What is Your Mobile Payments Strategy?

wand-mobile-paymentsMobile payments are booming, especially for restaurants. It’s right up there with tablets in terms of being a smoking hot topic in the restaurant POS industry. The majority of consumers want to be able to order food right from their mobile device and pick it up (or, even better, have it delivered) quickly.

With that in mind, multi-unit restaurant chains are introducing new mobile apps and payment systems at an incredible rate. And with good results; those restaurants using them are able to increase sales significantly and, in some cases, reduce their labor investment as a result of not needing as many clerks in the restaurants to take orders in-person.

So what’s your mobile payments strategy? You may have already determined it, but if not, here are the three biggest strategies we’re seeing restaurants use:READ MORE >>

9 Ways You Should be Using Your Restaurant POS System to Prevent Theft

WAND-POSA restaurant POS system is crucial to a restaurant’s financial success; it processes hundreds (sometimes thousands) of transactions daily.  Unfortunately, among all those transactions it becomes too easy for employees to become thieves and steal from restaurant operators.

Here are nine ways you should be using your restaurant POS system to prevent theft:READ MORE >>

5 Ways You Should be Future Proofing Your Restaurant POS System Today

contactless-paymentsThe restaurant POS system of today doesn’t look anything like the restaurant POS system of tomorrow. Advancements in technology and new customer behavior means POS systems are rapidly changing and we all have to keep up.

Here are some things restaurants should be doing today to future proof their POS systems so they will be able to be used in the future as technology changes.

1. Accept contactless payments. With the launch of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard, PayPal, Samsung Pay and CurrentTC (MCX) customers are expecting and embracing the use of mobile payments. Getting near field communication (NFC) on your POS system today will ensure you’re prepared as the use of this technology continues to boom, particularly with younger Millennial and Gen Z audiences who are frequenters of limited service establishments.

2. Build in loyalty applications. Speaking of younger generations, loyalty programs are huge with QSR and Fast Casual establishments, with repeat Millennial and Gen Z customers using these on every visit. The use of loyalty programs at limited service restaurants is growing as people now expect to be rewarded for being a loyal customer. Your restaurant POS should be built to support a concept’s loyalty application so cashiers can quickly recognize and reward customers for their frequent visits.

3. Integrating with your digital menus. Your restaurant POS system should synch with both your indoor and outdoor Digital Menu Boards so you can ensure all prices and items are displayed properly in all locations. Having a highly profitable popular food item displayed prominently on your menu is great, until the cashier can’t find it in the POS system. The use of digital menus continues to explode across the country so making sure your POS integrates with yours is key.

4. Using EMV readers. Many restaurants are taking a “wait and see” approach when it comes to installing EMV readers in their stores. If you’re looking to have a restaurant POS that is future proofed we can’t stress enough the importance of having EMV terminals. Credit card companies are issuing cards en masse and running huge customer education campaigns so more customers use these when they shop. Before long everyone will be looking to dine where EMV cards are accepted, so better to be ahead of the curve on this one.

5. Mobile Apps.  Mobile apps create operational efficiency in the restaurant, performing tasks like line busting, employee scheduling, and tracking Key Performance Indicators. And of course, they also allow customers to order from you while they are on the go!

While it may seem there is a lot to think about and many changes happening at once with restaurant POS systems, this may be the perfect time to examine how you are handling this mission critical aspect of your business. In fact, an abundance of options and competition in the payment process marketplace means that somme payment processes are offering incentives as they aggressively vie for new customers. The bottom line is if you’ve been avoiding the “is it time for a new POS system?” question then it probably means it is time.

4 Reasons Your Restaurant POS is Slowing Down Your Speed-of-Service

wand-restaurant-posWhen it comes to restaurant POS systems, speed is the name of the game. The faster you can process orders accurately, the more money you can make. When looking for a new POS, a user-friendly interface is a feature that potential buyers consistently place at the top of their list of requirements. .

A user-friendly POS is a register interface that is simple, intuitive, and easy to learn. The expectation, and often part of the return on investment analysis, is the easy to use interface will lower labor costs by reducing training time, eliminating errors, and improving overall speed-of-service.

A well designed POS interface should certainly be able to live up to those expectations.  Unfortunately, with so many POS systems to choose from – many of which have interfaces that look nice and feel user-friendly – it is not always easy to identify the ones that are actually well thought-out and can deliver on improving speed-of-service.

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating a user-friendly point-of-sale interface.

