Quick Service & Fast Casual POS Technology 101:
Here’s What You Need to Know

 

Are you wondering what a POS system can do for your quick service or fast casual restaurant, and how to make the best purchasing decision?

Here’s everything you need to know about restaurant point of sale technology and what works best for your unique applications.

1

What is a Restaurant Point of Sale System?

The POS: The Brain of a Restaurant's Operation

 

FC-QS-Section-1-POS-BrainA restaurant point of sale system, comprised of hardware and software, is the brain of a restaurant’s operation. It is the central hub that takes orders and accepts payments, as well as manages the kitchen and back office.

This single system increases efficiency, makes the restaurant more profitable and allows management to see what’s working well and where improvements can be made. Point of sale systems vary from inexpensive, basic set ups for single store operators to comprehensive solutions designed to handle multi-unit chains.

2

Why You Need Restaurant POS Technology for your Fast Casual and Quick Service Restaurant

Fast casual and quick service restaurants want to:

  • speed up order times

  • improve flow of orders through the kitchen

  • increase order accuracy

  • improve the customer experience

In the highly competitive restaurant business, fast casual and quick serve restaurant owners should choose the POS solution that helps them meet these goals and equips them with the tools needed to ensure long-term success.

With a point of sale system specifically designed for restaurants, you can:Fast-Casual-Quick-Service-Pic-1

  • automate daily tasks

  • track & monitor inventory

  • manager labor & scheduling

  • access valuable data

...that helps you make more informed business decisions. The idea is to simplify restaurant management and optimize processes so your business can run like a well-oiled machine.

The right fast casual and quick service technology can help optimize the customer experience.  It should connect all ordering channels - online, mobile and in-store with the same set of menu options. This helps deliver an exceptional customer experience, regardless of how the order is placed.  Plus, order errors are reduced when customers enter them directly. 

FC-QS-Section-2-Callout

Digital orders also need to be integrated into the kitchen prep queue, improving speed of service and order accuracy. Loyalty or reward programs should be accessible for the customer no matter how they ordered. Be sure the restaurant point of sale software offers this option.

Convenience, customization and an efficient ordering process contribute to higher customer satisfaction and drive repeat business.  Progressive POS solutions provide multiple ways to achieve these goals and deliver an exceptional customer experience.

Quick Service POS Buyer's Guide   Fast Casual POS Buyer's Guide

 

3

Key Differences in Restaurant Point of Sale Systems

To get the most out of your POS technology, invest in the restaurant POS software that meets your individual needs. Here are a few important differences in point of sale systems you should review before making the selection for your quick service or fast casual restaurant.

Deployment Options- Cloud-based or Legacy?

Fast-Casual-Quick-Service-Cloud-vs-LegacyWill you want a cloud-based POS or legacy POS? Legacy, also known as traditional POS, stores data locally on a server and operates on closed networks. The fixed hardware reduces the risk of theft but decreases data accessibility. Cloud-based POS is mobile, usually used on tablets or mobile terminals, and stores data in the cloud. This allows data to be more accessible as managers can monitor real-time data anywhere they have internet access.

Online-OrderingFor fast casual and quick service restaurants, the primary ordering channel is shifting from in-store to online, and often by smartphone.  A legacy POS system that primarily handles in-store transactions is not flexible enough to handle the various ways that customers want to place orders in today’s environment. Modern, flexible POS systems can help manage your operations to improve margins, grow your customer base and enable customers to order when and how they want. These capabilities are best delivered through a cloud-based centralized management of your entire restaurant operation, loyalty platform, and mobile & online ordering.

Security and Data Protection

Many restaurant owners may be uninformed, confused or frustrated by the technical requirements necessary to protect their business and customers.  Look for a POS provider that can provide the necessary knowledge and consulting insight to help shield your business from liability and reduce the risk of security breaches. 

FC-QS-Section-3-CalloutBecause restaurant industries are at high risk for fraud, you should ensure that your business is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant to deliver secure credit card transactions and safeguard against data breaches.  PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) were developed by major credit card issuers like Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express to help protect the consumer’s credit card information and reduce vulnerabilities.  The standards apply to all restaurants that accept credit or debit card payments, regardless of transaction volume.  Find a POS system that can reduce PCI compliancy requirements with built in features such as a Hosted Gateway Service.  This feature helps meet increased data security requirements by removing all credit card data from the point of sale system. Online-Payments

If you provide online ordering, it is your responsibility to confirm that the online ordering company you use is PCI-DSS compliant.  Finally, ensure that your data security features are applied the same for each way you receive payment including credit cards, gift cards and mobile payments. Choosing a POS software that uses Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) can provide peace of mind that you are protecting your customers in the best possible way.   With this encryption standard, payment data is encrypted at the POS and is not decrypted until the transaction is processed by the payment processor. 

