Voiding vs. Refunding Payments

It happens every day. A server runs a credit card on the wrong table. A cashier overcharges a guest.

Humans make mistakes, however, when dealing with a guest’s money it can turn into a huge pain point. Once a credit card is swiped, an authorization for the check or inputted dollar amount is returned. At this point, the bank will hold onto those funds for 3-5 business days to ensure it will be available when finally settled.

In FOCUS there are two ways to ensure this money is returned to the guest. You may either void the payment or perform a refund back to the credit card. Both are very useful for very different reasons.

Voiding Payments

Any payment performed on the current business day can be voided to be removed from a check. With credit cards, this must be done prior to settling the credit card batch which is typically done at the end of the business day. When a credit card is voided from a check it is removed from the active batch and re-opens the check. The transaction can now be corrected by voiding or discounting menu items, ringing additional items, or applying a different payment. The guest will not see the voided credit card payment immediately drop from their account nor see a returned amount in this instance since it was only removed from the active batch. This method is especially useful in table service where the check itself needs to be corrected.

Refunding Payments

After the batch has settled, you cannot void the credit card payment. At this point, FOCUS has told the processor that no more changes will be made to the transaction and to finalize the charge. The only way to put funds back on the guest’s card would be to perform a refund. A refund can be performed via the ‘Refund’ function or by returning menu items.

The ‘Refund’ function is typically located on the Function screen and allows you to charge a designated dollar amount back to a credit card you swipe or search for using the ‘Find’ option. This action does not adjust inventory and is useful if the guest still consumed the items on the original transaction.

Return Items

‘Return Items’ allows you to ring negative price menu items to both return the items to inventory and return the funds to the guest’s card. This is especially useful for retail or resalable items so they can be sold again. This function is not active in all systems by default, however, you may ask one of our awesome Helpdesk Team Members to help you set this up.

Both refunding and returning items can also be used on the same business day as the original transaction. Doing this would ensure the guest sees both the negative and positive transactions on their account.

You should only use one option, void or refund, for correcting the transaction, not both.

Want to learn more? Use the links below to walk through each process in FOCUS!

Voiding a Credit Card Payment

Credit Card Refunds

Returning Items

Tablets and Pay at the Table

Tablets and pay at the table devices promise increased efficiency and boosted tip percentages for your hardworking staff. Let’s review a few key points to consider before picking a solution in order to help you reach these goals.

Ordering Tablets

If you are looking to increase your service staff’s efficiency, tablets allow them to place orders quickly from wherever they need to be instead of going back to a stationary terminal.

Don’t like the idea of guests feeling like they are being neglected while a server places an order on a tablet? Having a thought-out steps of service that includes how and when to use the tablet ensures servers are attentive to guests while still being able to take advantage of the device’s flexibility.

Tablet Payments

Adding on card readers for swipe or chip credit card transactions means that both ordering and paying can be done from a single device. This allows your staff to quickly process a transaction while still being tableside, giving the guest the piece of mind that their card never leaves their eyes.

Want to print receipts or credit card vouchers? Printers can either be strategically placed at convenient locations on the floor or WiFi printers can be carried or clipped to a belt to offer mobility.

Prefer to have your guests tip and sign at the time of processing? Tip and signature prompts allow the server to hand or show the tablet to the guest to complete the transaction if desired.

Self Pay Tablet

Tablets that can be left behind by a server or permanently installed at the table can allow guests to reorder drinks or simply pay out their check at their convenience.

Tip and on-screen signature prompts allow the guest to complete the transaction without having to wait for a paper voucher. Not only does this make guests happier to be able to leave at their own pace, but tip prompting has shown to lead to increased tip percentages for staff.

Knowing how the new technology you implement will affect your guests and staff will allow you to choose the right solution. Our Solution Consultants can help businesses like yours analyze how tech can drive growth and prosperity for you and your team.

Find out more about tablets and mobile POS here, or chat with a Solution Consultant.

