Why a Good Restaurant POS System Cannot Be Missing From Your Business: Comparing Different Software Options

Posted by in Equipment, Management

Between the customers, order, servers, management, and sometimes entertainment, the fast-paced feel of a restaurant leaves little room for error. There are a few different types of restaurant software to choose from that can help you keep your company up and running swiftly and efficiently:

  1. Point of Sale (POS) – this software programs the money related responsibilities of your restaurant—checking out customers, sending orders from the restaurant floor to the kitchen, online ordering, tracking sales, and storing accounts and payment information.
  2. Inventory management software – this software helps keep records of the items you have in your restaurant. This way, you know what supplies you need to order and when you need to order them.
  3. Costing software – this software also deals with the finances of your restaurant by telling you how much money you have to spend on certain supplies for any length of time.

Most restaurant owners agree that if you are opening up a new restaurant or looking to improve an existing restaurant, POS software is the key to running a business with high levels of customer satisfaction. For a small coffee shop or deli, a POS system may not be necessary right at the start; however, for a medium to large sized restaurant this software is a must.

POS software is not only the register you see in the front of the building, but also consists of a controller in another part of the office that deals with all of the prices of items.

Good POS software will allow your business to run smoothly, quickly, and most importantly efficiently. A few benefits of having a good, quality POS system include:

  • Simplifies Communication – A good POS system will allow your servers to work with the kitchen staff without having to walk all the way to the kitchen. This saves both parties time talking with each other; giving the servers more time to work with customers, and the cooks more time to work on preparing the food.
  • Tracking – If you have a software that lets you know the most ordered items on your menu, you will be able to make an executive decision about what to offer as well as what new menu items you should include as your restaurant grows. Tracking menu items will also allow you to use usage figures when determining what food or items you need most.
  • Payroll Benefits – Many restaurant POS systems will prompt an employee to “clock in” before they can use the system. This will keep track of each employee’s hours on the job, and save you a lot of time trying to figure out payroll.
  • Checkout – One of the most obvious benefits to a POS system would be the fact that it can check customers out. With this feature comes an automatic sales tax equation and sometimes a profit and loss statement.

Comparing Different Restaurant POS System Software and their Features

Aldelo software is the most popular restaurant POS software, and likely will be the software you see publicized most often. According to, BankCardPOS, Aldelo “is well received in over 55,000 installations around the world due to its flexibility, ease of use and completeness.”  Below lists the two types of Aldelo POS software you may want to consider based on a few of the most popular features*:

Aldelo Lite Edition Microsoft POS 2009 Software Aldelo Pro                     Third+Station License

Edition

Microsoft RMS: Retail Management System
 Hostess/Guest Paging

 

 

 

X

 

X

 Reservations and Waiting list

 

 

 

X

 

X

 Employee Scheduling and Payroll Preparation

 

 

X

 

X

 

X

 Inventory Management

 

 

X

 

X

 

X

 Order Splits and Combines

 

X

 

N/A

 

X

 

X

 Price

 

$395.00

 

$90.00

 

$500.00

 

$660.40

*Note—these are only a few of the hundreds of features POS software can offer. Create a list of things you want your software to be able to do for your restaurant, and go from there.

Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Restaurant POS System Software

  • As with all technology, a POS system is no different. Always have a backup of payroll information or other important financial matters. If the software does fail, getting orders to the kitchen will be a little bit slower, but customers will understand! Everyone knows how difficult it can be when a computer fails, so 10 computers failing is an understandable problem.
  • You do have the option of buying your own computer and POS software separately. If you do not have a lot of money right at the start, this may be an option to consider.
  • Usually software and hardware are a package deal. The hardware that makes up a POS system is very straightforward. Below lists the features that you want to make sure your POS system to include:

-       Monitor

-       Keyboards (if not a touch screen monitor)

-       Magnetic stripe readers (for processing credit cards)

-       A printer for receipts

-       Cash drawer

-       A display that shows the customer their total (optional)

  • POS software for retail is very different than POS software for a restaurant, so do not get confused!

