Making The Right Choices
Hospitality businesses need dedicated software to help with the specialised tasks associated with the hospitality outlet.
We look at the different options available to businesses owners looking to furnish their outlet with EPOS tills and software that will enhance the business.
A Dedicated Kitchen Printer
The till receipt printer could be set up to print out a receipt, which staff can then take to the kitchen with customers food orders. This can be time consuming and also there is a risk of orders going missing between the till point and the chef. This is obviously not good for staff relationships as things may become volatile when customers start to complain. A way to avoid this is to have a dedicated kitchen printer (and many hospitality outlets do).
The kitchen printer which is sometimes known as the KP will be sited in the kitchen area normally at a food service point. It will be easily accessible for kitchen staff to monitor and process any orders that come from the front of house area of the business. A ticket will then be removed and hung up where the staff can prepare the meal to the customers order and then call the waiting staff to take to the table. So as orders go through the till they can be processed within a short time by kitchen staff.
Or A Kitchen Management Display
There are also more modern ways of handling food orders in the busy kitchen. Moving away from paper, which can easily drop out of the printer out of sight of staff or get damaged in some way in the kitchen is a sensible solution. Food orders will be processed onto a screen in the kitchen area directly from the till, so ensuring the order is visible to all members of staff. Progress of the meal, allergies and extras can all be seen very easily not just by kitchen staff but also by waiters and supervisors.
This gives a much more productive method of handling orders from the EPOS till. Order management becomes more streamlined and effective, customers are kept happy and staff are less stressed. Communication is obviously improved by using a display of this kind and staff waste less time running back and forward to the kitchen to relay messages.
Back Office Software Benefits
Basically a back office system allows you to collate all the important data and information that your till records each and every day into readable reports that really mean something to you. This is invaluable for the busy business owner who doesn’t want to spend every waking hour within the outlet, itself.
Even though you may not want to be omnipresent in your hospitality outlet you will still want to know what is going on each shift or trading day. It is a very negligent business owner who leaves it all to chance. If staff are aware that you can check on sales throughout the day and see exactly what is happening at the till point they are less likely to take advantage of you not being there.
Back office cloud based software gives you the ability to look at the information from your EPOS on your device as long as you have access to the internet. That could even be at the poolside with a cheeky drink and relaxing book, if you want!
The back office software not only allows you freedom from the outlet it can also allow you to be a better manager of your business. You can easily see information from your EPOS both as it happens and from historic data. So real time reporting (as it happens) shows you exactly what is happening in your business as it occurs. You can see how many sales are going through the till on the device as you view. You can make sure that there is enough stock if you suddenly have a run on the special offers you have set up within your pub or bar or restaurant. You can make orders, change prices even change keyboard layouts all from your remote position.
Historical data reports allow you to check past sales, stock movements and work with them to keep all your business information up to date. It’s not just all boring reams of facts and figures. The back office software can show you the data in colourful pictorial graphs that you can drill down to get any specific data that you wish. And because the reports are stored in the cloud they are easily accessible you don’t need to keep going to the business outlet to print out audit information on the till roll printer or office printer.
The cloud based back office software can be used for multi site businesses, too. So you can make changes to one outlet or all of them at once. You can see all the data from all of your sites on your device as it happens – it’s almost like being in two places at once!
Reports can be exported to pdf or excel for your manipulation or printed off as required. The data can even link to accounts software to streamline your entire sales data operations from till side to submitting to HMRC.
If used correctly, the back office software can become an invaluable business tool for the modern hospitality owner. The cloud software makes it easier to run your business and still have time to enjoy or take on a new challenge.
Other Useful EPOS Point Of Sale Software For Hospitality
Armed with a good hospitality epos system and some back office software your hospitality outlet will be able to operate and manage day to day. However, in the competitive and busy hospitality industry it is always beneficial to keep up with changes to improve the business or make operations easier. Gaining an edge over your competitors (even high street names) can keep customers visiting and spending their money within your outlet. There are lots of things you can do to keep valuable sales pouring in. Some of these are simple practical things like quiz nights or themed dining or even having promotional products for sale. Some require a little more thought and organisation. For instance introducing a loyalty scheme to your outlet to encourage repeat visits and increased sales. By the way there’s a really informative article about hosting a quiz night from the Morning Advertiser to give you some ideas.
You may want to be able to offer ordering and payments at the table to speed up processes and keep customers happy. Alternatively you may want to offer table reservations or takeaway collection to your customers. These things can all be done with the help of EPOS software especially designed for the hospitality industry.
