Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Choosing the right POS system for your restaurant


December 30, 2014
By Carmen Vogel-McCombie

Topics
carmenvogel

Dec. 30, 2014 – With new
mobile and web technologies driving the change in the restaurant industry, it’s more
critical than ever to choose a point-of-sale technology with the flexibility to
grow with your business needs. Here are some pointers on how to do just that.



carmenvogel

Dec. 30, 2014 – The pizza business is changing and
technology is playing a major role: Restaurant operators are being forced to
find new ways of doing business to better cater to their customers. With new
mobile and web technologies driving the change in the industry, it’s more
critical than ever to choose a point-of-sale technology with the flexibility to
grow with your business needs.

The last thing any restaurant owner or IT executive wants is
to invest in a new POS solution and go to all the work of integrating it into
their business operations, only to discover a few months or years later later
that their “new” technology solution is now lagging, obsolete, and holding them
back.

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Restaurant companies face an array of possibilities when it
comes to point of sale systems today, in terms of both in price and
capabilities. Of course, no one system will satisfy every restaurant’s needs,
but by knowing what you need and doing your research, you will have a better
chance of finding the right system for your restaurant and investing in your
future growth.

Here are five things to keep in mind when POS shopping and
what to ask POS vendors:

1. 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 their 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 (application programming interface, or integration tools) do you
offer for connecting the POS with head office systems or third-party apps and
applications?

2. Food and labour cost controls.  Your restaurant POS should easily track
employee hours and multiple jobs and pay levels. It should have built-in sales
forecasting and labour planning tools that can predict sales and staffing needs
to meet labour targets. It should have integrated scheduling to predict and
plan for the volume of business you can expect each day, each hour –and it
should be broken out for delivery, carryout, and dine-in. You want your POS
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 labour and food
costs? Can you provide some customer examples?

3. 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?

4. 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 labour statistics, detailed
reports and analytics take the guesswork out of managing a restaurant.

Ask the vendor: Can I access my store reports anywhere,
anytime? How?

5. 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! 

Carmen Vogel-McCombie is a marketing and trade show
coordinator at SpeedLine Solutions, Inc. and a contributing editor to On Point:
The Restaurant Technology Blog.