What POS software does your restaurant use? Do you find it to be adequate for your needs, or do you wish you had certain features? Let us know in the comments!

Amanda DiSilvestro is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Chicago restaurants. She writes for Restaurants.com, a leading directory of restaurants.

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Consumers Want Fast and Easy Meals for Dinner Fresh Prepared food with portability is driving retail food success

Posted by in Food

Do you have time to eat, time for dinner or even time for cooking at home today?
By Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®

 

If you are “ready-2-eat” there is a very good chance you are looking for fresh prepared multi-flavor, multi-ethnic Grocerant meal components. Heat-N-eat and ready-2eat fresh prepared food with portability is driving retail food success in 2012. Where are you shopping for you food today is not the same place your mother was nor is the meal prepared the same way.

As long as multi-generational family’s gather for meals together, the demand for more divergent flavors continues to permeate. Grocerant mix and match bundled meal component offerings allow for increased family integration, understanding and acceptance in less time without a required cook from scratch skill set.

In the 1940′s cooking from scratch was the normal. The average home cooked meal took 150 minutes to prepare. Everyone sat down at the table and enjoyed it or not but they all ate the same thing. Today’s “home cooked meal” takes on average less than 30 minutes to prepared.

In most cases at least two different entrées are served.

The average time spent inside a McDonalds in the 2,000 was 11 minutes.

Today 65+ percent of all McDonald’s food is sold via the drive-thru.

U.S. fast-food chains are increasingly remodeling restaurants in an effort to garner additional drive-thru customers inside and increase sales, simple because the drive-thru can’t hold all the cars.

According to the New York Times Magazine – McDonalds Came Back Bigger Than Ever McDonald’s Corp. saw a 50% increase in sales during the first quarter of 2012 after opening a remodeled restaurant in Riverside, California, that features a new décor, solar panels on the carport, and ceiling panels that contain L.E.D. lights. During the first 12 months, sales at this restaurant increased 20% overall.

Walgreens is creating and bundling distinctive differentiated food consumable’s as an entity with identity by day part in a mix and match meal component format in select urban setting targeted at both the office worker for lunch and meal components for them to take home for the family dinner. It is a successful program. With over 7,550 units operating in the United States Walgreens has the potential to become the most disruptive force in food retailing in 50 years. Walgreens with its modular mid-sized foot-print is garnering customers from both restaurants and grocery stores.

Consumers Want Easy to Prepare Meals

The grocerant niche continues to grow with companies like Central Market, Whole Foods, Wegmans and 7 Eleven entering the fresh prepared better for you space. Meal time is now becoming a time of convenient meal participation, with differentiation and individualization for the entire family. Safeway with its lifestyle stores are heading in the right direction however the stores are so large consumers are forced to spend more time in them than they want.

More often than not the multi-generational family today is multi-ethnic as well. Creating a demand for more varied flavors and additional cooking skill set that is simply not there. Grocery stores, Convenience Stores, Restaurants and Chain Drug Stores are all selling ready-2-eat and heat-N-eat fresh prepared food. Is your focus family dinning? Are you selling meals or meal components for Take-Out, delivery or Take-Away?

Lacking the skill set to prepared fresh prepared multi-ethnic meal components at home coupled with the time it takes to prepared a home cooked meal it is clear the buying habits of consumers will continue to evolve. Bundling mix and match meal components into a meal is one key driver within the grocerant niche. Given that most American family are comprised of multi-cultural background. The fight for share of stomach will only intensify.

Restaurants menu’s at one time were very narrow in focus and have moved more upscale with offerings such as Oriental; Chicken Salad, Southwest Chicken Salad, along with a chef salads. Grocery stores on the other hand are expected to sell complete lines of reay-2-eat multi-ethnic food. That places higher expectations on grocers than restaurants or a company like Walgreens. Walgreens might just be in the perfect spot to expand fresh prepared food offerings capturing customers from both restaurants and supermarkets.

