Hospitality Technology’s annual POS Software Trends Report polls restaurant operators about the major business drivers influencing point of sale technology, and asks them about the functionality they’ll be shopping for in their next POS upgrade (Figures 1 and 2). HT also asks the POS software vendor community to reveal their 2014 plans. This year’s results overwhelmingly indicate that restaurant operators and suppliers alike are focusing on mobile POS strategies, and are looking to add everything from mobile payment to tablet-based ordering to their repertoires.
When asked to ID the key business drivers pushing them to make a POS upgrade, the vast majority (69.6%) of restaurant operators named “adding a mobile POS” (Figure 1). Coming in a close second, 62.5% chose “enabling new payment options.” Rounding out their top three business drivers, almost half of restaurants surveyed (46.4%) named “delivering personalized guest promotions” as a major objective.
When asked to choose the top features they’re seeking in their next POS upgrade (Figure 2), mobility was top-of-mind, with 45.8% naming mobile phone integration as a top pick. Other high-scoring selections included: tablet integration (44.1%) tableside POS for ordering and/or payment (42.2%), and mobile wallet integration (35.6%). On the operations side, 40.7% of restaurants are seeking access to enterprise-wide/centralized POS data, and 37.3% are looking at cloud and hosted software.
VENDOR INNOVATIONS & PREDICTIONS:
One meaningful way of analyzing technology trends is to query the supplier community about their focus areas. HT reached out to the POS software vendors for their updates, and 26 leading companies provided insight into the trends and functionality they plan to address in 2014, along with a recap of their 2013 innovations. All 26 suppliers who participated in this report are focusing on mobile functionality in 2014. Many are also addressing the impending U.S. migration to EMV/chip-based payment. Here’s the complete report.
2013 Advancements: InfoGenesis POS v4.4 was made available as an on-premise solution or SaaS application. Built on simplified architecture, it includes increased single check tender support, expanded support for revenue categories, MasterCard mandate support and inclusive gratuity configuration. InfoGenesis Mobile v2.0 is a full-featured mobile POS application that integrates with the InfoGenesis POS system. Agilysys continued to enhance its Elevate POS solution, a web-based POS application that operates in the cloud for ease of deployment and remote updates.
2013 Advancements: Aireus is an Apple iPad restaurant POS application designed and built to operate wirelessly as a native application on iPads. This year, they added capabilities that allow staff to meet and work with guests wirelessly with all necessary core restaurant POS features. Aireus continues to add back-office features such as Data Analytics, Custom Reporting and Integrated Online Ordering that pulls in CRM information. For fast casual, Aireus developed self-service kiosks, and released a newly-designed module for pizzerias.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Aireus will continue to focus on customer self-ordering features and design as well as offering a solution installed on the table. More enterprise functionality will also become prominent. Aireus plans to expand feature sets out to allow social media integration at a higher level.
ALDELO SYSTEMS (www.aldelo.com)
2013 Advancements: Aldelo introduced its Enterprise Solution with Data Warehousing, consolidated above store reporting, offsite accounting data integration, offsite data storage, secured franchise communications, franchise royalty tracking, and near real-time statistical analysis. The native iPad POS offers mobility and cloud back-end with integrated payment processing. Aldelo’s end-to-end cloud-based multi-store management solution is entirely web-based for simplicity, efficiency, and universal accessibility on any Internet browser-enabled devices.
2014 Plans & Predictions: Aldelo will increase mobility offerings and expand cloud-based options. Advancements will continue in online ordering, mobile payments, mobile order-taking, data management, remote management, iPad, mobile platform options and updates, and changes to existing software offerings for the hospitality industry.
2013 Advancements: The POS Universal Application allows merchants’ service providers to simultaneously deliver feature and compliance updates to disparate terminal families. Apriva released the tablet version of mobile payment software and merchant boards for AprivaPay Plus and white labeled solutions have exceeded 300% in the past year. Apriva’s unattended vending solution also enjoyed steady growth.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Apriva is investing heavily in new mobile commerce solutions, both on the POS side, as well as the unattended payment space. One area that will see significant activity revolves around EMV. Apriva has developed innovations to help merchants move into an EMV environment and will work closely with providers and merchants to ensure they meet mandates.
