your managers keep labor costs where they are expected to be. Forecasting tools based on historical sales can help you build a smart schedule. On-the-spot reports, graphs and alerts will let you know if your labor costs are meeting your goals. Teach your managers how to use these tools on every shift: when to send extra staff home, or when to call someone in if labor is too low (as that affects customer service).
Your menu may be a handed-down family tradition, or it may change regularly with the times. But every item that earns a spot on your menu must pull its weight. Do you know which items are most profitable, and which are costing you money? Can you accurately predict how many lasagna dinners you'll need next Friday, so you don't end up with wasted food at the end of the night? Which coupons are bringing in business, and which are duds? Buried somewhere in the hundreds of POS system reports are the answers you need. Most restaurant owners get in the habit of skimming a summary report once in a while. Take some time on a quarterly basis to review your menu performance reports, update your food cost comparisons, and evaluate your couponing. Use the information your POS system has been gathering to help make informed decisions to improve your bottom line!
Modern restaurant point-of-sale systems are chock full of features - and 70% of those features are used by only a small subset of operators. Squeeze more out of your investment by using your POS software for more than just ordering!
To learn more about how to choose the right POS system for your business, download our free Restaurant POS Buyer's Guide.