Since 1991 Foodservice Solutions® a Tacoma, WA based retail foodservice consultancy has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. For product or brand positioning assistance contact Steven A. Johnson or the Grocerant LinkedIn page or on Facebook at Steven Johnson, BING / GOOGLE: Steven Johnson Grocerants or Grocerant on Twitter

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Be A Kitchen Rock Star In The Texas Pete Chipotle Challenge Recipe Contest

Posted by in Press Releases

$5,000 And Instant Stardom Awaits One Kitchen Hero

(Winston-Salem, NC) – TW Garner Food Company is in search of the next generation of kitchen rock stars with the announcement of the company’s Texas Pete® Chipotle Challenge recipe contest. The competition offers both veteran and upstart menu developers a chance to earn nationwide recognition and a $5,000 grand prize to their operation’s favorite charity.

“This is a battle among the best chefs at rising regional and emerging chains, big national chains, non-commercial contract feeders… any foodservice professional who is ready for a challenge and a chance at significant national recognition,” said TW Garner’s General Sales Manager, Steve DeCorte. The recipe contest challenges chefs to use Texas Pete® Chipotle Hot Sauce as an ingredient in a magnificent menu creation.

“Chipotle isn’t just for Mexican or Tex-Mex menus any more,” explained TW Garner’s Executive Chef and National Accounts Sales Manager Michael O’Donnell. “We are looking for great menu creations from any chef or operator and from any cuisine”.

Texas Pete® Chipotle Hot Sauce is superior to any other chipotle sauce because of its authentic smoke jalapeno flavor that is so bold, yet balanced, that it does not overpower a chef’s own creation. TW Garner offers its chipotle hot sauce in ½ gallon plastic jugs and 6-ounce glass bottles.

The contest offers the grand prize winner a spotlight for his or her prowess in the kitchen and recognition for his or her operation. The top chef will be honored in a full-page ad in a national foodservice trade publication, featuring his or her recipe, and information on his or her organization. “Because we did not want to exclude multi-unit operations that may have prohibitions against their employees earning cash prizes while on the job, we’ll contribute $5,000 to the charity of the organization’s choice,” DeCorte said. The chef and his or her operation will also be featured in a Texas Pete® TV webisode that will be shared globally via YouTube and the Texas Pete® foodservice website (www.TexasPeteFoodservice.com).

Chefs or operators who are interested in submitting an entry in the Texas Pete® Chipotle Challenge can review contest rules and submit their recipe entries through midnight, December 31, 2012 online via www.TexasPeteFoodservice.com or via mail at Texas Pete® Chipotle Challenge, P.O. Box 5609, Johnson City, TN, 37602.

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NRN names 2012 Hot Concepts winners

Posted by in Food, Management, Restaurants

 

Nation’s Restaurant News has awarded four foodservice brands with its annual Hot Concepts awards, which celebrate innovation, vitality and growth within the restaurant industry.

The 2012 Hot Concepts winners have earned recognition with their bold moves in areas like technology and social media, as well as menu development, outstanding creativity and strong sales results in a persistently sluggish economy.

The class of 2012 includes CoolHaus, a food truck fleet focused on ice cream sandwiches; Del Frisco’s Grille, the smaller, more casual offshoot of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse; Pie Five Pizza Co., a fast-casual, make-your-own pizza chain; and STACKED, a full-service brand that focuses on healthful, customized food and infuses technology into the customer experience.

“This year’s winners are moving foodservice forward by embracing today’s changing consumer landscape, from their use of technology and social media to their customer-friendly service styles and menu choices,” Randall Friedman, publisher of Nation’s Restaurant News, said. “I look forward to celebrating these Hot Concepts award winners as great examples of the restaurant industry’s innovation and strength.”

The winners will be feted at the Hot Concepts award celebration — sponsored by e*Restaurant from Altametrics, an enterprise management solution — during the 53nd annual MUFSO conference. MUFSO, the preeminent education and networking event for foodservice executives, will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Dallas. Learn more at MUFSO.com.

