When they are first starting out, many pizza shop owners get preoccupied by local restaurant POS sales reps convincing them that because their software is used in thousands of restaurants nationwide, it will work just fine for them. But pizza is different in so many ways.
A point-of-sale (POS) system designed specifically for taking and modifying complex orders with the least amount of button pushing is not only better for the customer, but great for the restaurant. Simple things like having an integrated caller ID can speed up order-taking over the phone and personalize the guest experience from the moment the phone rings. Every step saved can shave off seconds from each order, saving labor and dollars over time. In any quick service business, faster and more accurate order-taking is always better.
The ordering process for pizzas can be extremely complex, with sizes, crusts, toppings, sauces, substitutions - and don't even get started with splitting it into halves. Then pricing all these variations correctly when the customer wants extra cheese on half, hold the black olives on the other half and add double pepperoni to the entire pizza, requires a specialized pizza software to keep it all straight. You don’t want to charge for a full portion of meat when it was only ordered on ½ the pie, or if extra cheese was ordered on a sandwich rather than a pizza. Can a regular system tell the difference?
Inventory & Food Costs
Pizza inventory and food costs are another category where things get complicated. Your pizza point-of-sale should be able to recognize that you use less meat on a 5 topping pizza than on a 1 topping - but there's no general market restaurant POS system that will do that. Track to see if there are certain toppings that aren’t selling or cost more than they are worth, eliminate those items and optimize your menu to suite your needs and drive revenue to the toppings that do sell.
Credit Card Processing
Many pizza business owners that have a delivery service do not think of payment processing as a major influence on their revenue; but when you think of how many more credit card numbers will have to be keyed in manually rather than swiped for delivery, the extra processing charges add up. Additionally, if the customer leaves a tip for the driver (like they should) you have to go back and re-run the tickets at the end of the night to close. Most dine-in restaurants don’t have this issue, at least not in this capacity. Your pizza POS software ought to have built-in management tools to aid in processing credit card receipts and driver tips to make it the most easy and convenient process as possible. It should also alert you to any possible errors to save money and prevent theft.
Delivery is a must for pizza restaurants and you can save time and headaches if your software has an incorporated delivery management system. It should have a customer database, dynamic mapping, driver management, estimated return times and some sort of driver banking system to keep track of tips and cash payments. Managing delivery drivers and orders can be one of the most challenging parts of the pizza business, so the right system tools can really help an owner take control.
Online ordering is where a pizza-specific POS system will clearly outshine a restaurant POS. Pizza POS systems are usually better integrated into the website through an online ordering system, sending complicated online pizza orders directly to the POS and then to the kitchen. Not having to take an order over the phone saves time and increases accuracy. Most online integrations automatically sync your website and store POS, checking the menu and pricing so you only have to update one time. The online system should also be able to gather customer information to use in marketing- some can even gather this data and use 3rd party companies to send SMS texts directly to customers. Not only should your pizza POS allow customers to place online orders, but it should also track these orders in pizza sales reports and product mix reports. If yours doesn’t, it is time to upgrade!
Everyone loves pizza, so make it easy for them to order from you again and again. Pizzerias rely on repeat business, and for most, customers that come back make up 20% or more of their customer-base. Those that have a loyalty plan in place can almost double that repeat business. Most pizza POS systems should allow you to run queries on your data so that you can create targeted marketing campaigns based on your customers’ history. Your pizzeria can then use marketing, along with an integrated loyalty program where customers have incentive to come back over and over- like earning points per dollars spent- to keep putting money in your pocket long-term.
Coupons can even be daunting for a regular restaurant POS system. Just think about all the complicated pizza coupons out there that have restrictions on number of toppings, size, types of crust, etc. that you would want to control. Even processing a coupon that is dine-in only could be a challenge for some systems, so make sure your system can work with your specific restrictions.
Your pizza restaurant’s point of sale system may be the biggest and most important equipment investments you make. When you have a tool that is specifically designed for your specific purpose, that tool tends to be much better than a one-size-fits all. Make sure you are getting one that will benefit your business and not create more work for you in the long run. Your pizza POS system should streamline your entire operation, ensuring that your customers receive their orders correctly and on time. And when they receive the food they crave as promised, they’re more likely to tell their friends.
It’s time to drop the old pen-and-paper method, or the one-size-fits all POS software, and pick up features like online ordering and loyalty programs, as well as a more efficient ordering process that can increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat business. A good pizza POS should be able to accomplish just that for your pizza business. Make sure you get the right one.