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POS System Checklist - 8 Must Have Features For 2021 & Beyond

POS System Checklist - 8 Must Have Features For 2021 & Beyond

They say tech is taking over the world.

At least, I think they do. I might have just made that up, but it sounds right. Think about it for a second, every facet of our lives is slowly being infiltrated by an endless parade of machines, and software aimed at making our existence that little bit easier.

And for the most part, it’s working.

I don’t need spare change to ride the bus anymore, I can order food to be delivered to my door without ever talking to another person, and print media is dying the type of death that would put a smile on even the dullest of trees.

Indeed, there’s famously more tech squeezed into the phones in our pockets than there was in the spacecraft that sent three guys to the moon.

So why not take advantage of all of this techy goodness, and pump some more into your POS system?

Here, I’ll be running the rule over eight must-have POS features for 2021 and beyond:

  1. Let’s begin with your menus
  2. Ordering ahead keeps us all sane
  3. Deliver both food & profits
  4. Eftpos payment integrations: the death of cash
  5. Take stock of your stock taking practices: keeping on top of your inventory management
  6. Track the food that’s not going in people’s mouths
  7. How to make bookkeeping a bit more bearable
  8. Real-time reporting: a solution to the age-old issue of trade trends?

1. Let’s begin with your menus

I used to spend a fortune on menus.

I’d had a designer friend of mine knock up a template, and each time I’d change my menu, he’d go in and update it, and then send it off to an actual printing company to produce them. All up, the turnaround was at least a week, and the cost was enough that I should have seen investing in a half-decent printer of my own as the only viable way forward.

And there was always one new dish that bombed so terribly, after a couple of weeks, I’d just cross it out and my shiny new menus looked botched, and amateur.

Then I switched to chalkboards, which made it easier to remove anything that wasn’t selling without ruining the whole aesthetic of my menu design. It was so easy, in fact, that I began to remove items that I straight up didn’t feel like making that day, which led to a whole new set of issues that I won’t get into right now.

QR code ordering system: those dotted square things are for more than just checking in

The use of QR codes has evolved so rapidly since the onset of COVID-19, that now their use seems part and parcel of everyday hospo life.

But they’re capable of so much more than being laminated and taped by the door.

QR codes are being used more and more as a way to deliver your menu to your customers. A simple QR code on the table, that once scanned, has your menu up on their phones. No more costly printing or chalkboard menus.

From there, they can order their food, drinks, refills, anything! This frees up more time for you and your team to deliver the best customer service possible.

But what does the data say?

Well, it says that from June 2020, to June 2021, the adoption rate of QR table ordering in Lightspeed venues increased by a staggering 383%. Numbers like that indicate that QR table ordering could be sticking around for some time, which as a business owner, you definitely want.

2. Ordering ahead keeps us all sane

There’s this thing I hate. (We know)

It’s when somebody places a takeaway order, and then they stand there and watch you, the entire time you’re making it. I don’t know what kind of kicks they get out of it, but I know I’ve a few kicks of my own I’d like to give them. (Metaphorically)

I can feel their eyes in the back of my head, and I just want to scream at them, tell them that this sort of behaviour won’t bend the laws of thermodynamics and make something cook faster.

But I don’t. I never do.

I’ll just keep going, letting my rage stew inside of me until their food’s ready. Then I’ll slap on a fake smile, and we’re all best friends again.

Added comfort & added sales

Imagine taking that whole uncomfortable situation away.

Giving customers the ability to order ahead means that you can now prepare their orders and time everything so that they simply have to walk through the door, pick it up straight away, and leave. Absolute bliss.

And, as with table ordering, our data reflects that customers who order on their phones have been spending an average of 25% more too.

This could be down to a few things such as, better use of in-app food photography, or my personal number one suspect; better opportunities for upselling.

Hear me out. There’s something about a digital upsell that’s so much easier than if it’s face to face. For example, if I was ordering a pizza, and the guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted extra cheese for $2, I’d be downright offended!

