Controlling costs while making sure guests are kept happy has always been a tricky balancing act for all hospitality businesses.
And with labour becoming scarcer, staffing costs have made the need for cost control even more important in an industry that has always worked on narrow margins.
As a recent Deloitte report noted: “Margin pressures are mounting.”
Fortunately, there are now technology solutions that can really help streamline and control restaurant operations, bringing benefits to the business and also to its customers.
Aloha EPOS (electronic point of sale) is a leading system used by restaurants all over the world, and it can help create a win-win situation that’s rare in the world of hospitality.
Restaurant EPOS gives operators the power to drive up revenue while reducing their costs – and importantly, they are able to improve customer service at the same time.
It may all sound too good to be true, but it’s not. Aloha EPOS software helps hospitality operations run so seamlessly that labour, time and money are all saved.
Aloha does this in 8 ways by helping your restaurant take advantage of:
- Online reservations
- More efficient seating
- Tableside ordering and payment with handheld devices
- Quicker table turn
- Better customer service
- Better control of labour and stock
- Targeted marketing
- Social media monitoring
- Comprehensive reports.
A typical diner journey these days often begins when the guest makes a reservation online after checking out reviews of your establishment.
Potential guests expect a one-click service, particularly with the arrival of apps such as OpenTable, and Aloha enables them to book 24/7 without having to make a phone call.
Once diners arrive, they don’t want to be kept waiting – the trend is towards shorter dining experiences these days.
Whether your operation is casual or fine dining, a restaurant EPOS system like Aloha can help reduce waiting times for guests with at-a-glance, efficient seating plans.
The system will have captured information during the online reservations process to help you offer them the best possible service – this fits perfectly with customer demand for personalised service.
Once your diners are seated, your servers can take their orders tableside using either hand-held EPOS hardware or mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.
That way, the order is transmitted directly to the kitchen (where it integrates with kitchen automation technology) without the server running there with a bit of paper.
Food preparation can begin immediately. No-one in the kitchen has to spend time trying to interpret scribbled notes, and everyone can be sure the order is accurate.
Paul Madden is managing director of the award-winning Temple Gate Town House Hotel in Ireland, which uses Aloha restaurant EPOS.
He said: “We expected that we would benefit greatly in terms of operational controls and in streamlining the food and beverage operation – and we got it.
“We’re through with handwritten dockets for the kitchen, which we found were prone to error and slowed down our service.“
Better customer service:
Instead of running back and forth, serving staff can use their skills in engaging with your customers, offering menu advice and making the most of up-selling opportunities (the Aloha restaurant EPOS system offer prompts while they are taking orders).
As the customer’s journey comes towards its completion, hand-held restaurant EPOS devices go on providing advantages, because they can split even complicated bills effortlessly.
Staff can also take payments at tableside at the same time, including credit and debit card payments, and send them wirelessly to a remote printer.
Quicker table turn:
Tableside payment is a popular feature which is convenient for customers and once again cuts down on waiting times – all of which helps to make table turn quicker. Cashless payments are catered for, too.
The result is a far better customer experience. Guests are happy because they have been seated quickly, and have had the correct food prepared and served rapidly.
It’s the kind of effortless service that can bring customers back again and again when combined with an excellent food offering that caters for trends and changing diner tastes.
Social media monitoring:
Happy diners post positive social media reviews, which are hugely beneficial to restaurants. But Aloha monitors your social media for you – and if a customer posts a negative review while in your restaurant, your managers are alerted so you can put things right before they even leave.
It’s a great way to protect your all-important reputation.
Once your diners are ready to leave the data your Aloha restaurant EPOS system has captured becomes invaluable from a loyalty point of view.
The information enables you to create targeted email marketing campaigns that will appeal directly to each individual customer and encourage their repeat business.
Because ROI is of utmost importance, Aloha restaurant EPOS is available as a low-cost web-based enterprise solution.
And because it’s accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, it reduces the need to duplicate head office skills at different locations – another saving on staff costs.
Aloha’s comprehensive suite of reports covers every aspect of the business from sales to finance and labour that allows restaurant and hotel owners to make informed decisions – it even includes accurate forecasting based on trends.
Aloha restaurant management software reports enable a restaurateur to see the business from end to end at any time, keeping up to date and making sound decisions supported by data.
Better control of labour and stock:
Aloha reports show exactly when the restaurant is busy, so you can control your labour with confidence that you will have the right number of people on at the right time.
One Aloha customer, Alasdair Burn, Restaurant Manager at the Old Parsonage in Oxford, says: “We are saving a lot of time. I can do my rotas, my costings, and my wage forecasts very easily.”
That’s a bonus in these Brexit times when labour is becoming scarce. As hospitality academic Prof. Peter Jones notes in his white paper ‘Staffing – the issue of our times’ the hospitality industry already has the highest number of vacancies as a share of total employment, compared to other sectors.
Restaurant EPOS helps with stock control, too, thanks to reports that reveal exactly which dishes are selling, and even make forecasts to help with making sensible procurement decisions that cut down waste.
It’s unlikely that today’s rising costs and competitive trading conditions are likely to ease much as we head towards Brexit and further uncertainty.
But the fast-developing world of restaurant EPOS is providing a solution that helps hospitality businesses stay ahead of a complex game.
* Ask about Aloha EPOS today – and give your restaurant the competitive edge it needs.