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It's not your mother's cash register anymore. POS systems have revolutionized how restaurants operate. While they can't wash dishes and shine silverware, they can do just about everything else. He's a look at how to use a POS system in a restaurant.

Two-top or four?

We'll start with your customers who need to be seated. Back in the day, restaurants used paper reservation books and laminated floor plan copies marked up with wax pencil to manage guest seating on a busy Friday night. It was chaos. With a POS system, you don't need to worry about it. It can turn your 5 p.m. reservation for two into a 6:30 p.m. reservation for six in seconds, just by simply moving tables around on touchscreens or the click of a mouse.

Kitchen and bar communication

Every restaurant needs a system to take orders for the kitchen and bar. That's where your POS system comes in. In the past, a waiter or waitress would jot down the order, walk it back to the kitchen and answer questions from the chef. Not any more. Although you still have friendly staff helping your customers, today's servers enter orders directly into the restaurant's POS system. The order is automatically sent back to the kitchen, with notes as needed. Some restaurants even invest in having mobile tablets or other handheld devices for staff to take orders to input directly into the POS.

Preparing the dish

Ever had to calculate the food cost for individual recipes for your entire restaurant? Many POS systems are designed to track the ingredients used, which can be incredibly helpful when determining your restaurant's profitability. You can create the menu, so your ingredients are separated into special categories. Those categories can help you keep track of what you're spending on food, and what you need to keep an eye on (more on theft below).

Keep tabs on waste

You've probably heard the saying: "What gets measured, gets managed." Food is no different. Many restaurants use a POS system along with a high-quality restaurant inventory management platform. Once you integrate the two, you can take the information from your suppliers (such as inventory in) and track it through the normal course of business. For example, a good restaurant inventory management platform will track the inventory you receive (and invoices) and also report on usage. For example, you can break it down to menu items and ingredients sold. This will help you manage waste, which is a big reason why restaurants fail. For every $1 a restaurant invests in waste reduction, they realize an $8 cost savings.

Thwart thieves

While it's important to trust your employees, theft is an issue in the restaurant business. Protecting your inventory and cash is one way to use a POS system in the restaurant business. A POS system will keep track of accounting needs, like total cash tendered for the shift and individual transactions. This is particularly important for your bar, too. Even with a POS system, you need to be careful of scams. By pairing your POS system with a restaurant inventory management system, you'll be able to manage more of your inventory data.

Staff and restaurant reporting

Staff reporting is another way restaurants use POS systems to improve performance. Your POS system tracks employee-related metrics like attendance and the average sales per employee. You can also track items like how many customers were served, how many times the tables turned over and how many new customers were seated. Want to know if there is a problem in the kitchen? You'll be able to see how quickly orders are served. A good POS system gives you a window into who your best employees are and who can upsell the most. It will allow you to acknowledge great employees and help you decide which ones are helping your business grow.

Optimize your menu

Not only will a POS system allow you to identify great employees, it's also going to help optimize your menu. Along with tracking ingredients, your POS system is going to help you find your most popular menu items. Once you identify your customers' favorite dishes, you can also rearrange your menu to highlight them. In the past, restaurant owners had to guess at menus or rewrite them often. Now you can easily spot what is selling and use your inventory and pricing information to determine profitable dishes quickly. There are many systems out there to help with menu creation. In general, you need to focus on essential criteria. This includes the number of sales, the dollar amount sold and your profit on each dish.

How to manage this process is not that difficult anymore. A POS system that integrates with a high-quality restaurant inventory management platform reduces the guesswork and simplifies the process for you. You can call up all the necessary information within seconds to make decisions. You can track what people are buying. You can also easily track inventory in and out with a restaurant inventory management platform. By combining the two, you have complete control over your entire food process. However, you still have to hire someone to wash the dishes. Interested in learning more about how a POS integrates with a restaurant inventory management platform? Contact MarketMan for more information.  

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