The popularity of all types of pizza makes operating a pizzeria a potentially profitable endeavor. However, many obstacles—from the unique way in which pizza is ordered and priced to multiple serving and delivery methods—make the POS software needs of pizza restaurants different from those of other types of eateries. Here are five challenges operators face when it comes to pizza point-of-sale (POS) and the pizza POS features that help to overcome them.
Challenge #1: Multiple order types. Many pizza POS systems facilitate handling orders for pizzas with different toppings on each of two halves—or for one topping on one half and no topping on the other half. However, customers may also want the ability to order pizza with different proportions of toppings—for example, pepperoni on one-third, onions on another third, and mushrooms on the remaining third. Some may want toppings on three-quarters of their pizza and no topping on the other quarter. Add to this the fact that topping prices vary, and you have a recipe for confusion.
Look for a pizza POS system whose configuration simplifies the process of taking orders for and pricing all “fractional” pizza varieties. The software should also generate printed tickets or kitchen display messages that clarify how each order should be prepared, with which toppings, and in what proportion.
Challenge #2: Multiple pricing models and tax complexities. Pizzerias often run multiple pricing promotions and multiple-item purchase specials—for instance, buy one pizza, get the other at 50% off or buy one pizza, get one free. Moreover, rules pertaining to taxes, tax exemptions and tender types vary by service (delivery and takeout) and customer location. Few traditional pizza POS systems are configured to accommodate multi-tier pricing models and intricate tax regulations. Your pizza POS system should do this and more.
Challenge #3: Marketing: The uniqueness of the pizzeria business model makes effective marketing a “must.” Database marketing has been shown to be 7 to 10 times more effective than bulk mail promotions in promoting delivery/carryout operations. To reach this level of effectiveness, though, you’ll need a pizza POS system whose marketing engine incorporates a detailed customer database, customer frequency/purchase history reporting, direct mail list export (to facilitate direct marketing campaigns), and detailed coupon-tracking and analysis tools (for measuring the results of individual promotions and coupon distribution campaigns). Also critical: email, text, and social media marketing tools and a loyalty program component.
Challenge #4 Inventory Control: Inventory tracking is a more complex task for pizzerias than for other restaurants, primarily because ingredients can be used in so many different proportions and ways. In addition to simplifying inventory counts, the best pizza POS systems help you to properly track inventory usage and costs not only by recognizing that topping quantities vary by the total number ordered for an individual pie, but by accounting for exceptions (like a dropped pizza) and order type.
Challenge #5 Delivery Control: A majority of customers demand the convenience of pizza delivery, but you need a pizza POS system with delivery tracking capabilities to do the job right. These POS systems should have a user-friendly screen for assigning and canceling/re-assigning deliveries, as well as an integrated delivery mapping and driving directions module. The pizza POS system should also feature seamless integration with your customer database and quoted delivery time settings, have the capability to flag late deliveries and overdue drivers for better labor and performance management, and give you complete access to delivery statistics and detailed performance analyses.
While it may be tempting to address the challenges of operating a pizzeria using a traditional restaurant POS system, doing so will undoubtedly lead to headaches that can be avoided by implementing a full-featured pizza POS. This, along with the right POS hardware, will keep you on the path to pizza success.