Goodbye, POS: The Restaurant Management System (RMS) is the Future

When McDonalds became the first restaurant in the world to adopt the digital point of sale (POS) system in 1973, it was a game-changing moment. In the fifty years since, POS systems have evolved to encompass a wide array of features, used by almost every restaurant in the United States.

But the POS model has hit a brick wall it cannot overcome, and as the restaurant industry evolves to demand greater interoperability with other essential systems, it’s time we make the next leap in restaurant technology innovation.

We’re proud to enable restaurants to achieve a more profitable future with the next evolution of the POS: the Restaurant Management System, or RMS for short.

This represents a paradigm shift in how owners manage restaurants—from single-unit locations to large enterprise businesses—and it’s going to unlock countless new doors. We’ll get into the details, including… 

  • Why the POS system has met its natural end (we honor the life it lived!)
  • A new framework for data-driven restaurant management
  • 5 brand new opportunities that an RMS enables for restaurants

The grass really is greener, and we’re excited to share why.

It’s The End Of The Road For The Restaurant POS 

Think of your POS as a doorway between your business and customers. Customers walk through the door (make a transaction) to access your food. In this limited sense, the POS is an incredible tool for creating better customer experiences.

Over time, however, the POS system has become bloated with features and tools that are only loosely connected—and those loose connections come with notable limitations.

  • Reporting data in your POS is incomplete. Your POS primarily tracks sales that happen through that doorway. But what about online sales, third-party delivery, or bulk orders from catering customers? The ways customers buy are changing rapidly, and the POS doorway just isn’t designed to fit them all.
  • Marketing and loyalty opportunities are cut short. POS systems only communicate with customers that have walked through that doorway, and are often limited to single locations (a big yikes for multi-unit operators). Most restaurants use more than one tool to manage rewards, loyalty, and marketing—and those tools rarely play nice together, so you’re left with incomplete data in each system and inefficient growth.
  • Inventory tracking is inefficient. Some POS systems remove items from inventory when they’re sold via that doorway (which seems handy at first), but what about other ways you use food? Corporate catering, waste and spoilage, moving ingredients from one location to another—POS inventory systems can’t handle all this variation.

And we haven’t even touched on employee scheduling, human resources, payroll, delivery driver management, and other business workflows. You’ll have to find external tools to manage those systems, and most of them don’t integrate completely with POS software, leaving you with no way to see, learn from, and make decisions based on all your business data.

When the POS system is used as if it’s the center of gravity for your business, and all the other tools revolve around it, you’re left with disjointed functionality, messy data, and limited growth potential.

But when you have clean data that flows freely from one system to the next—without having to be funneled through the small POS system doorway—you’re able to see clearly, make connections, and implement improvements like never before.

We’re hosting a webinar that walks through real-world examples of how an RMS bypasses these data limitations to help you take command of your business in unprecedented ways. 👉 Sign up to join us right here.

The RMS Re-Imagines Information Flow In Your Business

The POS doorway analogy is well-understood, but we want to take it further. The point of sale may be an important door for customers who want to engage with your business, however it’s not the only door to your business.

Your restaurant is a palace of doors, with all kinds of information flowing in and out from them.

  • Online orders, handheld tablets, and third-party delivery platforms represent additional ordering doorways
  • Food and supplies enter your business through the inventory and purchasing doors
  • Employees come in through scheduling and HR
  • In-house delivery drivers have a door of their own
  • And your reporting and analytics need to see all those doors in one place

The Restaurant Management System removes the POS as the center of gravity and puts it where it belongs: a module within your greater business ecosystem.

It’s no longer behaving as the primary doorway of your business to the outside world, but a doorway among many.

So what then is the new center of gravity for your restaurant business?

All your business data in the cloud.

The RMS model creates a common language that all your business systems speak, then hosts all that data in the cloud so that every system is constantly giving and receiving new information.

Your sales, ingredients, customers, staff, finances—all of it together makes up the hub. The spokes are the tools that let you manage those various systems and workflows with seamless integration.

5 New Opportunities The RMS Model Enables

With a Restaurant Management System, all the spokes of your business have a way to communicate perfectly with each other. This means you can connect and gain insights from tools in whole new ways.

Here are a few examples.

