Indian food and beverage (F and B) industry, which is growing at 23-24 per cent year-on-year, finds Point of Sale (PoS) systems
useful in more than one way. What was once considered as a simple supplement to the traditional billing model, POS has made inroads into Indian F and B managing multiple tasks at ease.
According to a FICCI-Grant Thornton report, Indian F and B sector is poised to reach Rs 3.80 lakh crore by 2017 from the current market worth of Rs 2.04 lakh crore. Experts believe that the sector, which is largely unorganized, will become sophisticated in 2020.
In many city restaurants across the country, the point of sale system is still used mainly for taking orders. But it can do a lot more if used prudently.
"We also use POS for inventory tracking and management," said Rohit Malhotra, who runs a restaurant in Chennai's busy Sterling Road. "All modern POS systems in restaurants can be programmed or customized to enter recipes and price details. It would then figure out cost per item, per shift, per order, per week and per day. We can set menu and table reservations through POS," he says.
POS systems used in restaurants
are reliable and rugged for extreme conditions. With technology, people have started using cloud-based POS systems to enhance their business and customer satisfaction.
"Cloud-based systems have its own advantages. It requires less maintenance, don't have to deal with frequent failures or spend time in installations. With cloud, the business becomes easier and less cumbersome," Rohit says.
Similarly, cash registers which once merely used to store cash and produce bills, have become an essential part of restaurants doing more applications. From processing credit cards, sending orders to kitchens to helping run loyalty programs, POS systems can be useful in number of ways.
Data is the holy grail of any business and retail is no exception to this. The recorded data give companies an insight on inventory details, sales pattern, employees' performance, and customers' preferences.
POS system acts as a tool to get to know information on individual customer and his/her needs. Loyalty programs can be integrated by connecting purchases to respective buyers. This helps restaurants create tailor-made offers and promotions.
Apart from helping employers understand customer tastes, sales data can be helpful to run tighter schedules/shifts. It can let restaurant managers predict that how many chicken/mutton pieces they would require in a particular day/week, or plan number of workers they would need.
Restaurant chains always keep changing their menus or dangle limited-time offers to get customers. Which means they have to regularly update their menu, and have to frequently adjust registers as well.
For example "Buy One, Get One" promotion requires a special button to be programmed in registers. The technology that firms use to program cash registers
For instance, some tech-savvy restaurants update menus and prices on registers by loading the details into cloud. However, on the flipside, if the data in the cloud becomes corrupt for whatever reason, this would theoretically renders registers vulnerable.
A glitch that disabled registers at thousands of Starbucks stores in the US and Canada recently was a reminder of the invisible systems restaurants rely upon to run increasingly sophisticated operations.
Technology has revolutionized the payment and ordering system in restaurants, food courts, bars, ice cream parlors, etc. One can even order the menu straight to the kitchen and make payment using mobile phones without waiting for the waiters to present the bill. Using Bluetooth customers can even print the bill. Modern POS has simplified the system of order taking thereby reducing the time gap between the order and supply. Restaurants too get benefited as they can serve more number of customers in less time.
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