ASI/RESTAURANT MANAGER (www.rmpos.com)
2013 Advancements: Restaurant Manager continued its offering of mPOS solutions such as: RM Pager which allows restaurants to send customers a text message when a table becomes available; online ordering optimized for mobile; RM Kiosk iPad POS app, a customer-facing technology that allows patrons to browse menus, make selections, and place orders using an iPad POS. RM Pager and mobile online ordering meet the needs of customers while reducing hardware costs for restaurants and the RM kiosk iPad POS solution, cuts payroll costs and increases transaction speeds.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Customer self-ordering will become more popular. The challenge is high hardware costs. ASI is developing BYOD solutions that take advantage of patrons’ technology. Allowing customers to browse menus and place orders on smartphones provides the benefits of self-ordering but with lower costs. iPads in restaurants will become the norm and POS developers that can’t accommodate this will be left behind. The Restaurant Manager POS system is hardware agnostic, however, ASI is developing native iPad POS apps to take advantage of the interface’s look, feel and functionality.
BRINK POS (www.brinksoftware.com)
2013 Advancements: The POS enterprise mobile dashboard makes real-time consolidated data and key metrics accessible to operators of any size. Brink POS released an advanced alerting system to instantly deliver actionable information to operators’ smartphones. Additional enhancements to the cloud-based solution include in-store self-ordering via mobile devices, integrated guest surveys that can associate individual responses to specific transactions, and tracking of external marketing campaigns down to order level. Brink added additional hardware/peripheral support; including tablets, biometric fingerprint readers, and drive-thru order displays.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Brink will continue to add fully integrated features that utilize its cloud architecture. Expanding existing support for tablets and other mobile devices, along with adding social media marketing tools will be important as operators leverage POS to empower guests to drive higher sales through self-ordering, self-payment, and self-promotion functions.
CUSTOM BUSINESS SOLUTIONS (www.cbsnorthstar.com)
2013 Advancements: CBS released NorthStar Order Entry (NSOE), an iPad-based POS solution that brings to life the “one database platform” concept to serve multiple ordering modes including POS (staff-facing), guest, kiosk, web and mobile plus data all in one platform.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Traditional hard-wired POS systems will be less common as all-mobile, all-the-time systems take their place. Operators will embrace multi-use devices, for example, a tablet POS station that can double as a mobile line-buster terminal. Restaurateurs will look to technology to make operations easier, efficient, measurable and enable operators to be nimble and responsive to changing customer trends.
2013 Advancements: Dinerware launched Home Office, a cloud-based management tool that provides a PCI-approved, secure connection, in real-time to the system. Remote access and full system control are possible. Home Office is bundled with a data dashboard and the ability to set up and generate automatic scheduled reports. Users access multiple locations from a single log-on.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Dinerware will continue development and growth of the Home Office cloud platform and tablet-based offerings. Mobile payment partners and CRM/loyalty providers will play a bigger role in developing vertical integration offerings for the merchant.
FUTURE POS INC. (www.futurepos.com)
2013 Advancements: Future POS eliminated the need for third-party credit card interfaces. This enables the creation of residual opportunities for resellers and gives them a single point of support if something goes wrong. Future POS has made progress towards a mobile POS offering, which will work seamlessly with its existing back office module.
2014 Predictions & Plans: POS companies will continue to develop mobile offerings, in response to the flood of “app POS” systems. While many companies won’t be around in five years, they have identified a niche market for low-cost alternatives to Windows-based POS terminals. Future POS will be delivering app POS solutions.
GRANBURY RESTAURANT SOLUTIONS (www.granburyrs.com)
2013 Advancements: Thr!ve is a full-featured POS and pizza delivery system for Android and iPad tablets. Tableside service on handheld tablets communicates with traditional POS stations. Enterprise reporting and loyalty solutions provide a complete view of interactions and can track individuals, offer incentives to change behavior, and spot trends. Customers experience consistent branding via integrated online, mobile and in-store ordering as well as follow-up surveys and rewards.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Restaurants will increasingly turn to flexible, simplified solutions for in-store POS, websites, social media, marketing, online ordering and back-office systems. The ability to manage business with fully integrated systems is critical for small chain and independent restaurant success.