But put that in a little, innocent modifier, amongst an array of other, more outlandish options? Suddenly a little extra cheese seems like nothing. Almost a pity not to get it at this point. Multiply that by about five-or-so more options because I have self control issues, and you’ve made a pretty penny off of me.

3. Deliver both food & profits

Another area that has benefitted from the forced pivot of a pandemic-ridden world is food delivery.

I used to use a food delivery app exclusively as a means to boost my revenue during the long (actually quite short), cold (they’re really rather mild), winters that Sydney is famous for.

I had an iPad in my kitchen whose chime to announce when a new order was placed had me drop everything and spring into action with such consistent success, it would make Pavlov drool more than his dogs.

Nobody wanted to brave the mild outdoors to get their lunch, and I was more than happy to oblige them. But come spring time, I’d disable my food delivery app, put the iPad back in it’s cupboard, and welcome everybody back with open arms.

“…I’ve forgotten what food delivery looks like without a 1.25L bottle of Coke and a garlic bread. Quite frankly, I don’t want to either.”

Nowadays, I’d be a fool to turn off that wonderful iPad.

Much as with table ordering, food delivery apps make upselling absolute child’s play. I am (and forever will be) guilty of opting for a meal deal when a single item will do. In fact, I do this with such consistency that I’ve forgotten what food delivery looks like without a 1.25L bottle of Coke and a garlic bread. Quite frankly, I don’t want to either.

And it’s not just one food delivery app that you have to commit to either.

With Lightspeed Delivery you can integrate multiple food delivery apps such as Deliveroo, UberEats, and Doordash directly into your POS, giving your menu exposure on multiple platforms. Deliveries are received directly through your POS system, minimising disruption to your workflow, preventing manual keying errors, and even feeding into your end-of-day sales reconciliation.

4. Eftpos payment integrations: the death of cash

I’ve already touched on the drawbacks of working with older eftpos machines in a recent piece touching on how Lightspeed Delivery can improve your front of house workflow, so I won’t go too deep into the details, other than to say I think that I could beat any of you in a thumb war due to the workout my digits got from punching in every single card payment for years upon years.

The fact is, the future of payments is overwhelmingly digital. It’s contactless, and it’s integrated into your POS system.

Cash was already dying, but COVID-19 was the death knell.

To stay ahead, you’ll want to use a unified POS and payments platform such as Lightspeed Payments. 

Now there can be less mistakes from humans-with-abnormally-high-thumb-strength keying in transactions.

5. Take stock of your stock taking practices: keeping on top of your inventory management

You can’t make any money if you don’t have anything to sell. A wise man once said that in a blog post about must-have POS features, and I’m inclined to agree.

We’ve all got our inventory management systems, and they all work to some extent. But there’s always some mistakes, and there’s always room for improvement.

Maybe you’re a student of the old school, and you’ve got your trusty clipboard? Or you could be more modern, and you’ve got an app to help you manage your stock? These methods do work, but they still rely on one key process which is fundamentally prone to error: the human eye.

You finish your shift, clean up, and then grab your chosen inventory management weapon. And then you look at what you’ve got left, what you’re running low on, and you enter your data.

It takes time, and you’re more than likely a little tired after your shift.

Make your inventory management integrations work overtime

POS system inventory managementHow about integrating your inventory management into your POS system?

With each menu item, you can enter a recipe which not only lists which ingredients you use, but how much of each, and even how much they cost.

And with every item sold, your POS system can deduct the ingredients from your inventory, and even set up an order for more once you’re running low. You can enter the details of all of your suppliers, and what you order from them, making your POS system a one-stop-shop for all things inventory.

Plus, it does all of this as the shift goes on, saving you time at the end of the day.

It’ll even track your wastage, which leads seamlessly into my next point.

6. Track the food that’s not going into people’s mouths

With Lightspeed Delivery, the ability to track your wastage becomes automated too.