NRN’s Hot Concepts program, now in its 18th year, recognizes forward-thinking companies positioned at the leading edge of the foodservice industry. Winners are selected by the editorial team of Nation’s Restaurant News.
Read more here >>

 

 

[ Reposted with permission from Nation's Restaurant News ]

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Hiring the Right Staff – Sink or Swim

Posted by in Management

This guest post was written by Bryan Furgison. He is a food enthusiast with several years of experience in the food industry via culinary art and restaurant management. He writes in conjunction with the commercial freezers retailer Coldtech Commercial, which specializes in prep tables and commercial refrigeration.

There are many factors that go into making a great restaurant—food, atmosphere, cleanliness, staff, prices, location, etc. There are also many backend financials required to make restaurants financially viable. Things such as waste, food costs, restaurant efficiency; all of these are necessary in a successful restaurant.

So really, it’s hard to say one characteristic more than any other that creates a great and successful restaurant. We can all remember restaurants we’ve frequented for one reason or another that weren’t particularly outstanding. Sometimes all it takes is really one solid element to keep us going back.

But to continue to be successful, over time, is—in my opinion—impossible without a great staff. It is the sink or swim, so to speak. That might sound nubilous, so let me explain.

Hiring the right staff has such an impact throughout the entire restaurant. Staff can make or break the atmosphere, customer experience, food, cleanliness, efficiency, etc. etc. Essentially, they play a vital role in virtually every important functioning aspect of the restaurant.

And let’s be honest. Restaurants are one of the most prolific businesses in America. People expect a certain level of service and quality with each visit. It’s a real part of why Americans dine out. If they don’t get it at your restaurant, more than likely they’ll move on to the next. With so many options available, there’s no reason to waste their time coming back after a bad experience.

With essentially everything on the line, the importance of having a staff that consistently performs can’t be overstated.

If for no other reason, I believe base staff—such as the waiters/waitresses and line cooks—are the backbone of any restaurant for the following reasons:

Customer Service

How your guests feel about their interactions with the wait staff commonly plays a significant role in determining whether they’ll be coming back. Honestly, your wait staff will have 90% of the overall interactions with the guests. This means that how well they perform, their attitude, and how they deal with each guest is how the general public will perceive the attitude of your restaurant.

Each waiter/waitress is symbolically a spokesman for your restaurant. It’s a big decision; not something to be taken lightly.

Training obviously plays a role in how your wait staff treats your guests, but at the end of the day their own individual personality makes a big difference. Hiring the right individuals means everything to your business; one poisonous or generally rude waiter/waitress can wreck precious relationships and drive away numerous new and potential guests.

Atmosphere

Anyone who’s spent two minutes inside your restaurant can sense the atmosphere. This extends even beyond your hosts/hostess and general wait staff. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen an irritable bartender or cook spread his negativity to a waiter or waitress, which is then sensed by a guest.

This is so important. Your entire team needs to be running smoothly and efficiently. Any busy restaurant should be running like a well-oiled machine; a single piece out of place and the whole thing can slowly fall apart. Without the right staff, well trained and efficient, any restaurant will naturally struggle. Not an idea position.

Guests can pick up on tension inside a restaurant quickly. No one wants to spend time inside a tense, rushed, or uncomfortable atmosphere. So making sure you have the right staff, and that they’re not only qualified buy performing the job smoothly and efficiently, in a happy environment, is absolutely vital to a successful restaurant.

Efficiency

The final reason I believe staff controls the success of a restaurant over all other factors is that restaurant efficiency comes directly from the staff. True, they need strong management to be able to do their job, but they’re the initial and final source of efficiency.

If they’re not performing their tasks smoothly and efficiently, business can grind to a halt.

Efficiency controls so much in the restaurant business. It directly correlates to the atmosphere. It directly correlates to the financial viability of the business. Chefs and cooks need to be able to use all ingredients with minimal waste, while producing maximum result. Also, they need to be able to cook as efficiently as possible with relation to time; the faster they can produce dishes, the quicker turnaround on guests, which increases profitability. Efficiency and professionalism is so often the lifeblood of any great restaurant.

