title:Can Point of Sales Systems Really Enhance My Customer’s Visit? author:Jerry D. Wilson source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_4722.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

You may assume that your guest’s experience at your restaurant may be enhanced by a point of sale system. Maybe you had not even though of it. However, the fact is that a good point of sale system can benefit the experience of your guests.
So often the salesperson tries to focus your attention on the benefits of their product with regard to your interests. But what about your customer’s interest? Shouldn’t you also be concerned about how installing a point of sale system is going to affect them?
Depending on the type of restaurant or bar you have certain benefits will be more readily apparent than others. On top of that, the method by which a guest’s experience is enhanced may also change. But overall you can expect some or all of the following:
Remote Printing or Displaying Or Orders
There are varying degrees of this benefit depending upon your application. In Table Service you have the ability to have the order entered by the server and immediately printed on various printers in the kitchen. With some systems you can have up to 6 remote printers. This reduces steps to the kitchen and eliminates the requirement for the server to even go to the kitchen to deliver the ticket.
In a Quick Service environment you can also use printers to deliver orders to the kitchen but an even better solution is a kitchen video system. The orders get to the kitchen even faster as an item is sent to the monitor as soon as the next item is entered. With printers, the order does not start printing until the order is finalized. With a kitchen video system items can be set to go when the next item is entered, thus speeding up the process of order delivery even more.
Bars can enjoy increased speed of service through the use of remote printers. With some systems we can even use the printer next to the terminal to save on the cost of an additional printer. Drink orders can be printed on this printer and the drinks can be prepared and waiting on the server when they walk up.
For your customers, faster service means happier customers
Reduced Errors In The Kitchen
Printing or displaying the orders for the kitchen is also more accurate than hand written tickets. No longer will you have hastily scribbled notes to the kitchen that are hard to read, time consuming and the birthplace of guessing and eventual errors.
In multi-lingual situations you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly your kitchen staff will learn to read the tickets that come out of the printer.
You will also see how organized the tickets are and how special orders and modified items stand out with either 2-color printing on the tickets or multiple colored items on the displays.
For your customers, reduced errors means happier customers.
Quality of Service
In a Table Service setting, since the server is not required to walk to the kitchen to hand deliver the ticket they are able to use this time to prepare soft beverages and deliver them to the table quicker.
For Quick Service operations once the cashier is through with one order they may start another. The orders are separated and a specific number is assigned to each. This number helps track the entire order and keep items together for presentation to the customer.
In bars with a kitchen it would be ridiculous for a bartender to leave the bar to take an order to the kitchen. This would reduce customer service. Well, so is not serving food to your bar customers. By printing orders on a remote printer you are better able to serve your bar customers.
For your customers, better service means happier customers.
On-Line Credit Authorization
Some point of sale systems are able to process credit card transactions via a high-speed Internet connection. This reduces authorization down to as little as 1 – 2 seconds from up to 30 seconds for a dial-up connection.
On a standard credit card machine provided by most credit card processors each approval can take up to 30 seconds. Each swipe takes time. Each server waiting in line adds up the total time it takes to process a credit card for a customer. If you have 3 servers waiting on the same credit card terminal the 1st server waits 30 seconds, the 2nd server waits 60 seconds and the poor 3rd server waits 90 seconds to get their approval. Add the time it takes the server to walk back to the table and the poor customer has almost had another birthday!
For your customers, faster service means happier customers.
Processing Credit Cards At Multiple Terminals
Take the previous scenario and add multiple terminals. In our industry we recommend 3 servers per point of sale terminal. Therefore, if you have 3 server terminals you could have as many as 9 servers on the floor at one time. If they all try to access the same credit card terminal from the processor the wait could be intolerable for your guests.
Almost every restaurant point of sale system allows for credit card transactions to be swiped at each terminal. With most processing software you can swipe at every terminal at the same time and there is no additional waiting. If you are processing through a high-speed connection each terminal in the network can expect an approval in less than 2 seconds.
