It’s a new year, which means it’s a great time to begin taking advantage of POS and the operating efficiency it offers to foodservice establishments. Here are three strategies for getting the ball rolling:
1. Take ordering to the table – Tablet-based POS systems offer an extremely efficient order-taking and delivery process that many restaurants could benefit from. Consider this: By many estimates, servers spend a whopping 80 percent of their time keying orders into a POS terminal and moving back and forth between a restaurant’s kitchen, bar, and tables—meaning just 20 percent of their time is spent interacting with customers. With mobile POS, servers can remain on the floor, and order-taking occurs at a faster pace because servers don’t waste precious time attempting to figure out what they have written as they enter orders into the POS terminal. The sooner orders transmitted from the tablet POS reach the kitchen, the sooner kitchen staff can start preparing them. Order accuracy increases as well, eliminating the need to expend effort rectifying mistakes and freeing up staff to move on to the next order.
Equipping servers with tablets also allows runners to deliver drinks and other “preliminaries” to diners’ tables while servers are still taking orders for appetizers and entrées. In addition to bolstering efficiency, harnessing tablet POS in such a way may boost check size by encouraging customers to request “extras”—for example, a second round of drinks.
Additionally, using tablets to keep servers on the floor lets waitstaff handle more tables, further upping the efficiency ante. Even better, if your tablets can display full-color images of every menu item and prompt servers to engage in appropriate upselling, you’ll be able to decrease the number of servers assigned to each shift—while simultaneously increasing sales.
2. Put payments in patrons’ hands – Using tablets or other mobile POS devices to accept payments at the table is a terrific time-saving measure. Instead of waiting for a check to be taken and a credit card processed, customers can pay their bill as soon as they are ready to do so. Tables turn faster (up to seven minutes faster, according to some studies), while servers have additional time to promote menu items, answer customers’ questions, and deliver orders in a timely manner.
3. Bust the line – Quick-service restaurants and similar establishments with counter service can keep lines moving and ramp up efficiency by harnessing mobile POS systems to take orders (and, if desired, payments) as patrons wait their turn for assistance. They can also employ self-ordering kiosks that use tablet POS devices as hardware.
In both scenarios, the boon to efficiency results not only from slashing wait times and reducing congestion at the checkout point, but also from the ability to handle more customers in a shorter amount of time. Smaller lines also translate into higher sales volumes; some customers become frustrated by long waits and take their business elsewhere, but line-busting is one way to retain their business.
Admittedly, not all New Year’s resolutions are viable, and many simply don’t stick for one reason or another. However, heightened efficiency is an attainable and sustainable goal when POS is the lynchpin. Some financial investments might be required in order to obtain desired efficiency levels, but any money spent will quickly be gained back.