Returning customers flocking back to their favourite restaurants and pubs may notice a big difference – and it’s got nothing to do with social distancing.
Because over the lockdown, many outlets have seen the light when it comes to using EPOS technology. And the result for customers is a far more efficient and convenient service.
Like many technologies, EPOS evolved hugely to deal with new challenges during the pandemic. At one time, the best EPOS system was just a simple way to digitise your sales – but it’s now a greatly enhanced offering that transforms restaurant operations.
So when you say: “I want the best EPOS system” what does it actually mean now?
The best EPOS systems have always given restaurateurs greater control over elements of their business including:
- Stock and labour control
- Accurate records of takings and bills paid
- The ability to take credit card payments.
But now they do all that and also offer a lot more.
Chris Cartmell, head of sales for Aloha EPOS from NFS says: “The best EPOS system has now evolved to the point where it is now your business partner in the most holistic sense.
“We started noticing a huge uplift in restaurants taking up EPOS during the lockdown, when many used it to launch and run new takeaway and delivery services.
“That trend is now continuing with outlets developing and opening first their outdoor areas and now their indoor spaces. The most successful groups and individual restaurants have realised that the key to efficient operations is underpinning everything with technology.”
When seeking out the best EPOS system for your business, you need to be sure it can partner you in areas including:
- Operational effectiveness
- Guest experience
- Delivering online services
EPOS provides the technological support to speed up service and reduce waste by providing tableside ordering via handheld devices or mobiles – these also give staff upselling prompts.
Orders go direct to the kitchen where the EPOS system can be integrated with kitchen automation, reducing human error and also cutting the need for serving staff to run back and forth.
The best EPOS systems provide online access to data at all times, giving an end-to-end view of the business in real time so effective decisions can be made quickly – even across chains.
EPOS software makes it easy for guests to reserve a table or place a takeaway order, and provides swift payment via the internet or at tableside.
In the restaurant, a graphical seating plan reduces waiting times and maximises seating – useful particularly while social distancing is still in place.
The system also captures valuable guest data that makes it simple to create a personalised welcome and targeted offers to reward loyal diners. In that way, you can engage with customers who may still need reassurance about coming out to eat.
Delivering online services
Chris says: “We’ve seen many operators beefing up their online offerings with the help of our EPOS system and maximising revenue.
“Not only can they use it to make their websites more interactive, enabling online reservations, ordering and payments, but they can also use it to build up their social media profiles and engage with customers in new ways.”
Chris says: “During the crisis, anyone who didn’t realise the value of data really had their eyes opened. Imagine trying to beat a pandemic if you have no facts and figures to base your decisions upon.
“In the field of hospitality, great data can provide a tremendous boost to operations, taking out all the guesswork and providing the bedrock on which to build your business.
“The best EPOS system will capture a broad range of data that identifies elements ranging from the most popular dishes, to the busy and quiet times and peak periods for sales.
“The reports the system creates enable you to take decisions that are not just a stab in the dark.”
Conclusion – your new business partner
It’s very early days in the reopening of hospitality, and much has changed – including customers.
Chris says: “No-one quite knows yet how things will settle down, and whether consumers will return to their traditional eating-out habits or hang onto their sofa suppers.
“However, it’s a given that hospitality, which has shown such ingenuity in keeping things going during the crisis, will continue to flex and evolve to match the changing needs of guests.
“We’re delighted that so many hospitality businesses have already discovered the benefits of having the best EPOS system at their fingertips – and we’re looking forward to showing many others how EPOS is the partner their business has been waiting for.”