The idea of data sharing is not something usually on the mind of a restaurant operator - but it should be.
Technology applications are helping restaurants get better results in every part of their business. From reducing food waste, inventory management to getting more customers, different systems are helping restaurants do more with less.
This has lead to a situation where restaurants might have four or five independent technology solutions all operating separetely. The next generation of restaurant software is moving the industry from a siloed world to an interconnected one.
Sharing data between systems unlocks infinitely more potential from restaurant tech restaurants are already using.
Combining customer information across systems, for example, connecting revenue data from the POS with booking data from the reservation system, gives restaurants insights into customer behavior that were previously unimaginable.
There are many possible ways interconnected data can help restaurants do a better job. At the top of that list is undoubtedly a connected POS. The POS is the main store of revenue data for a restaurant and matching this data with customer, inventory or ordering data allows a restaurant operator to find trends and successes based on revenue rather than more fuzzy, and less useful metrics.
Ultimately this leads to better decision making and consequently more profit.
How does POS integration work?
POS integration is a software solution that enables data sharing between a POS and other systems in a restaurant. Data flows from the POS terminals to a centralized POS server, and then through custom integration software to a cloud based data warehouse, to the system where the data is being shared.
The example below assumes the POS is sharing data with a restaurant reservation system. POS data flows only one way to the connected devices and all data encrypted along the way making it a totally closed and secure system.
A new era for personalization
Personalization is a hot topic in restaurant customer service, and technology is playing a central role in giving restaurants the tools they need to provide everything from customized service to better marketing.
POS integration takes the idea of personalization to the next level. Previously restaurants used diner histories, notes and tags to provide a more personalized approach.
POS integration however gives staff the ability to see what the customer ordered on previous visits and what they spend money on. This gives managers the option to comp previously ordered items for high spenders for example, or to simply ask the guest highly relevant questions.
On the marketing side, POS integration gives restaurant marketers new customer segmentation ideas for targeted messaging based on menu items ordered or popular dishes.
Find VIPs based on revenue data not guesswork
VIPs and repeat guests are the life blood of successful restaurants. It costs much less to get an existing customer to return and they also fuel word-of-mouth. Defining who your VIPs are and then knowing which guests are VIPs when they walk in the door is extremely important.
A great way to define VIPs is through realized revenue rather than number of visits or guesswork. If you know that your 10% of guests spend a certain amount in a quarter or a year you can easily decide who is a VIP and who is not.
POS integration allows you to connect guest spend to your customer database making this technique possible. It doesn't have to be the only way you track VIPs, but it adds another way of understanding your guests and which ones are likely to become strong supporters of your restaurant.
Powerful guest analytics
The POS system is a great tool for understanding restaurant performance. Restaurant owners routinely use the POS the find popular menu items for menu engineering, as well as revenue and business accounting.
But as POS systems use tickets rather than actual guests to store data, restaurants have historically had poor data when it comes to guest analytics. POS integration is a process that matches tables and guests to POS revenue, meaning restaurants can now connect the dots between customers and spend.
With POS integration, restaurants gain insight into:
- Guest revenue totals by month
- Server revenue totals by month
- Average guest spend per month
- Spend on the individual guest level
- Guest spend trends over the week
- Average life time value of guests
Armed with this information, operators make decisions and set targets that impact the business overall.
Segmented marketing strategies
More and more, restaurants are looking beyond email blasts to their entire guest database. By grouping guests into relevant 'buckets' and sending messages based on customer groupings restaurants can increase marketing engagement and ultimately help boost retention over the long terms.
POS integration with a restaurant's CRM, enables advanced customer segmentation based on revenue and order history data, and therefore the ability to send targeted emails to guest who meet certain criteria.
Examples include emails for high or low spenders, or to people who ordered certain menu items previously and can be incentivized to return with similar special offers.