Nowhere is team unity more important than in a restaurant. With such different workflows in the front and back of the house, it’s become all-too-common to see the disparity in service and efficiency, presenting problems that can affect the entire business.
Thankfully, you may already have a solution at hand, in the form of your restaurant POS system.
If your business has already moved away from spreadsheets and handwritten notes and already implemented a restaurant POS, then it’s likely you have the tools necessary to improve communication and streamline operations. Here’s how:
First, the front…
Obviously, in the service industry, customer satisfaction is job #1. Since the front of house is where initial impressions are made, your point of sale system’s importance begins there.
It begins with your servers. Though most of today’s better wait staff members can remember large orders with ease, the human factor can often play a role. On busier nights, with complicated specials on the menu and an endless array of special dietary requests, orders can get confused, creating a logjam between the floor and the kitchen.
Implementing a POS system into your waitstaff’s routine creates a unique opportunity to take orders efficiently, without running the risk of missing important details. This is especially important for large groups and complex menu schemes. A POS will give servers the chance to enter details in a fraction of the time it would take to handwrite orders while maintaining an orderly presentation for cook staff to follow.
(Plus, it just seems more modern and professional to customers. The days of tear pads and pens behind the ear are long over.)
Once orders are taken and confirmed on a POS interface, they are delivered instantaneously to the back, with no confusion from shorthand, handwriting or inconsistent vernacular. Cook staff gets precisely the information they need, eliminating unnecessary gaps and the need for servers to leave the floor to confirm order needs.
Hosts and captains can benefit in a similar fashion. A restaurant POS system allows the front of house to quickly assess floor layouts, occupancy, traffic flow and kitchen workload within a few clicks, rather than countless steps through a busy restaurant. This affords them the chance to find optimal seating and customer service solutions that accommodate guests while easing the stress on staff.
Let’s not forget the back of house…
Though reality TV has certainly done its best, most people don’t know just how frantic a poorly managed back of house can be. Between busy workflows and often chaotic communication with management and waitstaff, it’s understandable how orders can get confused. The problem is that this confusion can all but ensure dissatisfied customers won’t return after one poor visit.
As we’ve discussed above, a restaurant POS system can shave precious minutes off the turnaround between placing an order and delivering an accurate meal. Messy, inaccurate handwritten orders only delay the understanding needed for food to be prepared accurately, which not only presents the risk of unhappy customers but also losses that mount from wasted food.
POS systems can improve communication, and can accurately track the time needed to take, prepare, complete and deliver orders, giving management data on areas to improve moving forward.
This is where POS systems shine the most – in analytics for restaurants. When properly implemented, your POS can save valuable time in all areas of workflow, sending specific information to the right areas of the line, eliminating unnecessary communication gaps in the back. Now, salad prep and appetizer stations only receive the info they need, freeing up the chefs to focus on other areas.
In turn, all inventory and stock replenishment needs can be addressed in real time, so management can update menus, adjust specials and adapt to rush hours effortlessly. Customers will benefit from knowing exactly what’s available from the outset of their visit, while cook staff will enjoy a calmer, more organized night on the line.
At the end of the night, a POS system for restaurants can quietly but effectively address all areas of your operations. When the front of house communicates with the back of house, fewer errors are made, and customers are happier leading to repeat visits.
With competition in the hospitality industry at such high levels, and social media feedback driving opinions of your restaurant, there’s little room for error. Your POS is so much more than an “order taker” – let it work to unify communications across your restaurant, to ensure the only feedback you receive is positive.