Eating out has been a national pastime for years, but for the last few years the UK dining industry has been experiencing a transformation in what customers want.
For the first time in our entire existence, we’re spending more in restaurants than grocery stores, according to analyst Aaron D Allen.
A whole new generation of diners is choosing a new way to eat out – and quick service restaurants are making a huge difference to the hospitality industry.
In fact, in 2017, research showed that traffic in quick service restaurants (QSR) increased in each period – while at the same time, full service restaurant traffic was down two percent.
Quick service restaurants or casual dining can be defined as a sector where customers are likely to spend between £10 and £20. They also don’t want to spend more than around 45 minutes having their meal.
What’s driven the change? Well, it appeals to busy business people, families wanting to dine with their children – who have limited patience – and millennials, born in the Eighties and always impatient for new experiences.
But as gourmet burger joints proliferate, pizza heavens grow and small plate restaurants continue to grow, competition is fierce in this sector.
So if you run a quick service restaurant, how can technology help you take a lead in this competitive marketplace?
EPOS is electronic point of sale technology, and it is bringing the casual dining industry right up to date to meet the demands of a changing – and very hungry – clientele.
Many casual dining establishments are using effective hospitality software solutions using hand-held and online capabilities to provide a seamless customer experience.
This includes every aspect of the restaurant’s business, from being able to greet loyal guests personally to seating them quickly and billing them effortlessly.
In addition, many restaurants have abandoned the paper reservation book. Today’s guest management software offers easy management of table reservations maximises table turns, reduces waiting times for diners and improves seat use.
It also provides the easy booking facilities that today’s demanding diners – used to accessing all aspects of their lives online – are accustomed to.
5 powerful reasons your quick service restaurant should be using EPOS software today.
- It makes your quick service quick
- It speeds up your table turn
- It delivers a great guest experience
- It saves on costs and reduced waste
- It provides important data so you can make better business decisions.
It makes your quick service quick
They don’t call it quick service for nothing. Casual dining customers want to sit down quickly, be served exactly what they’ve ordered, pay and go.
EPOS guest management provides staff with guest management capabilities that make it easy to seat diners rapidly.
They can then take orders on hand-held technology ranging from dedicated EPOS devices to tablets and even smartphones – and because the orders are transmitted instantly to the kitchen the food can be prepared without delay.
EPOS integrates with kitchen automation technology, too, so orders are displayed on digital screens in the kitchen. There’s far less margin for error, reducing waste and keeping guests happy because there are no inaccurate orders to send back.
It speeds up your table turn
Once the meal is over, paying the bill can often be a really time-consuming affair, particularly with the kind of large groups that tend to gravitate towards quick dining restaurants.
However, the same hand-held EPOS devices that take their orders can also be used by serving staff to take payment at the tableside, including debit, credit card, and app payment.
EPOS can split bills effortlessly – no more guest arguments! – and the bill is printed out at a remote printer for extra convenience.
Guests are in, fed, satisfied and gone – and the table is available for a further sitting, boosting your revenue.
It delivers a great guest experience
Casual dining presents huge opportunities to the UK restaurant industry – but like any aspect of hospitality, the successful operator needs to maintain a great customer experience while minimising costs.
People who choose a quick service restaurant want a quick seat, good food swiftly delivered and a payment facility that doesn’t keep them hanging around.
EPOS software helps provide all of these things – and into the bargain, your serving staff have extra time to interact with guests and make sure they are happy.
Contented diners come back again, post positive online reviews and bring their friends – and with the help of data captured by your EPOS software, you can enhance that loyalty by sending them targeted, personalises offers that you know will appeal to their preferences.
It saves on costs and reduces waste
Because casual dining is a mid-priced option, control of costs is extremely important.
EPOS software comes complete with reporting abilities that tell you when you need the most staff on, what dishes are selling best, and even provide forecasts and insight into trends.
It’s an invaluable aid to help you in making sound procurement decisions, cutting waste, and ensuring that labour is kept to appropriate levels at all times. easy and cuts waste.
It provides important data so you can make better business decisions
As we’ve already discussed, casual diners don’t like to be kept waiting for their meal.
To get everything set up perfectly to give diners the most satisfying and rapid guest journey, restaurateurs require need a real-time view of what’s going on in their operations – even if they operate a chain.
By compiling real-time data that’s easily accessible online from wherever you are, hospitality software gives the quick service restaurant manager a comprehensive operational overview that provides a competitive edge in an increasingly demanding market.
Independent coffee shop owner John Wheeler uses EPOS at his busy Darlington establishment.
“Behind the scenes, it’s ideal for me,” he said.
“I don’t go into the shop every day, but from my home office, I can connect to the system remotely, to keep myself up to date and see how business is moving in real time. I can also update new product details and pricing remotely, whilst using EPOS for stock control means our waste is down to one percent.”
And of course, it’s not just coffee shops.
Given the habits of younger diners, it’s likely that the trend towards quicker service establishments will continue – the UK’s pubs and bars alone made up £10.4bn out of a total of almost £88bn contributed to the economy by the eating out market.
With that kind of revenue at stake, if you don’t already use EPOS in your quick service restaurant, it’s time to reconsider. You wouldn’t want to be left behind in the rush…