New Research: Improving Patron Experiences With iPad POS

Our friend Justin Guinn, market researcher at Software Advice, a company that offers insights on restaurant POS systems, has completed a new study on iPad POS systems. Below you will find a Q&A session with Justin, as well as a link to the study.

Q&A with Justin Guinn:

We know that iPad POS gives a server more mobility. What kind of result can that have on a restaurant’s operations?
“The mobility enabled by iPad POS systems awards restaurants many operational benefits. The ordering process is streamlined with mobile POS systems, since servers can input items into the system as customers order. Once a table is done ordering, the server just taps a button and the order is sent to the kitchen and/or bar. Not only does this expedite the ordering process, but these POS systems also prompted servers to upsell certain items as they enter them in. Thus, the system can also drive extra revenue through these upsells.”

Your report dives into the ways an iPad POS system improves the customer experience. How does it do this?
“Much the same as the operational benefits afforded by these systems, iPad POS systems can also offer impactful improvements to the customer experience. Since they cut down on the time that the server is spending going back-and-forth between the kitchen, it allows them to spend more time in their section, building a better relationship with their customers. When the operations are smooth and the server is happy, this all comes together for a nice dining experience. Plus, for some systems that enable self-ordering at the table on the iPad, the customer often feels more ‘in control,’ that what they’re ordering feels personalized since they can browse the menu by clicking on pictures and submit the order themselves.”

In your opinion, what’s the customer perception like today of a restaurant that uses a tablet-based POS versus those who are still using manual methods like paper tickets?
“iPads are a very consumer-friendly technology. For that reason alone, I think consumers welcome restaurants’ use of these systems. Just think of how often people are interacting with smart phones or tablets in their daily lives outside the restaurant. On top of that, as these systems become more and more common, customers will begin to expect them in restaurants. Therefore, not having iPad-capable POS system down the road could even be seen as a negative by customers moving forward.”

Do you think the prevalence of iPad-based POS systems will only increase in the years to come?
“The prevalence of iPad POS systems will definitely continue to increase in the coming years. They just simply make so much sense for restaurants that a shift or trend back to stationary, mounted terminals seems an unlikely choice when given the two options. Furthermore, as the adoption of mobile payments continues to rise, consumers will expect servers to have efficient ways of processing these mobile payments. The mobility of iPad POS systems allows customers to easily use mobile payment options. It’s for these reasons and more that we’re finding the restaurant owners, who we advise every day, are leaning toward iPad-based systems.”

Click here to read the full Software Advice study.

A Revolution in Payment Processing

A revolution is underway in the world of payment processing.  Card brands are requiring consumers to use a new kind of “EMV” credit card that has an embedded smart chip.  And Apple has released a  “digital wallet” (ApplePay) that’s created sufficient consumer demand that businesses, including restaurants, are feeling the need to start accepting mobile payments.

Unfortunately, to accept these new payment technologies, restaurants must invest in new equipment such as EMV readers (for smart cards) and NFC readers (for ApplePay).  And this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Additional payment processing innovations may require other new equipment.  End to End Encryption (a technology that enhances PCI Compliance) requires E2E readers while some digital wallets work with QR Code readers instead of the NFC readers required for ApplePay.

So how can restaurants make smart  decisions on their investments in payment processing technology?  

The first step is to invest in payment processing software that is guaranteed to work with any and all of the equipment options available today, as well as those that might be available in the future.  And this is where the concept of “Cloud Computing” or “Software as a Service (SaaS)” can reap significant rewards for retails and hospitality businesses. A payment processing Gateway Application that resides in the cloud and is regularly updated to work with a wide variety of payment processing equipment offers “Future-proofing” on all the new payment technologies currently available on the market, as well as on those that might still be coming down the pike.

The second step is to consult with a restaurant technology expert who is familiar with the many changes now taking place in the world of payment processing.  Data Control Systems (DCS), of Raleigh, NC, for instance, has been migrating all of their restaurant clients over to the NETePay Gateway application while advising their customers to hold off on major investments in payment processing equipment.

