Picture this, you’re getting late for work and you have to attend a meeting. You don’t have time to cook. On your way to work, you stop at a Quick Service Restaurant, place your own order at the drive-thru counter, and get your food almost instantly. Without having to wait in a queue or dealing with a server, you get your fast food faster. This is what a QSR is typically meant for. Provide meals in no time.
The concept of Quick Service Restaurants, as is evident, revolves around providing prompt service to customers. Their aim is to fulfill orders within 10-15 minutes. A QSR Point of Sale technology must comply with this fast-moving set-up. It shouldn’t in any way disrupt the regular functioning of QSRs. Front-of-house and Back-of-house operations have to be in complete sync with each other. Often that’s where the loophole is.
The right technology for your QSR
If you’re a QSR, you must use the right technology that’s going to power your establishment and help increase sales. There’s no end to technological inventions and it’s important to equip your QSR with the latest ones to continuously simplify operations.
Kitchen Display System (KDS)
An essential piece of technology, the Kitchen Display System automates and fastens order processing inside the kitchen. Fast food orders are instantly displayed on the Kitchen Display Systems automating the order processing. The Kitchen Display System routes different orders to relevant kitchen counters, thereby greatly reducing the preparation time. No two chefs will be working on the same order. The process of printing Kitchen Order Tickets (KOTs) and manually taking them to the kitchen is now by replaced by automated KOTs reaching the kitchens with all the necessary details. As a result, the customer wait-time is reduced and more orders can be completed.
Read here to know how Kitchen Display System is the right technology for busy restaurants.
All heroes wear Kiosks! Often the staff behind the counter is caught up between in-house customers and drive-thru ones. That’s when the self-sufficient Kiosks came to the rescue. Customers feel a sense of privacy while ordering through kiosks. They can take their time in deciding their choice of fast food. Without having to worry about someone standing right behind them in a queue waiting to place an order. Kiosks not only let people place orders but also make payments. This gives the employees at the counter, sufficient time to deal with drive-thru customers. Both sides of the counter are happy and it’s a win for you.
Order Confirmation Board (OCB)
Specific to drive-thru customers, Order Confirmation Boards have menus displayed on digital screens. These screens used in the OCBs are readable in broad daylight. Customers can see their orders at each stage of processing. When compatible with an efficient Point Of Sale system, Order Confirmation Boards simplify operations for the employees.
Integrated Point of Sale system
Point of Sale system is the central unit that powers your business. They are the modern day cash registers, one that ensures that the transactions happen smoothly. One that fuels fast food restaurants. The staff too is always on their toes because of the high volume of orders that they have to deal with. A well-integrated fast food POS software makes their job way easier. And in this way, they’re able to focus on execution and delivery better. We’ll look at the various features that a QSR POS must be compatible with, in the following section. One of the most important functions of a QSR POS system is collecting and connecting customer data. A good fast food POS system (or a digital fast food cash register) would connect customer, order level transaction data and restaurant marketing data to build an accurate picture of what sells, who is buying more often than others and which marketing campaigns work. This apart the QSR POS system would also provide the data required to produce analytics reports on your key QSR metrics. This helps you slice and dice your data across outlets, time period and location. As mentioned before, this is one of the main benefits of having a QSR POS system.
Let’s say a customer placed an order for a grilled chicken burger with an extra slice of cheese and mustard sauce along with a mint oreo shake. Her data gets stored in the database. How would you know if the same customer drops by your QSR a few days later with the same order? That’s where your burger POS comes in. It extracts all information regarding their previous orders and helps with subsequent orders. Not just that, based on their order frequency, the burger Point of Sale system also helps market your brand through various Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty Programs.
Quick Service Restaurants can use digital signage not just for displaying menus but also the weather, a hot piece of news or even a football match. This is a good way to keep customers occupied while they wait for their food. Running live “Offer of the day” or “Buy One Get One Free (BOGO)” on digital signage can attract customer’s attention and their average basket size increases subsequently.
