November 16, 2020
For the restaurant and food services spaces, economic disruption is a common denominator across all kinds of businesses within the industry. The economic downturn has tested the limits of organizations across the spectrum. Luckily, our era is also characterized by encouraging displays of agility and innovative thinking in answer to that disruption, moving past the status quo, rethinking processes, and continuing to serve guests in ways that keep them safest, most comfortable, and according to their preferences that have been in place for a while. That’s just it. The best in the industry have focused all along on how to make their platforms more supportive of where guest expectations and emerging technology are leading.
In part, this is all about the basics, tying restaurant point of sale to expanding solutions and functionality that allows brands to meet guests where they are, create seamless experiences for them and for their staff, and to create momentum to go beyond today’s demands to scale for where things are headed in the future. This is what resiliency looks like in 2020. To serve that vision, what are some integral, essential integrations that characterize an advanced POS solution? Here’s a list of five.
1. Mobile ordering technology
Mobile ordering technology is driving guests back to brands they trust, with a Marketforce survey quoted in QSR magazine indicating that of 90% people surveyed that said they’d ordered food within a two-week period, 47% of chose to pick up their order as carryout directly from a restaurant location, with only 27% opting for delivery.
These figures are all about trust, with guests going to locations of the brands they feel they can count on even in a new paradigm defined by the pandemic. The potential for a POS integration with mobile ordering that allows consumers to engage with the ordering process comfortably and safely is an important takeaway for our current era. It also points the way to the future, too.
2. Digital payment platforms
With mobile-friendly ordering processes emerging as a primary channel to restaurant services, it makes sense that support of payment methods like ApplePay, GooglePay, Alipay, and other mobile-based payment platforms is also emerging as essential POS integrations. Right now, contactless payments of many kinds are rising in significance in an era defined by social distancing and concerns around handling cash, or even handling cards.
Additionally, in-app options that integrate with online payment providers like Visa Checkout and others for food delivery also continue to emerge. As consumers rely more and more on these options, investing in integrations with mobile payments that is an observable trend today is likely to also point the way to the future.
3. Self-serve kiosks
Coupled with today’s higher standards for cleaning high-touch surfaces, kiosk technology is still very much a part of the conversation when it comes to where the guest ordering experience is going. Maintaining distance and minimizing contact has been a consumer preference in restaurants and food services for some time. Restaurant Technology News in 2019 quoted a Tilster poll reporting that roughly a third of restaurant goers polled prefer self-service kiosks when in store versus dealing with human cashiers.
While kiosks are most often not so much integrations with restaurant point of sale solutions as they are extensions of them, kiosk technology represents an important shift in the way that consumers engage with brands, and how serving guest preferences that positively affects order volumes and values.
4. Meal plans and loyalty programs
Creating seamless experiences is what it’s all about, no matter how a guest places an order or by which means of payment they use. With meal plans in college and university settings or in workplace contexts, food services point of sale solutions should always be in synch and create greater visibility for the guest as to the status of their balances and other important factors. Meal plans also play a vital role in the rise in importance of contactless and cashless transactions.
With loyalty programs designed to nurture long-term relationships with guests, the same principle should be true. In this, the POS solution in question must integrate via API with these third-party applications across the board, consistent with all locations, and always in line with the newest versions of the software updated in frequent cadence.
5. Robust menu management
To unify an offering across multiple locations and channels, restaurants and food services leaders are also emphasizing global control over menu items and details. In this way, even if items that go under different names depending on the brand or the concept, they can still be tracked to set optimal pricing, be judged by their performance, and be promoted on menu displays and kiosk upsell screens accordingly. Importantly, centralized menu management that helps organizations do all of this can be rolled out simultaneously, making sure that an offering is always consistent.
Cloud technology plays an integral part in all of the above. It links locations together, makes reporting easily accessible, and allows a faster turnaround from analysis to action across an entire brand. With the rate of change in the industry, that kind of agility is essential.
What is the future of integrated restaurant POS?
In an era of industry disruption, restaurants and food services have had to be flexible, operationally maneuverable, and open to where culture and technology is taking the industry. The question remains: how will organizations stay resilient during these times?
To help address that question, we’ve created a resource that outlines some of the areas of the business that helps restaurant and food services organizations address that question.