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!

 

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.

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.

Are you ready for summer?!

You can already feel the warm California sun ready to soak us in its glory.

Summer is here. Coming with it the hoards of people… the staycationers, the adventurous locals and visitors to our great state come to bathe in the summer glow of California.

For local restaurants and bars, especially those in beach towns, the summer season can be incredibly busy. We have put together a checklist of items to plan for a successful summer.

Social Media

Put your social media on auto-pilot. Find a platform such as Buffer to manage and schedule your social posts so you can take less time executing timely marketing.

Hire Staff

Extra guests mean a need for more staff. You can always turn to Craigslist or instead check out services like Seasoned to find local talent.

Summer Specials

Plan out your summer specials to take advantage of seasonal favorites. Melissa’s Produce has a great list of seasonal items on their website. Fine-tuning your menu for the summer is best done before you get too busy. Not sure you can get the setup done in a timely manner? Our team can handle any FOCUS menu changes or workflow changes for you.

Extra Hardware

Having backup hardware that can be swapped in place when needed can reduce any downtime during a busy rush. Need additional devices to increase speed and efficiency? Hardware can be purchased and installed as a permanent device or temporary loaner. We even have options for mobile devices that can be used at festivals or other off-site events.

Plenty of Supplies

Running out of paper or ribbon should never happen. Our office keeps supplies stocked so you can get quick shipments locally. Take advantage of our supplies subscriptions so don’t forget to place an order.

Going Paperless in Your Restaurant or Bar

In a world of high tech everything, there is still a constant struggle between maintaining current habits and adapting to the new technology trends. Restaurants and bars are no exception to this ongoing dilemma. We hear from many of our clients who still continue to debate on whether it makes sense to go paperless or stick with printing guest receipts and orders. No matter the size of your operation, there are options that can help you either reduce printing on paper or eliminate it all together.

Let’s start off with taking a look at the kitchen, bar or other prep areas. Kitchen video has long been a staple for any high volume fast paced environment. Orders pop onto a screen that can show either full order details or simple item views depending on the needs of the person reviewing that order. Routing to each station is just as simple as it is in FOCUS, however, you also have more complicated workflow options based on modifiers or load balancing options. Besides not having paper copies of orders that can be lost, since the order data is being tracked at each step of the way you are able to see additional analytical data such as average ticket time and details of the cook times on each item.

Focus POS Rear Display Quick ServiceFor a Quick Service operation, printing at the POS station can be eliminated by utilizing FOCUS’ Signature Capture option. When processing a credit card transaction, the guest can input a digital signature on the point of sale touch screen. This can be achieved with either a station on a swivel base that can be turned and presented to the guest or our favorite option is a rear touch LCD display. The rear display can also be used for up-selling and order confirmation during the ordering process.

In a Table Service or Bar environment, getting a guest to a POS station is not really feasible. However other options such as using pay at the table devices, tablets or accepting payments through third-party applications can allow the payment to be processed with the guest so the signature can either be captured a the time of payment or possibly not even required.

New changes instituted by the credit card brands will also make signature obsolete for anyone processing with EMV. A recent article on Creditcards.com (https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/signatures-soon-may-not-be-required.php) explains that Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express all dropped the signature requirements.

But what does that mean for tips? The consensus so far has been even with getting rid of signatures most restaurants and bars will still present a check in some form to be able to collect a tip from the guest.

In the end, there are multiple options that each operation will need to evaluate to see what makes the most sense for each business. Our team is always here to review those options with you. Click here to schedule time with a Solution Engineer.

Featured Customer: Board & Brew

Focus POS at Board & Brew Tustin Quick ServiceAnyone who has been to Board & Brew at their San Diego or Orange County locations will tell you about the Secret Sauce, and yes it is one of the things that makes their sandwiches highly addicting but its not the only thing. Its also the bread, the fresh ingredients, and the ever rotating list of craft beers being tapped. But look beyond that and you will see a dedicated team committed to pumping out high quality nosh to their community.

When opening their newest location late last year in Tustin they chose to roll out technology the group had previously not used. The goal for them is to move more locations to be paperless saving both time and supplies. The FOCUS Signature Capture option allows a digital signature to be captured using either a station that swivels or has an additional rear touch display. At the Tustin Board & Brew location they are utilizing rear displays for Order Confirmation and Signature Capture. For the kitchen they are utilizing a kitchen video screen at their Expo area allowing expediters a clear view of all current orders. When orders are completed they are bumped from the KDS and a pager that was provided to the guest goes off so they know to pickup the order. This streamlining has allowed for both better service and increased efficiency.

You can find the closest Board & Brew location by visiting their website, http://www.boardandbrew.com/. Stop by see FOCUS in action, but more importantly enjoy a tasty sandwich with some Secret Sauce and cold beer. We highly recommend the Turkado and Tom’s Choice!