Make The Sale With Feature-Rich POS Products
A creative mix of hardware and software helped this VAR land two unique installations. Stressing functionality, it showed a growing restaurant the business value in POS (point of sale).
The Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe in Columbus, OH is 20,000 square feet of food, fun, and beer themed after one of the hottest Big Ten athletic programs in the nation. And it's something developers Barbecue Development (Columbus, OH) recently repeated with the opening of the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe in Huntington, WV.
To Business Data Systems (BDS) of Akron, OH, these new facilities offered opportunities to showcase POS (point of sale) technology as an important business tool. Having completed installations in Barbecue Development's 10-site Damon's franchise, the VAR had a leg up on the competiton for the business.
No Job Too Big
Keeping the large scale of the project in mind, BDS President James Coffelt knew the costs could run rampant if the system was not configured creatively. It would take 23 POS stations to cover the facility's restaurant, bar, gift shop, ticket sales window, and banquet hall. Knowing he couldn't blow his nearly $50,000 budget on POS terminals, he chose Unitech keyboards and Link terminals for the stations instead of more expensive touch screens. His customer had been using keyboards at Damon's, and sticking with them cut the cost of POS stations at the Buckeye in half.
A video surveillance system allows the bar manager to watch in real time as the bartender's transaction plays out on a closed-circuit TV screen in his office, complete with text, just as it appears on the POS display. This is done with video technology called text insertion, which is tied into Menusoft's (Springfield, VA) DigitalDining software program. Any data entered via the keyboard will appear on the screen. If the bar manager watches Jimmy the bartender hand out two Heinekens and a Corona, the bar manager can expect to see the sale of those three bottles on his screen. If instead the display shows one Heineken, for example, Jimmy the bartender is sent packing to cry in his beer.
"Customers using this will see sales go up and costs go down. Maybe the change is only 1%, but the benefit is by virtue of the system being there," Coffelt said.
Some Installation Insight
The $6 million VAR gives sage advice on projects of this size. Coffelt's team stays on board with the customer for several days after going live. For the first couple of days it assists with management functions. "At first, the integrator has to be devoted to helping its customer process sales, not to fine-tuning the system," Coffelt said. "Once you get through a busy period, you make all of your hardware and software adjustments." After a couple of days, the system is in the hands of restaurant managers, and BDS is there to assist only during mealtimes. "If we continue to manage, the manager isn't pressured to master it.
"We assign as few people as possible to an installation," the president of the 43-employee company continued. "Then a few people have intimate knowledge of the site, rather than several people knowing a little bit each."
The smaller Marshall installation gave Coffelt's team more budget leeway than the Buckeye. It needed only seven terminals, which allowed the use of the more expensive Windows touch screen. Both locations use Citizen thermal printers and IBM PCs, but the Elo touch screens at the Huntington location allow the company to run DigitalDining's full complement of features, including integration with URU fingerprint access. A fingerprint reader discerns managers from servers, allowing only managers access to functions such as voids and refunds.
An auto-prompt feature profiles guest orders and encourages servers to suggest items to customers if none have been ordered. Auto prompting also allows the printing of targeted promotions on guest checks. "For example, if a glass of wine was ordered with dinner, the receipt might tout an upcoming wine tasting," said Coffelt.
"The vendor's role is to make sure the features exist. The VAR's role is to provide the most effective way for customers to use them." To that end, Coffelt says a VAR must be prepared for anything. "When you go into places like the Buckeye you need depth to accommodate things not thought of up front. You need software with an advanced feature set, and the hardware has to be ready for it."Questions about this article? E-mail the author at MattP@corrypub.com.