2013 Advancements: Lighthouse allows owners to run reports and make updates to menus from any computer with an Internet connection, eliminating the need for a back-office computer. Harbortouch partnered with Tabbedout to integrate mobile payment and merchant marketing solutions directly into the POS. This allows customers to pay using the Tabbedout mobile app and merchants to take advantage of Tabbedout’s loyalty and offer platform.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Harbortouch is planning on launching various new features and functionality to its POS systems. Harbortouch will introduce online ordering functionality that will enable restaurants to accept orders through existing websites. Orders will be routed through the POS. Another add-on will be tableside ordering via iPad. Harbortouch will continue to add support for emerging payment technologies such as EMV and NFC.
HP/HEWLITT PACKARD (www.hp.com)
2013 Advancements: HP MX10 Retail Solution is a three-in-one integrated solution — combining the HP ElitePad tablet, HP Retail Jacket and the HP Retail Expansion Dock — that helps transition between a mobile and fixed POS. Slipping an HP ElitePad into the retail-ready jacket forms the MPOS with integrated magnetic stripe reader, bar-code imager and extended battery. This allows for tableside ordering, queue busting for drive-thrus, and servicing curbside orders. In non-peak times, the operator can place the ElitePad MPOS into the Retail Expansion Dock, with optional cash drawer and receipt printer, to transition from mobile to fixed POS.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Mobility will continue to be a trend and systems will augment traditional fixed POS systems. HP MX10 gives operators the advantage of a three-in-one solution that allows them to assist customers, improving table turns and operational efficiency. Because HP MX10 is a Windows-based POS system, it can integrate with and be managed in the existing IT infrastructure.
MENUSOFT/DIGITAL DINING (www.digitaldining.com)
2013 Advancements: Menusoft completed work on its fully customizable graphic engine that lets restaurants blend the corporate theme to the POS. The solution is operating-system and form-factor agnostic so it sizes and sets resolution via self-sensing technology. Menusoft added gesturing to cut down the amount of key strokes needed. Emphasis has been on user experience and maximizing ease-of-use and speed. The company has added mobile specific functionality, intelligence, and mobile payment. Menusoft developed EMV and pay-at-the-table EMV solutions for Canada and will be ready for the U.S. mandate in 2015.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Mobile payment and loyalty will continue to be the way business is done. There is demand for feature-rich POS that is flexible, easy to use, yet tested in high-volume situations regardless of connectivity. Menusoft is starting to do more work on cloud and back-office projects which will use the graphics engineering for the POS as well as the .net technology.
2013 Advancements: MICROS continued its open systems strategy and extended apps to the Android platform. The company released the mStation and mTablet, a touchscreen solution. An integrated solution, the mStation with removable mTablet are ruggedized and weather resistant and work in sync when together; or the mTablet can operate on its own in a mobile fashion. MICROS also released inMotion, a native mobile app companion to mymicros.net, which provides real-time, actionable information, allowing operators to evaluate performance, measure success against forecast, and make better, faster decisions.
2014 Predictions & Plans: MICROS will be the first to offer a cross-vertical (F&B, retail and hotel) EMV solution globally by launching its “Payment Gateway,” currently used in 20 countries, to its U.S. clients. This will position U.S. clients to be ready for EMV once standards are available. MICROS will launch another wave of multi-touch and mashup apps. Clients will embrace and bring scale to MICROS’ mobility-first strategy in a variety of ways including branded consumer apps and deployments of the mStation and mTablet to large venues. MICROS analytics will expand outside the realm of POS-generated data, to leverage social and other big-data sources into insightful app mashups with traditional operational data.
2013 Advancements: Microsoft Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry extends the power of Windows 8 to industry devices including POS devices, allowing for: improved connectivity and mobility with roaming enhancements, Bluetooth 4.0 support, and NFC printer support; enhanced security through improvements in malware resistance, out-of-the box device encryption and biometrics; deeper lockdown control with customizable scenarios, configuration and the ability to lockdown USB peripheral and hardware; better manageability and an updated user experience.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Touchscreen capability and natural user interface will gain ground to enable shortened training cycles for a transient workforce. Mobile POS will be in demand to help enhance customer experiences and improve employee engagement. POS sophistication will increase as efficiencies in customer service continue to be essential. Intelligent POS solutions offer intuitive user interface, support mobility, and enable seamless integration with back-office systems such as CRM/loyalty, workforce and inventory management. Such solutions enable large amounts of POS data to be collected, processed and translated into BI.