With the EMV Liability Shift scheduled for October 2015, those EMV smart cards are looming large on the horizon,” explains Data Control Systems Owner, Victor Gurganus.

DCS advises clients to signup now for the NETePay Gateway service but has them holding off on purchasing new EMV readers for now.  “There are some promising new EMV readers that won’t be brought to market until this summer,“ says Gurganus.  

“As long as our restaurant clients are using the NETePay Gateway service, DCS can act quickly to install the EMV readers they’ll need to comply with the Liability Shift without actually pushing them now into an equipment investment they may regret a few months later.”

Brady Nash of BNG Technologies agrees. “In the face of new (and sometimes unproven) payment technologies, a gateway service that offers ‘Future Proofing’ is key,” he says. “Our restaurant clients are signing up for the NETePay Gateway service in droves and are ready to quickly deploy any new equipment that might be required in the near future. But we’re advising that they hold off on actually installing new equipment for the time being.”


If you are looking for more information on “Future-proofed” payment processing please call (800) 356-6037.

Redundancy

Operational availability of the POS system is crucial to every restaurant. A “down” POS results in angry customers, leading to a loss of customers, and finally, a decrease in profit. So why not fault proof your POS?

What is redundancy?

Having a redundant system makes sure that you can resume POS operations quickly in the event of a hardware or software failure on the primary server. Redundancy is a program that mirrors the data saved on the main server, and saves it on a backup server. The identical data is then used to take over and continue operation until the primary server is fixed.

Why is redundancy important?

A redundant system maintains daily operations. The cost to achieve data redundancy will be minimal compared to the price you might pay in lost sales should your main POS database become inoperable, due to network or other failure.

Think about this scenario: A new customer walks in and places an order at your restaurant. Suddenly, your POS server, the main computer that controls all of the POS operations,  fails. How?  Power supply burns out, lightning strike, cooling fan failure -these are just a few of the things that can cause a potential POS disaster. Without a redundant system, it could take hours to get your server back online, resulting in a customer that walks out, and potentially does not return.

Of course, you could have your waiters manually take orders, but with that solution you risk incorrect order total calculations, missed items, incorrect taxes, long delays, and lost revenue from not turning tables and seating new customers.

With Restaurant Manager’s RmFailSafe all of the POS data is mirrored in real-time to a backup server, back-office pc, or even a POS station. When a disruptive failure occurs the backup server can take over in less than 2 minutes with minimal interaction from restaurant management, creating a fully redundant fault-tolerant solution that ensures the highest level of confidence and operational up-time at your restaurant.

Protecting your restaurant is important, and a redundant system can help eliminate the headaches of a sudden technology crash.

The Millennial Generation

The Millennial Generation is now the largest population group in the United States, comprised of  over 80 million people ages 18 to 34. To put that into perspective, Millennials have already spent $247 billion on dining out, and will quickly surpass the total by the Baby Boomer Generation. Looking at these numbers, the Millennial Generation is now THE generation that restaurants need to cater to.

So how do you position your restaurant to be successful in attracting this generation? Technology, dining trends, and community involvement.

Modern technology is essential to reaching Millennials. Always plugged in, Millennials want to feel connected to their peers and the businesses they frequent, through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This means that having a good social media presence is a must, but it doesn’t end there.

Roughly one-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant. These options include loyalty, online ordering, digital menus, and tableside ordering/payment. Incorporating any of these items can be the deciding factor that makes a Millennial select your restaurant for a meal.

There are many ways to cater to Millennial dining trends. When it comes to their food, Millennials love choice, health, and adventure, but at an affordable price. The stats below show the breakdown of Millennial dining trends:

  • 55% of Millennials like communal dining
  • 40% order something different every time they eat out (options are necessary)
  • 30% seek organic food (compared to 21% of Gen X and 15% of Boomers)
  • 80% want to know where their food is coming from
  • 72% are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy menu items

Lastly, community involvement is very important to the Millennial Generation. They want to know how your restaurant is helping to make the community a better place- beyond recycling (that is an expectation nowadays). Does your restaurant support local farms? Do you purchase from local businesses? Do you work with local charities? The bottom line is, Millennials expect more from businesses.

