Every once in a while, I have to put out a not very exciting post. This is one of those.
The importance of a good POS system (point of sale for those keeping score at home), cannot be understated. Being able to track and control your product and labor is worth its weight in gold.
My friend from Micros–now part of Oracle–speaks regularly to my students on this subject. When I meet with consulting clients, I visit this topic often. Sure, there is some value in just using hand-written checks versus the POS system–if you have things you want to hide from Uncle Sam, that is–but there just is no replacement for the kind of information you can get out of a good system.
Often, in lectures to my students, I talk about the no check/no food policy. Hard to manage if you are using the hand-written check.
If a server comes up to the kitchen and asks for a cup of soup, or anything else for that matter, it is easy to train your line cooks not to hand it over unless it appears on a check. Same goes for the server who runs up to the bartender asking for a beer, or a glass of wine. Easy to train your employees the ‘no check/no product’ policy. Not so if you are using the hand-written method.
Dinerware? Squirrel? Micros?
Doesn’t really matter which system you use, as long as you use one. They all have various management functions, making it easy to track food cost, beverage cost, and labor cost. My little Micros friend (he told me not to call it Micros anymore), tells me of new alert systems that go off anytime the labor cost percentage is getting too high (labor cost compared to sales).
So, managers and owners of restaurants can actually be playing golf and get alerts and updates on their iphones. I don’t really recommend this, however. Hard to earn the respect of your employees if you are playing golf, and every once in a while you call down to the restaurant and yell at employees who are not living up to your expectations.
The whole point of it is to find a POS system that is intuitive, easy for you employees to use, easy for you to set up, and valuable in terms of information it gives you.
It can be the difference between success and failure.