1 Jun 2021

NCR: 4 Critical Questions To Ask When Shopping For A Restaurant POS

Location: United States & Canada

So, you’re looking for a new point-of-sale technology system for your restaurant. There may be several factors behind why you’re making this decision now.

 Maybe you want to take advantage of new technologies to improve speed of service. Or you want the flexibility to add new experiences to gain a competitive edge. Maybe, there was one problem too many—and now you’re frustrated with your current technology supplier and looking for something new.

Now could be the ideal time to make the switch, especially if any of the following rings true for your restaurant.

  • You’re finding your traffic has become chaotic with multiple order channels coming in from online to mobile to third-party
  • Orders aren’t flowing efficiently into your kitchen and your staff are making errors
  • Tables aren’t being cleared and seated as quickly as you need them to be
  • You're interested in tableside ordering and payment as an additional benefit for your customers

Whatever your reasons, you want to make sure the technology is the best fit for you—both in capabilities for your restaurant and in your total cost of ownership over the life of your system. Most important, you have to select technology that gives you the ability to extend the value of your investment; this isn’t one to enter into lightly.

To help, here are four questions to ask when exploring restaurant POS system options.

How do you want to manage your business?

Perhaps your point-of-sale system isn’t delivering the kind of data that enables you to make effective decisions on the spot. Or, maybe the data isn't configured in a way that helps you meaningfully interpret the information. Maybe it’s not easy to access the data. The good news is that smarter restaurant technology platform capabilities exist, and they can make you a more effective manager of your operations, no matter where you are.

As the demands on your business increase, so do the opportunities for you to address those demands with real-time analytics; true, on-demand insights enable you to make smart decisions in the moment. And if you decide that making a new technology investment can help, take some time to evaluate what types of management tools are offered and how you intend to use them.

Also, with managing your business, another critical component is managing your labor. This could be having the right visibility into your labor costs and managing scheduling to ensure you are properly staffed at the right times in the day. This could also be ensuring you have a system in place that’s easy for your staff to learn and use so they can deliver speedy, personal service to your customers, while also keeping them productive during their work shift. And keeps them productive during their work shift.

Related: How to staff correctly for restaurant online order volume

How do you want to impact your guest experience?

Changing your restaurant point-of-sale will have an impact on how you engage with your guests. Naturally, everyone hopes that it will provide a richer and more meaningful customer experience.

So, think about how your customers want to do business with you. Look at your customer base—are your guests sharing photos and videos of their meals on social media? Are they actively engaged on Instagram or TikTok? Do you want them to be? Today’s consumers are constantly on the go and they’re accustomed to digital interactions—including finding your restaurant’s menu online, and ordering or paying. In today’s environment, it’s important to offer different ways of ordering—and that involves determining to what degree you want to extend online ordering and third-party delivery to drive-thru operations and curbside pick-up.  

An investment in a new point-of-sale ecosystem may help you seamlessly tie in your other technology investments, or extend new capabilities to customers, like off-premise ordering, mobile payment or loyalty programs. Spend some time thinking about how you want to shape the experience for your guests and to what extent you want to drive a multi-channel experience.

What’s your five-year plan?

This can be a difficult question to answer, because the world we live in—both economically and technologically—is changing at a rapid pace. And you’re pressured to grow your business and revenue just as fast.

What do you have to do to get the growth you want for your bottom line and your customer base? And if your growth plans include opening additional restaurants or models like central kitchens or ghost kitchens, what are the technical requirements to make sure opening these new stores is as seamless and trouble-free as possible?

Related: Key decisions for developing your ghost kitchen strategy

You also need to consider technical capabilities that aren’t yet on the horizon. Finding the right POS for your restaurant  allows you to seamlessly extend its capabilities into a full restaurant technology solution that may enable you to quickly address needs that may arise in the future, whether that’s with consumer engagement technology or advanced management capabilities.

Determining how to grow in this fiercely competitive dynamic can be a daunting task. How do you serve your customers faster and more accurately than your competition? How can you gain real-time insight into your operations to make smarter business decisions? How can you reach today’s consumer, as well as take advantage of the customer engagement that today’s technology offers? What’s the best way to acquire new technology in your restaurant? How do you offer seamless off-premise and digital ordering experiences that your customers adopt and love?

By taking a clear, objective look at these questions, you can start to plot your digital restaurant transformation and accelerate the journey—to more customers, more happy employees and more profit, whether you’re a single-site restaurant or a global restaurant enterprise.

Posted to the NCR Blog on May 28, 2021