Not long ago, bars and restaurants expected little from their point-of-sale systems other than the ability to record sales and accept payments. Those days are over. Today, POS systems are central to nearly all aspects of managing a bar or restaurant. From inventory tracking to customer relationship management to sales analysis to employee scheduling and management, POS systems have become the nervous system of modern retail operations. Ensuring that bar and restaurant POS systems have all the features and functionality your business needs has become crucial to its success.
Here’s a closer look at five POS features that are easy to overlook, but critical to the smooth and efficient operation of a bar or restaurant.
Feature #1: Split Bills by Person, by Item, and by Position
An important trend in merchant POS systems for 2020 is enhancing the customer experience. One feature that patrons of bars and restaurants are demanding is flexible checkout options. For example, a common scenario in restaurants and bars is one in which one member of a party requests a separate bill or wants to purchase one item separately. However, this relatively simple request can cause a major headache for servers if the POS system they’re using lacks the ability to split bills so one bill or item can be closed while keeping the others open.
You may be surprised to learn that this helpful feature is missing from many POS systems. Not only does this detract from the customer experience, it reduces the productivity of servers, who have to jump through hoops to meet the customer’s needs. It’s important for bars and restaurants to ensure that their POS system supports the ability to split bills by table position, close out one bill while keeping the party’s other tabs open, and allow patrons to pay for items as they go.
Feature #2: Track Wet Stock by Ounce, Milliliter, or Other Measure
The rule of thumb in the bar and restaurant industry is to price drinks so they return a profit margin of about 80 percent, so if a drink includes $1 worth of alcohol, it will be priced around $5. At first blush, this sounds like a good deal for bar owners, until you consider that the cost of alcohol represents only about 40 percent of the monthly cost of running a typical neighborhood pub.
In addition, about 25 percent of the liquor these establishments buy is lost, which drops their profit margin on drinks to as little as 60 percent to 70 percent, depending on the type of drink (more expensive drinks actually have lower profit margins, according to the Houston Chronicle). One of the best ways for a bar or restaurant to maximize its profitability from drinks is to control those losses.
A POS system can help increase the percentage of alcohol that actually gets served by tracking wet stock to measures as small as an ounce, milliliter, or other measure. By monitoring stock levels by units of each bottle in stock, establishments get a finer-grained look at their inventory while also gaining insight into where the liquor is being lost, and how to prevent that loss.
Feature #3: Support Table Plans and Table Functionality
It’s easy for owners of bars and restaurants to underestimate the importance of their establishment’s table placement. You should emphasize the need for flexibility when planning the layout of the business’s dining area so it accommodates parties of all sizes while also ensuring that guests are comfortable. These are among the aspects to consider when planning the table layout for a bar or restaurant:
- Ensure that guests can move easily between tables, which usually means leaving at least two feet of space between the corners of tables.
- Make wait stations portable to avoid having to relocate a table to a less-desirable area of the dining room.
- Use portable half-wall dividers to provide diners with more privacy, whether they’re a party of one or a party of 20.
- Sit in every seat to anticipate locations that customers may find uncomfortable, such as one that’s too close to the front door or the restrooms.
A great way to keep your customers happy and boost your establishment’s profitability is to use a POS system that lets you get an at-a-glance view of your open and seated tables in multiple rooms. This allows you to position seats in a way that streamlines order processing while also viewing split shared items across positions to ensure fast and accurate bill-paying.
Feature #4: Provide Lots of Options for Printing Orders
One of the hidden productivity-boosting features of POS systems for restaurants and bars is their ability to send orders for printing at various locations. This allows your servers to direct orders for food to the kitchen and orders for drinks to the bar, for example. Bar and restaurant POS systems should be designed so that the individual dinner courses can be assigned to different areas with just a few taps.
Other order-processing features to look for in a POS system are the ability to audit changes to an order via void tracking, retransmit tickets and reorder items, easily split checks, automatically apply service charges based on preset rules, transfer checks between servers, and use custom order types to monitor sales across channels.
Feature #5: Make It Easy to Communicate with the Kitchen
It’s not unusual for kitchen staff to feel out-of-touch with what’s happening in the dining room, and vice-versa. To keep orders flowing smoothly, POS systems need to connect workers in the kitchen and public area to let them know about order updates, voids, items that are sold out, and ad-hoc notes about any of the many unforeseeable circumstances that may arise.
A POS system that connects servers, managers, and kitchen staff makes it easy for bars and restaurants to apply variations and modifiers to their menus. For example, you can create combo meals by bundling individual menu items. By using images and complete descriptions of items, order processing is faster and more accurate. It also allows servers to quickly answer questions about food allergies and other matters.
One of the most important aspects of choosing a POS system for a bar or restaurant is knowing the specific capabilities that will benefit your establishment. A full-featured POS system serves as the foundation for your business’s operation, keeping you updated on inventory and sales, keeping orders moving smoothly, and keeping customers happy.
Learn more about how the talech POS system helps restaurants and bars improve the experience for their customers and optimize the management of all their operations. We work with you to determine the best ways to meet the needs of your customers and employees so your business can thrive. We take the time to learn your business so we can balance your specific needs with your budget and comfort level in a custom POS system implementation. The result is a valued investment that will pay for itself in short order. Reach out to us today to sign up for a free demo and learn more about how talech can be your valued partner in the POS world.