A recent survey of performance in the pub and restaurant market found that operating costs now stand at over 50% of turnover. That’s the highest it’s been since the report, by ALMR Christie and Co, began in 2007.
And while the survey also found widespread confidence in the sector, in these uncertain times it has to make sense to keep those operating costs under control. That may seem quite a task – but as many successful restaurants and bars have found, the answer can be quite simple: invest in a great EPoS (electronic point of sale) system.
This technology can help you control every aspect of your business from stock levels to ordering – and it even cuts down on labour time and costs by providing serving staff with handheld devices that send orders directly from tableside to the kitchen.
Sounds attractive? Of course – but how do you determine what’s the best EPoS system for your restaurant? Naturally, you need to think hard about your business and determine the challenges that you want to overcome.
So do you know the answers to these 6 questions?
1) Do you throw a lot of stock away? How much is it costing you every week?
2) Do you know which of your dishes sell the best – and which ones should be knocked off your menu?
3) Do your labour costs seem too high for the number of covers you serve every day?
4) Do customers ever complain about slow service or getting the wrong meal?
5) What are your busiest times – and are they actually the most profitable?
6) Which of your suppliers offer you the best prices on a regular basis?
If you don’t have a good EPoS system like Aloha from NFS, chances are you either don’t know the answers to some of the questions – or if you do, you can’t say what the reasons behind them might be.
Technology has made a fantastic response to the changing needs of today’s challenging restaurant environment, and the best EPoS systems for restaurants can provide major benefits.
These days, we’re dealing with a major shift in the spending patterns of diners, who are moving more towards rapid casual dining experiences – the average diner now spends only 45 minutes in a dining outlet.
The top ten casual dining brands in the UK are showing remarkable growth. For instance, CAU steakhouses – a valued customer of Aloha from NFS – showed a 67% sales growth in 2015-16 according to a recent market insight report.
There’s also increasing competition from outlets using delivery services such as Deliveroo. Some are not even restaurants, but simply kitchens that send out – and they have far lower overheads than you do as a restaurateur with an establishment to furnish, maintain and staff.
Even the meals people want are changing, as the rise in the popularity of tapas and other small plates in the UK shows.
So how exactly does EPoS help you? We’ve identified 5 key questions that you need to ask your software vendor when to make sure you look at only the best EPoS systems for restaurants.
1) Does your Restaurant EPoS system capture real-time data to improve your supply chain and stock ordering choices, eg by identifying which dishes are selling well?
2) How will your staff use this EPoS? Can they use dedicated handheld devices, iPads or mobiles to take orders?
3) Does they system provide tableside ordering and payment taking so staff do not have to waste time trekking back and forth?
4) Does it integrate with kitchen automation so chefs can start on orders as soon as they are sent from tableside? Can it integrate with your restaurant’s other systems, such as accounting, too?
5) What other businesses like yours are using the EPoS system – and can you see testimonials?
EPoS systems are available for any size of restaurant or hotel; for instance, Aloha can be provides as a web-based enterprise system that is accessible anywhere you have an internet connection.
This is particularly useful if you have a group to run, cutting down on duplication of technology and roles in different locations.
The data your system collects should be made available to you as comprehensive reports to give you an end-to-end view of your operations no matter how large or complex your organisation.
EPoS can even help in complex areas such as fraud prevention – when every transaction is tracked, unusual behaviours can be easily spotted and staff can be deterred from fraudulent action – and table management.
The successful capture of guest data means the restaurateur can create targeted marketing campaigns that will appeal to preferences.
The best EPoS systems for restaurants can even alert you that a diner is posting adverse reviews on social media so you can put things right before they leave your establishment.
CAU Estates and Property manager Colin Williams says his restaurants have used Aloha EPoS for ten years and will continue to roll out the system as the group grows. For the full CAU case study CLICK HERE.
“We like the efficiency of it in streamlining our business – it’s definitely saving us money in terms of time, efficiency and capturing data so we can identify trends,” he says.
“It’s amazing for stock control – one of our biggest challenges – and it integrates well with our other platforms.
“Our market is constantly changing, and Aloha helps us keep up with that. In all, it helps us deliver a slicker service.”
It’s a great recommendation for the capabilities of state-of-the-art EPoS, and for Aloha in particular.
And in these uncertain times for restaurants, when everyone is facing spiralling costs, it’s clear that the best EPoS systems for restaurants can provide the firm foundations on which you can build and grow your business.