Keep at the cutting edge 1: POS equipment to boost your business efficiency

Key points
  • Tech advances offer many benefits in today’s POS systems but some still suffer from basic design flaws    
  • We’ve compiled a checklist of five key features that are ideally suited for small to medium sized businesses featuring pizza on the menu
  • Your onscreen order system should be designed for intuitive use and enable you to easily identify all order variations
  •  Customer profiles and advance order storage are functions that can provide big benefits to both your customers and your business 
  • The ability to track home deliveries along with reporting and inventory management tools are useful in maximising business efficiencies and planning             

CUSTOMISABLE POINT OF SALE SOLUTIONS for foodservice businesses have evolved rapidly over recent years and still the innovations keep coming. These days it’s possible to run your point of sale system not only via a traditional touch screen but also an iPad or tablet or even a handheld system. And thanks to cloud-based functionality, it’s now possible to access your system remotely, wherever you happen to be.

But while technological advances have created many plusses, systems are still often let down by basic design flaws which make them inflexible and awkward to use. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to choose a system which isn’t versatile enough to adapt to the specific needs of your business. To avoid problems like this and make it easier to choose a POS system that works for your business, we’ve compiled the following checklist of five key features to look for that are ideally suited for small to medium sized businesses featuring pizza on the menu:

  • Intuitive on screen ordering. This means your on screen order system should include not only all your menu items, easily searchable and listed in the order that you can choose (and change as and when desired), but should also be designed so you can use it intuitively – i.e. without too much thought. For pizzas, this means being able to easily identify order variations like different sizes, special toppings/half and half pizzas, gluten free or sourdough crusts, and meal deal specials all from the one interactive screen display. You don’t want your staff having to scroll through page after page to input different information – that creates too much potential for errors.

  • Customer profiles and order history. Pizza and pasta menus typically generate repeat business as customers find a meal they like and come back to order it again and again. If your POS system includes the functionality to find your customer’s profile either by mobile phone number (in the case of takeaway or home delivery orders) or name, that’s a big help in maintain customer service standards. Staff can see at a glance what their favourite meals are, be able to advise how long they’re likely to have to wait for a delivery without being asked, and even upsell by suggesting add-ons or side dishes based on the customer’s order history. All this tells the customer you know them and appreciate their business.

  • Advance order storage. This is a relatively recent POS innovation and one of particular benefit when preparing pizza and pasta. If your POS system can store orders and send them to the food prep area at set times, you can encourage customers to order in advance of busy periods – knowing they’ll still get their pizza when they want it. For example, your customer can order a pizza at 5.30 to be ready for pickup/delivery at 7.30. You can ‘set and forget’ the order in the system, knowing it will automatically be sent to the kitchen in time to be ready when the customer expects. Letting your customers know about this service is a great solution to help cut down on phone orders during rush hours.

  • Ability to track home deliveries. For any foodservice business where home delivery makes up a large contingent of the orders, it’s imperative to have a POS system which can keep track of where these orders are at in the delivery process. For example, it should include the functionality to easily input when the order has been sent out for delivery, any special delivery instructions for the driver, and a GPS map or route reference. Ideally your drivers should be able to access this system remotely and update details of the order’s progress such as the time it’s been dropped off. It’s also ideal to have an alert or reminder function that lets you know when orders are running late or haven’t been sent out for delivery within a specified time window.

  • Reporting and inventory management tools. The more comprehensive the reports your POS system can generate, the better for your business planning and inventory management. The better systems can provide extensive reporting to help you reduce costs and maximise profits. Ideally you’ll want reports which can be generated at the close of the day’s business and be accessible remotely, such as via a web browser or mobile platform using the Cloud. There are also specific inventory management tools and apps which can track specific menu items, making it easier for you to identify top performers. We’ll look at these in more detail in a future article.