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.

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/.

3 Restaurant Technologies that Make an Impact at Your Table Service or Quick Service Restaurant

3 Restaurant Technologies that Make an Impact at Your Table Service or Quick Service Restaurant

Restaurant technologies are all about streamlining processes, increasing sales and most importantly, improving the dining in—or out as it may be—experience at your table service or quick service restaurant. The three restaurant technologies that we see having the biggest impact on restaurant operations are mobile reporting, online ordering and integrated loyalty and rewards programs.

1. Mobile Reporting

Mobile reporting is a restaurant technology that is starting to come standard with many restaurant point of sale software options on the market.  Maybe the ability to access your restaurant’s reports and data doesn’t seem like a game changer but it definitely is.

Being able to access food and beverage sales numbers, table turnover times, and average ticket times from a mobile app gives managers freedom and more importantly, real-time visibility. This is especially vital for managers or owners that need to bounce between locations or can’t be onsite all the time.

2. Online Ordering

An online ordering portal opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for quick service and table service establishments and is one of the main restaurant technologies to consider adopting if you haven’t already. Millennials and now even Gen Z, who incidentally spent $78 billion on dining out in 2016 according to a report by Technomic, are driving the trend for restaurants to offer more delivery and take out options that can be ordered ahead of time from their laptop or phone. They want to eat whenever and wherever they want.

The upside for you is that orders submitted online can totally bypass a server and go directly to your point of sale system and into production. Third-party ordering apps like ToGo  are making this kind of integration possible.

3. Integrated Loyalty and Rewards Program

Restaurant technologies that support loyalty and rewards programs integrate with your point of sale system fairly simply. You can participate in standalone programs that essentially plug into your current POS software or your point of sale service provider may offer a program you can enroll in.

Either way, implementing and maintaining a rewards program is easier than it’s ever been, and they usually offer added marketing components like list segmentation and demographic reports, email and social marketing aspects—and some even loop gift cards into the same system so you have one central location from which to generate and manage all your cards.

Some of the many benefits of investing in a loyalty or rewards program for your restaurant are:

  • Creating repeat customers
  • Offering targeted promotions and coupons
  • Using data analytics to refine your marketing strategy

If you are at the point where your table service or quick service restaurant is ready to invest in new restaurant technologies like mobile reporting, online ordering or a rewards program, make an appointment to talk with a Focus POS California expert to discuss exactly how easy it is to implement a time-saving and revenue-generating restaurant technology.  

Featured Customer: Lucky Penny

Situated in the heart of the Funk Zone in Santa Barbara, Lucky Penny has become a favorite stop for locals and visitors while wandering through the area’s many wine tasting rooms and art galleries. Their patio is a perfect retreat to share a wood fired pizza or seasonal salad while sipping on their fresh lemonade or house wines.

Lucky Penny switched to FOCUS in the Summer of 2016 replacing Aloha POS and has added on a new line busting tablet for this busy summer season. Lucky Penny’s ownership group, Acme Hospitality, was looking to not only unify their restaurant’s data but also provide a more streamlined workflow for this busy location. FOCUS allows the staff at Lucky Penny to quickly move through a line that grows beyond their doorway for both lunch and dinner.

A visit to Santa Barbara is not complete without checking out some of the great boutique establishments ran by Acme Hospitality including Lucky Penny. They are a quick walk from the train station, downtown Santa Barbara and Stearns Wharf.

luckypennysb.com  127 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara  (805) 284-0358

How to Upsell to Increase Your Check Averages

As a restaurant owner or manager you are in a constant state of strategizing, trying to move the numbers — like getting costs down and revenue up. One of the first places you can look for improvement is in your average check amount. Small bumps in this area can add up quickly in a week. Learning how to upsell to your patrons is a low-cost endeavor that highly profitable restaurants, regardless of size, have learned to do effectively to increase average checks.

Turn Servers into Salespeople
Your staff, the waiters, bar keeps, hostesses, and cashiers all need to be salespeople. As the manager you set the tone and your goal should be to make the sales-mindset an automatic response. We’re not talking the pushy, in your face salesperson. No one wants that during a dining experience, but you do want upselling to be an integral part of customer interactions.

When teaching your staff how to upsell, give them specific items to focus on for the shift, make sure they are ready to recommend favorite dishes and drinks, and have them plant seeds from the start like mentioning dessert selections while taking drink orders.

Use the Menu for Pairing Ideas
Adding pairing suggestions to your menu is a subtle but effective tactic. Think beyond the wine list. You can suggest a specific side salad or appetizer that pairs well with each entree. By adding callouts and creative messages on your menu, you can steer your customers towards additional purchases while they’re still deciding what to order.  

Quick Service and Fast Casual operations can also upsell to their guests. While employee based upsells have been the mainstay of the QS & FC space for years, technology such as guest facing digital signage and POS-integrated interactive displays provides visual suggestions to guests.

Don’t Forget Online Orders
When brainstorming ideas on how to upsell to your customers make sure you consider online orders. Use technology to your advantage and list complementary food items and add-ons throughout the order process, especially right before check out. You are just a click away from nudging that average check up a few clicks.

Highlight Promotions
Daily specials and promotions are great motivators for customers to justify a more expensive meal or an excuse to have a beverage from the bar that they would have normally passed on. Not to mention, specials and promotions give your staff a great way to open up conversation, either at the table or when taking a take out order.

Make Upselling a Part of Your Culture
How to upsell is not a big mystery, but it does take effort and a little forethought to make it part of your restaurant culture, whether fine dining or quick service. Training your employees to upsell, updating your menus to include suggestions, and offering specials are all cost effective ways to get your check averages up and ultimately increase your profits.