Guest Column | September 27, 2013

The Top 4 Things Restaurants Want From POS Solutions

By Walker Thompson, VP Sales and Marketing, WhenToManage Restaurant Solutions

When asked, what are the top capabilities restaurants need and demand from their POS software  — or their “back-office” — it all comes down to one thing:  data.  Be it better, more reliable, more accessible and flexible, or more intelligent, analytical data — knowing and properly utilizing data allows your clients to maximize opportunities and limit threats to your business. While there are certain costs restaurants have limited control over, such as credit card fees and rent, inventory control and workforce management are variables that, if properly managed, can reduce costs. How is this achieved? Yes, you get the point: good data.

Here are four types of data restaurants are asking for and how it is being used:

Real-Time, Mobile Data. Cloud-based inventory management solutions — available on any device and from any location— allow for more accurate tracking of production and recipe preparation, transferring of product from one location to another, 24/7 inventory-specific reports, and tracking of waste.  Your customers can quickly conduct physical inventories that are cross-referenced on the spot with data such as orders served the night before, and/or reservations for the upcoming evening, allowing for up-to-the-minute adjustments in inventory needs.  This real-time, more integrated inventory management process minimizes waste, and thereby improves a restaurant’s bottom-line.

Integrated Data. Online ordering and invoice management integration allow operators to import invoices and order information from their suppliers directly through and into their inventory solution.  By bundling this information into reporting and intelligence software, you can provide solutions that can help your customers access and utilize data that enables better food and beverage cost control; inventory tracking and reporting; ordering and purchase history; recipe definitions and costing; and menu sales and profit analysis.

Proactive Data. With rising labor costs, every second counts.  Every minute your customer loses sight of staffing needs can cost another minute in unnecessary paid wages. Suggest tools that allow your customer to directly correlate and adjust staffing assignments with each night’s reservations. Restaurant managers are relying more on alerting systems to keep them informed before excessive staffing costs are incurred, such as when they’re about to reach or surpass their weekly staffing budget, or if reservations are light and fewer servers are needed.  This allows for instant, proactive management of workforce costs. 

Flexible Data. Restaurant operators with multiple locations are looking for POS software that offers flexibility. This includes a need for software with available, open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for further customization, as well as integration with multiple POS systems. Such integration allows restaurant operators to collect and analyze all data across locations and systems for improved POS intelligence, inventory management, and employee scheduling.