Has the point of sale become analog in digital catering?

Point of sale systems are no longer sufficient to complete a transaction. Chris Lybeer, Strategy Director for Revel Systems, explains how restaurants must embrace the flexibility and fluidity that transactional platforms offer to help them cope with changing market conditions or the risk of being left behind .

The pandemic economy has (somewhat painfully) taught restaurateurs the art of the pivot. Many who were not equipped to deal with the abrupt and dramatic changes in the industry over the past year have had to scramble to adapt to new online delivery and ordering systems or face shutdown.

Although for many it was the baptism of fire, lessons emerged that sparked a new and critical approach to business. As operators navigate in the wake, a period of uncertainty persists due to new variants of COVID-19 and evolving cultural shifts in terms of how customers interact with retail and restaurants. But one thing is certain: the industry has reached a point of no return when it comes to the technology strategies restaurants need to adopt.

One of the main victims of the pandemic for restaurants is the point of sale (POS) system as we have known it. Restaurant owners can no longer rely solely on point-of-sale terminals to complete transactions. In fact, over 70% of restaurant customer transactions now go beyond the traditional face-to-face ordering experience.

The rapid technological growth and developments in drive-thru, QR code payments, delivery, online ordering, etc. have led to a radical change in consumer behavior. Therefore, it has become a business imperative for restaurants to adapt more nimbly to accommodate such market movements.

The pandemic has also precipitated an explosive growth in futuristic catering technologies such as voice control and drone delivery. Consumers (especially younger tech-savvy cohorts) are showing their willingness to adapt quickly to these new behaviors.

For this reason, the engine that powers these scalable capabilities has become essential. It is increasingly imperative that businesses have a cloud-based transactional platform with an open API that can quickly integrate new core and partner technologies as they are adopted by the market. market and consumers.

Just as market and consumer pressures have urgently forced the switch from cash to cashless systems, restaurants must embrace the flexibility and fluidity that transactional platforms offer to help them cope. changing market conditions or they risk being left behind.

The transactional platform

But rather than creating new technology, the transactional platform is a natural evolution of the point of sale concept as we have known it. We consider our approach and our core technologies to be the heart of our customers’ business. The metaphor is apt because, indeed, we provide the engine through which every part of the restoration activity flows. The heart pumps blood throughout the business body, enabling core functionalities and important partner capabilities such as inventory management, online ordering and delivery, kiosk management, employee management and payroll, CRM and customer loyalty programs, and much more.

For many merchants, this basic transactional approach has helped protect their business during recent industry challenges. Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, a 16-store chain, had a cutting edge business strategy before the pandemic with self-service kiosks they set up in several locations. While this no-wait staff approach initially became popular with customers, when COVID-19 shifted customer preferences to contactless ordering, these leading self-service kiosks made it much easier to maintain ‘Safe social distancing at Rise locations.

Rise took it a step further by introducing a fully integrated kitchen display system that enabled automatic synchronization of controls between the Revel platform and the KDS, dramatically increasing efficiency in the kitchen. Rise also implemented an online ordering solution and added a customer loyalty and digital gift card program that easily connects to its point of sale, providing a rich and seamless business management experience. Just four weeks after the effects of COVID-19 became clear, sales at Rise stores had returned to pre-pandemic figures, then continued to rise at over 25% overall, with profits from some stores reaching over 300%, in part due to their adoption. of these contactless and off-site solutions.

This basic transactional platform should not only be ready to connect to a large network of established partner offers, but for enterprising merchants and restaurants who want to connect their own bespoke software, an open API can offer a critical flexibility when needed.

Restaurant owners want to know how they can sustain their business against the unpredictable nature of the hospitality market, and while no one can predict the future, it’s important to keep an eye out for consumer trends and market forces.

The term “point of sale” will largely disappear within the next 5-10 years. In its place, traders will more generally rely on and need a core transactional platform to run their business – an engine that will drive the market forward by providing business management capabilities and seamlessly connecting. exciting and innovative partner technologies.

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Cecil N. Messick

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