Adding these elements to your business can help better position your restaurant with the Millennial Generation, and in return, provide great ROI!

The Future of Payments

Traditionally, restaurants have had three ways to accept payments: cash, credit card, and debit card. Changes are coming to the payment industry through the creation of mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, NFC, 1D and 2D barcodes; not to mention the new integrated circuit cards  (IC cards or “chip cards”) for use with EMV.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of IC cards and IC card capable POS terminals & ATMs for authenticating credit and debit card transactions.

Chip cards are quickly becoming the new form of credit card, already in use throughout Europe, Canada, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Issuers are shifting from magnetic swipe cards to chip cards to increase security and reduce fraud resulting from counterfeit and lost & stolen cards, thus lowering the annual $5 billion loss in credit card fraud.  The supposed increased protection from fraud has allowed banks and credit card issuers to push through a ‘liability shift’ such that merchants will now be liable for any fraud that results from transactions on systems that are not EMV capable.

The credit card issuing giants (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover) have given October 15, 2015 as the deadline for U.S. businesses to switch to EMV compliant POS terminals, or else be liable for the losses via fraud.  Additionally, no-cost mini-card readers like Square will need to be replaced (for a fee), to read the new EMV encrypted cards. Restaurants need to be prepared to accept these new credit cards.

Meanwhile, the recent hype about other new ways to pay through a smartphone such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet has introduced Near Field Communications (NFC), in other words, contactless communication between devices like smartphones and tablets.  The payment application residing on the mobile device is in many cases an enhanced version of a market-proven payment application residing on millions of EMV cards today. Although still gaining traction, more consumers are adopting these NFC technologies.

Changes to the payment world are fast approaching.  Restaurants who take a wait and see attitude will fall behind. But more at risk is potential loss merchants face if/when any fraudulent transaction comes to their establishment and they are unable or unwilling to process EMV transactions correctly.

The best way for restaurants to be ready for all the upcoming changes is to  “Future Proof” their payment processing and ensure they are ready to accept these new payments as well as be prepared for any new compliance mandates and technologies that enter the marketplace.  Restaurants should work with their local POS Dealer to discuss having the right software in place like Restaurant Manager’s NETePay Gateway. Also, you local dealer are now offering these services with  “Enhanced Service Plans”, which ensure that restaurants are ready for  whatever any type of payment consumers what to utilize.

Broders’ capitalizes on Compeat Advantage Interfaced with Restaurant Manager POS

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Since 2012, Broders’ Cucina Italiana has been utilizing Compeat Advantage for their back office and accounting in their restaurant, deli, and catering operation along with Restaurant Manager for their POS System.  According to the owners, “Communication is reliable between Compeat and Restaurant Manager POS.  We have never had a glitch.”  Read more about their experience here.

RM Monitor Helps Watch Over Killarney’s

Killarney‘s Publick House in Hamilton, NJ provides a perfect spot to watch a game and enjoy a pint while dining on traditional Irish fare. That kind of atmosphere keeps the crowd coming in, the staff hopping and the management focused on ensuring smooth operations. For owner Jack Manousos, this task has been made a great deal easier thanks to Restaurant Manager‘s RM Monitor.

RM Monitor is a powerful service that allows owners and managers to gain real-time visibility into key operational and management data from any smart phone. Through access to information such as sales data, labor and cost ratios, and employee hours worked, as well as the ability to receive key alerts on items like overtime hours worked, voids and deletions, management can stay on top of costly issues at any time, from anywhere.

“It‘s the most used app on my iPhone,” said Jack. “No matter where I am simply pulling out my iPhone and launching RM Monitor gives me instant access to the information that lets me know exactly what‘s going on back at the restaurant while reducing my calls to the manager on duty.”

Click here to read the full case study.