Why having an integrated and unified Point-of-Sale system for caterers is a must

As consumers become increasingly driven by speed and convenience, using new methods of contactless payment, pre-ordering apps and embracing new innovations like virtual reality (VR), they are coming to expect every walk of life to provide these same tools.

According to analysts, the global contract catering market is likely to grow significantly in the coming years, driven predominantly by increasing demand for customised food, rising global middle class populations and the growing use of mobile technologies. Omnico’s recent research found that overall the industry is challenged by targets to reduce food wastage. 53% of respondents cited ‘reducing food wastage’ as the number one challenge, and the majority confirmed that technology was the solution to solve this.

54% of respondents said they wished technology could solve predicting quantities of food requirements to reduce wastage.

With the industry clearly outlining the desire to use technology solutions to not only solve their challenges but also to improve customer loyalty, capacity management, reduce queues and ultimately improve ROI, it is essential that an integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) system take centre stage.

A holistic approach brings rewarding benefits

A holistic approach to a POS system is essential, enabling an operator to deploy a single solution to solve the multiple challenges of today’s hospitality industry. A joined-up solution allows for advance-ordering, payment with mobile devices and the instant distribution of loyalty rewards, bringing both restaurant owner or caterer, plus consumers, the benefits they want. A piecemeal approach on the other hand, will mean customers can only enjoy some benefits, with operators unable to enjoy far more efficient deployment of resources, improved cash-flow or increased customer-loyalty.

An advanced omni-channel EPOS software will always recognise the customer wherever they are and whichever technology they are using to make contact. Operator and customer can see entitlements, orders, preferences and loyalty rewards. It means that restaurant managers are always able to react immediately, taking and preparing advanced orders and reserving tables where required. Customers can then enjoy their meal or pick up their order without queueing, in a hassle-free, enjoyable experience that includes cashless payment and instantly visible loyalty reward updates. Wherever they are, customers receive the same high level of service and personalisation.

Press ‘play’ and go!

While many in the industry may fear a costly and time-heavy rip-and-replace of their existing systems, the truth is it could hardly be easier to implement an advanced POS system. The most effective solutions plug into existing databases, kitchen management and customer engagement technologies, enabling full functionality while interacting with a single transaction and engagement engine. Cloud-based solutions mean an operator can easily scale up and down according to requirements, coping with sudden fluctuations without problem, vastly increasing efficiency.

The days of rip-and-replace have long gone. Deployments are up-and-running in weeks with a reassuringly quick return on the investment.

The coffeehouse with the answer

Coffeehouse company Harris + Hoole has pioneered the use of technology that recognises the customer and their usual order by connecting the mobile app with its CRM, payment and POS, and the results are remarkable.

The payment app (which the customer has already downloaded) triggers the display of a photograph on the POS terminal informing the barista of the usual order and confirming to the cashier who the customer is. If it is only the favourite drink that is required, then the amount is deducted from the app. If, however, the customer wants something different, then the technology joining everything up allows the POS to add items without hassle. Customers can also enable automatic top-ups, using their existing payment cards.

Using a well-designed app backed by advanced omni-channel software, customers enjoy their visit without the delays or points of friction that can bedevil any visit to a coffee shop or restaurant.

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