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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.

The Pitfalls of the Free POS: When it’s too Good to be True

The Pitfalls of the Free POS: When It's Too Good to Be True

The Downfall of the Free POS System Business Model 

There’s no doubt that a free POS system is attractive. Low-cost, or even no-cost, systems appeal to any business looking to save upfront costs and focus their resources on other business essentials. However, these deals are often a trap, especially for small or startup restaurants with limited initial cash flow.

Problems arise however, when a new business has outgrown the system but is locked into a long-term contract. That’s what makes the free POS model unsustainable. 

Free POS systems often attract businesses with a low-cost startup, but lock in customers for the long-term with contracts that contain higher fees over time. Escalating credit card processing fees are a good example. Unable to transition to a more complex system, businesses may find that their free POS actually costs more in the long run and offers less functionality and business benefit than a POS system with an upfront cost. The model really only works in a consistently-up economy—something that is impossible, as we know now during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a perfect example of when economies decline, businesses with free POS decline with it

Why “Free POS” Isn’t Really Free

As the saying goes: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. It isn’t possible to get something for nothing. While there may not be much of a cost up front, you will end up paying for a free system one way or another. A Free POS can actually end up costing you thousands more. Here’s how the model works:

Arduous Contracts

Some may require you to sign long, complex contracts that range from one to three years in length—often with hefty termination fees to discourage businesses from switching software providers. You may be required to pay for arbitrary services you may not want or use. And should your restaurant go out of business during the contract, you are still required to pay fees for not being able to fulfill the contract. 

High Merchant Account Rates

The pricing for your contract is often based on credit card processing volume. To offset the costs of a free system, providers charge a high annual percentage rate (APR). These providers will often get you in the fine print, including lines stating that they can raise the rates even more at any time. They can require certain volumes for credit card processing each month, and charge an additional fee if you don’t hit the threshold. 

Lack of Customer Support

To offer their service at such a competitive rate, quality is sacrificed for quantity. These companies are focused on one thing: volume. They want more sales, more businesses, and more contracts, which leaves little time or bandwidth to focus on each individual customer and their needs after the sale. They often employ third-party customer service reps that aren’t well-versed on your business or the technology you use, and are sometimes based outside of the United States. 

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What to Look for in a POS Solutions Provider

When times get tough, disaster strikes, and the chips are down, how is your POS provider stepping up to help your business transition or evolve? 

The restaurant industry heavily affected by COVID-19. Business owners need a provider that will help them revive through this time—not make it more difficult. Hear from Rick Smith, owner of Hometown Pizza & Grill how his HungerRush RMS has helped transform his business. View webinar recording now.

Here are some questions to consider regarding your provider during this pandemic and beyond: 

  • Do they offer install, support and training for online ordering, take-out and delivery modules?
  • Are they offering these modules for a discount?
  • Are they allowing you to shut off your SaaS subscription if your restaurant is closed?
  • Are they waiving any fees or penalties related to your POS systems contract?

A Partner You Can Trust

HungerRush goes beyond the point of sale. We offer a complete suite of technology solutions that are essential in helping our clients survive and thrive in today’s digital economy. Our solutions are offered through a fixed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and POS-as-a-Service (PaaS) model, and are payment-agnostic, which provides a greater return on investment in the long term. 

We equip you to own the customer experience with our integrated POS, online ordering, delivery, and loyalty solutions. These solutions are purpose-built to provide your business with maximized profitability for both on- and off-premises operations. We can keep your business operating and thriving, no matter the circumstances. 

The restaurant industry is all we do. We eat, sleep, and breathe the business. If anyone understands what it takes to overcome your biggest challenges when the going gets rough, or help your business grow when times are good, it’s HungerRush. 

For more information on our restaurant management systems, and how your business can overcome any disaster, check out our Restaurant Survival Guide ebook, or request a demo at HungerRush today! 

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Restaurant Menu Modification: How Flexibility is Crucial to Survive COVID-19

Restaurant Menu Modification: How Flexibility is Crucial to Survive COVID-19

Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home restrictions during the COVID-19 outbreak make it necessary for restaurants to innovate. Online ordering and delivery, already growing in popularity, are now keeping the restaurant industry alive as dine-in options are halted. The good news is that consumer demand for easy, quick, and delicious meals isn’t diminishing, even if dine-in traffic has. But implementation of these options requires adjustments.

Restaurant Flexibility Is Imperative

Pandemic policies, guidelines, and predictions are changing by the week, if not the day. Restaurants must evolve practices to keep business healthy and customers safe. Many restaurants are taking control of the situation rather than relinquishing it. They are developing their business in ways they didn’t expect—and seeing success as a result. Changes to their business model, marketing efforts, scheduling and labor management, and community outreach are necessary to survive the pandemic and come out ahead. Your menu also requires flexibility because takeout and delivery conditions and requirements are different from dining in. In a recent webinar, Sean Rowe owner of Saint Angelo’s Pizza, shared marketing strategies and unique menu additions that have helped his business thrive during COVID-19. View webinar recording now.

