Restaurants handle a high amount of credit card and cash transactions. So your restaurant management software should make your life easier as the owner or restaurant manager by tracking all business sales data down to the last cent.
With this sales data, you can keep tabs on your all your items sold, which gives you the power to make smart decisions for your business. For example, it allows you to adjust your menu accordingly to best or worst items sold, know your busiest selling times, and determine who your best servers are. Most importantly, you get the sales data you need to determine your profit.
Additionally, you need to keep reliable records for taxes, especially for your local or state business and alcohol tax laws. For instance in Texas, in addition to sales tax, there is a mixed beverage sales tax, and that needs to be reported accordingly. So you need to consult with your accountant and know your local tax tables and make sure your system has the reporting features you need.
Most real POS systems have robust sales and tax reporting data. Any good provider will be able to explain the sales reporting features built into the system and describe your available options for accounting integrations like Quickbooks.
The menu on a restaurant management system should be easy to configure and setup. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s an essential consideration. There are so many systems on the market that can make your life very difficult when all you want to do is make simple menu updates or pricing changes.
Especially with the big brand name POS companies where you may be required to contact support to make a menu change or be a programming genius to figure it out yourself. Sometimes the terminals or the server has to be rebooted to make a minor menu change. You don’t need that headache.
Before you decide on your software, ask your POS provider to show you how easy it is to make adjustments to the menu programming. If it takes more than 2 minutes to adjust a menu item or make a special price change, you might want to consider looking at other options.
Your order management software should be easy for users and management to use. Your restaurant staff should be able to transfer tickets quickly, split checks, change tables, change item quantities, change item prices, repeat drinks or menu items, manage tables, keep track of reservations, and adjust gratuity or taxes.
As an example for owners and managers, you need to be able to control refunds, voids, comps, and view order status at any given time to keep a pulse on the business.
The best way to know if what the order management interface is going to look like and what options are available is to get a live or online demo of the software. So be sure to spend the time to make sure the interface is intuitive and straightforward to use for you and your staff.
An important consideration with credit card integration is what processing company you’re going to use. Some POS companies are the processor, which can help you out a great deal. If your point of sale is with one company and your processing is with another, you can anticipate making multiple calls when dealing with processing issues.
Some restaurant owners and managers never fully realize the potential to increase sales and to generate repeat business by offering gift cards. Here are a few advantages.
Give your loyal customers gift cards that are pre-paid instead of a coupon because two thirds of customers will spend over 35% more than a gift’s cards balance. And let’s be honest, gift cards are way more convenient and more cost effective than running a coupon promotion or marketing campaign.
Inventory control is a must-have feature for any restaurant business software. Most bar or restaurant POS software has options to deduct items from your inventory when you sell a product after they are programmed to do so, of course.
It’s important to know the amount of food you have on hand and to set a par level, so you know when to order more product from your vendor. Inventory is necessary because you want to understand your profit margins entirely and that starts by following your food usage and costs.
No actual point of sale system is complete without employee management features. You’ll want this option fully integrated, or some systems may use a 3rd party integration program to expand your options.
But primarily you need the ability for employees to clock in and out so you can track hours worked and to monitor staff productivity. Most systems, including Aimbeat Softech, can set different user permissions and access levels to keep your system secure. So it’s important to know what options are required by your establishment and what features are available in the program.
Tracking your standard sales data is great for beginners, but real restaurant professionals need and want comprehensive reporting data. Restaurant owners need to be able to filter their sales and customer data to help grow their business. For instance, you may want to filter sales by brand, product type, season, time of year or other trends your business has not yet identified.
Having the ability to filter your reporting data is massively important, and not all systems have this ability.
Power in data and numbers allows owners to gain more control over the productivity of staff, food costs, as well as picking the perfect time for marketing promotions or offering discounts. Additionally, it’s vital to understand if specific products aren’t selling well, so you have the knowledge to discontinue or phase them out.
Included in your reporting should be data retrieved from your customer database. If you can identify who your most loyal customers are, the products they buy the most, and their purchasing frequency, this can assist when considering loyalty programs or offering product specials.
If you’re opening a new restaurant or even if your an existing establishment, marketing is a requirement these days. You can hire the best chef in the world, but if you have no one come to try his food, then what’s the point?
Some restaurant management software will have built-in marketing tools like a loyalty program to help drive repeat business and increase the customer base, but it’s not enough. The reality is, there are so many marketing companies out there that specialize and do this better with 3rd party integration, usually at additional costs.
Last but not least, you going to need the best possible technical support you can find. The hurt is real when your system is down on a busy Friday night, and you can’t get a human on the phone to help troubleshoot your problem.
No matter what system you end up choosing, to protect your investment and sanity, be sure to ONLY work with a company that offers 24/7 support.
You might want to work with a local company near you, and that’s great, but determine the support expectations BEFORE you purchase any POS software or hardware. Most of the major players offer 24/7 support with a paid subscription, so just be sure to ask.