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.

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.

Featured Customer: Congregation Ale House

At Congregation Ale House beer is religion.

Focus Featured Customer Congregation Ale HouseThe staff is eager to spread the word, not just about their own creations but also those of fellow brewers. They speak with the passion that only a true believer could. This is just one of the things separating Congregation Ale House from the many other beer bars in LA and Orange County, they are truly excited to talk hops with you and that feeling is contagious.

With three locations in Azusa, Pasadena and Long Beach the team at Congregation Ale House was looking to upgrade their POS so they could increase efficiency, unify menus, and implement new tech like online ordering before setting their attention to expanding in Orange County.

Partnering with our friends at ToGo Technologies, Congregation Ale House has rolled out online ordering at all their locations. This has allowed them to extend their take-out business with a simple ordering flow that made sense for their menu.

Check out what they have on tap by visiting their website at http://congregationalehouse.com/.

5 Restaurant Trends You’ll See This Year

As we head into 2018 there are five restaurant trends that you can anticipate seeing as the focus of many business goals for the upcoming year for fast casual, quick service, table service, or bars and nightclubs.  Being in the trenches, talking with restaurant owners and operators every day, we can see the trends emerging in the hospitality industry before most. From mobile point of sale to accepting chip cards and new ways to connect with customers, you should take note of these five trends.

1 – Implementing Mobile Point of Sale

Letting your wait and bar staff loose from the chains of a stationary point of sale unit to provide faster, more efficient service to your customers can be a freeing experience and a restaurant trend we’re a big fan of. Putting mobile technology into your employees’ hands allows them to complete foundational functions like order taking, input and accepting payments on the fly, cutting out wasted steps and shaving off precious minutes. Think faster orders, faster turn times and happier customers. That is the very capabilities you can get from Focus Mobile Solutions.

2 – Offering Delivery Service Through Third-Party Integrations

Even fine dining establishments are jumping on the online order wagon in an effort to satisfy customer demands. Online ordering is going to explode in 2018, and thanks to innovative software like Chowly, which connects third-party online ordering platforms (Chow Now, Grubhub, delivery.com) directly to your point of sale, you can streamline your online order process and eliminate the need for a dedicated employee to enter orders manually into your POS.  It just so happens that Focus POS will integrate with Chowly in the very near future, taking your delivery service, no matter your type of restaurant, to the next level, adding to your revenue stream.

3 – Finding Ways to Cut Labor Costs

Number three on our list of restaurant trends for 2018: pretty much anything related to cutting labor costs in your restaurant or bar. Kitchen display systems are a key technology that has the potential to transform your back of the house (BOH) processes. These customizable interfaces give your kitchen the ability to visually organize orders and get rid of the clutter by banishing paper from the line forever.

4 – Building and Improving Customer Relationships

“It’s like they know me!” That’s what you want your restaurant customers saying about you in 2018. That happens through a deep knowledge of their eating habits and dining history and that happens through analytics and reporting. Think about the way that Amazon makes product suggestions to you based on your purchase history. Restaurants, no matter the size, can do the same thing. You can offer promotions and marketing strategically targeted to your patrons. A loyalty program like Focus Rewards is a perfect platform to gather that historical data and related demographic information that can drive your messaging and deliver the right message at the right time. This strategy will inspire your guests to either hop in the car to dine with you or jump online and order a meal from you.

5 – Accepting Alternative Payment Methods

Reducing credit card fraud. Limiting chargebacks.  Decreasing liability. Those are just a few of the benefits of accepting the new security-advanced payment methods like chip cards and mobile payments like Apple Pay. Not only that but you’ll be ready for the next generation of diners who are more tech savvy and are more comfortable waving than swiping. Installing software and hardware that can accommodate a wider variety of payment methods is definitely one of the restaurant trends you’ll see in 2018.

We’re excited about the shifting tide in the hospitality industry that is hyper-customer-focused and heavily favors tech. Focus POS California has the hardware, software and expertise to partner with you to take your restaurant or bar to the next level this year and really help you accomplish your business goals.

3 Reasons to Let mPOS Set the Pace in Your Restaurant

The use of mobile POS (mPOS) in restaurants is becoming more and more popular due to the many advantages it offers to businesses and their customers. In fact, nearly 51% of small and large restaurants have considered using an alternative mPOS system to help bolster service speed and workflow efficiency. If you currently use mobile devices as part of your POS process, do you know if they are being used to their fullest potential?

Here are three reasons to let mPOS capabilities set the pace in your restaurant:

Greater Speed

When your wait staff uses handheld devices such as tablets or smartphones, they can take food and drink orders and process payments right at the customer table. The order is immediately transmitted to the food prep station or bar. This helps eliminate wasted back and forth steps by the server to complete transactions. Increased speed results in faster customer service and table turnaround.

Increased Face Time

Utilizing an mPOS system at your eating establishment not only speeds up overall service, but it gives the wait staff more time to focus on the customer’s needs. The increased face time makes the ordering process more conversational and enjoyable.

