As the impact of the pandemic continues, restaurants face constant and evolving operational challenges. At the end of 2021, four out of five restaurants reported facing a staffing shortage due to reduced operating hours and dining capacity. A fragmented supply chain is also increasing ingredient costs, leading restaurants to balance staff churn with a changing menu to keep revenue consistent. To combat these obstacles among countless others, leaning on point-of-sale (POS) solutions can empower restaurants to quickly leverage new features to maximize profits in a fluctuating service economy.
As the center of modern restaurant operations, POS systems and accompanying integrations can help manage all aspects of a business — from payments to tracking and understanding sales trends. Fully utilizing these systems provides restaurants the flexibility they need to anticipate customer needs while managing operations, and should be a priority for restaurants, especially at this time. With data showing indoor dining rapidly decreasing as customers navigate new COVID variants, restaurants need the capability to quickly adapt and implement new solutions.
Monitoring Supply Can Curb Waste and Loss
According to data from the National Restaurant Association, 95 percent of restaurants have experienced significant supply delays or shortages of key food items in recent months. Product insecurity has created an inconsistent menu, as managers are forced to make sometimes weekly updates to accommodate missing ingredients.
Utilizing POS functions removes the employee strain of manually monitoring ingredients and can allow for a supply tracker and automatic reordering. Imagine that your restaurant uses 500 onions a week: with this new technology, once you get down to a certain pre-set amount, an automated order request can be sent out to your supplier to ensure that you receive your next shipment before you run out.
Additionally, say that you went through 200 green bell peppers a week prior to the pandemic, but now you only go through 100. The system would alert an operator of these changes, giving them access to these unique insights and allowing them to quickly adjust orders to prevent waste. Making data-driven decisions will provide valuable insights to ensure profitability regardless of changing customer preferences.
Retaining and Attracting Employees
Keeping a restaurant properly staffed has become a crucial business concern amid the pandemic. Employees who previously worked restaurant jobs are looking to other positions that lower transmission risk or better accommodate other pandemic concerns, such as limited childcare. To set your business apart when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff, look to payroll and benefits technology.
POS systems offer same-day pay and make the process of adding new staff member’s payment details quicker, resulting in no time lost between starting work and a first paycheck. Additionally, many restaurants are expanding to include traditional benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings plans. To ease this transition to adding benefits, vendors are helping restaurants by offering a benefits package add-on to its payment platform. Maximizing your POS system would make your restaurant more competitive in a market that is struggling to retain workers.
Prioritizing Employee Efforts
With many restaurants running with limited staff, automating delivery allows your staff to focus on higher-priority tasks. For reference, the top four U.S. food delivery companies brought in roughly $5.5 billion combined revenue from April to September 2020, more than twice as much as their combined revenue in 2019. This is a key indicator that food delivery has become a customer preference. One way to honor this change is to make a one-time investment into a branded mobile ordering app. By taking your staff off the phones for order-taking, they can focus on business-critical functions, such as food prep and customer service.
Taking steps toward long-term success is critical in the first quarter of this year. Research shows that 58 percent of restaurateurs are concerned about the survival of their restaurant, but that is significantly down from the 92 percent who were concerned the previous year. Now that the industry has come to understand the new struggles the pandemic has caused, many are using 2022 to transition into adopting new technology that will future-proof their business. POS technology can help with labor shortages, supply chain concerns and customer experience. By better utilizing technology that can take over the back-of-house tasks, staff can provide better service to customers and maintain your restaurant profitably.