By Theresa Navarra, Upserve

    A decade or two ago, to become a restaurant owner, when you thought about managing payments, things might have felt a bit simpler. Perhaps back then all you needed was a cash register to accept payment for your famous burgers or fish tacos.

    These days, most of your guests don’t carry cash… and your servers might not even know how to balance a cash drawer at the end of the night, forget about using it during a busy Friday night shift.

    But you can’t really blame them. It’s estimated that by 2023, the mobile POS market will be valued at $48.77 billion. There is no doubt about it, restaurant point of sale systems of the future will be replaced by iPads (or some other type of handheld device) that’s for sure. But many restaurateurs are still unsure about this shift in technology.

    “Should my servers really be walking around with iPads in their pockets?”

    To answer that question, you really only need to look at the features and benefits that thousands and restaurateurs are seeing with iPad restaurant POS adaption.  

    Here are 17 features an iPad restaurant POS can offer you.

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    Whether it’s your staff, your guests, or smoother operations all around, your restaurant POS is a pretty big deal. The POS is the central nervous system of the restaurant. It captures your orders, routes them to the right places, secures payments and even...  click to read more

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    sterling payment loyaltycard  Most restaurant merchants do not need to be told what a customer loyalty program is. They seem to be everywhere from customer punch cards to the buy-5-get-1-free deals at coffee and yogurt shops. What merchants truly need to know is how valuable implementing a loyalty program is and the different ways in which they can go about starting one. According to the Access Customer Loyalty Statistics, 53% of Americans participate in a loyalty program because of ease of use. This means that merchants have a great chance at getting at least 50 percent of their customer base to sign up for a loyalty program. 

    Customer loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customers to return to a business and potentially attract new business. This not only increases customer loyalty but it increases sales. Beyond increased customer loyalty and increased sales, loyalty programs can provide incredibly valuable data to merchants. Every time a customer engages with a loyalty program or makes a purchase, that data can be tracked through a POS system, which helps to pair demographics with shopping habits. This pairing deepens the insight into what attracts customers to a restaurant or food establishment. 

    Loyalty programs reward customers for spending money instead of going to competitors and come in a number of forms. The basic structure of loyalty programs can be tailored to meet a merchants’ needs. Here are three different types of loyalty programs commonly implemented:
    1. Point System 

    Point systems are a great way to reward customers with a point for every dollar they spend at your business. A merchant has the option of rewarding points for every dollar or for every five dollars, and so on and so forth. American Express utilizes a similar system to provide value to their cardholders. Their points can be used for direct purchases or be transferred for a slew of other rewards programs. Point systems also offer zero barriers as they are completely free of charge to implement. There are no commitments for a customer beyond spending their own money to earn points and they are easy to track. 

    2. Item/ Category Programs 

    Item-based programs are great for a merchant who is looking to promote a particular item, such as a best-seller or an item that is over-stocked. Merchants can offer future discounts or bonus points for purchasing specific items. Take a coffee shop for example – a merchant can offer reward points based on purchasing specific items off of the menu, such as an Americana earning one point or a latte earning two points. Item programs are a great way to push customers towards certain items and increase popularity for them. 

    3. Buy X-Amount, Get X-Amount Free 

    Most people probably have at least one paper punch card in their wallet or purse at the moment. Most coffee shops, pizza places, yogurt shops, and sandwich spots offer punch cards and encourage consumers to bring them every time a purchase is made. Punch cards are extremely popular with small businesses because they are incredibly low cost and motivate repeat customer visits. While they can be easily faked or staff members can give extra punches to friends and family, they still do bring in repeat business. Merchants can also combat the paper punch cards by creating digital punch cards through certain payment processors. With digital punch cards, customers utilize an app on their smartphone to track and redeem those specific rewards. 

    Marketing the Loyalty Program 

    At the end of the day, a loyalty program is only truly successful when every single piece of the puzzle comes together. A large piece of that puzzle is smart marketing. The first and easiest step towards properly marketing a loyalty program is informing all employees. Employees are at the front end of a business and they are the cheapest and most reliable way to explain the benefits of a loyalty program. The better trained they are, the more customers will sign up to earn rewards. 

    Another easy marketing tool is setting up a referral system in conjunction with a loyalty program. This encourages customers to spread the word to their friends, family, and social channels. It is also relatively cheap to pay for advertisement through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. These increase visibility and help foster social media engagement. Displaying signs through the store will help inform customers to ask questions about loyalty programs or encourage them further to sign up. 

    The bottom line --- by implementing a reward program, merchants can drive customer loyalty and further increase the value for their customers. Returning customers are easier and cheaper to market to than new customers. 

    sterling paymentsAbout the Author:
    Nicole Bryan is the digital content writer for Sterling Payment Technologies, a payment processing company based in Tampa, Florida. Sterling is a payment processor that offers solutions that help grow their customers’ businesses more profitably and efficiently.


