Sponsored by Bank of America Merchant Services.
As restaurants face an increasingly competitive market, it’s more important than ever for operators to upscale their systems in order to provide the best possible service to their customers. A significant pain point for many is using an outdated point-of-sale (POS)—older systems are rapidly becoming obsolete as more restaurants adopt cloud-based technology solutions that help operators organize and track data. Perhaps more importantly, they allow restaurants to improve order accuracy and speed of service for customers.
“The installation of older PC-based systems that require local servers was an expensive investment for many restaurateurs, so it’s a tough financial choice to abandon those solutions,” says Wil Cothran, senior vice president of integrated payments for Bank of America Merchant Services. “However, they are also expensive to maintain because they require annual updates and service by the POS company.”
According to Cothran, cloud-based systems are the clear response to this challenge because they provide more flexibility for the operator, managers, and staff who will be using the equipment on site. Furthermore, a streamlined POS aids front-of-house employees by eliminating clunky hardware, which takes up valuable counter space. Newer systems can be integrated with mobile payment technologies through near-field communication (NFC), which speeds up transaction times and can help reduce queueing during peak dayparts.
Cloud-based systems are also a boon for operators, Cothran says, who are unable to be in every location all the time.
“Pulling information together in one place and being able to access it remotely is paramount. Operators want something that’s easy for the staff to use and expandable to accommodate sales data from multiple units.”
In addition, an updated POS can provide metrics to operators and management teams so they can quickly identify where inefficiencies might occur, especially during peak dayparts. Being able to access that data in real time means that management can make adjustments to address any challenges and improve the customer journey. For example, analytics could help a manager decide whether they need to hire an additional cashier during busy hours. It could also influence the restaurant to create an online pickup counter to keep those customers out of the main line.
Cloud systems also allow for interfaces like line busting and kiosk ordering, as well as enhancing online ordering for store pickup and delivery services. They facilitate a variety of traditional and mobile payments and allow operators to integrate widely used solutions, such as loyalty programs, apps, and delivery partnerships.
By updating to cloud-based solutions, restaurants can ensure that customers have a better experience no matter how they place their orders or choose to pay. These systems can help reduce bottle-necking during peak meal times by allowing for faster service, improving order accuracy, and accepting customers’ preferred payment methods.
“Changing POS systems is a significant choice,” Cothran says. “So it’s important to include frontline employees and managers in the conversation. Getting their buy-in is essential to success, but ultimately cloud-based systems are critical to improving front-of-house efficiency and customer satisfaction in your restaurant.”
By Erin McPherson