During a “normal” year, restaurant owners and operators face issues such as cash flow and capital, inventory management, hiring and training and providing excellent customer service. Some of these restaurant challenges can be more easily addressed by having one year’s worth of operating expenses on hand, and training and treating staff well will make them long-term employees. Other issues, like ingredient management, can cause much bigger headaches and cost money — throwing away expired ingredients eats into profit margins, especially with the rising cost of food. On top of that, outdated or complicated technology can frustrate staff and invite errors when people are in a rush.
When you factor in the complications of the post-pandemic recovery like supply chain issues, COVID-cautious diners, and labor shortages, it’s clear that owning a restaurant right now is not for the faint at heart. However, the right point of sale system can help alleviate some of these restaurant challenges so business owners can stay ahead of their competition.
How the right POS system overcomes restaurant challenges
Training new employees and helping them to perform their jobs successfully is a top priority now. Point of sale systems that require a series of clicks to make selections or switching between screens can be frustrating to learn and use. Choose technology that is intuitive and doesn’t require multiple steps to get the job done. Additionally, a quality POS puts the information employees need right at their fingertips, so they can answer questions on the spot, eliminating the need – and the time — to say, “let me check.” The right POS system will provide information about recipes and ingredients, allergy information and training videos that staff members can reference when they have a question or want to review processes.
As far as restaurant challenges go, inventory mistakes can be some of the costliest. It’s important to monitor what’s selling so managers can order more in a timely manner, ensuring the most popular choices are always in stock. On the flip side, knowing what items are languishing on the shelves tells the manager to order less next time, so they aren’t stocking food they can’t sell. Monitoring expiration dates gives restaurant owners the option to put ingredients about to expire on special instead of being thrown out. Comprehensive cloud reporting allows managers to see activity on- and off-premises to forecast demand, so future orders are based on actual data and purchasing history.
Although ingredients are the top priority when it comes to ordering and tracking, it’s important not to forget about supplies you need to run your restaurant. The take-out boom and supply chain disruptions have caused a scarcity of items such as pizza boxes and to-go containers. No to-go containers means no take out or paying top dollar for whatever is available, which could decrease profits on already thin margins. Inventory management can prompt managers to order when supplies reach a set threshold to avoid higher costs.
Labor shortages in restaurants, especially in the Northeast, have been problematic for owners and managers. Staff has become one of the biggest restaurant challenges, as eateries fight to hire and retain workers. An alternative to searching for new employees or paying staff to work additional hours, consider automating certain tasks to maximize profits and boost sales.
For example, replace telephone orders with online ordering. Diners love the convenience, and this valuable service helps them avoid a busy signal or waiting on hold to place their order. According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly half (46%) of smartphone users order restaurant takeout or delivery from their phones at least once a month. That’s a lot of revenue that could be generated without expanding the dining room, paying more staff or opening for longer hours.
Online ordering also gives the customer more control over the selection process, so they can take their time reading the menu and finding new items to try. Online ordering also upsells and cross-sells for every transaction, so the average check is higher.
Another way to automate is to leverage diners’ mobile devices for ordering and payment. For example, Focus POS’ @Table solution allows diners to use their own mobile devices and keeps the tab open until the diner selects the “checkout” button. This alleviates the need for diners to high-touch items like menus, shared payment devices, or pens to sign the check.
Adapt and Succeed
Restaurant challenges don’t have to cripple your operation. The right POS system can provide you with data that guides pricing, optimizes menus and creates specials to reduce waste, boost sales and make diners feel more comfortable with in-person dining in a post-pandemic world.
Focus POS has the software solutions and expertise to help restaurant owners and managers overcome their current challenges and anticipate future problems. Contact us to learn more.