SaaS vs. Outright Purchasing

Depending on your budget, you will need to look at the pricing model for your restaurant POS software. SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is a model that offers a low entry cost and allows you to effectively “rent” your POS for a fixed monthly fee. This helps significantly with budgeting for a POS system and minimizes your upfront cost.  Bear in mind that you won’t fully own the system and there may be hidden fees or long contracts involved. The outright purchase of a POS system may carry a high upfront cost, but it will ensure that you are the sole owner. The downside is that hardware gets outdated and antiquated over time, and you’ll have to periodically purchase newer replacement systems.

Service Options

Tech-SupportDo you have a dedicated IT staff on-hand that can service your POS system? If not, you may need outside help when it comes to technical issues. Many POS providers will offer either local service, remote support or both options. Remote support is usually outsourced to a tech department overseas. This type of services is often less expensive, but many restaurant owners prefer interfacing with a local service technician that can conduct service and repairs at their location to minimize downtime.

4

Important Quick Service and Fast Casual Restaurant POS Features for Increased ROI

Whether you’re looking for a new POS system or upgrading a current setup, there are some features that are essential for a successful restaurant management system. Here are the eight features that a quick service or fast casual POS should never be without:

1. Customer Loyalty Program & Marketing

In high-volume businesses like quick service and fast casual restaurants, it can be difficult to give patrons the individualized attention that keeps them coming back. Customers are more likely to choose your restaurant over the competition if they know they can earn rewards every time they visit. When business reports are combined with customer information gathered from your POS, restaurant owners can create more targeted marketing campaigns based on the demographics and buying habits of their diners.

Loyalty-RewardsLoyalty programs track diners’ personal preferences, birthdays, and frequency of visits, giving you the ability to reward loyal customers with freebies or coupons. You can configure rewards based on dollar amounts, number of visits, or specific items purchased, and make them redeemable for monetary discounts or free food. Systems track orders, allowing you to tell which diners haven’t visited in a while and invite them back with a special offer. Customers who visit or order frequently can receive specialized discounts or personalized offers that reward their repeat business.

2. Inventory Management

In high-volume businesses, it is important to know what items you have on hand and what items are running low. Ingredient tracking can help you monitor inventory levels, forecast future needs, plan weekly specials, and reorder ingredients at the appropriate time. Inventory management functions can also reduce waste by identifying which ingredients are about to expire, so they can be rotated and used immediately instead of thrown away.

Keeping tabs on food costs with restaurant POS software is a smart way for owners to keep costs under control, maximize profits, and ensure you don’t have to 86 an item. Depending on the season and supply chain, food prices fluctuate. A dish that was profitable last week may not be the following week.

3. Labor Management

The hospitality industry is known for high turnover, so you’ll want a POS that can make the most out of your labor. Restaurant labor costs can greatly impact your bottom line if employees are scheduled inefficiently. These expenditures should be consistently tracked and managed through your POS system. As you evaluate restaurant POS systems, be sure they can:Labor-Mgmt

  • Schedule employees for work, swap shifts, and make changes to accommodate peak times or special events using labor schedulers, time clock functions and job assignment capabilities.
  • Generate shift reports from the point of sale system to identify which shifts are busier and need more staff, and which ones can have a reduction in employees. This ensures you never have too many people getting paid to just stand around, or worse, not enough people scheduled to work.
  • Review a comprehensive snapshot of how many employees are working and what jobs they are performing each day. Knowing which employees will be performing certain tasks can help you determine the total restaurant labor costs and avoid costly overtime for each job category.  

4. Restaurant Analytics and Reporting

FCRs and QSRs need a POS software package that includes a comprehensive and easy-to-use reporting module. You will want a system that

  • Allows you to view sales, employee, and inventory information in real-time, helping you keep tabs on business performance throughout the day. These systems also include a variety of reporting options that give you comprehensive intelligence for each store, shift, hour, day, week, month or year.
  • Makes it easy to review sales reports so that restaurant owners and managers can identify what items customers can’t get enough of and which ones are languishing on the menu.
  • Provides data when it’s time to create seasonal menus for some of the busiest days of the year like Thanksgiving, New Year’s or Mother’s Day. You can refer to the sales reports from the previous year and repeat top-selling menu items and beverages.
  • Uses restaurant analytics to create sales benchmarks to motivate employees and management to improve in the upcoming months. The continual evaluation and improvements in your restaurant analytics will promote a more successful, profitable business.

rvn-remote-management

5. Menu Management

Menus should be easy to use so that your staff can place orders with speed and accuracy. Managing the menu in a point of sale system is a critical operation. When items are categorized properly and set up, the servers can place orders quickly and efficiently. This system should be easy to learn and use and orders should be placed in as few clicks as possible.

