It’s not uncommon to find restaurant operators relying on one or two of the 3 most important data management systems created for the industry—point-of-sale, back-office and accounting. And operators who are using all three don't always have systems that can integrate with each other. Successful restaurant management includes controlling your numbers on multiple levels, a task that long ago outpaced mere cash registers and adding machines. Restaurateurs who understand the big picture of their business know to integrate all three systems to give them the clearest picture of how well their business is performing. Read on to learn more about the three most important systems your restaurant needs.
A POS System
Few businesses are as numbers driven as restaurants, and there’s no better tool to have at the front of the data chain than a modern point-of-sale system. A POS will help collect, organize and help an operator interpret a restaurant’s numbers. Some advanced POS systems will even track current and historical guest counts, transactions, guest order specifics, trends and much more. A POS delivers orders to the kitchen accurately and quickly, communicates to counter workers and servers when items are running low or out, and prompts service staff to “suggestive sell” specials and high-margin items. Some offer employee time clock, and dashboard features but POS systems typically lack the robust features provided in a true back-office system.
A Back-Office System
Arguably the most important data management component in a restaurant, a back-office system is the information hub for all others. Maximized through integration with a POS system, it can manage inventory, purchasing, scheduling and even food safety (HACCP) compliance. Using its precise tracking of sales, purchasing, and inventory, operators can reduce shrinkage that occurs through waste and theft. Operators can improve purchasing accuracy through suggested orders that balance current inventory with historic and forecasted sales. A back-office system also increases productivity with automatic purchasing and reporting, and using historical sales data. It can evaluate labor cost as a factor of sales to create optimal suggested labor schedules and ensure labor numbers remain on target. A back-office system is by far a critical component operators need in order to scale their operation.
An Accounting System
By tapping into the power of a robust back-office system, an accounting system becomes the essential bookkeeping tool. It manages payroll to the penny by merging time and attendance data from the POS and back office systems. It accomplishes the task of billing by reconciling purchase orders and invoices from purchasing data supplied by the back-office system. Financial reporting is simplified when the system is programed to generate income statements and balance sheets, keeping operators fully aware of their business’s financial standing anytime they want to know.
Some may consider such data automation systems pricey and unnecessary. Yet in reality, by providing restaurant operators the exceptionally tight control over crucial numbers, such systems pay for themselves in as little as a year or two through the accumulation of cost savings. Such systems provide keen insights into how a restaurant is actually working by highlighting top-selling items and loss leaders, sales peaks and troughs, balanced labor costs and dangerous overtime potential. In short, these incredible three-component systems give you the facts about your business and then let you decide how to run it profitably.