Benefits of a Modified Restaurant Menu 

You want to remain open for online ordering and delivery in order to keep your business going; but you also want to maximize profitability as much as possible. Restaurant menu modification helps you strike the right balance. Tailoring your offerings has several benefits:

  • Optimized Restaurant Inventory Costs. Because food is one of the biggest expenses for a restaurant, it’s crucial to reduce and streamline those costs. The fewer options on your menu, the less inventory required. Reducing the number of ingredients you use overall may lead to higher profitability by cutting out some purchasing requirements. Offering meals that share many of the same ingredients can optimize your inventory even more. Needing fewer ingredients will also help you weather any changes or disruptions in your supply chain. 
  • Optimized Restaurant Labor Costs. A reduced menu allows the restaurant to fulfill orders with a lighter staff than before. This especially helps when rearranging roles, as staff can more easily move around from food prep to front of the house as needed. This optimization is highly beneficial to your bottom line, since labor is another one of the costliest restaurant expenses, along with inventory
  • Providing New and Exciting Offers to Your Customers. Instead of promoting it as a “reduced” menu, think of it more as a “specialized” menu. Many restaurants are switching up their menu each week to keep things interesting for their customers. Specials of the day or week, bundle deals, and more will keep your customers excited and engaged. 

Request a demo and get ready for the rush.

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Tips for Optimal Restaurant Menu Modification

Creating an ideal takeout and delivery menu takes some thought and planning. You want to focus on your best sellers and signature dishes, but not everything will transfer well from dine-in to delivery options. One consideration is prep time: if a dish requires a lot of prep, and then delivery time is added onto that, it will take longer than the customer is willing to wait. You’ll also need to calculate a delivery radius your drivers can reach efficiently so that prep time + delivery time = a reasonable order time for the customer. 

Also consider which items will travel well, and which won’t. In part, that will depend on the quality of your packaging. You’ll want containers that are the appropriate size to keep food from sliding around in transit; separate containers for toppings, sauces, or condiments that could get messy or let the food get soggy, and insulated travel bags to keep hot foods warm enough (without excess condensation) and cold foods cold. 

Pizza and Chinese takeout have long been delivery staples. Other travel-friendly items include burgers, sandwiches and wraps; finger foods, such as fried chicken or wings; and simple sides and desserts such as breadsticks and cookies. Again, dishes that have common ingredients will optimize inventory costs.  

If you’re concerned about how well a fully cooked dish would travel, consider packaging the ingredients for a 1-2 serving meal and allowing the customer to assemble and cook it themselves for maximum freshness. Creating bundled deals and family packs (for example, spaghetti, salad, and garlic rolls for four) works well for parents that are looking for an easy way to feed an entire family. 

For really outside-the-box thinking, some restaurants are including non-food items on their delivery menus. They have surplus items such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies that aren’t currently being used in their dine-in facilities—and that are increasingly hard to find in grocery stores—so they’re offering them to customers. A bonus “side” of toilet paper or hand sanitizer certainly adds novelty as well as convenience. No matter what’s on your modified restaurant menu, promote your offers through digital marketing to maximize exposure and engagement.

Technology That Makes It Easy

With all of the unpredictabilities of the restaurant industry, especially under current conditions, it’s essential to have technology that can change with your business needs. An innovative, integrated restaurant management system including point of sale (POS), online ordering and delivery support, and loyalty programs can help your restaurant stay efficient and profitable no matter the needs of the current market. Look for a system that has easy-to-use restaurant menu modification features so you can make changes as needed, whether you are changing your menu, pricing, or item availability (if you run out of an ingredient). An integrated system will allow changes to be reflected on all ordering platforms immediately for a seamless customer experience.

Also look for tech providers that are listening to client needs and responding to the latest industry issues—for example, developing features such as curbside pickup and no-contact delivery options, or remote software installation, as necessitated by the pandemic. HungerRush has years of industry experience and a team of experts creating solutions such as HungerRush Online Ordering that can set your business up for success during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. Learn more about the latest tools and features of our integrated systems by requesting a personalized demo today. 

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Demystifying the Cloudiness in Cloud-Based POS Systems

Demystifying the Cloudiness in Cloud-Based POS SystemsA recent article from Reforming Retail discussed the reasoning behind a recent acquisition of Cloud POS provider.  The reasoning was to make the provider more competitive and address market needs.  As I read through the article, I was reminded that the ambiguity surrounding the Cloud moniker has now reached the Point of Sale industry.

There are many Venture Capital-backed upstarts and “Next Gen” POS solution providers claiming to be cloud based. It is becoming the buzz in the industry.  Just like Cloud Computing became an overused reference and everyone jumped on that bandwagon, the idea of having a Cloud POS system is becoming one, too.  What we are forgetting, and should be talking about, is the customer experience, not just the platform or method of delivery.  Let’s break it down a bit further….