  1. Too Many Buttons

A common technique to improve ordering speed is to “flatten” the design by increasing the number of buttons on a single screen. The rationale is that cashiers then do not have to navigate down through multiple layers of menus to make a selection.  Unfortunately, interface designers can take this concept too far – especially those using the number of “clicks” or button presses as the primary gauge of speed. This can result in buttons that are too close together, too small, and with inadequate descriptions that force the cashier to slow down to find items and avoid making errors.

  1. Too Many Icons

Another pitfall is an interface that relies too heavily on the use of icons. This is common with many tablet point-of-sale providers that build incredibly elegant designs using beautifully handcrafted icons to designate the various cashier functions and activities. Often the design decision made here is to eliminate helpful text labels in favor of a clean, more aesthetically pleasing look and feel – potential sacrificing speed of use in the process.

  1. Ignoring Performance

The evaluation of a POS interface for usability and speed of use should take into account the entire interaction with the device. A well designed user interface that is easy to learn, easy to find items, and effective at reducing errors – yet is not responsive to touches or is sluggish overall – will likely not translate into improved speed-of-service.  The POS interface should be designed for the devices it will ultimately operate on.

  1. Designed for One Type of User

More often than not when a POS provider asserts that their interface is user-friendly, they have in mind the ease of which new users can learn the interface and become productive on the system. While an intuitive interface is important for driving down training costs, its ability to improve the speed of the most tenured users should not be ignored. Design decisions that negatively impact “power users” for the sake of the less experienced users could adversely affect speed-of-service. A well designed POS interface will have kept both types of users in mind and therefore be able to deliver reduced training costs while still improving overall speed-of-service.

Speed-of-service is a critical component to limited service restaurant success. Be sure your restaurant POS is designed for speed and accuracy. Have an old POS system but dragging your feet to make an upgrade? Be sure to read our blog post to understand the four hidden costs of an aging POS system.

Frequently Asked Questions about Restaurant EMV Readers

We’ve been getting a ton of the same questions around EMV readers from many WAND QSR and Fast Casual restaurant operators so we thought it’d be good to use this post to answer them.
wand-corporation-point-of-sale-homepageHere we go!

1-What’s the timeline? When do I need EMV readers in my stores? Will the deadline be pushed back? The liability shift for restaurant operators occurs on October 1st, 2015. We strongly recommend having EMV readers in your store by that date. However, installing EMV readers isn’t as easy as it sounds because it involves a lot of moving parts. We do not anticipate the deadline to be pushed back so the sooner you can get started on this, the better. As a first step you should designate someone on your team as the EMV champion for this project.

2-The cost to add EMV readers sounds expensive. How much are we talking here?
It depends. They are typically about $250-300 depending on the model and how many you’re buying. Obviously if you’re buying in bulk you’ll get a nice discount. You’ll need one per POS terminal in your restaurant, including your drive-thru. Another way to fund the new hardware is to switch your credit card relationship. If you change providers, there is a really good chance they will help you pay for the EMV readers. It is also possible that if you tell your current provider you are thinking about switching, they might consider funding the new equipment.

3-Do I need a reader for every register? What happens to the swiper that is already built into my register?
Yes you need one EMV reader for each register in your store. The swiper (Magnetic Swipe Reader, or MSR) in your current register will no longer be used. It won’t be taken out of your POS or go anywhere, it’ll just stay there and collect a fine layer of dust. Built-in MSRs could potentially still be used for gift and loyalty cards, but it is better to get everyone in the habit of using the new terminal. Your next POS terminal won’t have one built in (but it may have an EMV reader built in.)

4-Can my new EMV hardware still accept credit cards that don’t have chips?
Yep. It will accept all the transactions and data that your current POS uses. You’ll use the EMV reader slightly differently of course because it’s a new way to pay, so you’ll want to plan a bit of extra time when you purchase your EMV readers to educate staff.

5-In the drive thru, are we going to have to hand the customer the credit card reader out the window and has WAND thought about weather and the hardware (ie rains, snow)? More importantly, what will prevent the EMV reader from dropping out the window?
This is an excellent question! First, the EMV reader will be attached to your restaurant POS with a cord (think a phone cord from days past). Second, the EMV readers are built to sustain throughout inclement weather and should not be damaged in the case of rain or snow, though if there is very heavy weather you should train your staff to collect the card from the customer instead of holding the EMV reader outside the window.

We’re sure we’ll continue to get many more questions about EMV readers in the coming months and we’ll tackle all questions here on our blog. Look for more fun FAQ posts!

5 Restaurant POS Mistakes to Avoid

WAND Restaurant POSRestaurant POS mistakes can make or break your business. Whether you’re a 20-location Fast Casual concept or a 200-location QSR concept, if you’re in the restaurant industry  you’ve got a Point-of-Sale (POS) system all your restaurants use.