Many QSRs have adopted this technology to enhance the guest experience with multiple folds. Tabletop devices, as is clear from the name, are placed at the tables. Customers can place their orders on it, re-order a dish, pay after they’re done and browse through various loyalty programs. It takes a load off restaurant staff as well.
QSRs that don’t adopt the latest technology tend to struggle
1. High staff attrition rate
Staff retention has been a constant battle for QSRs. The fast-paced environment of a Quick Service demands employees to be quick and proficient in their respective roles. The high volume of orders made it difficult for employees to manage all at once. The flow of work was highly unbalanced. It’s simple, employees leave if they don’t like their workspace.
2. Multiple unorganized order tabs
QSRs are required to swear by timely order completion. Kabir Jeet Singh, founder of Burger Singh in an interview with LimeTray said that technology played a very important role for their brand. Before using LimeTray’s POS system, Burger Singh’s employees would have to manage orders from different tabs and punch it into the POS systems manually. That made order processing very complicated. Here’s how restaurant technology helped Burger Singh run better.
3. Poor customer loyalty
Many QSRs fail to use customer data in their favor. Plenty of studies show that acquiring new customers costs more than retaining new ones. The entire process becomes futile without timely marketing to the target customers. Legacy QSR POS systems didn’t have many features for restaurant marketing. Marketing was done without the data intelligence that a POS system provides and proved to be less effective.
4. Cumbersome system and long queues
Traditional POS systems were situated in one place inside the Quick Service Restaurants. That’s where the tiring queues were formed. Since the order processing was slow, people had longer wait-times. And longer the wait-time, more disappointed were the customers.
Why are cloud-based QSR POS systems the ultimate solution?
Buying a Point of Sale system is thought to be very crucial for any Quick Service Restaurant. It’s almost like investing in a new smartphone. You expect it to run well while having a decent lifespan.
Typically, the conventional POS system also referred to as “on-premise” or “legacy” Point Of Sale system, stores data on local servers. They run on a closed network. It requires you to be physically present inside your restaurant since this is an on-site setup. This single-handedly increases data security issues. Now, imagine if the system goes down due to one tiny glitch, all your data is gone. Think of it as losing all those TV series that you worked so hard in downloading. Scary, isn’t it?
If you’re still using a traditional POS system at your QSR, it’s time for you to graduate to Cloud POS system. Why? Because of the countless benefits, it has to offer. The flexible setup being a major one.
Conventional POS systems had a very cluttered flow of operations. They required constant supervision and maintenance. These bulky systems being stationed at one place inside the QSRs restricted the movements of employees. With cloud POS, this is not the case anymore. Cloud QSR POS systems are more than just restaurant billing systems. They are highly secure, mobile, have various integrations and can be accessed from anywhere. And they work offline too! All operations at a QSR are speed driven and it only makes sense that you use a cloud-based POS system to fuel it’s speed further.
Still confused between cloud POS vs traditional POS? Read here in order to get a better understanding of the two systems.
10 must-have QSR POS features that are essential for success
Given how busy Quick Service Restaurants are, if the Point Of Sale is not compatible with the operations then things can get way out of hand for the staff. And quick customer service is of paramount importance at QSRs. Here are a few features that are absolutely necessary for Quick Service Restaurant’s Point of Sale system.
1. Need for speed
Quick Service Restaurants are synonymous to speedy customer service and deliveries. QSR POS systems must be in complete agreement with this pace. Order processing with a compliant POS system becomes quick. And when the majority of the operations are automated, service is quicker.
2. Power-packed Inventory Management
Picture this, you have a drive-thru customer who placed an order for a Waldorf Salad. You realize you’re out of lettuce. The customer is adamant on her/his salad and doesn’t want any alternatives. And just like that, you lose a valuable customer.
