Covid has brought out the unprecedented times in front of us. Every industry around the world has been affected due to it, restaurants a bit more. The restaurant industry has tried to cope with their operations, financials, changing consumer behavior, and value offerings in real-time to survive the situation. The significant facilitator for this transition is technology. Unfortunately, restaurants that failed to build up or sustain their digital infrastructure as soon as the pandemic hit had a far lesser chance of survival than the ones leveraging technology.
If we talk about the digital transformation that restaurants went through, it can segment into three parts, the Online Ordering System, POS system, and CRM system. Out of these, the POS can be considered the CPU of the entire restaurant management system. The system’s backbone can be linked to both the Ordering and CRM system to streamline and drive operations efficiently. If you are starting a new restaurant, or have not switched to nor incorporated the POS system yet, here’s how it can benefit you in 2021:
– Managing Omnichannel Presence: With the lockdown across the nation spread over months and present social distancing norms, almost every restaurant ventured into a different mode of delivering their service, like delivery through 3rd party vendors (Zomato, Swiggy), own a digital storefront or drive-throughs. Managing all the channels separately would create chaos in operations, higher costs, and delay in orders.
A POS system is a tool that will help the restaurants integrate and manage all their distribution channels in one place. It can link to third-party vendors, personal ordering systems, and Kitchen Management systems, helping different value chain levels interact with each other.
Also, since all the information comes down to one point, it would it be more comfortable for the Restaurants to analyze the data in terms of which channels are doing better, what time duration has a higher demand, what dishes are prominently ordered at dining in or drive-through and facilitate them in changing their offerings accordingly.
– Digitizing customer engagement: Since most of the food order is moving online from offline, managing digital customer experience will be the point of differentiation for the restaurants in this hyper-competitive environment. Restaurants need to understand changing consumer behavior in real-time and customize their value proposition and offerings accordingly. Restaurants also need to monitor the demographics and types of customers ordering (first-timers, frequent buyers), people using their loyalty schemes and offers to purchase, and customize and personalize for each customer. But if the restaurant looks at each ordering touchpoint individually, tries to understand the data, and derive customer engagement strategies like SMS or email marketing, loyalty programs, discounts, etc., it will turn into a chaotic task. To simplify this, POS systems come into the picture. Aggregation of data from all the touchpoints and its advanced analytics capability would help the restaurants understand the current consumer trends and create and implement a more targeted and personalized engagement strategy.
– Optimizing Kitchen Operations: As already discussed, Covid 19 has made consumer behavior roll like a roller coaster, and restaurants must keep changing their menu offerings in resonance with that. As lucrative as it sounds to have a customer-centric proposition, it is not easy to keep up with the rapid changes in the kitchen’s operation. The raw materials’ inventory management becomes complicated, and so does the rapid change in the offerings on the menu. But as technology has made everything easier for us, POS systems come to the rescue in this situation also. Restaurants can now update their menus instantly as they make the changes in the menu by the POS System on all the platforms. POS systems can also integrate with the inventory system and help them manage it well. It helps in forecasting the demand for the materials and estimate stock-outs.
– Managing Traffic: Social Distancing norms and less crowding of places seem to persist in the following year as well. As restaurants are opening up for dine-in with limited capacity, it is imperative to manage the number of customers at one particular time. Since users can book their tables from multiple online platforms today like Zomato, Dineout’s, personal websites, etc., the POS system would help manage the reservations at one place and update all third-party apps on one go, from one point.
– Expansion Enabler: Many restaurants have been shut down this year due to the wavering demand and capital inadequacy. As the demand has started to grow gradually, so is the scope of expanding the current business, or trying to reopen the shut outlets. An integrated POS system across the chain outlets would help track the business progress better, manage the financials, and concede the trends over a more extensive customer base.
Covid 19 has instantly brought in disruptive technological transformation, which was predicted to happen over the years. And sustaining without technical infrastructure doesn’t seem to be an option anymore. The operations mentioned above can still be conducted manually, but a POS system structures them and covers them with a layer of efficiency. This small technical point of parity, i.e., the POS system in restaurant operations, will only help them achieve differentiation and create a significant market share.