Technology ‘essential’ for trade businesses

A QUALITY pint of draught beer, a skilfully-made cocktail, a perfectly-cooked dish featuring locally-sourced ingredients, live music, sport on the big screen – operators continually strive to give consumers things they can’t replicate at home.
Having the offer is all well and good, but licensees won’t see real results unless it’s backed up with first class customer service.

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Achieving consistency in this area isn’t always easy.
Recruiting enthusiastic staff and implementing regular customer service training is obviously key.
But EPOS firms say technology also plays an “essential” role in delivering smooth, efficient service.
Owen Chen, president and chief executive of Posiflex Technology, said the right system can help give an outlet the edge over others at a time when “competition has never been greater”.
“In a world where customers expect quick and efficient service, licensees need bar systems that not only deliver accurate management information but also improve the overall customer service,” he said.
“EPOS systems have, therefore, become an essential part of business for licensees, with even the smallest operations relying on the technology to reduce service times and improve order efficiency.”
As well as helping staff carry out their jobs more efficiently, EPOS can also ‘free up’ licensees and managers from many of the back-office responsibilities to focus more on front of house.
Stuart Coetzee, business development director at TISSL, said: “The right EPOS solution will allow pub operators to focus on what they are good at – serving food and drink and providing excellent customer service – whilst the EPOS solution runs the business.
“EPOS today is about much more than processing sales transactions; it has become the hub for complementary systems, including customer loyalty and stock management.”
The benefits an EPOS system can bring to both the front and back of house aspects of a licensed business were underlined by John Thomson of Glasgow-based Cash Control Equipment, which was recently acquired by Sims Automatics.
“An effective EPOS system can increase productivity and accuracy, helping staff, business owners and customers alike achieve their respective goals from a bar or restaurant,” he said.
“[Benefits include] speed of service, accurate bills and accurate print-outs or screens in the kitchen. Remote hand-held waiter pads enable orders to be taken and sent to the kitchen immediately.
“Cloud-based reporting and stock control enables [operators to view] ‘live’ data any time, anywhere.”
According to Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean, modern EPOS systems are “so much more than a till” and can give operators “complete control and visibility” over their business.
“EPOS, when used to its full potential, can provide operators with a huge amount of data insight and solutions that can really drive sales and enhance the customer experience,” he said.
“Today, operators can expect integrated systems that can support every area of their business.”
Beyond standard back-office functions, such as sales and stock control, EPOS systems can bring a host of other benefits to help operators run their business well, according to Robin Knox, chief executive of Intelligent Point of Sale.
“Advanced EPOS systems will be integrated with all aspects of running a bar and this is a huge benefit when managing businesses smoothly and efficiently,” he said.
“As well as managing stock and staffing levels, a good EPOS system will link customer transactions straight into accounting software that will create the likes of VAT returns and GP statements.
“It is the means to access vital data and information necessary to manage a business and make timely and informed decisions.”
As technology continues to evolve, it is important operators keep their EPOS system under review to ensure it meets the needs of the business now and in the future, suppliers say.
Shannon Arnold, director of marketing at Maitre’D EPOS, said mobile technology is an important consideration.
“At the same time as it allows wait staff to be more productive, sell more and turn more tables faster, it allows them to be present on the floor most of the time, providing better customer service,” said Arnold.
Paul Steven, director of ACR EPOS Systems, agreed, saying hand-held devices are “becoming more popular”.
“Key members of staff can be on the floor taking orders and up-selling without having to return to the bar or kitchen area to place the order,” he said.
“Orders are wirelessly transmitted to the EPOS and any kitchen or dispense printers helping increase the speed of service.”