Real-time inventory management integration on your QSR POS will alert you well in time if you’re low on stock, be it vegetables or basic herbs. The quantity of each ingredient can be punched into the system at the time of purchase and tracked thereafter.
3. Accurate Data Analytics and Reports
Your QSR’s performance has to be measured regularly. Data analytics and Reports on sales and business as a whole greatly benefits. QSR’s sale, employee, payout, accounting, kitchen Studying these reports help in identifying loops, if there are any, and working on them. Moreover, simplified reports won’t crowd your mind with too many numbers and complicated graphs.
4. Mobile POS
Using a handheld mobile Point Of Sale system is very convenient in large QSRs. It resolves the issue of long queues during busy hours. The initial step of order processing can be taken care of more than one employee. Customers can receive their orders within 10 minutes. There are a plethora of options for various handheld devices. Confused which one to choose for your QSR? Here are 12 benefits of using Android POS Systems at your establishment.
5. Calculating tip percentage
Often in QSRs, staff tip is overlooked. Having a system that calculates every employee’s tip percentage makes it easier for both the customer and the cashier. It further gets added to their salaries with a complete breakdown.
6. Prompt delivery management
The staff in QSRs takes care of drive-thru, in-house and delivery orders. QSR POS must be able to organize and prioritize all incoming orders. Apart from this, tracking the status of delivery orders is made possible with a well-integrated Point of Sale system.
7. Easy menu customization
With the changing eating trends and demands, the menu of a QSR is bound to change. You should be able to add day’s special, new items and more, on your QSR POS system without any hassle. Or let’s say you’ve run out of chicken wings for the day. Take it off the menu easily to let your customers know about it before they order it.
8. Strong CRM Management
As soon as a customer places an order, their details get stored in the POS system. That data is then used to send SMS and Email campaigns to customers. Sending exciting discounts and offers to target audience helps acquire new and retain old customers. A discounted honey glazed cinnamon doughnut might just end up being someone’s pick me up after a long tiring day at work. Using these campaigns to onboard customers to Loyalty Programs helps immensely in getting repeat business. How so? We’ll discuss in the next section.
9. Flexibility in payment
Customers should be given the option of paying however they want to. They can pay cash or via debit/credit cards. There are plenty of payment gateways that allow cashless transactions. Your QSR POS must be fully integrated with different payment partners. Customers are also able to enjoy their meals without having to worry about how to pay.
10. Theft control
Given how busy Quick Service Restaurants are, chances of theft by employees or otherwise are extremely high. QSR POS allows real-time tracking of inventory and fast food cash register, access to which can be given only to limited staff members. Even on the busiest days, you wouldn’t have to bother about your money.
11. Integration with food aggregators
Modern QSR POS systems must provide integration with third-party online food aggregators on one dashboard. All orders, whether from the website, App or food aggregators, need to be managed at a singular dashboard from anywhere. This can significantly impact and reduce the time it takes to serve a customer.
Major benefits of QSR POS systems
1. Faster service
POS handheld devices give employees the freedom to move around the establishment with their POS devices. Since the main system is not stationary anymore, they don’t have to keep running back and forth from customer tables to main servers.
2. A real-time updated menu provides a better customer experience
Making changes in the menu is no longer a pre-planned action. Any addition or removal of menu items can be done quickly without any hassle. With regular customers, automated menu suggestions can be used. This will help fasten the order taking and processing.
3. Hardware agnostic
POS can be accessed on multiple devices like mobile phones, iPads, tablets or desktops. If you’re already equipped with tablets at your Quick Service Restaurant, you wouldn’t have to worry about buying new ones since the cloud POS systems are compatible with most devices.
Wondering how to choose the best mobile POS system? Read here to select the best mPOS for your QSR.
4. Faster table-flip time
With QSR POS systems, orders reach the kitchen immediately and that process of servers running around with Kitchen Order Tickets is scrapped off. Orders are completed in a few minutes and naturally more tables are served. Instant generation of KOTs and invoice receipts saves a lot of time for both customers and the staff.