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Card Check List

The holidays are almost here, and gift cards can give restaurants a huge sales boost at the end of the year.  Are you ready to cash in?

Integrate Gift Cards

Activating and using gift cards through your POS system saves servers time. Unlike gift certificates, a running balance is kept for each card so you can ensure the proper amount is used towards a guest’s bill.

Gift Card Supplies

Order now to ensure you have enough cards and envelops to make it through the busy holiday season. Custom holiday versions are also available from most printing companies.

Holiday Purchase Promo

Want to entice more gift card sales? Many restaurants will offer guests a perk such as a coupon or an additional gift card they could use for themselves. Plan out your promotion ahead of time so you can pre-activate gift cards or prepare other incentives for guests.

Employee Sales Contest

Get all of your team on board with selling more gift cards! Create a sales contest to track your top gift card sellers. Rewards can be for pride, traded shifts, no side work or some extra holiday cash.

 

Need to get gift cards setup or more supplies ordered? Give us a shout!

 

Using Super Groups to Segment Sales Data

If you are using FOCUS you are probably already familiar with Report Groups. Each menu item in FOCUS is attached to a Report Group. This classification allows you to group like items for sales reporting purposes.

Report Groups could be broad names such as Food or Spirits. Alternatively, you can set Report Groups to more defined categories such as Apps, Salads, Entrees or Wine and Beer. This is super beneficial for getting detailed and segmented reporting based on your menu sections or other categorizations.

The challenge is when using very specific names for your Report Group categories which your management team will love, your accounting team will not be able to quickly see the broad categories they need for revenue recognition.

This is where Super Groups can help define an additional layer of data grouping.

Super Groups consolidate Report Groups into larger categories. This allows you to see both your more defined categorizations with Report Groups and the totals of the selected combined Report Groups together.

For instance, at the Focus Cafe, we have the following Report Groups: Salads, Sandwiches, Wraps, Plates, Desserts, Kids, Drinks, Bottle Bev, Spirits, Cocktails, Glass Wine, Bottle Wine, Bottle Beer, and Draft Beer.

These Report Groups give us the detailed breakdown we want to understand where the majority of our sales come from. However, we still want to see the total overall sales for Food, NA Bev, Spirits, Beer and Wine.

Under the Report Group settings, we can set which Super Group it is defined to report with. In the example below, we can see how the Report Groups and Super Groups are configured for a location with extremely detailed reporting.

Super Groups are configured in Miscellaneous > nFocus/Online Ordering/Tabbedout. These are defined in our example below as broader categories. These groups can be renamed at any point and added or changed to a Report Group to reorganize data.

Report Groups are configured in Reports > Report Groups. Existing Report Groups should not be renamed as it will affect historical reporting.

FOCUS Super Group Setup FOCUS Report Group Setup

Using the configuration above allows us to get a Sales Detail report which will group sales by Super Group and then Report Group. The report below is an example of how the Sales Detail report would look if ran from FOCUS.

 

FOCUS Sales Detail Report

Super Groups can be added even if you have been using the system for years without them.

Need assistance setting this up? Our Awesome Helpdesk Team would be happy to help! Submit a ticket below and we will reach out to help you set this up.

Hot Tech Trends at the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo

Yes, there were tasty treats. But our team is all about that tech!

We were very excited to chat with everyone who stopped by our booth during the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo. It was held from August 19th – 21st at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown LA.

Let’s take a look at some of the hot trends people were discussing at the show.

Big Data & Data Analytics

In some of our previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how big data is changing how owners and operators look at data and the impact it can make on your business.

Having aggregated data helps you see overall trends in your business and the industry. Detailed guest tracking and CRM let you keep tabs on your most important regulars and their habits.

We showcased GuestChex our complete guest CRM at the show. This package includes FOCUSGift, FOCUSRewards, and FOCUSAnalytics to give you a complete overview of your guest’s spending trends.

