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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       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.

    RafiCohen

     

    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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    lavu

    A team from Lavu POS traveled to London for the second annual Restaurant Tech Live (RTL) event. Housed in ExCeL London, with more than 500 exhibitors and over 3,000 attendees, RTL is the largest show of its kind in Europe. Offering free entry for attendees, RTL affords restaurants and bars the opportunity to learn about the latest trends in food service technology.

    Lavu President, Ohad Jehassi spoke of the excitement of being in London and learning about the distinct differences in food service technology between continents. “In some areas, such as payment types, European restaurants are far ahead of their American counterparts, and it was exciting to see that technology in action and realize what a perfect fit Lavu is for the market.” Jehassi presented to attendees about the power technology has to increase restaurant profits. Features such as global scalability, omni-channel transactions, self-ordering kiosks, 3rd party integrations, and cloud based reporting allow restaurants and bars using a Lavu POS restaurant management system to harness the latest technology and apply it directly to their bottom line.

    Restaurant Tech Live definitely created a buzz and Lavu was happy to share in the moment and show its commitment to being a thought leader in the future of bar and restaurant technology.  

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    restaurant business insuranceInsurance may not be the most exciting topic for most people, but it’s one that you can’t afford to overlook. As a restaurant owner, you have probably already poured tons of money and time into the success of your business. The right insurance will protect your investment from a number of unforeseen problems. And depending on your location, certain kinds of insurance are required by law.

    6 Types of Restaurant Insurance

    Finding the right insurance can feel overwhelming and it can be hard to know what kind of coverage you really need. Let’s look at six types of insurance you should consider as a restaurant owner:

    It’s no secret that restaurants are busy places and all it takes is one misplaced “Wet floor” sign for someone to fall and injure themselves. General liability insurance will cover medical and legal costs for any accidents that result in customer injuries.

    The court costs from just one lawsuit could be enough to put you out of business. General liability insurance will protect you from any claims of injury or negligence.

    Any sort of damage to your restaurant could put you out of business for quite a while. Property insurance will protect your restaurant from vandalism, a fire, and storm damage. Specific coverage will vary so you should work with your insurance broker to tailor your coverage to your specific location.

    Did you know that 128,000 people are hospitalized from foodborne illnesses every year? Food poisoning is no joke and it should be a serious concern for all restaurant owners.

    There is no way to entirely prevent food poisoning but as a restaurant owner, you are responsible for the food you serve. Product liability coverage will protect you from any lawsuits directly relating to the food served at your restaurant.

    This type of insurance will cover any medical or legal expenses if one of your employees is hurt at work. 35 percent of employers are more concerned about workplace safety than any other risk. And unless you live in the state of Texas, workers’ compensation is required by law.

    If one of your employees is hurt at work their medical and rehabilitation expenses will be covered. They will also be reimbursed for some lost wages due to missed work. And any resulting legal expenses would be completely covered by your insurance.

    Commercial auto insurance is necessary for restaurants that make any types of deliveries. Remember your personal auto insurance does not cover your business at all and, you may be stuck paying lawyer fees and damages out of pocket. Commercial auto will cover the liability of the entity if you or one of your employees is involved in an accident.

    It is always a good idea to have commercial umbrella insurance to provide additional liability limits in your existing policies. It is basically excess liability insurance that will kick in when coverage from your other policies run out. It could protect your business from an otherwise financially devastating lawsuit.

    At this point, you may be wondering how much you’re going to have to pay to get the coverage you need. And the answer is… it depends. Insurance costs vary greatly depending on your location, the number of employees you have, the type of restaurant you run, and many other factors.

    Insurance isn’t always cheap but consider all that you have to lose if a fire burns down your restaurant. You already put in the hard work to make your restaurant the success that it is. Now you need to make sure you have the right insurance policies in place to protect your assets.

    Working with an experienced insurance broker is probably the best place for you to start. They will understand the local and state laws in regards to insurance. They can also evaluate your business needs, find out what your budget is, and make recommendations in terms of coverage.

    charong chow embroker picAbout the Author:
    Charong Chow is Head of Content at
    Embroker, which empowers businesses to take the risks that will help them grow. Embroker provides technology that takes the pain out of insurance, offers top-tier service from the best brokers in the game, and partners with the nation’s leading carriers to surface policies tailored to your company.

     

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    bar pos systemWhen customers arrive at a bar to unwind, that’s no time for a POS system to relax. Everyone and everything in this environment is expected to move fast. The only exception to this need for speed is the patrons. In order for a bar to stand out from their competition, they must consistently provide quality service that goes above and beyond.

    Proprietors need a POS bar system that comes ready for quick and accurate order entry, with the ability to handle a variety of tasks unique to this type of establishment, such as split tabs, open tabs, age verification, and liquor control. Bar management software needs to be able to help owners and operators increase their profits while at the same time, help them to better understand their business and customer base. The right POS system software can help make or break an establishment.

    Here are five leading software features to seek out in a bar POS system:

    1. Quick Order Entry and Customer Check Out:

    When a bar operation gets busy, the bar POS system needs to keep up with a high volume of orders. Look for the ability to open and preauthorize bar tabs quickly without holding the patrons’ payment cards as well as hot buttons for popular items and other often repeated orders. For example, enter a request for “another round’ with one step, and close it with quick payment keys.

    With a pre-authorization feature, proprietors can set a dollar amount to be held on individual customers’ cards, speeding up the transaction prior to settlement of the bill.

    1. Split Tabs and Multiple Tabs Per Table.

    Keep your customers happy with flexibility in payment options. For example, there may be tabs for single patrons, groups of people, or those who will pay the entire tab. Each group may present different payment methods, such as credit, debit, or cash. Some may have food, while others will not. 

    The bar POS system needs to keep track of all this activity with speed and precision. It needs to divide evenly, manually, be split based on payment type, or be set up by different amounts or items. Customers, especially millennials, want options. They want to have the ability to split the check and have the payment process move along quickly.

    1. Age Verification to Mitigate Risk.

    Age verification has been a fact of life in the bar business for a long time, but you can never be too careful. Age verification systems that require driver’s licenses and IDs are getting more sophisticated in their ability to help protect your business from fines and potential lawsuits from fake IDs. 

    Your bar POS system should be able to link to age verification software. For example, ID scanners can read driver’s licenses with magnetic stripes as well as those with 1D or 2D barcodes to verify the patron’s age.

    1. Kitchen Display System to Send Food Orders From POS Back to Kitchen.

    The bar POS system should be able to communicate with your establishment’s Kitchen Display System (KDS) for productivity and efficiency, which means fast and accurate service. A customizable KDS helps establish a workable procedure for behind-the-scenes food preparation. The benefit of not having to send food back and receiving food in a timely manner makes for happy customers.

    1. Liquor Control Feature Security.

    Security is a special concern in the liquor business; a superior bar POS system will integrate with your CCTV security system cameras, overlaying item ordering information on the CCTV system. The CCTV system is triggered when an employee enters a void, comp, or discount. Once entered, the camera will record a message telling which button was entered. You can assign security codes to restrict access to specific aspects of the POS system, such as liquor control to reduce or eliminate over-pouring.

    It will take time to find the right bar POS system that meets the unique needs of each individual business. With so much going on in a bar on any given night, it is extremely easy for things to slip through the cracks or get pushed aside. A POS system that helps with streamlining operations and allows staff to give the best possible service to every guest will not only improve the reputation but it will increase profits and keep customers coming back. At the end of the day, the right POS software will improve a bar’s bottom line and will also establish the business as one of the best places to drink and/ or eat.

    Nicole BryanAbout 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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