With this in mind there is more hospitality EPOS software that businesses owners might wish to consider over and above the front of house and back office software options.
Handheld Ordering Devices
These nifty devices can also be known as electronic waiter pads, and that describes them perfectly. The device is rather like a chunky mobile phone, which can be used away from the till in your hospitality outlet. Staff are not just stuck behind a till point waiting for customers to approach and order. This makes staff more proactive and visible and ultimately more attentive to customers. Customers can come in and get comfortable at a table instead of queuing at the bar or food servery area. This allows for a more relaxed feel and can promote increased sales. Customers have more time to decide what they want to eat and staff can prompt diners to add extras to their meal in a less hectic environment.
Once the order is placed by the waiting staff it goes directly to the kitchen for staff to prepare the meal for the customer. There is no waiting around , no staff running off to the kitchen or backwards and forwards to the till. The handheld ordering device has sent the information to the kitchen and also to the till. Because all the information is handled electronically there is less room for error than with written orders. Allergies and cooking instructions or changes to the specified dish can be communicated directly and simply to the food preparation staff so everyone remains in control.
The electronic waiter pad is easy to see and use, the menu choices are clearly available and require little input to place an order. A prompt can be raised, just as on the till so encouraging staff to engage with customers offering choices and extras resulting in more sales. If items are low in stock or no longer available servers will be able to see in an instance and advise diners accordingly. It really does save time and effort for staff members and inconvenience for customers.
Pay at table is available with most handheld devices so diners can stay relaxed and calm whilst staff do all the work. They don’t need to get up and queue at the bar or till point and can enjoy their visit much more.
And if your customers are happy and have been looked after they will come back again and again. This Hubspot blog highlights some interesting figures about customer loyalty and has a free download on how to build customer loyalty for your business. Their blogs are always really informative and they produce some smashing guidance. It’s worth having a look or signing up for their regular emails.
Lets Talk Customer Loyalty
The modern customer loves to feel valued and important that’s why so many high street stores have loyalty schemes – because they work. A good loyalty scheme will help you to focus on your customers and ultimately encourage them to keep coming back to spend with your business.
Your scheme will allow you to target customers based on actual sales information that your EPOS has collected. You can then create a voucher to entice the customer to visit again and spend money. Ideas that businesses often use are a free drink on your birthday or £5 off when you next visit. You may set a standard so the fiver is off a minimum spend of £30 for instance. So the customer feels they are getting something worthwhile but your business is making a profit, too.
Loyalty schemes are often used to reward customers for being loyal (obviously!). So for every pound they spend in your business they want something back from you as a perk. It is best to keep this easy to understand so 1 point per £1 spent is an easy and obvious standard. Although you could make it more appealing to your customers by using a different tally idea such as once you buy 5 coffees you get 1 free. The main aim is to get the customers to use their loyalty cards and to visit more often than they normally would because they want the perks you are offering.
Some businesses offer a loyalty card as a way of enticing customers to become VIP’s. This means they will be offered exclusive discounts, invitations to special events or news about new products. Some customers will even pay to be part of one of these schemes.
These loyalty schemes can be set up using the EPOS software. The loyalty reward schemes mainly started off in retail sectors but are also recognised and expected by customers to hospitality outlets, too. Most customers love a bargain and look forward to receiving their money off vouchers.
Loyalty card schemes allow you to keep track of and analyze sales within your outlet. You can start to determine when is the best time for promotions or sale events. You could also use the loyalty rewards as a way to reduce slow moving items. This might be get a free ice cream with every main meal or a free bottle of soft drink with every pudding. The ice cream and drinks stock has been sitting around for a while as you bought them on promotion and they didn’t sell. So now you are not writing off stock but are handing over a benefit to your customers.
Give Your Hospitality Outlet The Edge
There are many other additional options that business owners may wish to consider as part of their epos point of sale software for hospitality outlets. These include table reservations, order collection management and live menu boards, which can all add a professional edge to your business outlet.
Integrated Card Payments
Whilst you are here we couldn’t forget to mention integrated payments with your EPOS till. This means simply that your till and card machine terminal are linked. But what it means for business is speedier transactions at the till for customers. It also allows staff to push forward with service. And to keep you the business owner happy cashing up and tallying the till to the pdq terminal couldn’t be simpler. It is definitely the way forward for busy modern hospitality outlets. Read our blog to see more benefits.
If you would like more information on any particular software and more detailed benefits for your business please email us
we’re happy to help you get the best EPOS solution for your outlet.