Pay at the Table

As the industry struggles to figure out where technology fits in at dining room tables, it’s important to note this is a trend that is growing and saving lots of precious time for staff.

At the show, we displayed multiple types of pay at the table devices, from table kiosks to server tablets and simple digital check presenters. Our team talked about all the different ways you can conquer payments at the table.

Cloud-Based Managment

You need to be able to manage your business from wherever you may be, not just at your store locations.

We debuted MyFocus Backoffice the cloud-based management tool from FOCUS. Edit menus, time cards, employees and more from one web portal for all your locations.

Featured Customer: Habitat Coffee

Habitat Coffee in Glassell Park The lucky inhabitants of Glassel Park, an LA neighborhood nestled in the San Rafael Hills, are served daily by local cafe Habitat Coffee.

We say lucky because not only is the food delicious and the coffee on point, but they also have an amazing team that takes excellent care of their patrons.

During the morning rush, it is crucial for Habitat to move through transactions quickly. The FOCUS team optimized their order screens for quick access to items and modifiers on a single page to reduce jumping around. Quick payments save time as well allowing the baristas to quickly move to the next guest.

Habitat Coffee is exactly what a neighborhood coffee shop should be, full of charm and warmth. A welcoming space for everyone.

Find out more about Habitat Coffee at http://habitatcoffeela.com/.

Point of Sale and the Cloud

The biggest trends everyone seems to be talking about are Big Data and The Cloud.

Both concepts are not new in the technology world, however, the buzzwords are getting thrown around a lot recently by companies offering web-based reporting and point of sale to restaurants and bars.

Still a little fuzzy on what these two terms mean? Check out our other posts on The Cloud and Big Data to learn more.

If a POS system was 100% cloud-based, you would not be able to utilize it when your internet goes down. So instead, most point of sale companies that market themselves as cloud-based have built solutions that allow you to operate offline. In most cases, data is always stored somewhere locally before being sent across the internet to a remote data storage facility.

Most major point of sale systems currently have the capabilities for their data to be accessed in one way or another from the web. FOCUS, for instance, has MyFocus Central that provides real-time web reporting, manager log, and a mobile application for quick access from your phone. The newest addition to the MyFocus Suite is MyFocus Office, which allows you to manage your menu and employees directly from a web portal.

So then, what are the major differences between systems marketed as cloud-based and those typically thought of as “legacy”? The biggest difference is the pricing model.

Subscription-based services make sense for start-ups that don’t have a lot of capital, however, over time the cost adds up meaning you end up putting more of an investment into technology than if you outright purchased the whole system up front (and you never own it, you literally pay for it forever).

Our team introduced FOCUSCloud this year so businesses could have the best of both worlds. This monthly subscription service gets you a stable on-premises point of sale system along with cloud-based services such as reporting, online ordering, gift cards, loyalty rewards, remote management and 24/7 helpdesk support. We even have options for subscription hardware to dramatically reduce your upfront cost.

What can Big Data do for restaurants and bars?

For years businesses have been able to pull reporting to analyze sales, inventory, financials and labor. The benefit to this data being in the cloud is not just the quick access to this reporting, it is the ability to use all of the data together for broader trend watching using AI and advanced analysis. This reporting on steroids will allow business owners and operators to make faster and more informed decisions.

The cloud, big data, and all other subscription-based services help augment point of sale to take your business to the next level.

Reach out to a FOCUS Solution Consultant to take advantage of these solutions.

Visiting the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo? Meet with our team in booth 1121 to talk about all things cloud.

Big Data and Restaurants

Big Data sounds like something complicated and expensive, but really, what it means is data being stored in a manner that is easy to access and manipulate for reporting.

Data is pooled and analyzed to be able to provide a broader trend analysis than what you would normally get from traditional reporting. Your data may also be anonymized and combined with other restaurants data to provide industry-wide analytics.

