Your restaurant software programs should give you answers. Answers to questions that help you run a better business. Answers to questions about staffing, customer preferences, marketing campaigns, and the flow of information around the floor and how it affects service.
Finding the right software program is like appointing an auditor to come and watch every service, order, and reservation, and track the movement of every item in your perishable and allied stock, to tell you how you could save time and money by doing things better.
In fact, restaurant software programs are becoming so powerful, you’re probably better off with the digital version than a human business adviser. Certainly, only one of them is going to be at full operating capacity when you want to crunch some data late on a Saturday night after closing time.
So, what should restaurant software be able to do for you, and what can it tell you about your business? Here is what to look for in terms of the functionality and features you should be expecting from your restaurant software program.
Connectivity: A Fundamental Functionality
For starters, your business software should sit at the heart of your enterprise. It must have functionality for the front of the house and the back, be plugged into your customer experience, and link all the management tasks that go into preparing for your service, from ordering the ingredients to splitting the bill.
To achieve this, your point of sale system should operate both inside and all around your restaurant. By hosting everything in the always-accessible internet infrastructure of the Cloud, you can tie your programs to the terminals on the floor, the register, the kitchen, and every personal device you use to get online. Using this network of digital connections makes your working life smoother by:
- Linking digital menus with visual displays in the kitchen.
- Automating purchase orders in response to customer orders.
- Analyzing staff numbers against average customer spending.
- Balancing takeaway profits against dine-in revenue.
The right restaurant software programs will give you a bird’s-eye view of your entire business so you can see bottlenecks, recognize great staff, streamline communication, and increase customer spending.
So, what should you look for in these point of sale programs to achieve this connectivity? There are five key features to pay attention to.
5 Important Features of Restaurant Software Programs
These days, most point of sale (POS) systems contain state-of-the-art restaurant software programs. Since you are likely already using some sort of POS system to process transactions, it makes sense to rely on it for the breadth of other features it can offer.
Your system can ideally be expanded so that it incorporates both general business functions and restaurant-specific necessities. In other words, your POS solution becomes the point where preparation and execution can come together. It is the platform you use to get your staff in place, stock your cold stores, and take reservations.
Once the kitchen is fired up, it also becomes the platform to impress your customers, take their orders, and promptly deliver their meal.
To do all this, your software programs should allow for the following:
1. Pay Any Way the Customer Wants
Once a customer gets settled into their seat you probably don’t want to make them move until they’re ready to leave. Being able to take payments at the table using mobile, even cardless, devices is a critical part of today’s dining experience. Customers want to feel relaxed, ease into the next phase of their evening, savor their surroundings, and not feel they are being rushed out the door.
The multitude of different payment methods made possible by the digital age means your point of sale must be flexible and secure enough to give customers the option of paying the way they feel most comfortable. It should also make things easier for your staff by allowing split bills, long-term tabs, noting specific dietary requirements on orders, and segmenting drink vs. food orders to separate printers.
2. Data Science for Restaurants
A modern POS system can help you better understand your enterprise. There are digital systems available that can link all your incoming purchases, outgoing sales and write-offs, and every customer and staff interaction in between and turn these into easy-to-understand reports. It means you can comprehensively track voids, for example, and begin to understand why customers are sending food back. Or, you can better pinpoint trends in staff tips based on how much customers are spending.
Most importantly, your POS system should be able to present an overview of your restaurants’ performance over weeks, months, and seasons so you can better plan for your future, and more accurately target your marketing campaigns.
3. End-to-End Web Integration
Your online presence is the public face of your restaurant. It’s the way potential customers get a feel for your ambiance, food, and philosophy of dining. Your POS system has to build on the importance of this reality and include an integrated website.
From comprehensive, easy-to-navigate online menus and reservation interfaces, to staff and supplier portals that streamline your business management tasks, and on to integrations with third-party apps and delivery services, your restaurant software programs must have a detailed internet component.
4. Customer-Facing Display
Restaurant software programs are meant for customers, too. Many kitchens are starting to turn their menus into self-service tablets that allow guests to make and modify their orders, track their meals, and email themselves the receipt.
At a minimum, you can use tablets to impress customers with multimedia specials boards, wine lists, and even a little history about your business.
5. Fluid Table Management
Finally, your restaurant software programs should specialize in just that—restaurants. Don’t fall into the trap of paying for some handheld device that was designed for a clothing store and then pressed into service on your busy restaurant floor.
Your POS system should be able to easily deal with the shifting puzzle that is table management. It should be able to monitor and change your setup in an instant to accommodate walk-ins and cancellations. And, it should be instantly shareable across your team, so everyone gets the message and no one sends food to the wrong table.
That’s the bottom line of choosing restaurant software programs—they must be designed for restaurants and serve the unique needs of your business. You need a system that can deal with the complexities of tracking stock across the many phases of your service while managing the always-fluid movements of your customers.
Your POS system should give you a sense of centralized, easy-to-access control over all the moving parts of your business. That starts with choosing the right system and software with the features to meet your restaurant’s unique needs.
The point of sale technology developed by talech turns your register into a command hub for your entire restaurant. Using this powerful hardware and software combination, you can manage tables, orders, staff rosters, purchase orders, and customer loyalty programs from any internet-connected device. Signup for a free demo and put all your tasks into a single platform.