Jeremy Julian

Restaurant POS

Attract Millennials with A Restaurant Tabletop Ordering System

July 16, 2019

Millennials — now the largest restaurant customer segment in the U.S. — have a preference for conducting retail and restaurant transactions without having to speak to a live person — using a tabletop ordering system, for example.

It is likely rooted in them being the first generation to grow up with the internet and become early adopters of smartphones, which have instilled the expectation that they should be able to get what they want on their own time, and at a moment’s notice.

Rather than seeing this as an impediment, savvy restaurants are turning this predilection into a positive and embracing younger restaurant guests by installing restaurant tablet ordering systems and table-top checkout options.

Tabletop ordering systems put the ball in the guest’s hands

Remember what we just said about millennials expecting to get what they want on their own time? That’s one of the factors at the heart of the push towards tabletop ordering systems and checkouts. Some diners want to sit down, immediately browse the options, and place an order as quickly as possible.

Plenty of others desire to dive into a conversation and take their time without worrying that a server will be interrupting them every three minutes to ask if they’re ready. In any situation, using technology to let these guests create their own dining timetable is an attractive proposition.

Restaurants are discovering ancillary benefits of tablet systems

As a restaurant owner, your primary reason for installing a tablet ordering system or employing any technology should always be to create value for your guests. But that doesn’t mean that the system shouldn’t have other quantifiable benefits for the company as well.

Restaurant companies are paying close attention not only to how these tablets affect the guest experience, but also what impacts they may have on their revenues, costs, and operations.

Applebee’s, which now uses tabletop ordering systems in every one of its U.S. locations, says over 70% of their guests use them during their visit. Outback Steakhouse, meanwhile, claims that their dessert sales have risen by 30% due to their restaurant tablet ordering system, and several other chains have reported higher overall tickets when they are in use.

Table-top technology is never a substitute for service

Clearly, most diners (especially younger ones) are open to utilizing tabletop ordering systems and tabletop checkout systems in restaurants, and businesses can use them as a part of their overall digital technology strategy to engage guests in different ways.

Leaders must remember that this kind of restaurant technology is a tool to enhance the service experience, but it will never be a replacement for an established and robust service culture throughout the business. A tabletop ordering system and other innovations can be used to attract millennials, but there is no evidence thus far to suggest that diners will sacrifice the qualities they normally want out of a dining experience — friendly service and consistent food quality — for the sake of technology.

Are you ready to upgrade to a POS that will streamline your business? See how the Northstar POS system can revolutionize how you do business today. 

Should Restaurants Blog?

February 6, 2019

Yes. 100% yes. Restaurants should blog.

 

But do restaurants actually blog? No.

 

It’s because blogging is hard and it takes time. Having an effective blogging strategy is key to long-term success in a crowded field. Did you know that about 2 million blog posts are created every day? That is a lot and a bit ridiculous if you think about it. So, if restaurants want to blog, what can it do for their business?

 

Be first on search results
We have talked about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the blog before. If you are unfamiliar with SEO, here is an intro into restaurant website SEO.

 

So how does a blog matter to SEO?

 

Content.

 

You’ve probably heard it before: “Content is king.” Bill Gates made this prediction in 1996 and it’s as true as ever today.

 

Content is important to SEO - Restaurant Technology Guys

 

Why?

 

Because a Google user is happy when s/he finds the result that serves their need(s) in the best way. Google always tries to give you the best possible experience by directing you to the most relevant content it can find.

 

This means your number one job is to produce good, relevant content.

 

SEO is no different than any other skill – the great results will always come from big effort. Just like the best marketing in the world won’t help you sell a bad product, super advanced SEO will be useless if your content sucks.

 

So you may be asking, “what exactly makes ‘good content for a blog?”

 

Glad you asked! Here are factors in Google’s eyes that make up good, relevant blog content:

 

  • Quality – Position yourself as an authoritative figure in the space. Provide useful and meaningful content that is valuable to readers.
  • Keyword research – Doing your keyword research up front is a crucial part of great content. Out of all on-page SEO factors, this is the one you should spend the most time learning. What terms are your customer using to search for your restaurant? How would YOU search for the site? What SHOULD it be?
  • Use those keywords – Google has gotten smarter over the years. While you should, of course, use your keyword throughout your content, jamming your keyword into your text as much as possible will hurt your rankings, rather than improve them. As long as you make sure your keyword is present in strategically important places (like headlines, URL and meta description), there is no need to mention it tons of times in your text. Just focus on the reader and seamlessly integrate your keyword a few times.
  • Keep the content ‘fresh’ – Posting frequently will drive higher search results. But that does not mean creating new content every single day or week. Take old content and update it – include new sources, updated data and links. Even push your content out on other blogs to help keep new eyes coming to your content.
  • Answer directly – Finally, one of the more recent updates provides searchers with direct answers. If your content is written clearly enough for Google to recognize it as an answer to a particular question, it will show up directly beneath the search bar.