We’ve made an extensive study of how restaurant POS systems are used and have observed thousands of transactions taking across hundreds of concepts. Unfortunately, we’ve also observed a few mistakes being made that can be avoided.

Here are the five biggest mistakes to avoid with your QSR or Fast Casual restaurant POS system:

1. Overcomplicating it.
The success of many newer restaurant concepts is based on the simplicity of their menus. The same goes for success with a POS system. Your POS can get very complicated very quickly and unfortunately in our fast-paced world that can mean lost sales and profits. When evaluating how to choose and setup your POS be sure to look at things from the front-line employee and GM perspective. The most important metrics are speed, accuracy and efficiency. If the system is overcomplicated, it will be difficult for employees to learn how to use it, and for managers to get the information they need to run the store.

2. Not making it customer friendly.
It’s incredibly important to make sure you are using a POS that is customer-friendly. The best way to do this is by making sure your POS uses Conversational Ordering. This POS strategy allows the customer to speak their order with all the details that matter to them, in any order they want. Then, once they’ve stopped talking, the employee can easily make changes, recommendations, upsell to larger sizes, suggest a dessert, and collect a coupon or loyalty card. The customer gets to order with their style, and you get additional revenue– everyone is happy!

3. Ignoring PCI (Credit Card Payments) compliance.
Security has always been important. No one wants to be the next story in the media about credit card fraud or identity theft. This year, the Payment landscape is changing due to highly publicized incidents but also because of new consumer-driven technologies like Apple Pay (which may improve your security and decrease your liability.) Making sure you are up to speed on Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance is something that cannot be ignored, and something that your POS partner can help you understand and potentially capitalize on moving forward.

4. Using a system that doesn’t integrate.
In the technology world we know how critical it is that systems talk to each other and integrate as seamlessly as possible. Be sure to understand how your POS system integrates with other technology such as your Digital Menu Boards, Online and Mobile Consumer Ordering, Food Supplier Integration, back office software and more.

5. Not conducting proper training.
To start with, if your system requires more than a half day of training for someone of average intelligence to successfully take an order, you’ve got a problem. Proper training begins with making sure you have someone experienced with the POS scheduled to work with new employees so they can help them learn the process throughout their first day and also help back them up when things get busy. The more complex tasks in most POS systems that may require in depth training are those which are done less frequently– like managing shifts and individual employee schedules, and making maximum use of reports. Be sure to allocate time for GMs to participate in, and/or conduct regular POS training sessions as you roll-out new upgrades and make major changes in your system or to your offerings.

If you’re in the market for a new restaurant POS be sure to avoid these five mistakes. And if you think your POS system is making many of these mistakes then it may be time to start looking for a new restaurant POS partner to meet your needs.

Four Hidden Costs of an Aging Restaurant POS System

restaurant POS system is at the heart of a QSR or Fast Casual restaurant and can make a huge difference in how profitable a company is.

POSBannerUnfortunately, a restaurant POS system, like any technology, have a shelf life. Many organizations debate for months (sometimes years) whether the time is right to upgrade to a new system. While we can certainly understand the reason for wanting to delay a switch we’ve uncovered several hidden costs of sticking with an aging restaurant POS system.

Here are four of them:

1. Reduced productivity. The older something is, the more likely it is to break. This is true of computers, cars, electronics, etc. What happens when stuff breaks? Someone at the restaurant needs to make a service call which takes them away from helping customers and into the back office to make the call. At the end of the day, staff time and productivity is wasted sitting on the phone trying to fix a broken technology.

2. Increased repair costs. Along with making help desk calls, when something breaks there is usually something that needs to be fixed, resulting in a service fee, hardware fee or some other fee. And the older the technology, the harder it is to find and replace since most manufacturers will have stopped producing it at some point, likely several years ago. Anyone who has owned an old car knows eventually they hit a break-even point where the cost of repairing it is more than the car is worth. The same thing is true of antiquated POS systems.

3. Lost sales. Any time a POS breaks sales are lost. Especially if it’s during a peak time. The last thing a burger establishment wants is a POS to break down in the middle of lunch and watch customers walk across the street to a taco restaurant with a working POS. The reality is busy customers won’t wait for a POS to be repaired, something that makes QSR and Fast Casual dining different than other types of dining experiences.

4. Lost sales…again. Even if a POS system doesn’t break, aging technology is slower than new technology. It’s a simple fact, the computer you have from five years ago is not as fast as the computer you have now. The same is true of your POS. And again, given customers’ desire for speed to get their food fast, a slow ordering system is going to make them frustrated and deter them from visiting again.

