Consumers often enjoy dining experiences without little notice of the technology supporting them, but as an ISV, you know technology solutions play a role in virtually every facet of restaurant operations. Neil D’Cruz, Sr Product Manager, System Devices Group, Epson America, Inc., points out that using the right hardware and software in the front and back of the house is pivotal to a business’ efficiency and profitability.
Point of Sale (POS) Hardware
POS ISVs spend a great deal of time perfecting their solutions, but even optimal POS software needs the right hardware on which to run. D’Cruz says to ensure your users have the best possible experiences, you need to choose hardware through the lens of a restaurant manager. Your client wants hardware that has the functionality they need, for example, touchscreens and integration with POS system peripherals, but they also need to be designed to withstand harsh and humid restaurant environments.
The challenges of 2020 have also proven that your clients need POS hardware options. When restaurant dining rooms closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then reopened to only partial capacity, restaurants may have looked for solutions that worked in outdoor settings, had mobile POS capabilities, or enabled curbside ordering and pickup.
Ensure your POS software is certified on a range of POS hardware options to give your users the flexibility they need when they need to adapt restaurant operations to changing circumstances and consumer behaviors.
Kiosk deployment in restaurants is increasing, especially in the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment. ResearchAndMarkets.com says to expect significant kiosk implementation at counter service restaurants in the U.S. This is driven, in part because there is a growing number of QSR restaurants in the country, but also because kiosks are providing this sector with advantages. Kiosks enable customers to place orders and pay on their own rather than waiting in line, which can result in faster service and enhanced customer satisfaction. Kiosks also allow businesses to reassign counter workers, possibly to the kitchen or to disinfect the restaurant to ensure customer and employee safety.
Ensure your restaurant customers have the option to integrate kiosk systems and manage them through the POS software you provide.
Consumers’ preferred payment methods began to evolve during the pandemic, most notably related to contactless payment adoption. According to CNBC, Mastercard reported that contactless payment transactions increased by 40 percent in Q1 20 after the pandemic reached the U.S.
The volume of online ordering and payments also grew. Restaurant management software provider Upserve points out that it’s a trend all across the country, not just in specific areas. For example, online ordering grew 3868 percent from February to April 2020 in large suburbs.
D’Cruz comments that quickly changing consumer behaviors in response to the pandemic underscores the necessity of integrating your software with a full-featured payments platform that gives your clients the flexibility to accept payments however the customer chooses.
D’Cruz says of all types of technology used in restaurant operations, printers have the greatest number of use cases. The most visible is at the restaurant POS for receipt printing. Businesses typically choose a thermal receipt printer that prints receipts via heat on special paper rather than using ink, making these printers easy for cashiers to use and maintain.
It’s also smart for ISVs to integrate their solutions with a printer line that supports mobility, such as Epson’s mobile printing solutions. They enable staff to print from smartphones, laptops, and tablets, which can facilitate line busting and transactions outdoors.
Label printers have become important tools for restaurants, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when delivery and takeout orders increased. Restaurants using a label printer, such as the Epson TM-L90 Plus LFC or TM-L90II LFC, can produce liner-free labels. With one efficient motion, employees can print and label a package or container to ensure the order is delivered to the right customer.
Additionally, printers are particularly vital to quick service restaurant workflows. They capture orders online, from a kiosk or at the counter, support line busting by enabling printing from a tablet or other mobile device, print labels for delivery, and more.
D’Cruz adds that restaurants are also finding value in document printers during the pandemic. With customers reluctant to share menus with other customers, a document printer allows restaurants to print menus on demand, and using recycled paper, the restaurant can keep the process which can help reduce waste.
Restaurant kitchens that use printers often opt for impact POS printers. Thermal printers aren’t preferred for kitchens because they print on thermal paper. Heat from food prep areas may obscure the order making it difficult or impossible to read. Impact printers produce readable orders for food prep areas.