Your staff can quickly access food information on the tablet for customer inquiries about options or dietary needs. Servers can have more opportunity to upsell by offering appetizer or drink specials, which can be added to the meal. By spending more time meeting diners’ needs, you enhance their experience and increase customer loyalty.

More Efficient Workflow

Improving the workflow is another advantage of implementing an mPOS at your restaurant. Food orders that are transmitted from the table directly to the kitchen staff ensures that the customer gets exactly what they want without errors because they are easy to read and understand.

Servers can also input drink orders tableside with the mobile device. Orders then go directly to the bar for pickup without having to wait for drink preparation or stop at a stationary terminal for order entry.

An mPOS system can potentially allow all of your wait staff to add orders and process payments at the same time without the need to wait in line to use the traditional POS terminal. Suddenly, you will find serving more customers at a faster pace and turning tables around quickly is leading to greater revenues.

Restaurants using mPOS for faster operations and greater efficiency is gaining momentum in this ever-evolving technology age. Personalized service is something your customers want and what you need to provide. Happy, loyal customers keep your profits on the rise. Can you afford to fall behind the pace?

Talk to Focus CA about mobile POS options including Apple iPad, iPad mini, and purpose-built POS ready tablets. We can also help you with processes and training to get the most out of your mPOS investment.

Featured Customer: Mohawk Bend

Mohawk-Bend-Focus-POSLocated on the outskirts of Echo Park, Mohawk Bend is one of LA’s ultimate places to enjoy craft beer and delicious locally sourced grub. Originally a 100-year old Vaudeville theater, Mohawk Bend invites diners & drinkers alike to enjoy it’s spacious covered patio or all brick dining room. Of course the bar is always welcome to enthusiasts who are interested in the 72 taps featuring a wide array of limited edition and craft beers.

Mohawk Bend, now part of the Artisanal Brewer’s Collective, received Focus in early May, replacing an aging Aloha POS system. Focus’ goal was to provide enhanced reporting, while making it efficient for bartenders and servers to take care of guests. Part of the Focus POS system included several table-side tablets. These tablets, coupled with Focus’ quick speed of service features, allow staff members to quickly enter patrons orders while still providing excellent customer service.

Check out Mohawk Bend next time you’re in the Silver Lake or Echo Park neighborhoods, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Innovations on Mobile POS

It’s interesting to be in the point of sale industry. It’s especially interesting being in the POS industry for 10+ years. Technology has changed quite a bit in 15 years. Now we’ll take a look at how Mobile POS is impacting the restaurant industry.

When POS systems were first introduced, they were clunky machines that took up a ton of counter space. As technology in the PC and gadget industry progressed, POS didn’t change all that much. We still saw large “computers” sitting on restaurant countertops and in server stations, taking up space and robbing restaurants of critical real estate.

Focus POS Mobile Tablet iPad

Fast forward to today, mobile POS is now a mainstream option. Many restaurants are recognizing the benefits of using POS systems driven in part by tablets. Restaurant operators are finding that blending POS solutions (a tablet coupled with traditional workstations for example) is also a recipe for success.

In many instances, operators want a rock-solid and reliable workstation in the heavy use areas and an aesthetically pleasing tablet in guest facing areas such as hostess stands, patios and dining rooms. Some POS suites even offer tableside ordering solutions driven by mobile devices such as Apple iPod Touch or Apple iPad Mini. These gadgets are quickly becoming tools in the hands servers throughout the restaurant industry.

There are many in the industry that feel that equipping servers with a tableside ordering unit gives off the wrong vibe. While there may be some truth to that, the proper use of these tools can streamline a restaurant’s operation.

Let’s look for a moment at a restaurant with a large dining room. When “Sally” goes to service her tables, she is often going out loaded with drinks, food or checks to drop off. Obviously we want to maximize Sally’s time. We all know the adage full hands in, full hands out. What happens after Sally services her tables? What is she bringing back with her? Possibly some dirty plates or empty glasses, but often times she is heading directly for a POS station to input the next round of drinks or the next course for her guests.

Now what if we equipped Sally with a device that could allow her to get that next round ordered while she is still crossing the dining room? That would improve Sally’s and the restaurant’s overall efficiency.

Investing in mobile POS technology can bring impressive benefits to your restaurant. There are a few items to consider when reviewing options for mobile POS.

  1. Can my current POS support mobile technology?

  2. Do I have the infrastructure in place to allow for mobile POS?

  3. If I add streamlined mobile POS to my current environment, what unintended consequences will I run in to?

  • Can my kitchen/bar handle the increased ticket traffic?
  • Can my staff properly utilize the tools while still maintaining the same level of service?
  • Can management enforce the necessary policies for staff to use these handheld devices?
  1. How will my guests react to tableside ordering?

  2. What is the cost versus return?

Mobile POS technology can be an awesome advantage to restaurants, so review your options and see if your operation would benefit.

If you’d like further information on the mobile POS solutions available from Focus POS California, feel free to contact us at info@focusca.com or call us at 877-362-8440.

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