5. Elevated sales
Higher the table turn rate, higher is the QSR’s sales. The concept of wait-time for customers no longer exists with the coming of fast food POS systems. This increases the chances of getting repeat customers and there’s a significant increase in business.
6. Easy tracking with zero wastage
With a fast food POS integrated KDS, orders are better segmented with the exact amount of add-ons. This way no extra dishes will be prepared. With strong inventory management in place, individual food items can be tracked. And with subsequent orders, you’ll know the quantity for every raw ingredient that you would require every week. Basically, no more extra cheese slices in the bin. This would also help reduce food-cost to a great extent. Not to forget, there’s going to be minimum food wastage.
7. More data collected means more visibility of key functions
QSR POS gives a streamlined data analysis of inventory, staff, customers, sales and more. For better management of a QSR, it’s important to study the performance of the establishment regularly. For example, if your staff attrition rate is going up, figure out why and what are the ways of controlling it. These automated reports will help you strategize better.
8. Errors? I think not
Earlier, servers wrote down the orders using pen and paper. This gave way to a lot of errors while noting them down. And often they would forget to mention any special instructions given to them by customers to the kitchen staff. Lack of communication would then lead to wrong orders. Today, punching orders directly into the QSR POS machines, automated menu suggestions and more reduce the chances of careless errors. The entire menu is on the POS system and customer’s allergies/preferences can be easily taken and communicated to the kitchen staff.
9. Integrated QSR marketing
Integrated Loyalty programs and other CRM campaigns greatly help in customer retention. Sending out discount offers and loyalty programs is no longer a tedious task. Automated emails and texts can be sent almost instantaneously at the push of a button. It’s not just limited to that, each campaign can be studied in and out to know what works and when.
No two QSRs are the same. Each has its own requirements. Building a QSR POS according to your establishment’s needs and priorities will make help in making all operations smooth. If you have a Pizzeria, the pizza POS software that you use can be designed according to the structure.
11. No more commission scares
Creating your brand’s own website will help you market better and save those heavy commissions that were earlier given to third-party aggregators. And a QSR POS that is integrated with multiple online ordering modes, manages orders coming in from any direction.
12. Simplified work-flow, efficient staff and satisfied customers
QSR POS systems are easy to operate and handle. The staff does not have to rush with paper KOTs and wrong orders. Instead, they get a sufficient amount of time to interact with customers and get their feedback.
How well-constructed restaurant marketing programs power QSRs
What are customers looking for in a QSR? It’s a combination of convenience, quality, consistency, and value for their money. Restaurant marketing campaigns must be constructed in such a way so as to provide all four to customers. Once the customer intent is captured and understood well, it’s easy to get the customer to order from you and not your competition. Their order history is created through the orders they place either through mobile apps, online ordering websites or directly at your outlet.
Customers love it when their favorite fast food joint remembers what they ordered the last time they were there. Reoffering them their past orders with discounted rates will most certainly compel them to place an order. Who wouldn’t like a highly personalized offer on their favorite Banoffee Pie jar from their favorite QSR? However, crowding them with too many rewards can do just the opposite of that. Sending these to a target audience and at the right time can drive repeat customer business. Sending limited period offers on coffee along with a choice of doughnut in the morning, is tempting for customers and beneficial for you.
Time to get started on that QSR POS
According to an article by BBC, McDonald’s is investing in an Artificial Intelligence start-up to help serve data-driven meals choices. The technology developed by this company can automatically change the menu depending on the weather looks that day. McDonald’s chief executive, Steve Easterbrook was quoted as saying,
“It can know the time of day, it can know weather. We can also have it understand what our service times are so it only suggests items that are easier to make in our peak hours”.
This is just one of the many technologies and integrations that are going to come up in the future QSR POS systems. Evolving with these as and when they are introduced is the key to success in this competitive food industry.
Do you have your QSR POS in place?