For your customers, faster service means happier customers.
Professional Appearance
DirecTouch Restaurant Point of Sale will produce a professional and neat guest check, ticket or receipt for the customer. Items will be detailed with pricing. Modifiers can also be printed to show preparation instructions. The taxes will be shown and broken out by type. The total will be displayed in bold lettering so that there is no confusion.
You will also be able to show the date of the visit, the server, cashier or bartender that served them as well as any marketing information you wish in the header and footer of the receipt.
This will assuradly be better than the receipt we get at our local Mexican restaurant which is simply a calculator tape with no description of the items we were served.
For your customers, a trusting customer is a happier customer.
Customer Reward or Customer Loyalty Programs
With Frequent Diner Modules you are able to reward repeat customers through either discounts on meals, free food or reduced prices on specific items.
These rewards are earned either on a points system or on dollars spent. The rewards are good off of their next visit.
Use these programs to directly market to your customers about specials, new items or even an invitation to come in for a free/discounted meal for their anniversary or birthday.
For your customer, a rewarded customer is a happier customer.
Split Checks
There are many times when the customer will not tell the server that they want split checks until the ticket is presented. Having an easy method of splitting these checks is essential to customer satisfaction. If the task is difficult then the attitudes of the servers will show through to the customer. Then the task itself will take a long time, really impacting the customer’s experience.
Some,not all point of sale systems have extremely fast and easy method of splitting checks at any time the ticket is open. In a few simple touches, extra tickets can be added to the table and items moved to the proper seats. When done, the system will immediately print new tickets for each guest.
If the server rang the original order in separate seats then it is even quicker and easier to split the order.
For your customers, faster service means happier customers.
Split Items
Sharing appetizers should be encouraged by your servers even if the guests want to split the costs amongst themselves. This will create additional sales for the restaurant in enhance the guest’s experience.
Some,not all point of sale systems can easily split the cost of an item and divides the cost amongst the guests that shared the item. If not all the guests shared the item, then only the guests who want to share the cost will.
For your customers, accurate pricing means happier customers.
Pricing Accuracy
Hand written tickets create errors. Using a calculator to compute tickets creates errors. For years, cash register salespeople have been taught that doing a guest check audit is one of the best ways to sell a cash register of point of sale system. Humans make errors. Point of sale systems don’t.
What about multiple prices for the same item? Do you run a happy hour in your bar? How about early bird pricing in the restaurant? How do you know that the servers and bartenders are charging the correct price? Your point of sale system will set the price by the time of day for you. Your early birds will get their discount pricing.
The National Restaurant Association backs this up with surveys and documented evidence that says that the average loss due to human error on hand written tickets and calculator tape is 2% of sales. Do the math for your business with our Return on Investment spreadsheet. I’ll bet the loses are huge if you are using hand written checks or calculators to compute guest checks.
For your customers, accurate pricing means happier customers.
86 Item Feature
Almost all restaurants run some kind of daily special or have items with a limited shelf life. Table Service applications sometimes have lunch or dinner specials that are added just for that day. Deli operations sometimes have a limited number of breads available by style. The 86 Item feature will count down these types of items until you are sold out.
Prior to running out of an item the terminal will display a numeric display on the button letting the server, cashier or bartender exactly how many of that item are left. When the item is sold out it will then display a symbol on the item button and prevent the item from being rung.
Customers who want a daily special that is out will be given the opportunity immediately to order something else rather than ordering the item and then being disappointed that it is not available.
For your customers, a satisfied customer is a happier customer.
Faster service, better service, customer rewards, accurate orders, fewer mistakes and satisfied customers are all benefits enjoyed by your customers simply by you investing in a point of sale system.
The fact remains that the investment is yours to make. The financial benefits are yours to enjoy from the return on your investment. But you are going to have the share the satisfaction with your customers and guests.

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