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    2D imaging scanners

    2D imaging scanners are the newest form of barcode readers, and they work by essentially taking a picture of the bar code, and then decoding it. Not onlyintermec 2d barcode scanner are 2D imaging scanners faster and more accurate than laser scanners, but they offer greater functionality. 2D imaging scanners can read linear--or 1D—bar codes, but can also read 2D bar codes, take digital pictures, shoot video, capture signatures, and scan data. They can read bar codes from any angle, work in bright sunlight, and are better at translating damaged or poor quality bar codes. Recently, 2D imaging scanners have risen to match and exceed the popularity of laser scanners. A big reason for this is that the cost of 2D  scanners have come down, enabling the spread of 2D bar codes in various industries (postal services, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, etc.). (Image left - Intermec 2D barcode scanner)  

    The latest consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets are capable of reading and displaying 2D bar codes. These 2D bar codes, also known as QR codes, have grown in popularity as a marketing tool. Trends for using 2D bar codes for marketing include digital coupons, gift cards, loyalty cards, games and contests. For these marketing tools to work, a retailer must have the ability to scan bar codes from a customer’s smartphone, which means they will need a 2D imaging scanner.

    The rise of popularity of 2D imaging scanners has served to make this technology more readily available and affordable than ever before.

    Click here to read the full article

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       Depending on how long you’ve been in business, your point of sale system may be in need of an upgrade. Like the counters, tables, chairs and kitchen hardware, your POS system needs a little TLC to help keep things running smoothly. After all, every transaction in and out of your restaurant runs through your point of sale, and it gets almost as much use as a cooktop or oven in the restaurant business.

    Additionally, with the rapid advancement of mobile technology and wireless internet, your available options for cashing out and tracking customer orders has never been more robust.

    The question for restaurateurs who wonder if it’s time for some POS changes is this: how do you know what to get when you finally upgrade that POS system? In order to simplify your upgrade process, include these five features in your new POS system.

    1. Mobile POS Solutions

    The proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices with touch screen interfaces has led to the mass manufacture of high quality, inexpensive POS systems that can be taken on the go. Some point of sale systems in mobile food service locations, like food trucks, can even be run from a tablet or smartphone with wireless internet access via mobile phone networks or WiFi.

    No longer do staff and servers have to remain by a counter or cash register during dinner rush, tying up valuable labor resources. All transactions can be conducted tableside, and the customer can even sign for their bill right away without the server having to take and return their credit card. This not only provides customers with superior service and convenience, but added peace of mind that their card will not be skimmed or scanned once out of sight.

    2. RFID/NFC Payment Capabilities

    Apple Pay and Android Pay are changing the way everyone pays for goods and services on the go. Forgot your wallet and need to pay for your order? Grab your phone, use the biometric lock or enter a secure PIN code and tap to pay. It’s that simple — and takes mere seconds to accomplish.

    When you upgrade your POS system to support these RFID/NFC communication methods, you add a cutting-edge convenience that will become even more prevalent in the next decade than credit cards were in the 90s and early 2000s. Unlike a credit card strip or number, though, the RFID/NFC signal is entirely encrypted so that it is only visible to the receiving device and the sending device, making it next to impossible to steal credit card information or use your RFID/NFC payment methods without your biometric information or PIN.

    Best of all, when paired with a mobile POS solution that utilizes iPads or runs on Android OS tablets and devices, RFID/NFC payment options are often already built-in. It’s still a smart idea to verify that you can take payments using these newer secure payment technologies; however, if you are already considering going to a mobile, NFC/RFID makes the decision to upgrade even more beneficial.

    3. Barcode/RFID or Biometric Login for Employees

    Providing your employees with a secure way to log in to the POS or to punch their digital time card for hours and tips not only benefits you in terms of tracking hours and keeping everyone running on schedule, but it also makes sure that you are able to closely monitor every transaction your servers and staff process on the POS individually. If a transaction was misprocessed, you can address the problem with the appropriate individual at that time without involving the entire staff.

    New POS systems allow managers to assign RFID keyfobs or login cards to employees to use for instant login without a server code or password. Additionally, newer mobile devices, such as the iPad Air and many Android tablets, have a built-in biometric sensor that can accurately store and read fingerprints for security purposes.

    One the software is configured, your employees just need to press the designated finger to the sensor to clock in for the day, log on to the POS system or enter an order for their table or customer. No more delayed logins or forgotten passwords — just a swipe or a tap, and everything is ready to go.

    4. Customer Database Options

    Upgrading your POS to store customer information (with consent) allows you to track that customer’s ordering preferences, securely remember favorite delivery or take-out orders and recall credit card information when making a repeat order, all of which make the dine-in or order-out experience faster and more convenient.

    5. Online Ordering/Mobile App Integration

    Given the shift to online and mobile application technology integration in the foodservice industry, it’s especially important to integrate most new POS systems with an online ordering app or mobile-friendly website that takes orders via the internet. This removes the possibility of human error when entering online orders in the POS system, and makes turnaround times faster for customers picking up or having their meals delivered.

    In the end, you are going to need to upgrade your POS system in order to remain competitive with newer and more agile competitors in the restaurant business. Implement these five key features in your upgrade and you’ll maintain your competitive edge for years to come.



    About the Author:

    Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder at Orders2Me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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