 

As we laid out above, creating useful blog content takes A LOT of work. But when done correctly, your organic traffic will skyrocket, creating additional revenue. Not to mention the social media implications and following you will be able to generate; which in the business world is precious gold.

 

We highly suggest getting into the blogging sphere, but before you do, take some time to work with members on your team. Strategize positioning and create a content calendar for at least half the year. This will help put you on a path for success. As you receive data from on-page and social media, you can adapt to see what is engaging users and what is not.

 

Happy blogging!

 

Serious about updating your POS? Check out the Northstar POS system to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!

 

New Restaurant Technology to Keep an Eye on in 2019

January 16, 2019

Technology is updating and changing every single day. And currently, the food, drink and hospitality industries are in the process of being transformed by emerging technologies. What new technology will become standards and which will fall by the wayside? Today, the Guys go over what technologies to keep an eye on in 2019!

 

#1. Better Delivery Ordering & Tracking
Delivery is growing and is becoming more important. We have been watching delivery grow over these past couple of years and you may read a few articles that we have on the subject. For a refresher, check out the three articles below:

 

The subject of delivery has been growing and we do not expect it to stop. 2019 will see that delivery becomes faster and more personal for the customer. According to coverage of a recent report published by a firm in Edinburgh, Scotland, people can expect to see more GPS tracking technologies that let them follow their food with real-time movement information displayed on a smartphone screen. It will most likely mimic what Lyft and Uber show on their apps to show when a driver is arriving. Currently, customers get estimated delivery times and instructions to contact the restaurant if their food doesn’t arrive on-time. We will begin to see additional personalization and contact between the delivery drivers and customers.

 

One interesting aspect of ordering we are curious to see more of in 2019, is voice ordering. Customers that use Grubhub can ask Alexa to place one of their last three orders again. With the prevalence of Alexa, Siri and others like it, we think the ability to order items via voice commands spoken to smart speakers could become more of a trend many foresee.

 

#2. Changes to beverages?
When you go to any restaurant, customers are offered a drink: water, soda or any other beverage. A company in North Carolina called Clear Water Manufacturing engineered an alternative — a machine that filters water, dispenses it into recyclable glass or aluminum containers and puts the caps on them.

 

The innovation, known as the Boomerang Water Machine, could allow restaurants to highlight a commitment to environmental sustainability, all while saving on costs. What this does is encourages people to come back to the location and return their water bottles to be sterilized and used again, thereby potentially eliminating single-use plastics.

 

#3.Virtual reality
The future of restaurant menu interactions will be coming in 2019. However, some folks are already experimenting with it. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the biggest tech trends to look out for in 2019. This new form of technology will allow customers to have a visual experience like no other. AR allows customers to use their phones or restaurant iPads to view 3-D renderings of menu items. This gives customers not only an image of the food, but to view it as if it was right in front of them.

 

We made reference to this in one of our previous articles, ‘3 Restaurant Trends to Look out for in 2019.’  Check it out to learn more about the capabilities of AR and how it can benefit restaurants.

 

#4. Fully-automated restaurants?
We know there is buzz around this subject, but we just don’t see this catching on just yet. In the future, yes, there absolutely could be more automated restaurants, but not for 2019. There are pioneers out there like Eatsa, Spyce, Crave and more, but we still need that human interaction. The market is showing us this because most of these businesses are hurting and not expanding all over the country.

 

Instead, we see more of a surge in kiosks, pre-ordering via apps and smart-screens, as opposed to a fully-automated restaurant experience.

 

What restaurant technologies do you think we make a splash in 2019? Leave comments on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages!

 

Curious about how Custom Business Solutions can help your company? Check out their Northstar POS system and its capabilities to power and improve your restaurant!

3 Restaurant Trends to Look Out For in 2019

January 2, 2019

2018 has been an exciting year for restaurant technology: the prevalence of delivery options, increased investment on kiosks, the rise and fall of cryptocurrency and the impact of social media. But what does the future hold as we make our way into 2019?

 

Today, we are putting together a quick list of what we think will be big trends in 2019.

 

#1. Virtual/Augmented Reality

The future of restaurant menu interactions will be coming in 2019. However, some folks are already experimenting with it. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the biggest tech trends to look out for in 2019. This new form of technology will allow customers to have a visual experience like no other. AR allows customers to use their phones or restaurant iPads to view 3-D renderings of menu items. This gives customers not only an image of the food, but to view it as if it was right in front of them.

