The cost of opening a restaurant varies wildly, from $1,800 to almost $7,000 per seat. But within that range there is plenty of room for savings.
The key to staying at the shallow end of that per-seat range is to wring every possible efficiency out of the workflows, purchasing, menu planning, staff communication, and online potential of your business. That means giving over your system to a digital point of sale solution that will run your restaurant with the efficiency of a machine.
These systems link every aspect of your business, automating, calculating, and analyzing where possible to reduce human error and maximize human ideas.
Here are 9 different ways that your point of sale system can help you reduce costs and realize your dream of running a restaurant.
- Lean on the Internet
The world wide web has forged connections all the way around the world, but you’ll feel its impact a lot closer to home as a new business. Expanding your reach into the neighborhood through takeaway and delivery orders can provide additional revenue and act as an introduction for those who work or live close enough to become your regulars.
An intuitive, comprehensive, and easy-to-modify online menu is a vital link to a diverse range of customers.
- Manage Your Inventory Food Buy
It’s called Menu Engineering and it’s a process of fine tuning your menu and your inventory to minimize waste and capitalize on customer preferences. Essentially, you use the digital links within your POS system to directly connect everything you buy with everything you sell, donate, or discard. By using some hard data science to monitor the behavior of your customers and the cost of your plates, you can build a more profitable menu based on what’s popular, what’s cheap, and what’s efficient.
- Data Science from the Start
That same data science can be applied to every aspect of your restaurant. So long as your POS system can perform the necessary number crunching, you can measure the effectiveness of staff, the flow of reservations across months, weeks, days, and hours, and the direct impact of marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. If you begin your life of service with such a system in place you can save from Day 1.
- Maintain Your Payment Options
There are more ways to pay for a meal today than there are ways to cook a steak. While it is important that you can accommodate a customer’s preference when it comes to the check, you should keep your own options open as well. The leading POS systems give you hardware options that permit the freedom to move between financial institutions, so you can capitalize on the shifting rates, deals, and other benefits the competitive industry has to offer.
- DIY Where You Can
The cost of opening a restaurant can include up to $20,000 annually on outside consultants and third-party services. You can mitigate much of that by automating such actions with business software. Advanced POS systems have a host of accounting, staff management, and taxation features built-in, and the potential to integrate third-party solutions where any niche task is lacking. Anytime you can replace the cost of an outsourced expert with a software subscription, you are saving money.
- Subscribe to Technology
From tables and chairs through to kitchen stoves and dining sets, starting fresh as a full-service restaurant involves a lot of up-front costs. So, it is a welcome relief that your technology spend can be spread out over years through an ongoing subscription or Software-a-as-Service agreement. The hardware and software needed to establish a POS system can be had for less than $100 a month, and in most cases the supplier will guide you through installation, take care of maintenance and support, and even upgrade your tech over the years.
- Build a Loyalty Program
Around 65% of Americans are members of at least one restaurant loyalty program, and loyal customers are the most profitable kind. You should be able to create, customize, and manage your own unique loyalty program within your POS system from the moment you send out your first complimentary drink. By building a relationship with your diners and providing additional value with every meal, you can accelerate the growth of a dependable customer base.
- Digitize and Reduce Human Error
The passive way to reduce the cost of opening a restaurant is to reduce waste. In the case of a digital POS system that means digitizing your communications and reducing the risk of human error. With a seamless digital pathway from wait staff to kitchen, bar, and/or maître d‘, orders are understood and acted upon. There’s little more harmful to your reputation or bottom line than having to comp meals because orders went missing or were misunderstood. Let the machines do the talking.
- Automate Your Purchases
The same rule of reducing human error applies to the purchase orders that fill your fridges, linen closets, and wine cellar. Your POS system should include the ability to automate a range of recurring purchase orders and supplier contracts so that you never run short during service or encounter unexpected costs associated with overdue or misplaced invoices.
As with all the revenue-boosting, cost-reducing advantages of using a digital POS solution outlined above, automating as much of your business tasks as possible lets you focus your energies on the customer experience. Once you’re within reach of your ambition, don’t let the cost of opening a restaurant distract you from why you wanted to do so in the first place.
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