Everyone knows a POS system is terrific for tracking sales in stores and restaurants alike, but what some operators may not realize is that the technology can also be a great productivity-boosting tool. Here’s how.
1. A POS system powers up inventory management.
Any POS system with an inventory management module takes inventory management productivity to new levels in several ways. For one thing, it allows inventory-purchasing decisions to be made faster and more accurately because orders are based on historical sales (or, in restaurants, ingredient usage) data rather than on guesswork and hearsay.
Just as significant, in many cases, the inventory control component of a POS system can be programmed to generate re-orders when merchandise or ingredient quantities reach pre-defined levels. This eliminates the risk of having to scramble for inventory and ensures that you will always have the right items on hand in your establishment, at the right time, and in the proper quantities. It also minimizes waste and over-stocks.
2. A POS system makes it easy to get labor scheduling down to a science.
When your POS system has an integrated time and attendance module and an integrated labor scheduling module, you can instantly access all labor- and scheduling-related information and effortlessly compare store or restaurant traffic patterns with staffing levels on any given day and during any given shift. Using this data and with the software as a lynchpin, you can determine exactly how many store associates or servers and kitchen staff should be scheduled to work each upcoming shift each day. You will never have too many or too few employees in-house to accommodate your operation’s needs at any particular time, and you won’t incur unnecessary labor expenditures.
3. A POS system eradicates order and transaction errors.
In dining establishments with table service, a POS system can eliminate order errors by allowing orders to be recorded on hand-held devices and transmitted directly to a kitchen display system. The potential to introduce mistakes that can occur when wait staff re-enter information from paper orders into a terminal on the restaurant floor, or when food preparation staff attempt to decipher handwritten orders in the kitchen, essentially disappears.
On the quick-service restaurant front, a POS system typically has preset keys or touchscreen icons that correspond to individual menu offerings. The item to which each key is “matched” is clearly indicated. This minimizes the chance that staff will input the wrong selection when taking customers’ orders at the counter.
Meanwhile, a retail POS system eliminates transaction mistakes by allowing customers’ purchases to be rung up using a bar-code scanner rather than by manually entering the SKU number and/or price of each item into a keyboard or old-fashioned cash register. Some stores—typically, those with limited inventory—utilize a touchscreen POS system with preset keys, again keeping transaction errors to a bare minimum.
4. A POS system allows operators to serve customers promptly, on the restaurant and sales floor and at the terminal.
With a tablet-based POS system in place, restaurant patrons’ orders are transmitted to the kitchen instantly, enabling kitchen staff to begin preparing them sooner and hastening delivery to tables. In certain instances, requests for different items can be sent to the bar or kitchen as they are taken, allowing drinks and appetizers to arrive via a runner before the server has finished taking the complete order.
In quick-service restaurants, a POS system speeds up customer service by allowing customers’ orders to be input with the touch of a single button per item (as discussed in #3, above). If the POS system is integrated with a kitchen display system, orders reach the back of the house in seconds and can be filled promptly.
Meanwhile, when a retail POS system harnesses bar-code scanning technology, touchscreen input and/or an integrated payment processing component, the time needed to complete transactions is significantly reduced. Comparable time savings can be achieved when mobile devices are used for line-busting purposes anywhere in a store (or restaurant, for that matter).
Restaurant operators and retailers are always looking for new means of increasing productivity at the front end and in the back office. Leveraging a POS system to get the job done is a great start.