  • Digital, delivery, and in-person orders all go to the same place. The dreaded “wall of tablets” from order sources is a nightmare for order accuracy and back-of-house efficiency. With an RMS, all your point-of-sale doorways lead to the same kitchen workflow, ensuring orders don’t get lost, your kitchen staff doesn’t have to juggle ten order sources, and sales reporting always shows you the full picture.
  • You can fully own the delivery experience (and stop giving away 30% of every order). Third-party delivery platforms charge hefty commissions, then rob you of customer data, so you’re left crossing your fingers that they order again. With an RMS that has a delivery driver module, you’re able to accept and fulfill your own delivery orders, then market to those customers later—you’re in complete control.
  • Customers get a personalized experience everywhere. Whether they’re ordering in-store, from a mobile app, or your website, customers can receive personalized experiences that increase spend and loyalty—all because those various doorways are connected to the hub and sharing customer data in real-time.
  • Optimize inventory and purchasing to reduce waste and increase margins. Food waste and over-purchasing are the silent killers of profit margins. With an RMS that connects inventory, purchasing, and all your points of sales, you can understand trends and predict demand with greater confidence.
  • All your business intelligence lives in one space. Once all your business data is funneled to the hub, it can be organized, viewed, and acted upon without roadblocks. No more separate spreadsheets for twelve locations, or comparing POS data, loyalty data, and online sales data from different sources. It’s all there, from single store reports to business-wide growth, ready to be accessed from anywhere.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The power of the RMS is so wide-reaching that it’s impossible to cover all the ways it can transform your business in a single article.

That’s why we’re hosting a webinar that walks through real-world examples of how an RMS helps you integrate systems in new ways and take command of your business like never before. 
Want to see an RMS in action? 👉 Sign up to join us right here.

Take Command of Your Multi-Unit Restaurant: The 5 Pillars of Data Mastery

Take Command of Your Multi-Unit Restaurant: The 5 Pillars of Data Mastery

Chaos often feels like the default state of the restaurant industry. 

Even for successful multi-unit restaurants and franchises, managing growth can feel a lot more like putting out fires than strategically hitting targets. You may achieve your goals, but you never feel like you’re totally in control—and you have the stress levels to prove it.

Data mastery is the new superpower for multi-unit restaurants, capable of offering a level of insight, clarity, and control that past restaurant operators couldn’t have dreamed of.

And we’re going to show you how to harness it. In this blog, we’ll cover… 

  • 5 pillars of data mastery that restaurants need to focus on
  • How to methodically accessunderstand, and control your data
  • Practical ways to make better business decisions

Chaos doesn’t have to be “the way things are”, and it won’t be for long. Data mastery is already helping multi-unit and enterprise restaurants take command of their operations with unprecedented efficiency.

And the best part is, you can join them without needing a PhD or overpriced consultant.

Pillar 1: Customer Data

“Location, location, location” doesn’t apply in a world where food delivery has outpaced dine-in orders and restaurant discovery happens online. Location matters less, and customer loyalty matters more.

That’s why, when third-party platforms (waitlist or delivery software) don’t give you access to your customers—that you paid them to find for you—they’re cutting you off from your most powerful growth lever.

Mastering customer data is essential to building a sustainable business and maintaining growth. Without it, you’re building a business on rented land, vulnerable to the changing whims of whatever platform acquires customers for you.

  • Access — Every transaction should enhance your understanding of your customer: where they live, what they like to order, how frequently they return. This data can be automatically collated at your in-house POS, online ordering system, and loyalty program.
  • Understand — Now you can find precise answers to questions that were previously left to intuition and gut feeling, like “What do our best customers have in common?” and “What do our highest-spend regulars love most about our menu?”.
  • Control — Marketing efforts based on good guesses may have worked, but now that you have a data-driven direction, you can create better-targeted campaigns that offer predictable, repeatable growth.

Your customers are your greatest asset. When you master customer data, you don’t leave those essential relationships to chance.

We’re hosting a free training on how to connect your business systems to help you collect and use data from all areas of your business—ordering, scheduling, and beyond—to take command in new ways. 👉 Sign up to join us right here.

Pillar 2: Kitchen Data

Kitchen operations are a data black box, and it’s no wonder why. On average, only 37% of employees use a restaurant business’s ERP system, leaving operators and managers in the dark about what actually happens in the back-of-house.

Restaurants, and especially growing multi-unit and enterprise restaurants, need precise kitchen data to understand and optimize how food gets prepped and made. Without it, scaling up always feels like a risk—but with it, scaling can feel like a well-calculated plan.

