Effective communication between your café’s ‘Front of House’ and ‘Back of House’ is absolutely critical to its success. With that in mind, it’s important to understand how your POS system can prove to be a powerful communication hub that directly benefits productivity and reduces kitchen costs.
It’s 10am on a Sunday morning and your café is packed with diners looking for a tasty start to their relaxing day ahead. The staff are all busy – taking orders, making coffee, preparing meals and caring for your customers. It’s at this point, when your venue is at full capacity and under the most stress, that you need your operation to be running like a ‘well-oiled machine.’ Interestingly, the modern POS system is designed to support the processes that keep your café functioning smoothly. How so?
Define Your Options but Maintain Flexibility
It is worthwhile considering the process that starts at the time of your customer’s food order being taken and concludes with the timely delivery to the table of exactly what was requested. The coordinated efforts of several staff members will likely be involved, so clear communication is going to be vital. It is here that a well set up point of sale system proves to be invaluable. Your POS can be configured so that wait staff know what options they can offer for each meal on the menu, and can easily enter applicable cooking instructions and variation requests. Additionally, the trend toward catering for dietary restrictions, such as gluten and dairy intolerances, also means that what you offer will require a level of flexibility.
Order Accuracy and Clarity
Aside from specifying the applicable options that can be requested from the kitchen, another key consideration is how the kitchen receives the detail of the order. The old way used pieces of paper with handwritten notes – some of which required hieroglyphic expertise to decipher. These days, wait staff can remain in the dining area, enter customer orders into either a fixed or handheld terminal that then automatically transmits the information to video displays or printers located at strategic locations in the kitchen. This greatly increases the speed at which kitchen staff receive the order, and pre-defined subsets of products and instructions can be sent to specific food preparation stations. Fewer errors in communication mean reductions in returned meals and less wastage – a direct benefit to kitchen efficiency and profitability.
What About Stock Control?
A final component of many specialised hospitality POS systems that we’ll consider is that of stock control. While there may be some reluctance on the part of small cafés to implement a full stock system due to the time involved in maintaining it, there are advantages to be found in performing some basic stock control tasks. For instance, you may decide to account for a small number of your higher cost items, such as the primary ingredient of a signature dish that you keep in limited supply. Many POS terminals are capable of receiving an opening stock level of selected products at the beginning of the day’s trade, displaying a countdown of the remaining stock as the day progresses, and finally signalling when you are ‘out-of-stock.’ This allows staff to keep track of how many can still be sold at any given time. Another important aspect of stock control is tracking wastage. Having a record of the quantity and value of stock that is discarded allows you to analyse trends in your operation and ascertain if adjustments are warranted.
Of course, these are just a few of the many advantages that come from using a well-configured point of sale system in your café. While there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of factors that make up a successful hospitality venue, the value of your POS as a vital communication hub shouldn’t be underestimated. With your operation running efficiently, you can focus your attention on other important components of a popular café – the friendly service, a relaxed atmosphere and, of course, great coffee!
Uniwell4Cafes is a joint development by Uniwell POS Australia, Lynx Software and POSLynx that combines Uniwell’s HX-series touch screen POS terminals, Uniwell Lynx back-office software and other peripherals to produce a robust, reliable and user-friendly Cafe POS solution. We invite you to consider how Uniwell4Cafes could improve your hospitality operation.
– this article was originally written for Cafe Culture magazine, and has been edited by the original author to suit this website.