Article by Sarah Pritzker, Last update at December 11, 2019
The hospitality industry covers several segments including food and beverages, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation. One thing these businesses have in common though is their business model: servicing people. Whenever you’re working with people, you’re going to need to be efficient, flexible, and customizable, which is why any hospitality business needs a POS system geared towards these goals.
Here’s how a hospitality POS system will benefit your business and what to look for when weeding through the options.
There are three main pillars that hospitality POS software will help turbocharge within your business, allowing you to maximize efficiency and ROI.
With most hospitality-based POS software, you'll have a range of features that help you interact with your customers. This includes customer tracking, purchasing habits, and loyalty programs. Here's what this looks like:
A customer stays at your hotel every month for three months straight. Thanks to your POS system, you notice that they order the same bottle of wine whenever they come. When this customer books a room in your hotel next month, you can automatically have that bottle of wine delivered to their room, so it’s already there when they arrive.
This kind of attention to detail give customers the feeling of connection and being cared for, and you can be sure that this will earn their loyalty.
Efficiency is another important benefit of a hospitality POS system. Nobody wants to stand in line, and when you’re dealing with large crowds, the frustration levels can climb quickly. POS software lets you handle customers faster, more easily, and more conveniently. Imagine this scenario:
It's lunchtime at your coffee shop. The line is getting longer, and the patrons are getting restless. Fortunately, your POS software allows you to accept contactless payments, credit cards, and EMV enabled cards for a smoother, faster process.
This allows you to not only keep dissatisfaction at bay but to get to more customers before they walk out the door and head to Starbucks instead.
Finally, any industry that deals with people regularly needs to keep up with constantly advancing technologies. As new trends replace old ones and better technology out-dates older models, people's’ expectations continue to climb, and you had better be ready to serve them with convenience and speed that comes only from tech solutions.
Hospitality POS systems allow you to use the latest technologies including prepayments, mobile orders, and tablet payment stations. For example:
It's halftime, and your concession stand is flocked with hungry fans anxious to get back to the game. You’re not worried though because your POS system allows you to take to the stands, jotting down orders, sending them instantly to the kitchen, and processing payments, all from the convenience of the fans’ seats.
As you can see, hospitality businesses really need to upgrade their services to include a POS system. Here are a few things to look for in a good system and which vendors provide these kinds of perks.
While all businesses need to stay organized and keep tabs on things like sales, restaurants, hotels, and recreational services have even more challenges. Aside from the constant interaction with people, hospitality services need to be able to handle:
For this reason, the key aspects to look for particularly in bar and hospitality POS software include:
Keep orders organized according to the table, room or seats Calculate partial inventory usage and small amounts such as ingredients, alcohol shots, and non-quantifiable items such as the materials used during an activity geared towards kids in the hotel lobby.
Since every hospitality service has slightly different needs, you’re going to need a system that accommodates that kind of elasticity. Even within your own business, you can have variants of seasons, crowds, and hours. Hospitality POS software needs to have the flexibility to be customized to fit your business needs, not just a general toolset and list of features.
With customer turnover of the utmost importance, you need a system that’s fast and easy to use. You don’t have time to sit there fidgeting with tabs and settings when the dinner crowd starts getting rowdy!
Speed is important with the technical processing speed and in terms of having good functionality so that tasks are intuitive to find and easy to implement quickly. A fast learning curve and minimal need for training are also beneficial.
There are certain features of a POS system that will make the running of your business infinitely more organized, pleasant, and profitable. Features like employee management, inventory management, sales tracking, and CRM are at the top of the list, so look for a system that incorporates these must-haves into the mix.
Whether you're talking about wait staff and their kitchen staff counterparts, the server at a ballgame and the cashier back at the concession stand, or a receptionist and the many and varied workers that keep a hotel running smoothly, communication is essential for success.
Good communication tools ensure that you have constant lines of communication open, and your POS needs to make that happen. From order transfers to out of stock items and last-minute menu updates, delays in the kitchen, or emergency notifications, see that your POS of choice has that functionality.
Third-party integrations take so much of the manual labor out of tedious tasks such as accounting, payroll, and taxes. When your hospitality POS software syncs up with things like employee timesheets and vacation days, tax filing requirements, and email marketing systems, it takes your workload and literally cuts it in half.
Finally, you want to make sure your system is untethered to things like poor internet connections or location. Check that the POS you decide on has cloud-based data storage so you can access things like sales records or inventory status from anywhere, whether you’re at the office, in the warehouse, or on vacation in Kuala Lumpur.
Additionally, like any business, you’ll want a system that is priced well, works with your business needs, and offers great tech support. Ready for a few recommendations? Here are a few POS software providers that are going to make your hospitality business better.
Lightspeed is a popular POS software provider, and Lightspeed Restaurant is the crowning glory when it comes to hospitality POS. It streamlines so much of the daily activities involved in the hospitality business. To begin with, Lightspeed is a cloud-based solution, so you have all your analytics, customer, and sales information with you at all times and wherever you are.
Lightspeed also has an easy menu customization tool, so you can update out of stock items, create specialty menus, or add staff picks at a whim. Upload images to give your menu an even more appealing look.
Lightspeed generates end of the day reports, so you don’t have to wait till the end of the month to get concrete data. Plus, this system integrates with some of the most commonly used tools like bookkeeping, payroll, and marketing services.
You’ve probably heard of TouchBistro, the restaurant-designed software that provides advanced tools to make serving customers better on many levels. Firstly, TouchBistro is iPad-based, so you have the ease, speed, and flexibility of tablet services. This is great if you have any type of mobile business including food trucks and stadiums, and also helps traditional clubs and restaurants.
In terms of features, TouchBistro does it best. You’ve got everything from staff scheduling and third-party software integrations to transactional reporting. This POS software really takes care of every aspect of your business with one single tool.
Shopkeep is a hospitality POS system that caters to all aspects of hospitality. For example, the software is great for things like inventory management and contactless payments, and it also has capabilities for managing reservations, printing receipts and reports, and staff management.
Shopkeep is an iPad POS solution and runs on wireless internet. It even has an offline mode, so you’re never left without your system even when the internet goes down. Employees will appreciate how user-friendly and intuitive the interface is, and managers will appreciate all the management tools like email marketing, analytics, and permissions.
Toast is a well-known name in the restaurant world because it’s another POS system specifically designed for hospitality. That means it caters to these business needs best, offering you the tools you need to succeed such as customizing menus and sales reporting.
Toast has powerful management tools including a full CRM, inventory tracking, and employee management. What’s more, Toast offers Android-based POS software. This is better than limiting yourself to an iOS version only since Android tablets are cheaper, have more options, and are more ubiquitous.
Upserve has taken restaurant POS software to a new level, adding features that really take your business one step further. Utilize tools like tab splitting, discounts, and tip adjustments for easy bill payments. Breadcrumb also has a powerful search tool to help find exactly what you’re looking for, fast.
This POS system also offers you incredible insights into your customer habits and sales productivity. You can see which customers frequent your establishment often, what items are out of stock or are selling well, and at what points during the day, week, month, or year your sales peaked or ebbed.
POS systems are the payment solutions of the future, and if you’re in the hospitality industry, the obvious next step for your business. With features that provided added value including customer, inventory, employee, and sales management, hospitality POS software offers you invaluable insights, efficiency, and progression that will keep your business ahead of the competition and increase sales every quarter.
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