Does your restaurant feature different menus for different courses? No problem—choose a point of sale system that can be set to automatically switch between menus on a schedule.

6. Online Ordering 

With today’s customers requiring on-demand information, your restaurant’s menu and ability to order online is no exception. Putting your menu online and allowing customers to place orders ahead of time opens your business up to a wider audience and offers the customer greater convenience. Not only will this boost customer satisfaction, but it adds a new stream of revenue, increasing your overall sales.

Online ordering services can help improve your speed of service. Integrating online ordering into your POS streamlines the process and reduces errors by sending orders directly to the kitchen for preparation. Since digital orders are placed directly by the customers, they can review their order to be confident they’ll get exactly what they want. Employees won’t be tethered to the phone lines to take incoming orders and will have more time to focus on providing better service to customers. 

7. Drive-Thru

Drive-ThruDrive-thru integrations are a must have for quick service and fast casual restaurants. Customers appreciate the convenience and speed of drive-thru service, while restaurant owners appreciate the increase in revenue when their lines move efficiently.

Having a customer-facing screen that displays the order as it’s entered will help improve both accuracy and speed of service. Customers can review their order and make any corrections before it goes through, reducing errors and increasing their overall satisfaction. POS systems that allow free form notes provide a way for order staff to include special instructions for the kitchen to customize orders. It is also quicker to visually confirm than to listen to the cashier repeat all the details, speeding up the order-taking process. Look for a fast-food POS that includes an drive-thru order confirmation screen. Dashboard-style reports can provide information on service speed and other performance indicators.

8. Established Integrations

Choose a solution with established integration capabilities so you can automate tedious tasks and reallocate your energy elsewhere. New POS systems quickly and effectively integrate with back office functions and third-party software to enhance the overall investment of your POS. Leverage the power of your POS to integrate financial management, marketing programs, e-commerce management, payroll, and more.

For example, if payroll is eating up your time, be sure you can take advantage of an integrated payroll platform in the POS you choose. The POS system’s clock in/out function should be accurately tracking attendance, hours worked and paid/unpaid breaks.  At the end of a pay period, owners and managers can review and submit this information directly from the POS system to the payroll processor.

5

Restaurant Point of Sale Hardware

Because you invest a lot of money and time in choosing the right POS system for your business, you need to make sure it’s built to last. Kitchens in a high-volume business are full of potential hazards - overuse, heat, spills, stray particles and steam can harm a restaurant point of sale system, causing expensive work slowdowns, bottlenecks, and mistakes.

Commercial grade electronics typically cost more than ones designed for consumers, but don’t be a victim of sticker shock. Instead, consider this: if you opt to purchase a printer or tablet for that isn’t designed for the way you need to use it, and you end up having to replace it, is it really a more cost-effective solution? When you factor in the downtime and angry customers on top of the device’s replacement cost, it’s easy to see that purchasing point of sale hardware specifically designed for the hospitality industry is worth the extra money upfront. 

Here’s a list of components every quick service and fast casual POS system should include:

  • POS terminal: Runs the software and communicates with mobile devices and other peripherals described below.
  • Tablet-POSTablet: Line busting is one of the key features of Tablet POS that all quick-serve and counter service restaurants can benefit from. Additionally, tablet POS offers more mobility for tableside ordering and payments and can even be mounted and used as self-order kiosks. These decrease order errors and improve speed of service.
  • Receipt printer: Prints receipts quickly with options for roll size, cutting style, printing medium and print speed.
  • Label printer: Labels are an easy way to track inventory, verify that orders are going out correctly, and comply with regulations and standards for food labeling.
  • Touch screens: Touch screens meant for high-volume use provide a fast and easy way to enter orders.
  • Credit card terminals: If the POS system doesn’t have an integrated EMV reader, you’ll need an external one to process EMV credit card transactions. EMV (which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa), is the global standard for cards equipped with chip technology.  Credit card issuers have adopted this new technology to reduce security breaches and fraud to better protect consumers.
  • Biometric fingerprint reader: These specialized readers keep your POS system ultra-secure by ensuring employees accountability. These readers eliminate buddy punching, time theft and make questionable transactions immediately traceable.
  • Cash drawer: A cash drawer connected to the restaurant point of sale system is critical to keep money and credit card slips secure.
6

How to Choose the Best Restaurant POS System for You

Every restaurant is different, but the right technology can help business owners and managers meet their goals. A fast casual or quick service restaurant has different needs and requires a different POS technology solution. How do you choose the best POS technology for your eatery? Look for the features and modules that help your staff provide the best customer service and maximum efficiency for your business.

