In this 9-part Blog post series, we'll cover how restaurants can not only survive but thrive in today’s changing environment where dine in is only one revenue stream, while take-out and delivery are becoming increasingly more important.
By capturing your restaurant patrons contact information (name, phone, order history, etc.) gives you a customer service advantage. By having the right technology in place, you'll reap bottom line benefits as well.
The majority of customers still prefer to call in their orders on the telephone for their take-out, curbside, or deliveries. The vast percentage of POS systems do not capture Caller ID information on these phone calls. If you are not capturing phone numbers along with online and mobile app transactions, that means your restaurant is missing valuable insights into how customers prefer to engage with your restaurant. As Technology Advisors, we work with Cloud Phone suppliers that integrate with many restaurant’s POS systems to simplify your business operations.
POS systems are built for data entry for food orders, payment processing, inventory, and other data restaurants want to have automated. They are not designed to handle telephone calls like Cloud Phone Systems are. Some of the newer POS suppliers have recently announced they can offer Caller ID in either premise or cloud solutions. However, both solutions require installation of on-premise hardware devices. These devices only work with local analog telephone company lines in order to capture the customer’s caller ID. And, these analog line costs are billed to the restaurant each month, so there is an additional cost associated with these devices.
Immediate Cost Savings: The hardware necessary are ancillary boxes or modules that commonly come in 2, 4 & 8 port modules. The analog lines need to be ordered from the local telephone company that the restaurant requires. The average cost is generally $50-$100 per month each depending on the local telephone company tariffs. These analog lines are dedicated to the hardware modules and it's a guessing game as to how many ports you need to have installed to avoid busy signals. Each simultaneous telephone call requires a port. Most restaurants will order as many ports as they think will be required at their peak order periods, which means, during normal traffic periods, extra ports remain idle. In comparison a cloud phone system does not require dedicated lines and will automatically adjust to peak traffic periods. Cloud systems have no limits on how many calls can be processed simultaneously and no hardware is required onsite at the restaurant to gather the information. Caller ID information gathering occurs in the cloud. Here are two graphic examples of how a Restaurant POS and separate phone system are configured to the telephone network versus how a Cloud Phone System is integrated with a POS.
On Premise POS & Phone System Configuration
This diagram shows how both the POS system and the on-premise phone system are connected to the Local Telephone Network (PSTN).
Cloud Phone System design integrated to POS Configuration
This diagram shows how the Cloud Phone System and POS System are connected via the Cloud and NO PSTN lines are required. This delivers substantial network savings.
Even more Savings: If the restaurant has multiple locations, the hardware and analog line charges are required at each location. The hardware requires on-site maintenance when needed and the local telephone company for support if your lines are not working. This is one more thing for the restaurant to manage at each location. If you have 10 locations and it is estimated, you need 2 lines for take-out/curbside orders per location, which means 20 dedicated analog lines at a cost of $1000 per month (based on only $50.00 per line). If the POS was integrated into a Cloud Phone System, the cost would be half, if not much lower. A Cloud Phone System does not need dedicated lines because it's based on a usage or consumption priced model. No hardware boxes are required on the restaurant premise. Additionally, on-premise boxes need separate A/C power, are subject to power failure, and require maintenance, likely from a third-party contractor. This makes the process of capturing caller ID information much more complicated for the restaurant to manage.
Consequently, it is substantially less costly to capture Caller ID by a Cloud Phone System. Cloud Phone Systems automatically include this capability as a standard feature. Since the caller ID is captured in the cloud no hardware is required. Cloud Phone Systems are designed by phone and voice experts while POS systems are designed by experts at data processing. The restaurant needs both. By integrating the POS to a Cloud Phone System, the restaurant has a much more efficient and cost-effective way to manage their business. A restaurant using this design will also improve their customer loyalty and satisfaction, as well as drive down the total network costs dramatically. A Cloud Phone System does far more than what a POS can by itself. Features like:
• SMS/Text – allows customers to text to your work phone numbers, a feature greatly used by millennials and Generation Z.
•Work from Home / Remote Workers– allows users to process calls from any location, including any restaurant or even from home..
• Social media – positive and negative information from Facebook, twitter, etc. can be immediately reported so proper actions can be taken.
• Integrates mobile phones – allows calls to be processed from mobile phones which could reduce your mobile phone charges.
• Mobile Apps allows a smart phone to act as part of your business phone system, saving the need to use cellular minutes.
• Transfer and conference is available from all phones to all phones at any location, including callers using mobile phones or apps.
• Video & Audio-conferencing and collaboration is available for group meetings, project management, menu changes and promotions, etc.
• Networking multiple locations greatly reduces the number of lines to communicate. The brains are in the cloud and phones connect via the internet.
• Call Recording is available to save important calls.
• Contact Center functionality allows centralized processing of large call traffic. This is excellent for both single and multiple locations.
• Much more flexible and adaptable to grow and change – a station or telephone number can be added in minutes.
• Less Downtime – cloud systems are exceptionally reliable; all offer uptimes of 99.999%.
• Automatic Updates – you are always at current software levels as the management of system updates is automatically provided by the cloud system.
• Disaster Recovery/Resiliency makes sure your system will continue to work even in disaster situations such as fire, hurricane, or any disaster that can take out a building. If a cloud data center is inoperable the system automatically shifts your traffic to an alternate center, you never miss a call.
• Superior Security – calls are encrypted on a cloud system, and constant security updates are automatically done when necessary.
• No analog lines - which the FCC has ruled the Telephone Companies will no longer be required to support by end of 2020. Cloud systems use digital lines housed in the data centers.
Management Reports & other Advantages of Integrating your Restaurant POS
Integrating the POS to the Cloud Phone System ensures all the customers transaction types will be captured (i.e. phone, SMS/text, mobile app, on-line, social, etc.). Now, every time that a customer calls, you will have visibility to all the customer’s information displayed on any device. Now your ordering staff, reservations staff, kitchen or any other employee can answer with the knowledge and provide a personal touch to the customer experience and show the customer how important they are. This type of service based on personal preferences and information will separate your restaurant from your competition and show why building a strong customer loyalty program is so important. It provides a complete view of the customer’s experience that can be analyzed and marketed to accordingly. This information can be delivered to any device, anywhere, at any time.
Valuable management reports can be generated and available to the owner and managers. The information captured by both the Cloud Phone System and POS connects to the restaurant POS Customer Relationship Management software (CRM). Reports are generated from the POS system and displayed on the POS & Cloud Phone System devices (i.e. PC’s mobile device and tablets). It is easy to create and generate reports of how many transactions are completed by phone, online, mobile app, etc. You can then look at the dollar amounts by transaction type, by age group, frequency of purchase by customer, amount of order, birthday, anniversary, etc. Many reports are available to develop your Customer Loyalty Program, including your phone orders.
Once the Cloud Phone System and POS system are synchronized you'll have an efficient and cost-effective way to build your custom database for your Customer Loyalty Program that integrates with a mobile app as well. This provides a unique and strategic advantage to any restaurant that has a Cloud/POS integration.
Request a quote or give us call at 713.910.1401 to speak with a Technology Advisor to explore available technology solutions that will improve your customer experience and enhance the way your restaurant communicates and manages your telecom expenses. For more information, click here to download our Guide for the Restaurant Industry today!