New digital channels are coming—can your POS system handle them?

Five years ago, restaurant operators largely considered the point-of-sale (POS) system as a functional piece of machinery that took and kept track of orders—but times have changed.

With so many advancements in digital technology, POS systems that simply process orders aren’t adequate anymore. Today’s POS can perform a multitude of automated tasks that provide rich operational insights that can help operators save money.

“Restaurants have always had tight margins, but now with the labor crisis, supply chain shortages, and consumer demand for delivery and safety reassurances, the right POS can provide a strategic advantage for restaurants,” says Chris Lybeer, chief strategy and marketing officer at Revel Systems. “A lot of people think of the POS as just a cash register, but it can also drive financial improvements.”

There has always been discussion about labor savings, optimizing inventory, and how the POS can help address these challenges. Over the past few years, operators began streamlining their POS—things like eschewing printers in favor of kitchen display systems (KDS), which display orders on digital screens. Not only does this decrease paper waste and trash (which keeps the kitchen cleaner), it’s a clear, consistent, and legible solution that shows recipes and cook times and routes food orders directly to the appropriate station.

Now, operators are further embracing technology in the back-of-house and moving to smart appliances and the Internet of Things (IoT) to make the kitchen even more efficient. When connected to a POS, restaurant data can show staff exactly which stock is running low or when there are too many orders coming into the kitchen for the current number of employees scheduled. When connected with other systems like digital signage, the POS can then show only items with quick prep times or throttle off-premises orders.

“With so much tech complexity entering the industry right now, we don’t need to surface that to employees,” Lybeer says. “The POS needs to tell staff what they should be cooking and where they should deliver it—employees should not be in the middle of that. We need smart solutions that keep it simple so that operators can take care of people.”

Perhaps the most important reason for operators to invest in a robust, tech-forward POS platform is that it can save a ton of money. Third-party services typically charge restaurants between 15–30 percent in delivery fees. For high-traffic operations, this number can easily reach six figures per year.

“It’s critical that restaurants have their own native ordering platforms,” Lybeer says. “You don’t want to manage several vendors, plus it’s much more fiscally responsible to do it yourself. If you want to drive financial improvements, you need a tech stack that can support digital consumer channels.”

Revel’s POS platform integrates online ordering, QR codes, delivery, and more, allowing restaurant operators exclusive access to their own analytics and first-party data. New digital channels are coming, and Lybeer says operators must be ready to adapt them at the right price point.

Revel recently partnered with Voxie, a conversational AI-based SMS consumer marketing platform. The combined offering helps drive additional revenue for customers in the restaurant and retail sectors by as much as 30 percent. Through Voxie’s integration with Revel, operators can pull historical sales data and identify customer trends to more efficiently target the right audiences.

“You can’t keep paying astronomical delivery fees and think you’ll survive,” he says. “A good POS platform isn’t so much about adding to the topline as it is about controlling costs.”

To learn more about how POS platforms can drive financial growth, visit the Revel Systems website.

By Davina van Buren

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