Quick Service

Fast food and drive-thru restaurants need a POS system that can keep up the pace to serve customers quickly and accurately. A POS system for quick service should make it easier to take orders accurately and quickly, add modifications for customized orders, accept payment, and make change easily – all for a faster turnaround.  In addition to loyalty programs, the right POS system has management capabilities like payroll, scheduling, and menus.  Essential functions include online ordering, mobile app integration, loyalty programs, and management capabilities like payroll, scheduling and menus.

Quick Service POS Buyer's Guide

Fast Casual POS

Fast casual, typically offering counter service, is the fastest growing restaurant category in the food service industry today. A fast casual point of sale solution should include features designed to increase the speed of service while providing features needed to make the ordering experience feel like it’s full service. POS systems for these industries should include line-busting features that allow staff to keep lines moving and wait times manageable.

New call-to-action

Pizzeria POS

The right pizza POS software gives attention to online ordering and delivery operations. The online ordering solution should also provide extensive options for pizza customization, with modifiers that allow customers to have their orders made to their specific preferences. Additional functions should include streamlined order entry, a robust customer loyalty program, and delivery operation management with navigation directions.

Pizza POS Buyer's Guide

 

pizza-oven-801x534
7

Quick Service & Fast Casual POS Technology Add-ons to Enhance Your Investment

Additional POS features are beneficial to have built into the system for additional monitoring, protection or customer service.

Surveillance and Security

High-volume restaurants see a large amount of people come in and out of the building, making security a high priority. Software packages that include security options like video monitoring or biometrics help business owners and managers increase safety and employee accountability. Additional security options can help you identify and address questionable behavior that may be costing your business.

Digital Signage

Fast-Food-MenuDigital signage is an interactive gateway that builds a connection directly to the diner. In an industry where speed is a priority, digital signage can show customers in line everything on the menu, so they know what they want by the time they reach the front of the line. These colorful displays can also list specials, provide promotional information, display menus, ingredients or advertising information. Digital signage allows you to create a high-quality experience for your customers by displaying menu options and offers that drive sales in a visually dynamic and captivating way.

Merchant Services

Choose a restaurant POS system that offers merchant services and can accept different payments, such as Apple Pay, credit cards, gift cards and cash. If you do a high volume of credit card transactions, double-check that the new system is EMV-compliant. Restaurants that haven’t transitioned to EMV payments are responsible for any fraudulent transactions that take place with non-compliant terminals.

Cash Advances

Some POS companies will provide cash advances for business owners who want to complete a project. This service provides fast funding for any type of restaurant-related initiative, including a refresh of the dining room, equipment upgrades or an expansion project.

8

Evaluating Warranty and Support Services

Restaurants looking to purchase a new POS system for their fast casual and quick service restaurants have many options available to them. As you evaluate different systems, make sure you choose your solutions provider carefully.

FC-QS-Section-8-CalloutThe expertise and support your point of sale provider offers can make the difference in getting the most out of your new system. Choose a company that understands your type of restaurant and develops personalized solutions for you.  Remember that the company you choose should value your business and provide reliable support and services for the life of the system.

Two important considerations are:

  1. Hardware warranty and
  2. Response time for customer support.

Ask what the warranty term is, if there are extended options and what type of service it covers. Find out what support options the provider offers and what the response time is. Here are some suggested questions to help you find the best provider: 

  • Can the company upgrade, repair or replace equipment on site or does it need to be sent to a service center?
  • If the equipment must be sent in, how long will the process take?
  • What components are covered under the warranty and are there any exclusions?
  • Is the work done by subcontractors or company employees?
  • How are general support inquiries handled?
  • Is there an escalation process for more complex problems that are not easily solved?
  • Is the service center open 24/7/365?
9

Making Your Final Decision

If you think your fast casual or quick service restaurant is ready to make an upgrade to a new point of sale system, do your research and spend time searching for the right POS solution that fits your short and long-term needs. With the right system, your restaurant will enjoy a significant return on investment with increased efficiency, streamlined business management, more satisfied customers, and increased, sustainable sales.

At Revention, we understand the unique demands of quick service and fast casual restaurants. Our innovative selection of restaurant technology tools paired with our industry expertise and exceptional service and support make us a top choice for leading restaurants nationwide. If you’re ready to set your restaurant up for success for years to come, request a demo from us today and learn more about our restaurant POS solutions.

close chapters modal