How efficient is your restaurant? No matter what kind of atmosphere you deliver to your customers, there is one thing that should be consistent and straightforward: managing your money.

It all starts at the Point of Sales (POS) system. Whether you’re using a few terminals that connect to a third-party service or designing an in-house system with your own server, you need to make sure that your team has no problem with checking out your customers and updating the business inventory.

Here are a few things to consider when looking into a new POS terminal or full POS system, along with reasons to move into the data age if you’re still using an old world cash register.

Faster, More Efficient Checkout

How long do your customers have to wait when they pay for an item? Do they need to sit through watching your cashiers enter numbers one by one, look up tags for specific items, or figure out the cost after a specific sale?

There’s no reason to do all of that work by hand. It’s understandable that some people want to do things the “hard way” for the sake of charm or some sort of misunderstanding of work ethic means, but you have to look at the big picture: faster payment means faster growth.

The simple benefit of a POS system over older pay systems is being to scan barcodes, QR codes, and other automated labels. These labels will be connected to a database, which has your prices and even inventory control programmed in.

What does all of that mean? It means that when you scan a code, the following information can be picked up:

  • The price, which you can edit once and change for all products under that code.
  • The amount left in inventory, as opposed to marking things off or writing down how often something sells.
  • The time of purchase, to help you track down sales trends.

The last part may not seem like much too small shops that just want to sell a product and be done with it, but the later sections will show how businesses—especially restaurants—can make better decisions simply by having a robust POS system managing checkout and inventory.

Understanding Big Data And Decision-Making

Let’s take a look at inventory control, and what that means for the modern business.

More business leaders are taking control of their sales, productivity, inventory, and maintenance needs by understanding the data better. Most successful business leaders use data to get more information on what’s going on and push those details directly into their business decisions.

The worst-case scenario of trusting computers just doesn’t happen with successful businesses in the real world. Sure, there’s always a new piece of software or sales pitch that claims to “do it all” for you by making a final answer for how to sell certain products or change your business.

That’s not what big data means. It’s not what big data does, and you can just turn that feature off.

Instead, you’re able to pour over a lot of small details, work with groups of bigger data, or work on your own way of automating your decisions. Big data is simply a pool of information that can get to deeper, more specific levels and available for innovative and discerning minds to use as needed.

It’s becoming easier to have a mountain of data available without suffering under an avalanche of information. A good POS system can help you access that data and grab more or less information based on what you want and need.

To visualize how that works, let’s get into how businesses analyze data and make decisions based on that data.

Detailed Reporting For Better Analysis

Let’s say that a restaurant has a few dishes on their menu. To keep it simple, here are a few basic dishes to work with:

  • Spicy or mild pork curry with vegetables.
  • Hamburgers with multiple topping options.

Aside from being all over the place in terms of style, these basic restaurant options can be set as meals and tracked by your POS system.

So what happens when people order and pay for these meals as an efficient restaurant? When an order is made, the dish rings up in the sales part of the POS terminal.

This alone allows restaurant leaders to track how many times a dish is bought to figure out the popularity. You can also figure out which days have the best sales for that dish, and even go as detailed as the time of day. It’s up to you as far as effort goes; you can dig deeper, or stay at the surface level if you truly don’t care.

When the order rings up, the ingredients are also tallied in the background. Cashiers and servers don’t need to know about the inventory, and the kitchen staff may already see what’s going on.

What matters here is that business leaders are able to see which specific ingredients are being used, along with the changing cost of ingredients. An experienced restaurant leader or purchasing agent will know the pain of changing prices, as well as the differences in ingredients.

You can track which ingredients are being used for which dishes, how often these ingredients are being demanded per dish and for the entire menu, the cost of purchasing the ingredients, and what you’re actually making back in sales across any period of time recorded.

Efficient restaurants can even put in notes about specific ingredient flavor profiles, performance in the kitchen in terms of sizzling upright or being too soggy, details about the vendor, and even details about the delivery team.

What if you’re selling a lot of hamburgers, but some of your toppings options rarely get used? Instead of relying on the disappointment of molded, soggy, spoiled ingredients and having to guess about how much is being used, you can track real data to see how much is usually needed and adjust your supply runs accordingly.

Just the same, if you notice that you’re using a lot of the same vegetables for both the hamburgers and the spicy curry vegetables, you can order more of those specific vegetables based on the demand instead of just buying double.

You can get pretty deep, stick to the surface level, or work anywhere in-between based on your own need or curiosity with the right setup. Contact a Point of Sale professional to discuss available sales systems and ways to use your business data better.

David Brown is an ex-line cook who’s turned to tech back in 1999 – He loves helping companies find smarter, brighter ways to inject tech into everyday problems in the kitchen.