Maximizing the data in your restaurant point-of-sale system

The point-of-sale system in a restaurant one of most-underutilized tools

The point-of-sale system is one of the most underutilized tools a restaurant has at its disposal. It’s unfortunate, but true, because depending on the type of system, a restaurant could use it for customer management, weekly marketing, loyalty and more importantly, building a more profitable business. Having the discipline to pull weekly reports is not difficult, but in a fast-paced environment where there may be a lot of management turnover, it’s hard to prioritize time for pulling point-of-sale (POS) reports, reviewing them and teaching this process to others.

Much the information out there and readily available from many sources will confirm that POS reports can be a great tool for helping create the successful and profitable restaurant that many owners envision. One of the most useful reports, aside from the daily and weekly sales recap reports, is the menu item sales report. It’s also known as the menu mix, product mix and product sales report, along with other names.

This is the report that tells a restaurant owner what is selling and not by identifying the quantity, average price and extended price of the menu items sold in a given restaurant. A full-service restaurant, especially those that have bar sales and has at least two dayparts (e.g. lunch and dinner) worth of business, should use this report as a main tool to continually refine and update the menu, making important business


“Are the dishes that are looking good to you the real (winning) ones?” says Tony Ventre, VP of Restaurant POS at Beyond, Inc. “Listen to your customers.” A sales report by menu item is a good place to start when reviewing ways to extract more sales and profit from your business. By identifying top sellers, restaurateurs may also be able to target weak sellers that may be low in food cost and simply need some marketing efforts behind them.

Top selling-items, conversely, could be targeted for a food cost validation or re-engineering—focusing on how to deliver these same winning items for less cost. Such a process, for example, could take the form of a discussion related to your winners for better pricing with suppliers. “Every day, easily identify the items that are directly contributing to restaurant sales—and consider dropping those that aren’t,” notes a report from Toast POS.

Labor reporting

Touch Bistro’s Snapshot Report summarizes ales and labor costs in real time. A manager would be able to review labor to sales ratios and decide to send a staff member home if sales aren’t that they were originally projected,or if the ratios are at a predetermined threshold. A strong measure of productivity for a restaurant is sales per labor hour. The higher the number, the more a restaurant is leveraging its (wo)man hours to produce sales. By using such a productivity report, restaurant owners and managers can make the most of the staff that is working on a particular day, night or week. Inversely, a report may show a labor percent (%) or labor cost per sales number, meaning it is a ratio of cost of labor to sales. “(You may want to ask) why is that ratio so high, when we weren’t doing any sales,” says Ventre.

“We were we preparing for a busy night and there weren’t the reservations (we anticipated).” This type of figure is indicative of how your labor expense is trending, and as Toast Bistro has noted in its content programs, food and labor are definitely the highest costs in a restaurant and most worthy of management scrutiny.


CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Many companies use CRM apps, software and services to track customers and the frequency of their visits. For a large Fortune 500 company, the CRM is indispensable for sales teams to understand who the biggest prospects are, the value of what a particular prospect’s business
might represent and how many times a prospect or existing customers have been contacted to inform them about new products and services (which may lead to additional sales.) Many POS systems have the ability to be activated for CRM, depending on the capabilities and how they interact with card processing systems, cloud services and third-party loyalty and online ordering systems. The reports that can be extracted to discover insights on particular customer visits, preferences and dollar amount of business is a treasure trove for restaurants to build their businesses intelligently, targeting one customer at time.

In our ongoing Restaurant Tech Discovery series, both in this magazine and on Eatery Pulse TV, we expect to cover more topics related to CRM and loyalty marketing systems. Stay tuned for additional insights and analysis in our holiday issue, coming out in October.

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