Yes, it’s just reporting. But it can be a little more complex than that, and that’s where things get a little hazy for most people.

It used to be if you wanted to see a report, you had to rely on the software applications running on your local computers to provide the data and analysis. This made it so you really only had access to canned or generic reports that everyone else using the same software saw. For most businesses, this works perfectly fine. You get the data and reports you need to run your business, simply and easily.

What happens if you want a report that is not available in the software and what about comparing it with data from another location? This is where the terms like Big Data and Above Store Reporting come into play. Data can be stored in the cloud from each business location so that reporting can be offered and customized based on your business needs. Since this data would be stored in the cloud, it could be accessed from anywhere.

The majority of POS systems on the market today, including FOCUS, have Above Store Reporting solutions and integrations that allow you to have your business data at your fingertips. You do not need to necessarily have business systems that are 100% web-based to take advantage of cloud solutions and big data analytics.

While restaurants and bars are no strangers to doing data analysis, the growing ease of use and access to these web-based tools is making it a no-brainer investment. The hours spent in the office pulling reports and plugging numbers into spreadsheets is quickly being replaced by web pages that can be accessed anywhere that do the heavy lifting for you. Having reports at a click up a button or automatically emailed can save precious time

Learn more about how Point of Sale, Big Data, and the Cloud work together!

What is the “The Cloud”?

Everyone is talking about cloud this and cloud that, but what is The Cloud?

“The Cloud” is a blanket term for data or applications stored on Internet-based servers instead of on local computers. While the technology itself is nothing new, it has become more accessible and affordable for small businesses.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways cloud-based solutions are benefiting businesses.

Accessibility

The benefit to apps that are cloud-based is the ease of access from anywhere with an internet connection. Information can be moved back and forth or accessed on computers, tablets and phones. This, of course, introduces the necessity for stable internet and network connectivity to access the cloud if being used for critical operations tasks.

Redundancy

When using the cloud, you no longer have to worry about data loss on your system at the store due to technical failure or catastrophic events since everything is stored across the Internet. Most services also offer data backup to ensure you never lose anything.

Updates

Most cloud-based apps give you access to regular updates of their services automatically. This means you always have access to the latest and greatest features without doing anything.

What are the downsides of using cloud-based solutions?

Internet

That same accessibility that is a benefit can also be an issue if you have unstable or slow internet connectivity. If you do not have access to the internet, some apps will either not work or work in a reduced function mode.

Security

All of that data you have quick access to can also be accessed by hackers if not stored securely. It is important to understand the security procedures for any web-based services you utilize.

Data Ownership

When your data is on a local computer you own, you control it. If that data is in the cloud you don’t really have full control of who can see or access it. If you stop using their services you most likely lose access to the data you had.

Learn more about the role “The Cloud” plays with Big Data and Point of Sale.

Increase Take Out Business With Online Ordering

Focus Online Ordering Increases Take Out BusinessAt this point, you cannot escape it even if you try.

With Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and various other online ordering/delivery services, your restaurant will be available at everyone’s fingertips, whether you like it or not. So then, what is the point of rolling out your own online ordering?

Control

Most third party applications don’t give you many options for customizing, controlling the aesthetics, workflow, or for ordering. Meaning you don’t really get to dictate the customer experience.

POS Integration

Take out can extend your business and add revenue, but it also increases costs. Adding additional labor to deal with increased orders eats into the added profits you thought you would be making. That’s why having orders directly feed into your POS system and in turn go directly to your kitchen saves precious time and money.

Mobile App

Many online ordering providers also can help you build your own mobile application which further allows you to control your guests’ experience and even send them notifications on their phone.

Data, data, and more data

If your customers are not ordering from you directly, you may not be getting the full picture on their purchase habits. Online ordering companies can offer reporting to see trends and also collect marketing information.

FOCUS partners with ToGo Technologies to provide customized POS integrated online and mobile ordering for restaurants.

Learn more about Online Ordering.