Restaurant owners don’t wake up in the morning and say “Wow, I need to go to the cloud today!” (at least I hope they don’t).  What they are asking for is a better customer experience.  When considering a POS system, this means better availability and performance, a system that is easier to manage, and one that delivers key functionality needed to not only run part of their business but help them grow.

This makes complete sense and sounds reasonable, right?  Like many other industries have experienced, technology is helping transform the restaurant space and the Point of Sale experience is prime for disruption.  At HungerRush, we are not alone in this thinking. All you have to do is look at the volume of VC money pouring into startups, the investments from PE firms, and the competitive landscape in any category.  You’d think that all these resources should help drive a better customer experience.  Of course, companies want to consume it as-a-Service (SaaS), which lends itself to the software being delivered using modern technologies as opposed to outdated software and tools. 

Cloud is a platform and SaaS is a delivery model.  Talking to our customers and prospects, three consistent themes come up

  1. Mobile capabilities (tablets)
  2. Better availability and performance (user efficiency)
  3. Lower overhead associated with running the solution (cost management) 

 And, by the way, a nice modern user interface helps too.  The SaaS delivery model helps enable this.  With SaaS, updates are delivered in real-time and the software runs on a highly available and powerful computing environment.  Total cost of ownership is reduced as the customer does not have to invest expensive resources in supporting the solution on-premises like hardware, upgrades and local support while getting a faster time to value/benefit. 

These are all great things, but none really gets to the core of features that make software productive.  These core features allow restaurant owners to not only run their business but manage their costs while doing so.  At the same time, they are not having to work around the software – the software is working for them.  The software delivery model does not outweigh the need to focus on features and to know your customer.  We think a combination of functionality that is aligned with the right delivery model produces the best business result. 

At HungerRush, we believe that the right delivery model happens to be SaaS.  We also believe that every good SaaS model must have well-designed pricing and packaging options. Our customers, the restaurant owners, tell us they want software costs that are affordable and predictable.  They want to ensure access to new functionality as we implement it, and new technology as it evolves.  

We are fully committed to the SaaS delivery model and continue to invest in making our portfolio of solutions robust, scalable, easy to integrate with and easy to use.  In response to our customer’s desires, our 2019 and 2020 roadmap is focused on SaaS enablement, mobility, online ordering, and integrations.  We are excited to be continually innovating and delivering more value to our customers.

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How Restaurants Can Diversify to Account for Unexpected and Sudden Changes in Consumer Behavior

How Restaurants Can Diversify to Account for Unexpected and Sudden Changes in Consumer Behavior

In the restaurant business, sometimes unpredictable events can occur that disrupt everyday life. Things like pandemics, natural disasters, and other types of crises can turn everything on its head and present significant and unforeseen challenges to both consumers and businesses, not to mention a further toll on the economy. 

When unexpected events like this arise and restaurants are caught without a plan in place, it affects more than just profits. You can face a loss of customers, food safety concerns or serious inventory waste. If it is serious enough, you could end up unable to pay employees who depend on you for their living, or unable to serve customers who depend on you for meals.

In 2016, 55 people were infected in two E. coli outbreaks after eating at Chipotle. While the outbreaks were confined to those two locations, the widespread public fear caused significant losses in profits to the industry, let alone that particular chain. It resulted in significant damage to the brand, leading to a long and difficult recovery process.

Now is the perfect time to consider how your restaurant can operate should an unexpected event hinder or discourage people from visiting your store.

Consider the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and previous outbreaks of unfamiliar diseases. While the current chances of being infected by the virus are low, the fear of the unknown is causing a consumer panic that may have very real repercussions upon the economy. 

Are you prepared for what can happen when consumer confidence is low and unexpected issues cause sudden changes in consumer behavior? If not, here are a few ways you can diversify your business and be prepared:

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Offer a Variety of Ordering and Delivery Options

Regardless of the scenario, customers today want options. Providing these options not only makes your customers happy, but also protects your business should unexpected events arise that cause changes in consumer behavior. Protect revenue and drive customer loyalty during these uncertain times with these changing guest ordering expectations. View our on-demand webinar now.

The more options and different avenues you offer, the more of a chance you have in case of a sudden incident disrupting your restaurant.

Ordering

The goal here is to reach the widest audience possible, and offering a variety of ordering options does just that. Customers should be able to order their food:

  • In your restaurant
  • Over the phone
  • On your website
  • On your app
  • On third-party ordering platforms

The more options you offer, the more likely you are of not only increasing sales and broadening your audience, but also protecting your businesses in case sudden shifts in behaviors arise.

