Cousins Subs bolsters IT infrastructure with new point-of-sale (POS) and redesigned in-store network in all corporate and franchised units. Recently, the company completed its rollout of a new POS system across its footprint. Fully funding the replacement of all systems, Cousins Subs corporate worked with Brink & Retail Data Systems of Wisconsin, which is part of the largest retail technology reseller organizations in the U.S., to integrate multiple vendors through one service and unify the sub shop’s POS system across all locations. The POS features a cloud-based system with consumer facing payment terminals that utilize EMV standards and accept the most current payment methods including Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay. 

“As guest expectations and our industry continue to evolve, we view our investment in technology as vital to our brand’s success,” says Jason Westhoff, chief financial officer at Cousins Subs, who is heavily involved in defining and developing the brand’s technology strategies. “By making these investments, we have standardized our technology infrastructure and put a system in place that can positively impact our business for years to come.”

The more efficient system has streamlined front-of-house operations by reducing the amount of button pushes at the register, creating a more conversational ordering flow with guests, and cutting down on the time it takes to enter a guest’s order—enhancements that also allow for easier, faster training of new employees. Through the POS, stores can better meet operational goals with the help of automatic reporting that enables them to focus less on manual data calculations and more on managerial and cost savings decisions. The system’s inventory program helps managers keep track of cost of goods along with providing a prep list that uses historical product mix data and projected sales to cut down on waste. Future integrations will incorporate a labor scheduler program to further assist managers and owners in improving operations.

A unified POS enables Cousins to more easily rollout new initiatives and products such as limited-time-only sandwiches and digital menu boards that can be managed and updated from the register. In addition, the system simplifies the coupon redemption process allowing all offers to be tracked so Cousins can decipher which offers and mediums are driving the most traffic and value. Cousins’ online ordering is also integrated with the POS ensuring pricing is accurately communicated in-store and the elimination of manual entry of online orders at the register.

“Not only do these enhancements improve in-store operations and reporting, they deliver a more rewarding guest experience. From a smoother checkout process to us being able to target what offers will better suit guest needs, the POS allows our system to run more effectively,” says Westhoff.

With consumer facing screens, guests can see and review the items they order limiting mistakes and allowing them to verify their purchase with confidence. The POS creates complete transactional transparency as the guest receipts have the same information that gets sent to the back-of-house—a minor, but important detail in ensuring guests’ orders are made correctly. 

In addition to the rollout of the POS system, Cousins redesigned the in-store network in all corporate and franchised units. The network is fully managed through Cousins’ corporate IT team including full support of all devices from POS, to phone and wireless backup systems. This change moves the management of all in-store technology from the restaurant owner to Cousins’ Corporate Support Center, allowing the owner to focus on providing quality products and guest service.

“Though the integration and rollout were handled corporately, our franchise partners were an integral part of the process. They were invited to be part of a committee focused on providing POS feedback on any global issues as well as immersed in the buildout, testing, and rollout phases. Our goal was to keep an open dialog to ensure all feedback and improvements were heard so changes could be made immediately to benefit the entire system,” explains Westhoff.

The rollout of the POS system is just one of many investments Cousins has made to help its corporate and franchise-owned restaurants bolster its technology infrastructure both online and in-store. Over the last few years, Cousins has built a new responsive consumer site with a more user-friendly experience that better aligns with the brand through text and design, a franchise site that more accurately communicates the brand story and growth strategy to potential franchise partners, and a mobile ordering app that offers increased functionality. Cousins has also invested in advanced training technology to help operators set up employees for success. Through an online and mobile app training tool, CousinsU, the sub shop can train through short videos, online courses and quizzes that provide employees with advancement skills and essential training needed to carryout optimum customer service. Most recently, Cousins is in process of testing a new interior digital signage package including menu boards and advertising materials displayed on high-definition monitors as well as preparing to launch a loyalty program in 2019.

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