 

While this concept sounds very complex and expensive, it is actually quite simple.

 

Tech start up Kabaq is at the forefront of the AR trend. Its application allows restaurants to add the 3-D experience to their menu within just a few weeks.

 

With the use of high quality images and other image guidelines, Kabaq is able to process them and create a 3-D food model. The customer is then able to access the 3-D renderings through Snapchat. Customers are first prompted to scan a Snapcode and this gives them access to the 3-D menu items.

 

Why do this?

 

Remember the adage: people eat with their eyes?  This system gets at exactly that sentiment.

 

A study conducted by Kabaq says that restaurants saw an increase of 25% in dessert sales alone with the use of AR.

 

The AR trend is still in the early-adapter phase. As a result, restaurants that choose to integrate this technology now will have an appeal that other restaurants do not. This can generate a plethora of marketing opportunities that will attract new customers vying for a memorable experience.

 

#2. Mobile Payments
In 2017, the use of mobile payments grew 75%, especially within quick-service establishments. For a consumer, the ability to order and pay from a mobile device speeds up the process dramatically.

 

Mobile Payment Statistics - Restaurant Technology Guys

 

For restaurants, mobile payments cut down the number of customer touch-points, thereby making it easier to serve more customers. Plus, it can provide a wealth of data about their customer base and spending habits. By doing so, restaurants can have a built-in loyalty program that incentivize customers to both return to the establishment and continue using mobile pay.

 

Mobile payments are great, but they are not without their own risks. All owner/operators need to be aware that data breaches are a real concern. 2017 and 2018 were full of large and prominent examples, including Cheddars, Adidas, Panera Bread, Verizon and most notably, Equifax.

 

#3. Self-serve Kiosks
Did you know: 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant tech improves their business efficiency and 65% of customers use an ordering kiosk when it is presented to them?  That means switching to a mobile POS software or the implementation of an ordering kiosk would be an advantageous move.

 

In addition, 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience. More specifically, 61% agree that handheld tablets improve the dining experience.

Why Technology is Important in Restaurants - Restaurant Technology Guys

 

Do you have tablets in your restaurant? Test with one or two and see how your customers react. Be sure to track their tipping on IPad versus non-iPad users.

 

 

2019 will no doubt bring new and interesting things for the restaurant industry. We cannot wait! What trends do you think will be dominate 2019? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages!

 

Serious about updating your POS? Check out the Northstar POS system to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!

 

Power of Software: 3 Areas Where You Can Save $$$

December 19, 2018

We have an exciting treat for everyone! We partnered with the pros over at Restaurant365 to share the 3 areas where you can save money with the right software.

 

It’s no secret restaurant technology has come a long way, especially in the last five-to-ten years. But what exact issues have been solved since the days before iPads and tablets? There are several restaurant management software options out there, but it’s essential to choose an all-in-one solution – it will make your life so much easier!

 

Restaurant365 is the world’s only all-in-one, cloud-based accounting, back office and reporting solution for restaurants, and is constantly being updated with new features to keep up with the ever-changing restaurant industry. Restaurant365 has operations-specific solutions that have made it infinitely easier for managers to handle inventory, ordering, scheduling and reporting, all in one place.

 

So, where can Restaurant365 help make your business more efficient and save you money?

 

Area 1: Inventory Control
Customers using Restaurant365 technology have an inventory turn 2.5X better than the average restaurant owner. Spreadsheets living within the software track stock counts, product transfers and waste log. With the Restaurant365 mobile app, managers are able to count inventory on the go, so forget the pencil and paper!

 

A recent upgrade also allows the software to automatically suggest quantities of ingredients and supplies a restaurant needs based on usage per $1,000. Rather than keeping track of shipments coming through the restaurant’s door, the software tracks what ingredients, and exactly how much, guests are ordering in line. This also allows purchase orders to be flagged if the restaurant is shorted product or when prices change.

 

With this tracking power, you can make sure the investment you make in inventory, is being fully utilized every time.

 

Area 2: Over/Under-Scheduling
Smart Scheduling software is another power tool in Restaurant365 and allows you to have full visibility of your entire staff. Managers can optimize and reduce labor costs with the scheduling tools designed to help maximize profits. A new feature added to Restaurant365 provides suggested hours to schedule per day based on sales per labor hour (SPLH) goals, allowing managers to create schedules smarter and faster with projected labor profitability, weather forecasting and even local events data incorporated.

