Restaurant owners may be feeling bit of vertigo right now. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a dizzying number of pivots have been required.
A survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association found that the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 will cause nearly 100,000 restaurants in the U.S. to close permanently or long-term in the year. This represents close to one in six of all restaurants in the country. It also means almost 3 million jobs lost, and a $240 billion decline in annual restaurant sales compared to 2019.
Yet the struggle to survive the pandemic continues as restaurants focus on adapting to ever-changing customer needs. Restaurant Business highlights the three concepts that restaurants rely on to survive, and maybe even thrive, despite the slow-motion disaster that is COVID-19:
- Serve food that travels well
- Implement new business models
- Embrace technology
Exhibit A for the last two survival strategies is an ePOS system for takeaway and delivery. The mobility, versatility, and affordability of mobile cloud-based POS software serve as a lifeline for restaurants as they work to meet their customers’ needs for safety and convenience.
The benefits of ePOS systems extend beyond carryout. Using ePOS enhances many restaurant operations, including inventory control, customer relationship management, and sales reporting. The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic for restaurants may be the greater efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness made possible by ePOS and related technologies.
Embracing New Venues and Operating Models
In a sense, COVID-19 restrictions have made all restaurants “mobile” in that they have to reach out to customers rather than the customers coming to them. Popup retail takes many forms: food trucks, food carts, sidewalks, and outdoor events. Customers are safer dining outdoors or using takeout or delivery to eat in their own homes. ePOS systems offer the versatility and mobility to bring the restaurant to your customers, in the real world and the virtual world.
The data gathering and analytics features of ePOS systems give restaurants greater insight into their customers’ preferences and changing tastes. Sales figures are presented in a comprehensive dashboard that shows at a glance how well the business is doing in meeting its revenue goals. These are among the top benefits of ePOS systems for restaurants:
- Easily accept many different forms of payment, including contactless and mobile wallets.
- Support order-level price changes, split tender, and sales adjustments by percentage.
- Automatically calculate tax based on location.
Restaurant budgets are pinched tighter than ever, which makes the pay-as-you-go nature of ePOS systems more attractive to small businesses in particular. Reducing overhead helps restaurants prepare for fluctuations in sales by relying increasingly on mobile devices and cell services that the business has already paid for. The lack of long-term commitments when implementing an ePOS system allows the restaurant to pivot and repivot as necessary to take advantage of tomorrow’s trends and technologies.
Meeting Customers’ Demand for Flexibility and Control
The trends that will drive the restaurant and retail industries in 2021 are driven by the needs of customers:
- They want to be able to shop wherever they happen to be, whether online or at a location that may or may not be the business’s brick-and-mortar operation.
- They want more control over the shopping experience, including payment methods, personalization, and integrated online and in-person shopping.
Restaurant customers increasingly expected to be offered discounts and other custom promotions based on their purchase history or other information the business has gathered about them. Restaurants use ePOS systems to communicate with customers via text or email to update them on their order or keep them informed about changes to operating hours, special offers, and other updates.
Customers also expect the same features in an ePOS system that are available with traditional POS, such as split bills, changes to orders, and digital receipts. The difference is that with ePOS, these and other features are available at curbside, walkup windows, or anywhere else via apps and websites accessed on mobile devices.
Custom ePOS Systems Enhance Efficiency, Profitability
Restaurants are as unique as fingerprints, which is why the ePOS solution the business chooses has to be customizable to the characteristics of your operation. These are among the key customization features of mobile POS systems for restaurants and other retail shops.
- Extend the reach of your existing POS network by using a branded website and mobile POS app to complete transactions online or from any location.
- Make quick changes to menus and product catalogs and have ready access to up-to-date inventory counts and stock levels.
- Automatically calculate taxes at three levels: applied tax (percentage after the subtotal), inclusive tax (percentage before the subtotal), and flat tax (levied per item).
- Apply discounts and service charges at the order level based on the customer’s purchase history, including their online transactions.
- Generate a custom sales report that can be viewed via an in-app dashboard to show at a glance the business’s sales by day, week, or month, as well as sales per employee, average receipt value, and lead conversion rate.
Staying abreast of the many technologies that help restaurants and other retailers keep their businesses afloat through turbulent times requires the expertise of a POS partner who can help the company craft an ePOS solution that fits its needs to a T. The serious challenges facing restaurants and other retailers are accompanied by tremendous opportunities to reimagine the business so it thrives in the post-COVID era.
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