What would happen if your third-party partners put a halt to their services because of an unexpected event? You’d still want to give your customers multiple options so they can order from you in other ways, like pickup or take out. If you only offer one option, you will be without a solution if that option is no longer viable.

Delivery

It’s no secret that delivery is booming. Restaurant delivery is projected to grow at more than three times the rate of on-premise sales by 2023. The convenience and ability for customers to remain at home is very appealing to consumers today, and can be even more significant in case of a sudden event.

Similar to ordering, customers should have options for receiving their food:

  • Eat in your restaurant
  • Pickup at your restaurant
  • Get orders delivered

Should an unexpected event arise that causes customers to not want to leave their homes—like in the case of poor weather or an outbreak of a disease—you need to have a backup plan to serve these customers. Offering delivery both in-house and through third-party services can also help increase your reach and protect your business.

As the coronavirus becomes more of a nuisance, HungerRush has implemented a  “no-contact delivery”  feature updates available in our POS, Online Ordering platform and soon available for our mobile app customers, we also partner with DoorDash – which offers restaurants the ability to leverage DoorDash drivers to deliver to their customers as a white labeled service – this is especially helpful for those that may have to let go staff or need to reduce overhead due to the current crisis. The best part is you retain your customer data.   

Leverage a Restaurant Mobile App

An integrated mobile app provides an additional ordering avenue for your customers. It also is a great way to stay connected with your customers and remain top of mind. You can use it to send push notifications when you have important announcements or updates, like letting customers know your business is still open and operating during a crisis.

For example, after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in 2017, many customers struggled to find information on which restaurants were open for business. Push notifications and app updates can ensure your customers are never left guessing if your business is open or closed during abnormal times.

You can also use this method to send personalized promotions and offers to customers and stay relevant to strengthen your relationships with them. Loyal customers will want to do business with you when times are both good and bad.

An Integrated Restaurant POS is Crucial

The more options you offer to customers, the more important it becomes to implement an integrated restaurant point of sale system. Without an integrated solution, orders can be difficult to keep track of and customer data can be lost.

Make sure your POS system integrates with necessary solutions, like:

  • Online ordering platforms
  • Delivery services and delivery drivers
  • Your website and mobile app
  • Tablet POS
  • Kitchen display systems

Disorganization can wreak havoc upon your operation. It’s critical that you invest in an integrated, comprehensive system that allows you to manage all of your different avenues from one platform. An integrated system helps you stay organized, remain in control, and can safeguard your business from disruption. With these tools you can overcome unexpected or unforeseen challenges and keep yourself afloat during even the hardest times.

The experts at HungerRush are ready to help you prepare for the future of your business. We offer technology that is hand-tailored to fit the needs of your restaurant. Request a demo today to learn how our industry-leading technology can benefit your restaurant in good times and in bad.

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the Next 30 Days and Beyond

Offer online ordering and on-demand delivery services with this limited time starter bundle to keep your restaurant running today and future-proof for tomorrow!

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How 2020 Restaurant Trends are Transforming the Way Pizzerias Operate

How 2020 Restaurant Trends are Transforming the Way Pizzerias Operate

Ever since the first U.S. pizzeria opened in Manhattan in 1905, customer preferences—both in the pizzas themselves and how they’re obtained—have continually evolved. By the 1940s, pizzerias were opening all over the country, thanks in part to returning World War II soldiers who wanted to keep enjoying the food they’d been introduced to overseas. In the 1960s, pizza delivery took off as the hot trend. The rise of the internet in the 1990s led to the possibility of ordering pizza online from a website; and in 2009, the first mobile app for pizza ordering appeared. Future developments now being tested include drone delivery, driverless cars, and robot delivery, to make getting pizza easier than ever before.

Throughout all of these changes (and innovations in pizzas themselves, from deep dish to flavored crusts), pizzerias have had to keep adapting to meet customers’ shifting expectations in order to remain profitable. According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA)  Restaurant Industry 2030 report, the restaurant industry is in the midst of a radical transformation, and a greater proportion of meals will no longer be cooked at home. This shift will provide huge opportunities for pizzerias, as long as owners are strategic. Here are how three key 2020 restaurant trends will affect how pizzerias run their business: 

Customer Demand for Delivery Continues to Rise

Modern consumers lead busy, on-the-go lifestyles, and one of their top needs is convenience. For restaurants, that means delivery. According to the recent NRA report, “Delivery orders are booming, and business models are shifting fast to find ways to serve that customer base.” Data firm Second Measure revealed that U.S. restaurant delivery sales grew 52 percent year-over-year in 2019. Over a third of adults in the U.S. and half of millennials are more likely to order food for delivery, compared to two years ago. 