NCR CORPORATION/RADIANT SYSTEMS (www.ncr.com)
2013 Advancements: Aloha Mobile allows restaurants to easily and securely deploy mobile POS software technology for tableside ordering and payment. The expanded Pulse application allows operators to view real-time business data on a mobile device. NCR teamed with PayPal on NCR Mobile Pay, giving guests greater control of dining experiences. Patrons can review an order, add to it, tip and pay, and take a survey, all from their smartphone. NCR launched Cloud Connect, a hosted infrastructure that allows third parties and customers to integrate, maintain and deploy solutions across NCR’s install base.
2014 Predictions & Plans: The POS will continue to expand as a “solution enabler” vs. “product” and it’ll be easier for third parties to connect to NCR’s install base of more than 100,000 locations, offering operators the ability to drive operational efficiencies, and enhance the mobile experience for operators and consumers. Restaurants will have more choices on how to deploy POS systems and further enhancements will transform guest experiences while improving order accuracy, increasing speed of service and strengthening overall security.
PARTECH INC. (PAR, www.partech.com)
2013 Advancements: ParTech launched a new version of PAR EverServ PixelPoint POS software. With more than 40 new features and enhancements, PixelPoint provides greater flexibility and capabilities to help operators simplify deployment, reduce costs and improve customer service. Key enhancements include: extended capabilities for tablets, the ability to purchase as a monthly subscription, configurable security and compliance features, EMV payment and fiscal framework to expedite global deployments, and simplified tools for building custom and more standard reports.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Key trends will include continued growth in tablets, cloud-based POS, mobile payment and new mobile applications. Traditional POS software will support more tablet and smart phone platforms and more restaurants will tap cloud-based POS and back-office solutions. More small independent restaurants will opt for iOS and Android-based POS applications to take advantage of lower cost, disposable equipment.
PC AMERICA (www.pcamerica.com)
2013 Advancements: The Restaurant Pro Express POS software package migrated to tablet devices, enabling smaller footprints at the counter and the ability to process mobile transactions around and outside the restaurant. Enhancements include on-screen signature capture (using a finger), interface adjustments for faster mobile transactions, and compatibility with mobile MSRs for tableside payment. Restaurant Pro Express embraced additional mobile wallet and loyalty programs including Paydiant, LevelUp and ISIS.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Restaurant Pro Express will embrace additional third-party platforms, creating the ability to generate personalized campaigns based on purchase history and other factors. pcAmerica will introduce more web-based capability, allowing owners and managers to monitor and control business technology remotely.
2013 Advancements: The DataBoard mobile app allows users to monitor critical information in real-time and receive alerts on smartphones. Users can manage businesses proactively and remotely, positively impacting profits. Posera has concentrated on expanding available integrations and interfaces with third party solutions due to increasing demand from users for integrations with existing systems. These allow customers to leverage POS and other business systems, increase productivity and profits, and get greater ROI.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Posera plans to evaluate different opportunities for new mobile applications that complement its POS system features. Posera is watching trends around mobile ordering and payment solutions, cloud-based POS and the integration and use of social media platforms.
REVEL SYSTEMS (www.revelsystems.com)
2013 Advancements: Revel Systems built a robust Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution and was the first POS to adopt EMV and Chip-and-PIN compatibility. Revel released the first photo confirmation anti-identity theft protection (patent pending) built directly into the POS. With this, an image of the credit card holder appears every time a card is swiped. Now PayPal’s mobile app is connected with Revel Systems to allow users to order ahead using Revel’s iPad POS solution. New integration to QuickBooks allows users to export all sales, product mix and other financial information.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Revel predicts the adoption rates of iPad POS in retail, restaurant and grocery growing exponentially while moving into other market segments. iPad POS will be everywhere as more owners become aware of the enterprise-level functionality and security that solutions provide for both front- and back-end. Another consideration for 2014 will be EMV processing and PCI compliance.
