With Amazon Go coming to the UK, What does the future hold for hospitality EPoS?

With the hospitality landscape forever changing, the future of EPoS is a movable feast that can no longer stand alone as a discrete technology. Vendors and restaurant owners need to be aware of the future trends and have the flexibility to adapt to new technological and operational changes such as cash-less and self service operations and new smartphone-based payment methods.

Amazon is reportedly scouting for “a significant number” of sites sized between 4,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq foot, to launch its Amazon Go supermarkets in the UK. If this is true, there is no doubt this will be a massive catalyst for change for both retail and hospitality EPoS requirements driven by the new and ever evolving digital consumer.

The main drivers of change in EPOS are the business benefits of making systems more flexible and easier to use, freeing up staff to focus on service where and when it is needed and reducing the training burden on employers and consumer change. Overall, EPOS systems are evolving to be more responsive to customers’ needs and giving them the control, convenience, speed and choice they want.

When choosing a new solution QSRs & casual dining restaurants need to bare this mind and look at the holistic offering from their potential vendor, not just whether it can meet their immediate requirements but what the near future needs will be.

EPoS solutions themselves continue to evolve, new hardware ownership models such as hardware as a service will develop as a concept, reducing the overall cost of ownership & new operating platforms such as Android will reduce costs and facilitate new cloud based platforms.

Crucially, the demand for faster ordering, opportunities to increase the average spend per head and enhancing the customer journey will drive demand for self-ordering and cashless technologies over the coming years. 

Our recent work with Tossed and other QSRs is helping them to move to a cashless environment using our kiosk technology. This has rewritten the concept of food to go/QSR and what the new customer experience could be. With Amazon Go talking about its UK entry, we predict that many others will follow the footsteps of Tossed.

When considering a new EPoS solution, it is imperative to look at the trends happening all around us; how EPoS can be used to drive efficiency, increase transaction value; and how it can create new and engaging customer journeys. Ensuring a new platform has open integration and can migrate to both hybrid and cashless technologies is key to protect investments.

Today you should expect a lot from your EPoS, it should become a highly integrated eco-system to work intelligently for you and your customers.

It should:

1. Make you more efficient, enable you to serve quicker and reduce administration

2. Increase your cost effectiveness, by reducing stock holding and improving cash flow

3. Remove process and data duplication with information held in a single file

4. Provide an integrated platform to manage restaurant(s) and online ordering as one

5. Be modular, making it easy to add new features and grow with you

6. Provide the functions that your customers want, such as mix and match meal orders

7. Make it easier to purchase, price, promote and sell your menu

8. Help you develop a customer database that can be used for loyalty programmes and promotions; with powerful data, you can track special dates such as birthdays to offer personalised communications at the right times

9. Generate a multiplicity of reports to help you make faster, more informed decisions

10. Enable you to offer an enhanced customer experience that goes the extra mile and has the opportunity to delve into the self-serve and cashless world with new digital customer journeys.

Essential EPoS Features for QSR and Casual Dining for Today & Tomorrow

1. Enterprise Stock Control: If you do not have a good strong stock management module in your EPoS solution then you are almost certainly losing money.  Having enterprise stock control means you can minimise over and under ordering, track your profit margins and reduce the amount of time required in maintaining your stock levels by using the order generator facilities and extensive reporting.

With cloud-based reporting and functionality come the added and essential functionality to operate in real time  giving you the critical ability for ‘first in first out’ stock control for ‘actual’ GP tracking and reporting, multi supply unit and price for single ingredients, multi department management and cost/revenue allocation.  You can also manage new suppliers, ingredients and products in the cloud for simple multi-site management.  Plus, recipe management, supplier ordering, line checking and stock variance reporting comes as standard.

2. Loyalty & Marketing Loyalty programs: are a must have for every QSR & Casual Dining restaurant and a good EPoS system will integrate with the market leading loyalty providers such as Como & Pepper HQ, or often will include a functional but standard loyalty and marketing module designed to help your customers return for more, encouraging footfall and increasing SPH (spend per head).  Introducing a loyalty scheme enables you to capture, target and promote your business with your best offers to your best market.

Your EPoS should give you the most potential to tap into marketing opportunities by enabling the flow of real time customer data for multi-site operations.

Used together with a built-in promotion application your platform should be able to deliver you flexible loyalty schemes; branded mobile apps; real-time actionable data and insights; multi-channel communication and marketing automation.

3. Head Office Management - a Cloud-based Head Office application give you, your area managers and corporate head offices the ability to view, consolidate and manage each of their sites remotely, either singularly or as a group.  With every element of data syncing in real time, transparency is made simple and accurate for instant information flow and reporting, any time and at any place.

4. Kitchen Management (KMS) - a Kitchen Manager system will deliver you clear and concise instructions to kitchen staff via a simple & easy to view wall mounted touch screen that displays multiple orders, in either one or multiple section screens. 

5.Tableside Ordering  Mobile PDAs and tablets - for taking orders are on the increase and now can utilise all your common EPoS function on the move helping your serve outside, queue bust, reduce staff or just provide a more convenient way for your diners to order. 

6. Online Ordering Online Ordering - enables your customers to order and pay via your website for delivery or in-store collection.  Coupled with a smartphone app that can be customised to your business, online ordering offers a unique way not only to reduce the pain in processing orders but to greatly increase the customer experience.

7. Chip & Pin - today your EPoS system should be fully integrated with Chip & Pin. Features such as ‘Pay at Table’ enable you to reduce errors and speed up the payment process.  End of day cash reconciliation is made simpler without the need to Z your PDQ system.

8. Mobile Apps Smartphone apps - are fast becoming essential tools for hospitality businesses to enable you to stay relevant now and in the future. From table and online order and pay, it’s all about creating new customer facing apps to enhance your customers’ experiences. 

9. Driver Apps - If you need to take orders fast, send to prep, allocate to driver and manage priorities then your EPoS system should have an integrated order management solution to keep your order to delivery operation swift, efficient and profitable.

10.cOpen Third Party Integration - to create one powerfully efficient EPoS hub, you need to ensure your platform has open and easy API integration for applications including Stock Control; Payroll & Scheduling; Table Reservations; Online Ordering; Loyalty; Hotel PMS; Payments.

Has your EPoS got what it takes to drive more revenue and meet the needs of today and tomorrow? Download your free guide:

“Driving Success in an Era of Competition & Consumer Change. Till, Tablet to Kiosk: The Restaurateur’s Guide to 2019 & Beyond”