Pizzeria restaurants need to recognize this demand and implement delivery in order to:

  • Remain Competitive: A recent Forbes article reports that nearly every U.S. zip code is now serviced by at least two delivery companies. If your pizzeria doesn’t offer delivery, it will likely be passed in favor of one that does.
  • Grow Profitability: When customers place their own orders online or through a mobile app for delivery, the ticket sizes tend to be higher than in-store sales. And if you use a third-party provider for delivery services, you can allocate more of your in-house labor for fulfilling the increased number of orders you’ll receive.
  • Improve the Customer Experience: Convenience is a top desire for today’s diners. The easier you can make it for them to get food from you, the more likely they’ll  order,  and order again.
  • Expand/Capture a Bigger Customer Base: Tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z customers live on their phones, so if you offer delivery options through a mobile app, you’ll be more likely to get their attention. Using a third-party provider can also help you reach a wider range of customers, because you’ll be tapping into their base; and they might cover a greater delivery area then you can. 

The growing demand for delivery has led to another trend: the expansion of “ghost kitchens” (also called virtual or cloud kitchens). These locations do not have any dine-in facilities, or even carry-out in most cases; instead, they are devoted exclusively to fulfilling and delivering online orders. Ghost kitchens are booming because they offer lower operational costs and upfront expenses: they don’t require the floor space, staff, etc. of dine-in restaurants, and need only online advertising. 

There’s an App for That 

Whether you have a ghost kitchen or not, mobile apps are necessary to remain competitive in today’s delivery-driven market. In one study, 42% of customers said that the ability to order online would make them choose one restaurant over another (and that number has likely grown since then). Mobile apps represent 60% of all digital orders, and The NPD Group forecasts that digital orders will keep growing by double digits through 2020. Mobile apps can especially connect you to millennials and Gen Z—groups who are most likely to order food for delivery, and whose buying power will continue to increase in the years ahead. According to NPD, Gen Z accounted for 24% of all foodservice traffic in the year ending in July 2019. You need to reach these digital natives through the channels they use most, especially including mobile apps.

Integrated Pizza POS Systems Have the Advantage

The point of sale (POS) system has evolved beyond a simple payment terminal to become the hub of a restaurant’s operations. An integrated pizza POS system will bring together sales from your brick-and-mortar locations and any of the virtual ordering channels. It will also provide a consistent experience for your customers, whichever way they choose to do business with you. Orders from all platforms are incorporated directly into the kitchen queue as they are received, ensuring timely fulfillment. Because the pizza POS is integrated with all ordering platforms, including third-party systems, your customer data is collected and owned by you (rather than the third-party provider). With this data, you can manage your loyalty program and create targeted marketing offers and promotions, further growing your business. 

Choosing the right pizza POS system also means choosing a provider who understands the unique needs of the pizza industry. With in-depth industry expertise, integrated solutions, and 24/7/365 support, HungerRush is the ideal partner for pizzeria tech solutions. You can also find out more about how our solutions can help you manage these 2020 restaurant trends by requesting a demo today.

Survive and Thrive

the Next 30 Days and Beyond

Offer online ordering and on-demand delivery services with this limited time starter bundle to keep your restaurant running today and future-proof for tomorrow!

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Restaurant Sustainability: 3 Ways Your Pizzeria Can Go Green

Sustainability Sells

Sustainability—avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance—has acquired increasing attention since the modern environmental movement started in the 1970s. Sustainability isn’t just good for the Earth, it’s good for business: more than 90% of CEOs believe that sustainability is important to the success of their company—and restaurants are no exception. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report, 3 out of 4 restaurant operators said that customers are more interested in environmentally-sustainable menu items than they were two years ago. 

Consumers today care about more than just the food; they want to support brands that align with their values. Pizza restaurants must keep up with these evolving consumer demands to keep their customers satisfied and coming back. Here’s how you can improve your sustainability and run a green restaurant.

1. Use Locally-Sourced Ingredients

Locally-sourced food is grown or produced within a short distance of where it is consumed. Customers are increasingly conscious of its desirability: 58% of millennials said that they were more likely to choose one restaurant over another based on its ability to provide food that has been sustainably grown, raised, and manufactured. 

Locally-sourced food has several benefits:

  • Fresher Ingredients

Locally-sourced food spends less time in transit from plant to plate. The quicker turnaround time means fewer preservatives are used. Customers want to feel that they are eating fresher and healthier, and especially that they are giving better quality food to their kids. Increasingly, customers are willing to pay more for this benefit. 

Going local also means less food waste. Since you can get ingredients quickly when you need them, you won’t have to overstock in fear that you won’t get another shipment in time. You reduce spoilage, and the customers enjoy freshness. 

  • Lower Costs

Shorter transit times mean reduced food transportation costs. This reduction not only saves you money, but also cuts down on fuel consumption and air pollution—creating a greener restaurant with a lower carbon footprint. 

  • Support Your Community

Supporting local farmers and suppliers shows that you value your community. Businesses and consumers in your neighborhood will notice, and this support can be huge for boosting brand loyalty. 