  • Access — Day-to-day operations should be regularly logged so you always have a clear view of recipe cook times, plate-to-table times, and inaccurate orders. 
  • Understand — With cleaner kitchen data, you’re able to see patterns that were previously hidden and answer questions, like “Which dishes take so long to make, that the margins are depleted by labor costs?” or “Which recipes are most likely to create a negative customer experience by taking too long?”.
  • Control — Now you can identify the dishes that hold your team back from greater efficiency levels, then make adjustments to recipes or processes to help the kitchen staff work smarter (and optimize labor costs in the process).

Kitchen data has been relatively neglected by the restaurant industry, but the success stories coming from pioneers of kitchen efficiency are quite compelling—and it’s awakening more and more to the power of kitchen data mastery.

Pillar 3: Staff Data

Capturing staff data is an essential part of running a food business today, but existing processes are more about completing payroll than gaining business insight. And when you don’t see patterns and trends in your staff data, you’re leaving opportunities for better hiring and staff management on the table.

  • Access — You likely already collect most of the data you need: scheduled hours, hours worked, training received, and labor costs.
  • Understand — When you combine your staff data with your kitchen and operations data, that’s where new insights are unlocked, helping you answer questions like “Who are my most efficient employees?” and “Which new employees have completed their training?”.
  • Control — When it’s clear who your most valuable employees are, you’re capable of modeling training and hiring procedures after them to set—and achieve—higher employee standards (and lower labor costs).

When you can easily measure employee performance and costs in real-time—rather than making subjective guesses—you’re able to turn the headaches of hiring and staff management into high-performing, scalable teams.

Pillar 4: Inventory Data

No restaurant system has been more haunted by the inefficiencies of gut feeling and intuition than food costing and inventory. Most restaurants—including many owned by massive corporations—run their food costing and inventory via pen and paper or outdated spreadsheets. And it’s a huge source of waste.

Somewhere between four and ten percent of the food purchased by a restaurant goes to waste before it even reaches the customer. That’s money down the drain, raising recipe costs and destroying ROI. By mastering your inventory data, you can minimize waste and generate higher margins with confidence.

  • Access — Food costing and inventory tracking go hand-in-hand, and ideally are managed by the same platform. Key data includes recipe metadata, recipe costs, profit margins, inventory trends, waste trends, and food waste percentage.
  • Understand — When you can clearly measure food waste, then see how it impacts your food costs and margins, you’re able to run experiments and answer questions like, “What ingredients produce the most waste, and why?” and “If we nix this high-waste ingredient, what does that do to our profit margins?”.
  • Control — Robust food data unlocks levers that have never been available for restaurants before. Now you can optimize individual recipes for higher margins and cut food waste with smarter purchasing, then track the results in real-time.

When you extrapolate the advantages of real-time costing and inventory across a multi-unit or franchise network, the gains add up quickly.

Pillar 5: Operations Data

Gone are the days of clunky spreadsheet reports for individual locations that take hours to review—at least, they should be. Modern reporting tech means multi-unit operators, franchise owners, and other high-level managers are capable of seeing operational data in new ways.

  • Access — Bring your cash flow management, financial reporting, and traffic analytics into a single dashboard where you can see trends for individual stores or the entire business.
  • Understand — Disjointed spreadsheets have always made it hard to connect the dots and make data-driven decisions, but with your core operations data in a single place, you’re able to answer questions like “What regions present the greatest growth opportunity?” and “What do our least profitable locations have in common?”.
  • Control — With a 360-degree view of your business health and direction, you’re capable of finding the areas where small improvements can lead to meaningful impacts, strengthening weak links, and building a business with a solid foundation.

These cross-location insights reveal the impact of the other four pillars. If you get them right, you’ll see the results in your operations data.

The Problem: Disjointed Software Won’t Get You There

We’ve all seen it: a franchise owner uses twelve tools to run their operation—ranging from staff management to online ordering to food costing—but the data from each tool is siloed off, unable to communicate with all the data from other tools.

This is why, despite more powerful technology, chaos still reigns in the restaurant industry.

And if 2020 has proven anything, it’s that clean data (and the incredible insight and control it enables) is the most powerful way to move forward in the ever-evolving restaurant industry.

We’re hosting a free training webinar to help enterprise, multi-unit, and franchise operators find ways to access clean data, then use it to take command in meaningful ways.

Want to join us? 👉 Sign up here.

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