At the end of the day, management is definitely important for all restaurants. But without a great staff, they’re useless. Even the best manager will be completely ineffective without a great base staff. They directly control the atmosphere, customer service, and overall efficiency. Without a strong, competent staff, any restaurant will eventually sink. So, before your next hire, hopefully you understand just how important the right staff really is.

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Millennials drive restaurant drink trends

Posted by in Beverages, Marketing & Trends

Research from Technomic says the group is having a significant effect on alcoholic beverage sales

By 2018, all the young consumers in the Millennial demographic group will be of legal drinking age, but the cohort already is having a significant effect on alcoholic beverage trends in the restaurant industry, according to new research from Technomic.

The Chicago-based market research firm found in its study, “Special Trends in Adult Beverage (TAB) Report: Millennial Consumer Insights,” that Millennials show a greater willingness to explore new drinks, which is driving a bigger interest among restaurant brands in expanding craft beer platforms, creating signature cocktails with boutique spirits and sourcing more wine with sweeter taste profiles.

“Millennials are absolutely driving some of the biggest trends in adult beverage and will continue to do so for the next few years,” David Henkes, Technomic’s vice president and leader of its adult beverage practice, said in a statement. “We do see, however, that this is not a homogeneous group. Due to its sheer size and inherent diversity, beverage professionals from suppliers and marketers to retailers and restaurateurs must be very strategic in engaging Millennials in terms of adult beverage occasions and consumption.”

Read more here >>

 

 

[ Reposted with permission from Nation's Restaurant News ]

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Customer Loyalty Rewards

Posted by in Management, Marketing & Trends, Restaurants

Customer Loyalty Rewards – Not

Customer loyalty rewards, -you know the ones that I’m talking about, the “reward card” programs where a business will get you to sign up for a scanable loyalty card, -sounds like a great concept for an independent restaurateur, but these reward programs can also alienate patrons.

Cards

First of all, who needs another card to carry around in their wallet or handbag? I refuse these things more often than not, but still have a dedicated wallet in my glove-box filled with them. When I remember to use these, I seldom feel like I’m getting anything special. When I forget the card in the glove box (most of the time), I usually end up feeling like I’m getting screwed because I can’t verify that I’m a loyal customer–or even more annoying,  get to play a guessing game with the cashier as to which phone number was used when I signed on to this.

I went into a supermarket last week to grab a couple of items and I didn’t notice any prices until heading toward the register area where my favorite cookies were on sale for $2.50. I’ve been trying to stay away from these addictive little sweeties …but a deal is a deal.

I went for the shortest checkout line, which was the self-check line…you probably know the rest of the story. I didn’t have my card and the $2.50 cookies cost me $3.75. I was either in too much of a hurry or too proud to go to the customer service desk and get a refund, so I ate the cookies in the car and vowed that if I do have to go back to that store, I’ll fill a carriage with stuff that I don’t need and leave it in an aisle.

Thinking about it now, the stores that have customer loyalty cards are the ones that I most try to avoid. I almost always leave them feeling like I got suckered.

A number of independent restaurants and most chains have been offering cards. The reasons to offer them are good; they seem like win-win and they make sense, except that I don’t think many operators think about the number of customers alienated and pissed-off by these things.

You create loyal customers by treating them exactly like you enjoy being treated. Do you really need the customer to carry an ID, and do you really need to be able to track on a spreadsheet what their favorite side dish is and how many times they had dessert and how many cocktails they had? (If you want to track all of that stuff just get a corporate job.)

You know this stuff, but sometimes you forget. So tonight, take a stroll around the dining room. If you see a familiar face, stop by their table and thank them, maybe comp them a dessert. If you see an unfamiliar face, ditto. Then smile and get back into the kitchen to stir the frigg’n peas.

The two most dangerous lies in business are:

1.-You can’t lose

2.-You can’t win

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