In retail, there is a lot of talk about ‘point of sale’ evolving into ‘point of service’. What this means is that instead of viewing checkout purely in terms of processing purchases, businesses are now thinking of the added-value services they can offer to stimulate even more sales.
Much of this trend is being driven by advances in POS technology.
As the hospitality industry has arguably always been more service focused than retail, these developments should be of great interest to the operators of restaurants, bars, pubs, hotels and so on. Any new technology that can improve the customer experience in a shop is bound to offer the same benefits, and perhaps even more, in hospitality.
A lot of focus is placed on modern specialised EPOS software systems and how they can help to integrate operations across an entire business. But to make use of sophisticated software solutions, you need the right equipment to run it on.
Hardware has a key role to play in boosting service in the hospitality industry. Here are three emerging trends in hospitality EPOS hardware that do just that.
Mobile EPOS (M-POS)
Table service has traditionally depended on waiting staff writing down an order by hand, inputting it into a till and passing the order to the kitchen or bar staff. When it then comes to payment, a receipt has to be printed, cash gathered and taken to a till, or a card machine fetched and taken to the table.
That’s a lot of journeys back and forth.
What if everything could be done on a single device, at the table, there and then – orders taken, input into the EPOS system, forwarded to the kitchen and processed for payment? Making full use of wireless broadband, this is what Mobile EPOS, or M-POS, solutions like the AURES SWING and iRuggy offer.
The iRuggy is a tough, robust touchscreen tablet built specifically for POS use with integrated scanners and card readers so you can do everything you need at the table. The SWING, meanwhile, is an award-winning multi-use concept, equally effective when it is clipped to its mount to be used as a fixed POS or digital display, or when it is detached and used as a mobile unit.
Either way, the benefit to a bar or restaurant operator is the flexibility to use your EPOS equipment exactly how you want.
Kiosks are self-service points. Fast food chains such as McDonalds have been early adopters of kiosks in the hospitality industry, using them to process orders and payments to separate those processes from collection and therefore reduce queues.
But there are many more possible uses for kiosks across the hospitality industry. In restaurants, for example, kiosks could replace the maitre d’hotel or dining room manager when they check availability and making reservations when guests arrive, allowing diners instead to choose tables and dining times themselves.
Some restaurants are already moving towards replacing menus with either M-POS tablets or fixed kiosks at tables which customers can use to place an order directly. Kiosks could play a similar role in hotel rooms, allowing guests to order room service or else offering a ‘smart concierge’ facility.
Modern hospitality EPOS software makes it quick and simple for any business to set up a loyalty scheme – you can usually add benefits such as a free drink for every £20 spent, or a free coffee for every five bought, just by ticking a box.
There are two other prerequisites to run the scheme – some kind of token system which the customer keeps possession of, usually a card or an app, and a physical means of linking that token to your EPOS system when redeeming benefits.
Traditionally, scanners have not been a necessary part of the hospitality EPOS arsenal because there has not been a need to scan barcodes or similar when making sales. However, with loyalty schemes growing in popularity amongst businesses of all sizes as a way to incentivise repeat business, an RFID or NFC scanner becomes an essential tool for administering the scheme and updating records.
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