For most restaurateurs, a point-of-sale (POS) system is the most expensive technology investment they will make. While a POS is crucial for a restaurant to run efficiently, how do you make sure that you’re getting the best Return on Investment (ROI) from it?
To discuss these questions and more, I recently joined a radio show hosted by We Sell Restaurants called “POS Systems – the brain of the restaurant”. Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon hosted the show, and also invited Jared Isaacman, CEO of Harbortouch POS and Paul Roberts, Next Gen Dine, a mobile POS provider.
Here’re a few excerpts from the interview:
1) Question: What are some of the ways restaurants can use technology to make the most of their POS systems?
Sastry: Restaurants need to find a way to use the information provided by POS systems to improve their relationship with their customers and keep them coming back.
2) Question: What are your thoughts on information, besides sales data, from POS systems and how restaurants can use that data to bring customers back?
Sastry: A POS has a lot of rich data including how many transactions a restaurant processed on a given day or a given week, or how much revenue was generated on a given day or at a specific location. When we are talking about unlocking this information and adding value to it, what we are doing is helping restaurants move from ‘looking at data’ into “understanding customers”. It’s one thing to understand what was sold, for example, 100 burgers in the last hour; it’s another thing to understand that a customer named Samantha is loyal to the restaurant, has come four times within the last month, spends an average of $21 each time, and loves the Garden Burger. This is what we mean when we say “unlocking the information.” It enables restaurants to look at their customers as “people” instead of data. Once restaurateurs understand what a customer likes, they have the opportunity to offer a side dish with his or her regular order at a discounted price or offer the dish on days the customer usually does not come to the restaurant. The goal is to make personalized, 1-1 offers based on what you know about each customer instead of handing out BOGO coupons en masse to all customers.
3) Question: How can a business owner deal with all this overwhelming ways to interact with the customers (gift cards, social media promotions, etc)?
Sastry: In the past, coupons were the only marketing that most restaurants typically did, and there were printing costs and the costs of hiring an agency for creative etc. Coupons are expensive and on top of it, restaurants couldn’t measure how effective they were. While technology nowadays has reduced the costs of delivering these kinds of offers, customers are now being bombarded with offers and have learned to tune them out. Therefore, the challenge for restaurant operators is not so much offering more coupons, but to figure out what are the most relevant offers to each customer and how to offer them at just the right time. Platforms like mobile CRM enable restaurants to tailor offers to each customer , deliver them at the right time, and track their effectiveness.
4) Question: Is there an apprehension from the consumers or restaurant operators about security and hacking the data from digital wallets?
Sastry: Absolutely, consumers are concerned about security of digital wallets but the bigger issue for consumers is that they don’t think that digital wallets provide a much bigger advantage than merely using a credit card. We need to think about the utility of mobile wallets. In order to make digital wallets work, you have to provide an incentive for the consumer to use it. So tying in specific types of rewards for consumers that are tied to frequency, spend or other special behaviors is critical to driving usage.
To listen to the full interview or to download the podcast, go to: http://www.wesellrestaurants.com/radio_show.php?show_id=47