2. Leverage Technology to Eliminate Paper Usage

Another excellent way to boost sustainability is to take advantage of pizza restaurant technology that can help you to send less paper to the landfills. 

  • Kitchen Display System (KDS)

With a KDS, orders get sent electronically to the kitchen, eliminating the need for paper order slips. Not only does this system reduce your waste, but you also save on the cost of printing supplies, like paper, ink, printers, and maintenance. In addition to the paper reduction, a KDS can reduce order errors, which are a huge cause of food waste for restaurants.

  • Tablet Point of Sale (POS)

To maximize your efficiency and sustainability efforts, leverage a tablet POS to take customer orders right at the table. Like the KDS, tablets eliminate the need for paper order slips; instead, servers just enter the order right on the device, and it goes to the KDS automatically. 

  • Emailed Receipts 

In addition to order slips, restaurants generate more than 1.5 billion pounds of paper waste each year on paper receipts alone. Restaurants should look for a pizza POS system that allows the option for emailed receipts to further cut down on their paper waste. 

3. Improve Your Pizzeria Inventory Management System 

Besides reducing paper waste, you can also cut down on food waste through more effective inventory management. Again, your POS solution can be a great asset in this restaurant sustainability effort. 

  • Smarter Inventory Purchasing

If you’re constantly running out of ingredients or throwing away excess food that has expired, your inventory management may need a makeover. Today’s technology allows you to gain more insight into your inventory to find the patterns and trends you may not be noticing. 

Figuring out the ideal inventory purchasing amounts will save you money and greatly decrease your food waste. A POS system integrated with an inventory management software can accurately track your inventory in real time across all selling platforms and locations to help you make better predictions. 

  • Strategic Planning 

Even the smartest systems get it wrong at times because the restaurant industry can be unpredictable. If you find yourself with excess food, think strategically before tossing it out. 

For example, maybe you have extra mushrooms that are going to go bad in a week. Instead of throwing them out, promote your mushroom or veggie pizza as the pizza of the week, and add a free drink or small discount to encourage more orders. Using your POS, add this menu item to the top of your online ordering menu to get even more exposure and increase sales. By prioritizing food items that may expire soon, you’re maximizing your food costs and preventing waste. 

f you have multiple locations, different stores may have different levels of ingredients—one store needs to use up mushrooms, while another has excess bacon. A good POS will have the flexibility to promote different things at each location with easy menu customization.

Go Green and Save Green

Restaurant sustainability efforts will contribute to your overall pizzeria profitability. Not only can you save on costs by reducing food and paper waste and your dependence upon transportation and supplies, but you can also increase your sales by growing your brand loyalty with customers who share these same values and environmental concerns. 

Remember to advertise your sustainability activities so your customers are aware. They may even choose you on that basis, so use your website, mobile app, and social media to highlight the ways you’re working on becoming a greener restaurant. 

To learn about the pizzeria technology solutions that can help jumpstart your restaurant sustainability efforts and provide many other operational advantages, contact HungerRush—a leading provider of industry-specific innovations. Request a demo and see how our solutions will work for you. 

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Considering a New Pizza POS System? Don’t Forget About These Often Overlooked Features

Considering a New Pizza POS System? Don't Forget About These Often Overlooked Features

Pizzerias are a unique vertical of the hospitality industry. Even a skilled full service  restaurant owner or bar manager would need to learn the nuances of the pizza industry to succeed.  In the same way, you wouldn’t expect a traditional restaurant point of sale (POS) system to have the capabilities to address all the distinctive needs of pizzerias. 

Pizzerias require a specific set of features unique to their industry, and frankly, most restaurant point of sale systems aren’t set up to properly meet these needs. If you are looking to invest in a new POS system for your pizza shop, it’s critical that you know exactly what features to look for. 

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Advanced Online Ordering Capabilities and Pizza Delivery Services 

In today’s competitive environment, pizzerias are expected to offer online ordering and delivery services, so it’s critical that your POS system has an integrated online ordering and delivery management system that works on any device.

What to look for in a pizza POS system: 

  • Google Maps integration for delivery drivers 
  • Integrated on-demand delivery services with third parties like DoorDash
  • Powerful reporting and analytics for online sales 
  • Omnichannel customer loyalty program that works no matter how the order is placed
  • PCI-DSS compliance

Some pizzerias may consider using only third-party online ordering and delivery services if they can’t be integrated into their POS, but take heed: unless you have an integration, the third party retains and owns all of the ordering and customer information. Make sure you can access this critical data by ensuring your online ordering and delivery services can be integrated into your pizza POS system. Also keep in mind that without integration, you could end up spending more time managing separate technologies instead of serving up the orders your customers crave.  (You might also be interested in reading our blog: Top Tips for Optimizing Your Pizzeria’s Online Ordering Experience.) 

