If you own a cafe, a pizzeria or a frozen yogurt shop, chances are technology is fast becoming your friend.
That’s because you might use a cloud-based setup called a point-of-sale system that features an iPad and a special terminal where customers can order or pay for meals. More and more restaurants are using these systems for tasks as varied as taking orders or processing payments.
And if you’re one of the more than 40,000 restaurant owners and food service professionals gathering for this week’s National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, you’ll have the chance to check out the latest offering from point-of-sale vendor Revel Systems and online financial management company Intuit.
The new system, called QuickBooks Point of Sale for Restaurants, Powered by Revel Systems, would let restaurants “automatically sync” key business processes, including sales, inventory and payroll to QuickBooks Online, according to a statement from Revel.
You can create custom menus and find out in real time when it’s time to restock. The system is “modular and customizable,” says Lisa Falzone, CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems.
“If you’re a fast-casual restaurant in which you go to a counter to get a number, that would be a feature we would turn on,” she says.
What the Revel system offers
Different kinds of restaurants can take advantage of different features.
If you have a frozen yogurt shop, for instance, you’d be able to check in real time the amount of toppings you have left. If you’re a bar owner, you’d be able tell you how much alcohol has been poured in a given time period, and you could even track delivery drivers to check whether they’re on time.
The system is cloud-based and uses hardware that includes an iPad, an encrypted credit card swipe, a point-of-sale stand, a router and Wi-Fi access point, a point-of-sale printer and secure cash drawer.
The starting cost for a Revel iPad-based point-of-sale system is typically around $2,000, which would cover the hardware. You would also have to pay a monthly fee ranging from $49 to $119 per terminal depending on the features of the system.
Discover what’s working — and what’s not
Beyond helping you operate faster and more efficiently, the Revel system can help you drill down on your small business, giving you a sense of what’s working or not. It could even help restaurant owners crack down on a problem that’s sometimes tough to catch: employee filching change from the cash register, Falzone says.
“It’s part of business intelligence,” she says. “You can see what items are selling the most, which employees are stealing from you. You can manage your inventory.”
In the long run, it’s a way for you to “deliver a great diner experience, while also having an up-to-date, accurate picture of their books and cash flow, without manual data entry,” says Eric Dunn, Intuit’s senior vice president for payments and commerce solutions, in a statement.
These days, if you have a fast-growing restaurant, a point-of-sale system is probably a must-have technology. Without one, “it becomes unmanageable,” Falzone says.
The old way of running a restaurant, in which you rely on a cash register and paper files, just won’t cut it in if you’re dealing with so many problems. Falzone says: “You have no visibility into what’s going on in your business.”
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Photo of Lisa Falzone via Revel Systems.