Gone are the days when tracking wastage involved a heavy dose of guesswork ranging from weighing up ingredients that go into a final dish, all the way down to the less-scientific ‘feeling the weight of a bin bag after you’ve done all of your prep’ method that I’m embarrassed to admit, I have employed from time to time over the years.

With the wastage add-on, you can record what was wasted, who wasted it, and why.

Maybe it was sent back by a customer (oh joy), or you’re cool (like me) and you fed your team on their shift? Or perhaps it was just expired and you can’t get away with labelling it ‘fermented’ and increasing the price by a dollar or two? You can track every last scrap.

And track it you must, with the diligence of a bloodhound! Only then can you begin to paint a picture of where your wastage is coming from, and the necessary steps you need to take to reduce it, saving you money in the long run.

7. How to make bookkeeping a bit more bearable

I always had a classic love/hate relationship with my bookkeepers. I’d hate to do my bookkeeping, so I loved them for doing it for me. But it still required a lot of taking photos of receipts, and justifying every payment (both incoming and outgoing) on my bank feeds.

Sometimes (really quite a lot of the time, actually), I’d get tired, or bored, or frustrated, or all three, and I’d only do half of the work which always resulted in me paying more tax than I had to. Have you ever been taxed for being lazy? Well, I have.

There was just too much work to go through, and it was all so dry, so boring, yet unrelenting. Constant emailing between myself and my bookkeepers about payments that I deemed trivial ground me down. It took more effort than it should have to correlate all of my bookkeeping data from it’s various locations.

I have never undertaken anything so mentally exhausting than bookkeeping. They should have it as an endurance event at the olympics.

Goodbye lazy tax

Now, automatically syncing bookkeeping information between your accounting software (such as Lightspeed Delivery and Lightspeed Delivery), your POS system, and even your eCommerce platform is easy, and it will make your life that much easier too.

All of your incomings and outgoings are automatically sent to your accounting software. No more dodgy photos of receipts, or payments being reconciled as ‘personal’ to save time. Just 100% accurate information that makes your bookkeeping stress-free and easy.

It’ll even generate reports so you can track your revenue.

Which reminds me.

8. Real-time reporting: a solution to the age-old problem of trade trends?

There’s two scenarios.

The first one, you’re packed. The customers are flooding in and it feels like your decision to not put an extra pair of hands on for the lunch time rush is coming back to haunt you. Sure, there’s money coming in, but your overworked staff can’t give every customer the attention they deserve, and that could be bad for business in the long run.

The second one, you’re quiet. There’s not a soul on the streets, and every single surface of your venue has been wiped to within an inch of existence. You’re looking at your staff, and all you see is money getting flushed down the toilet. However, the one customer who is there is getting waited on at a level usually reserved for A-list celebrities, or warlords.

Both scenarios happen within days of each other, and you can’t wrap your head around it.

With Lightspeed Delivery, you can access customisable reports on how your business is performing. From a simple daily revenue report, to more in-depth insights into your trading trends, staff performance, and consumer behaviour reports, you can keep track of everything from the palm of your hand.

No more under or over staffing. No more guessing how much you’ve taken that day (although on those understaffed shifts, it is a fun game to play). Just accurate data helping you make informed decisions, rather than instinctive ones.

Welcome, machine overlords

Embracing technology doesn’t have to be a daunting, or worrisome undertaking. It can be amongst the most effective ways to get the most out of your business, whilst also easing the weight of your own workload.

QR codes seem like they’re here to stay, and their role in the way we order food, and drinks is going to be significant.

And when it comes to running your back of house, embracing integration will certainly save you a lot of time and money come ordering time. Go the whole nine yards, and you’ll even see an improvement in how much wastage you produce.

And the back office also benefits from the ability to monitor your accounting live and on the go. Integrating with your bookkeeping platforms will also see less mistakes, and less stress come tax time.

They say that tech is taking over the world, and I for one, will be at the front of the queue, ready to welcome our machine overlords with open arms.

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