Your staff (and customers!) will also benefit greatly from a solution that offers Google Maps integration. This helps to constantly update drivers on road conditions, so delivery staff can avoid getting lost or caught off-guard by construction or detours. 

Key advantages to your pizzeria: 

Customers have come to expect an effortless online ordering and delivery services. Give them what they are looking for in 2020. Not only can you increase customer satisfaction, you can improve retention and broaden your customer base. 

Delivery and online ordering for pizza shops also provide an additional revenue stream for your business. As the average pizza online order is 18% higher than phone orders, pizzerias that leverage online ordering and delivery can expect an increase in profits. 

Easy Order Entry and Intuitive Navigation for Pizzerias

Don’t overlook the importance of an easy, intuitive order entry system, as it can make or break your business. 

What to look for in a pizza POS system: 

  • Intuitive interface for ease of use and training
  • Efficient ordering screens at workstations that enable order entries in fewer keystrokes 
  • Customization options to add shortcuts for popular items and modifiers 
  • Industry-specific software equipped with features and capabilities your pizzeria needs
  • Powerful and quick enough to keep up with high-volume environments 

Key advantages for your pizzeria: 

When you have a fast, intuitive interface with easy navigation, faster speed of service isn’t a possibility—it’s an inevitability. Employees can enter orders quicker whether on the phone or in-person, and customizable buttons allow your pizzeria to create the shortcuts you need for even faster service. This is especially important in the pizza industry, as a large percentage of your orders include requests for some sort of customization. 

Easy navigation of the order entry screens also allows for faster and more accurate order entry, which is crucial for customer satisfaction. It’s critical that you can deliver positive experiences, since over half (51%) of customers will never return after just one negative experience.

However, when your pizza POS system is equipped with intuitive navigation and the capabilities you need, orders are more accurate and on-time, which help provide a positive experience for your customers. 

Reliable Support Services for Your Point of Sale Software 

Investing in the right technology for your pizzeria is top priority, but don’t overlook the importance of finding the right POS provider. The POS provider you choose plays a critical role in the overall ROI of your technology investment. Learn more about all of the critical features your pizza POS system needs to have by New call-to-action

What to look for in a pizza POS system: 

  • POS company that specializes in pizza
  • Has a quick response time
  • Offers 24/7/365 availability 
  • Staffs a US-based support team 

Key advantages for your pizzeria: 

First and foremost, only a reputable pizza POS provider that specializes in your industry will know your unique challenges and can identify the right solutions to put in place so you can overcome them. They can also guide you on how to leverage your solutions to get the best return on your investment. 

If there is ever an issue with your pizza POS system, you need a provider that can get you back up and running ASAP, and has the expertise to answer the questions or concerns you have. With a US-based provider that offers 24/7 support, there is no outsourcing, no call centers, and no on-call services. That way, you’ll get faster response times and less downtime when issues arise. 

Scalability for Future Growth of Your Pizzeria 

It’s critical to consider not only the features and functionality your pizzeria needs right now, but also what you will need in the future. 

What to look for in a pizza POS system: 

  • Has ongoing software updates
  • Multi-unit reporting capabilities
  • Customizable menus, specials, and reports by location
  • Can easily add or remove stores 
  • A customer master list to offer loyalty rewards across channels and locations

Key advantages for your pizzeria: 

By investing in technology that can scale and grow with you, you are opening yourself up to a greater growth potential for your business and a more effective way to achieve pizzeria success. Scalability with your technology helps you better prepare for the future. 

What your pizza restaurant needs now may not be the same as what you will need next year, or the year after. As your business grows and the industry evolves, your needs will change. A point of sale is an important investment for your business, so make sure you can get a better return by investing in a system that can take care of both current and future needs. 

Upgrading Your Pizza POS System

As a pizzeria owner, you may be concerned that upgrading your system could lose all of your historical data, or that the installation will require significant downtime and training. And while this may be true if you invest in just any run-of-the-mill restaurant POS, this fearful mentality can sometimes be what holds your business back.

However, when you find the right pizza POS technology and the right provider, these concerns will be reduced.  Industry-leading pizza POS systems, like what HungerRush POS offers, make it easy to switch over from your legacy system. Our industry experts are adept at handling the transition, installation, and training—making the process hassle-free and stress-free for pizzeria owners. Our systems are designed specifically for pizzerias, and include the critical functions and features that will prove instrumental in your success. For more information, New call-to-action today. 

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3 Signs Your Pizzeria Menu Management System Needs a Major Makeover

3 Signs Your Pizzeria Menu Management System Needs a Major Makeover

Your menu is important. It’s what draws customers in and what keeps them coming back. But what the most successful pizzeria owners understand is managing your menu is just as important to the overall operational success of your restaurant. 