SILVERWARE POS INC. (www.silverwarepos.com)
2013 Advancements: The SilverWare Avrio tableside ordering solution is now seamlessly integrated with the SilverWare Avrio POS system. Waitstaff can place orders from the cloud on a handheld device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Menu items are printed in the kitchen/bar and the POS is updated in real time. This increases efficiency, maximizes revenue, and reduces costs.
2014 Predictions & Plans: SilverWares has plans for a mobile menu browser using customer smartphones along with enhanced BI utilizing real-time alerts, ad-hoc information, and customizable data-mining. The company predicts continued integration with smartphones and tablets for reservations, waitlists, plus tableside and online ordering.
SPEEDLINE SOLUTIONS (www.speedlinesolutions.com)
2013 Advancements: SpeedLine introduced new options for restaurants with dine-in and delivery, adding new table service management and mobile POS capabilities. Tablets added line-busting and self-service options for quick service. SpeedLine LiveMaps introduced new ways to speed up delivery expediting, shorten delivery times, and reduce delivery costs.
2014 Predictions & Plans: A sharper focus on customer intelligence will drive innovation in data analytics and a growing demand for tools to give customers more control over the order process and dining experience. Rich, open data sharing between the POS and other customer-touching apps and systems will make this possible.
SQUIRREL S YSTEMS (www.squirrelsystems.com)
2013 Advancements: Squirrel released Squirrel in a Box+ with several new features building on the original Squirrel in a Box solution designed for simpler and smaller footprint operations. In addition to traditional fixed terminals, Squirrel in a Box+ software can run on a variety of mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows, for added flexibility.
2014 Predictions and Plans: Squirrel will continue enhancing mobile offerings as more restaurants adopt technology for tableside ordering and payments. Another area of focus is enterprise management, making it easier for multi-unit operators to manage individual store menus, promotions, and POS configurations from a central location.
2013 Advancements: Vivonet’s release of Vivonet Mobile allows consumers to place orders, pay and engage with social media, from Android or iOS smartphones. Vivonet also released a self-order kiosk product for restaurants that want to provide engaging and efficient self-order and payment capabilities to consumers on- or off-premises though iPad. These ordering channels are integrated into Vivonet’s POS Cloud.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Vivonet is extending the multichannel POS with a web-ordering strategy that integrates social media sites directly into the Vivonet POS Cloud. This will allow consumers to seamlessly move between engagement and sharing on social media to purchasing. To close the gap between restaurants and consumers, the Vivonet POS Cloud will incorporate consumers and their profiles. Merchants will know who consumers are, how, what, and when they purchase, and will market to them relevantly and directly.
2013 Advancements: Wand focused on incorporating its cloud-based, enterprise platform to work with back-office software, digital and POS, allowing customers to manage everything from food inventory to labor laws and scheduling. Developments focused on: single cloud-based platform controls, digital menus, and back-office systems; scalable from one to 10,000 sites with drill-down access to all levels of the enterprise; franchisor and franchisee roles control access for everyone from CEO to store manager; centrally administer recipes, products, caloric data, prices, reports, employees, and biometrics; proactive monitoring, remote software updates, and 24/7/365 support.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Plans include mobile application downloaded by the consumer that allows them to place orders via mobile phone or tablet. The customized application will integrate with current POS system branding and message. Tablet POS options allow for increased speed of service and enhanced guest experience, and allow brands to avoid long lines and optimize ordering during a rush. Amped-up loyalty programs will incorporate social media, mobile ordering and engage consumers.
2013 Advancements: Xpient deployed the XPIENT Commerce Engine, which seamlessly processes restaurant transactions whether they originate in an individual location or in the cloud, such as from a smartphone, tablet or the web. The kitchen management solution was enhanced to add several fast-casual features that improve order accuracy, while at the same time enabling production processes that provide a more personal experience for the customer.
2014 Predictions & Plans: Xpient will extend and enhance the Commerce Engine to support orders originating from any device to include location/in-store employees in addition to customers, wherever they may be physically located.