The bottom line is if you’re debating whether or not you should upgrade your restaurant POS system you must look at these hidden costs and analyze how much you’re losing staying with an outdated system versus how much you could gain from upgrading to an updated system.

QSR and Fast Casual Restaurant POS Training Tips

WAND Training TipsSo you’ve purchased an awesome new restaurant POS system and are super psyched to roll it out. You’ve got the install scheduled and restaurant managers notified. You’re ready to go and then you realize “how are we going to train everyone in on the new system???”

Most likely you’ve gone through a new POS rollout before, but if you haven’t, here are a few restaurant POS training tips we’ve learned over the years to make it easier for you. Be sure to share these with your store managers and operations leaders to ensure you have the most effective roll-out possible.

Train the trainer. One of the best ways to roll out a new POS is to designate someone in each restaurant as the “trainer” for the store. This super user is responsible for knowing the new POS in and out and will then be responsible for training other employees on how to use it and troubleshooting when employees have questions. The best person for this role is someone who is smart and works a lot of hours during peak times, so a shift manager or lead supervisor.

Hold a mandatory training session. Host a mandatory restaurant POS training session for all employees at a time when the store is closed or (if you’re open 24/7) during non-peak times. Here’s a pro tip – even though it may be a mandatory session, people may not show up so incentivize them with free food or a door prize raffle. Little things like this can make a big difference in increasing attendance.

Make it easy. By far the best way to train someone on a new system is to make it easy and keep it simple and straightforward. Instead of going through all 25 combos, pick the three most popular to use as an example. Put yourself in the shoes of the employees and think about what you would need to know the most about the new system if you were on the register during a busy day. The easier the POS is to use, the less training there will be. If the POS takes more than a day for a new employee to be productive taking orders, you should take a serious look at the POS software, or how you have it setup.

Make it hands-on. If you’re conducting the restaurant POS training in a 1:1 be sure to give the controls to the employee you’re training. Start by showing them how to do something and then hand the reigns over to them and ask them to repeat what you just taught. Having someone actually use the system themselves will make it a better training experience for them.

These tips are good for rolling out a brand new POS system but they can also be used for new employees. Bonus tip: be sure to have a POS training program established for new employees in your restaurants.

Don’t Let Your Biggest Loser Be Your Restaurant POS System

The point of sale (POS) system is at the heart of every restaurant and is the one piece of technology most restaurants literally can’t live without. These days, not just any POS system will do. Restaurants in the Fast Casual/QSR arena need POS systems built for speed of service, security, and enhanced guest experiences to remain competitive.

POS-SystemHere are three great examples of how invaluable an enhanced POS system is to your restaurant’s success. What each points out is technology road-maps are pushing out ever more innovative solutions, and make keeping up with the times the first step to having your POS system as your restaurant’s biggest winner.

1. Increased Operational Benefits

Perhaps the largest benefit to a new POS system is how the collection and interpretation of data can lead to whole new levels of success. Just think, these systems can reduce food and labor costs while increasing sales with integrated mobile ordering. For instance, reporting features allow you to discover the best and worst performing items, identify which employees are the most and least productive, and determine peak business hours.The identification of waste alone is a sufficient reason to upgrade the POS. While a returned item here or there might not seem like it could add up, the accumulated cost over a single year becomes monstrous. One happy restaurant saved more than $100,000 just by identifying and eliminating such waste.

2. Improved Guest Experience

If the question has ever been asked “Why upgrade the POS?” the answer is simple. New technology. True, new technologies are empowering, helping to streamline a business. However, they also make a great impact on the overall guest experience. Using a POS system that uses conversational ordering, for example, makes it much easier for customers to place their orders and for employees to easily make upgrades and sell add-ons to increase average order size. The easier and faster it is for customers to get their food, the happier they’ll be and the more likely they’ll be to come back.

3. Updated Security Systems 

A POS update is vital to keep up with ever-changing PCI compliance standards. Businesses using systems that are not PCI compliant are at risk for big data breaches which have hit big name retailers and have long-term effects on customer loyalty and the bottom line. The average data-breach of a non-PCI compliant restaurant is $80,000, and most don’t survive the financial damage. Newer systems provide end-to-end encryption and do not store any credit card data, important features that meet PCI compliance. These new features are enabled by innovative cloud-based technology. Of course, not only does the cloud keep your customer safe, it also enables businesses to accumulate and process their data.

Interested in learning more about making sure your restaurant POS system is a winner? Check out our blog post on The Five Biggest Restaurant POS Mistakes to Avoid.