Three signs your pizzeria needs better POS software to manage your menu include:

  1. You Find it Difficult to Manage Your Pizzeria’s Menu
  2. Your Customers Are Missing Out on Special Pricing Promotions
  3. Your Software Requires too Many Keystrokes to Enter an Order

Manage your menu effectively, and you can create and run promotions at the drop of a hat, streamline your ordering process, and optimize your menu offerings. Manage your menu poorly, and you could end up with frustrated employees, disgruntled customers, and a loss in profits. 

Successful menu management starts with your pizza POS software—more specifically, the restaurant menu management system in your point of sale system. Here’s how to tell if yours is in need of updating: 

1. You Find it Difficult to Manage Your Pizzeria’s Menu

You’re probably experiencing this issue if: 

  • 86’d items are still showing up in the order entry system 
  • Menu specials are difficult to implement on your POS
  • Menu items are inconsistent on different ordering platforms

Why it’s bad for pizzerias: 

By not having a consistent, easily-managed menu, pizzerias can expect to find confused employees unaware of changes to the menu or out-of-stock items. You can also run into inconsistent orders, as some customers may get menu specials and others may not if all systems aren’t in sync. Even worse, you could find yourself with confused, unhappy customers and a reputation for being unreliable. All of these lead to a loss of revenue, especially when it comes to online orders since they are, on average, about 18% higher than phone orders. 

How to solve this problem: 

Restaurants need a consistent menu on all ordering channels—including all in-store workstations, mobile devices, and online ordering platforms. To be most successful all of these outlets’ menus should be managed in your point of sale system. Pizzerias need a way to quickly and easily edit menus in case ingredients run out or another change is needed. If an item runs out during a busy rush, you can’t afford any downtime, so it’s important that you are able to make changes instantly and have these changes reflected immediately across all ordering channels. 

All of this can only be accomplished by overhauling your unreliable software in favor of a robust restaurant menu management system in your POS that has the functions pizzeria owners require.  

2. Your Customers Are Missing Out on Special Pricing Opportunities

You’re probably experiencing this issue if: 

  • Pricing changes are complicated and time-consuming to carry out
  • Changes must be made to each individual workstation and ordering channel separately
  • Special pricing is inconsistent across workstations and channels 

Why it’s bad for pizzerias: 

When the pricing on your menu is difficult to edit, it can cause employees to be flustered if they are unsure of pricing changes or can’t enter the correct price into the system very easily. For example, a customer may have received an email for a limited-time lunch special, but when the employee goes to ring it up, the point of sale is still showing the regular pricing. This leads to confusion and frustration for both the customer and the staff member. Inconsistent pricing and specials at different locations or on different ordering channels can frustrate customers when they learn they’ve paid more than they needed to, or missed out on a deal. Customers may come to believe your pizzeria is unreliable, and more likely to try the competition for their next pizza order. 

How to solve this problem: 

The best POS system for pizza shops will have the ability to easily change pricing based on item, day, time, or for other limited promotions. Once a change is made, it is reflected across all systems and ordering channels automatically. This allows owners to make changes whenever they need to, while still ensuring customers get the correct pricing. 

3. Your Software Requires Too Many Keystrokes to Enter an Order 

You’re probably experiencing this issue if: 

  • Staff is spending significant time entering orders
  • Staff has trouble inputting complex or customized orders 
  • New employees have a hard time learning all the steps it takes to complete transactions
  • Order entry time doubles or triples when modifiers, substitutions, or extras are included 

Why it’s bad for pizzerias: 

With over 76,993 pizzerias in the US, competition is tight, and every second counts. When an order takes too many keystrokes, your pizzeria’s customer experience can deteriorate. Extra keystrokes take longer, slowing down the time it takes to complete each transaction and causing longer wait times for customers. More keystrokes also lead to more opportunities for errors and mistakes to arise. 

How to solve this problem: 

Pizzerias need an order entry system that is intuitive for your staff and has no wasted keystrokes. Look for a system that is designed specifically for the pizza industry, and can quickly and easily navigate even the most unconventional customer orders. The fewer keystrokes required, the faster you can fulfill orders, and the more accurate your orders will be. The best POS system for pizza shops will equip you to operate as efficiently as possible so you can meet customer demands, increase speed of service, and stay competitive. 

Serving Up Satisfaction: 

Menu management matters more than you may have realized. If done poorly, it can slow your restaurant down, cause confusion and errors, reduce profit margins, and ultimately end up damaging your reputation. The best POS systems for pizza shops, are purposefully designed to meet the needs of pizzerias. The proper pizza POS software makes it easy for you to make changes to your menu and prices, and the intuitive interface requires fewer keystrokes and less time per transaction. 

When you have the right pizza POS system, serving up customer satisfaction is easier You become empowered to make better menu and pricing decisions for your business, and are equipped with the technology you need to speed up ordering, offer profitable promotions, and provide the kinds of customer experiences that drive loyalty. 

For more information on restaurant menu management software and how HungerRush’s pizza POS software can help improve your operations, New call-to-action with HungerRush today. 

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