Four Ingredients for a Successful POS
For myself and DAS BBQ (http://www.dasbbq.com/) that includes the right mix of technology to take tasks off of key peoples’ plates, and the right Point of Sale (POS) system to keep the business on track.
My partners and I opened DAS BBQ in December 2016. When you’re creating a new restaurant, there’s much required: operations work, creativity and due diligence. But as a new restaurant with no legacy systems or bad habits from any old conversions, we had a tremendous opportunity to set things up right from the beginning, utilizing available Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology.
I knew we wanted a system that we could customize, that offers full functionality in mobile form, that provides cash flow management capabilities and that can scale and grow with the business. Those were our critical ingredients. After carefully reviewing various available POS systems, our team chose Clover (https://www.clover.com/).
Below, I’ve included more detail about each ingredient and how you can apply these in your search for the right POS system.
Ingredient #1: Customizing for Efficiency
It’s important to look for a system that’s easy to track, customize, and make specific to your business model. Instead of working with multiple software programs for various tasks, having everything in one place allows your team to streamline operations and administrative work and focus on ensuring a great experience for your customers. Our team has customized Clover to help manage our operations by using some of the applications available via Clover’s Application Market. These apps help us with various aspects of our business, including:
- Tailoring rewards experiences to the things customers enjoy.
- Allowing customers to easily open a tab. DAS BBQ offers self-service beer; our customers can easily add their beer to a tab on any device without having to wait in line.
- Custom tailoring auto-generated emails to customers who’ve shared their email, making it easy to market to them.
- Collecting sales tax. For many restaurants, improper tax collection is a common pitfall. The app we use automatically collects, files and pays sales tax on our behalf, stopping headaches before they start.
- Exporting and syncing information into our accounting software. The app helps us keep tabs on our vendor relationships to see which ones are most efficient, and helps us to locate new sources if existing sources aren’t working as well as we would like.
Ingredient #2: Mobility
Customer experience is essential to a successful business – and today, it’s not just about getting their order right. Their experience includes everything from ease of use of a loyalty program to checkout. It’s critical to make transactions convenient for them. Consider where and how your customers make payments, and find a POS system that meets them where they are.
Our POS looks so much better than an old-school cash register. But beyond its appearance, I think it sends a great message to our customers: we want your interaction with us to be easy and smooth, your experience positive, and for you to keep coming back. For us, that means not just a good experience at the counter, but wherever we serve customers – at their tables, off-site for catering events and more. So mobility was a critical element in our selection of a POS system.
For us, Clover does a fantastic job of servicing the counter and our takeout window, which is a big piece of our business. Then we have a Clover Go and Clover Mini devices for catering activities.
Ingredient #3: Managing Cash Flow
I’d suggest to any small business owner that their POS search should always include a serious look at the cash flow management capabilities of the system.
DAS BBQ is a new restaurant working to make its mark on the Atlanta food scene, and so cash flow is especially critical for us. Clover has helped us keep tabs on our cash flow overall. With Clover, we never wonder where our money is. That’s real peace of mind for anyone looking over the books.
Ingredient #4: Positioning for Growth
A POS should not only scale with your business’ growth, but also help you intelligently share your financial picture with your stakeholders. Startup costs for restaurants are steep, and any new restaurant has lots of capital to return to somebody. We credit Clover with helping keep tabs on finances as business has begun to take off. With just the push of a button, I can see immediately what used to take hours to prepare, and I can customize the reports to show exactly what I need to our investors.
In just over six months in business, DAS BBQ is already at capacity. We have added new smokers and are looking to grow more in the months and years ahead. We are looking at accepting online orders, adding more catering engagements and considering new locations. We feel that Clover will help us as we prepare for and execute that growth.