 

Area 3: Food Waste
Throwing away ingredients is terrible. You either ordered too much or customers didn’t order enough of a dish to use the inventory in time. You are practically throwing money in the trash every time that happens. But with the help Restaurant365’s new prep feature that automatically suggests the quantity of food that should be prepped each morning based on forecast and usage per $1,000, you can avoid such disasters. Pre-loaded prep sheets can be printed and handed directly to the kitchen staff to have them make the right amount of product for the day. A prep history report is created for tracking historical prep production, which can then be used to spot trends in your restaurant’s prepping.

 

 

What a time to be alive in the restaurant industry! There’s no denying the power in software and programs being able to “talk” to each other via the cloud. Issues that seemed impossible to manage before can now be solved with the tip of your finger. To learn more about how Restaurant365 is changing the restaurant software game, visit www.Restaurant365.com.

 

POS Features Every Restaurant Needs

December 13, 2018

POS systems are becoming smarter, while decreasing costs and increasing revenue for your restaurant. Next-generation solutions ranging from predictive order management software (for projecting demand and reducing waste) to loyalty management programs (wherein guests can manage their own reward accounts), equips restaurants with the tools to be more effective and satisfy the desires of their customers on a more consistent basis.

 

For example, the NorthStar Order Entry System is the hospitality industry’s first tablet-based multi mode ordering solution. It is the only tablet software that delivers and integrates multiple ordering modes:

 

  • POS – staff-facing orders.
  • Guest – customer ordering at table.
  • Kiosk – pre-order from your lobby.
  • Web – online ordering.
  • Mobile – wireless device ordering.

 

NorthStar gives operators to power and ease to edit menus, add items, track actual and forecasted data in real-time, from anywhere. All thanks to their enterprise, cloud-based content management system. You can pull real-time analytical data to help make staffing, ordering and seating decisions on the fly. You and your customers can also rest easy knowing that their personal information is safe with NorthStar’s EMV capability and security encryption capabilities.

 

With all that NorthStar has to offer, owners can create the exact experience each customer wants with less wait times. Your restaurant could experience up to 30% more table turns, meaning more tips for your waiters and a healthier bottom line.

 

Which leads us to this fact: 79 percent of restaurant operators believe that advanced technologies are key to not only addressing many of their current challenges, but also to catapulting their businesses to ever-higher levels of operational performance and guest satisfaction on an ongoing basis.

 

Why are we going over this?

 

Because, investment in a smart and innovative system will unify front of house, back office and kitchen operations. Specialized software features offer complete command of all areas of the business. Modern POS systems are adept at streamlining a multitude of hospitality operations – from QSR to fine dining. So how do you choose the best for your business? Let’s take a look at the must-have management POS features and their proven benefits.

 

Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty
What does this feature do? POS systems now connect businesses with your customers on a whole new level. By building your own CRM database you’ll have access to valuable customer data. Built-in features help you manage your email marketing campaigns, customize offers and personalize promotions based on customer behavior.

 

Why you need it: Turning your attention to customer loyalty is paramount in hospitality – and technology is here to help. Tracking spending habits will help adapt promotions for a seamless omni-channel customer experience. According to Como, developer of white-label loyalty apps, using a customer engagement platform can increase customer spending by up to 41 percent.

 

Staff and Rota Management
What does this feature do? Hospitality businesses tend to have a high staff turnover so keeping track of your staff is essential. You can do this with ease using a POS system, even across multiple locations. A smart POS system will also give you insights into performance and HR budgets with granular business reports.

 

Key benefits: Build an organized staff database, set shift patterns, track attendance and send staff notifications – all from one system. The obvious benefits would be increased productivity and better communication with your staff.

Stock Management
What does this feature do? One of the most important tools, but often overlooked, is stock management. This type of POS feature will help you keep one centralized product catalogue. Smart POS systems even allow you to set up management alerts and one-click re-ordering when an item is running low.

Reporting
What does this feature do: A good POS system will give you access to valuable data and reporting tools. To make the most of these, look out for systems with customization and file exporting options to give you the most flexibility. Business reports can be generated for any business data, from sales and marketing to HR and reservations. Many systems now offer access to your business data remotely, via a web portal.

 

Key benefits: You’ll be able to gain insights into trends and business performance in relation to your goals. Remote access is extremely helpful for business owners and managers who are often required to make fast, but well informed business decisions.

 

All restaurants should benefit from these great technological innovations, driven by the need to streamline everyday business processes. Businesses that are adaptable and take advantage of the digital power from data insights result in growing sales, customer retention and reduced business costs.

 

What POS features help your restaurant the most? Be sure to leave a comment on our Facebook and/or Twitter page!

 

Serious about updating your POS? Check out the Northstar POS system to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!

 

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