Toronto, Canada, October 24, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Traditionally, restaurateurs have looked at the front of the house for ways to increase profitability and productivity. But by doing so, they’re overlooking a very important opportunity to take control of their business and their costs. And that opportunity doesn’t reside on the floor - it’s found in the back office.
Nowadays, hospitality technology is all about convergence and getting all systems into one. A modern and efficient POS and back office system will handle the complex connections between POS terminals on the floor, the kitchen, the back office and the inventory backend. Integration with the back office means that managing inventory and food and labor costs becomes much easier. Real time access to data can help you determine good sellers quickly. Report generation and menu changes can be done on the fly, so managers have more time to spend with customers. This translates into improved customer service and speed of service. Throw in some customer relationship management tools, and the bottom line is further boosted with the ability to implement customer loyalty programs, create gift cards, or track customer transaction histories for example.
And it’s not only restaurateurs who can benefit from this type of technology. Excellent results can also be seen in other venues, such as universities, stadiums, casinos, arenas, or even racetracks.
The University of British Columbia’s food service operation quickly realized significant gains when they implemented their new POS system. Their former system was a plethora of different technologies and topologies, comprising of a mix of old style cash registers and rudimentary point of sale systems spread throughout the university. UBC was desperate for an efficient system that could streamline operations.
Their most pressing need was the ability to process 2500 hungry students at lunchtime while managing the school's many different residence meal plans at the same time. The new system needed to be very reliable, and Managers needed access to data in real time. Sean Lee, IT Manager at UBC, comments on the many technological challenges UBC used to face.
"Processing 2500 students in an hour and a half used to cause database overload." Says Lee. "Our old system had lots of hiccups."
Another big issue that UBC also faced was accurate data reporting. "The old system used to lump all the data together, and it was difficult getting reporting from all the different systems." Lee explains. "We couldn't isolate daily sales if polling wasn't done regularly. And even then, daily sales were often tabulated manually."
After exploring several possible POS systems, UBC decided on Toronto based Volante Systems point of sale and back office enterprise system.
Volante stands out from other industry players due to its innovative approach. Volante is developed in Java, so it’s cross platform compatible. Volante also offers CRM tools, employee management features, and a full reporting suite.
"Volante has helped tremendously - data is on demand and in real time." Says Lee. "Synchronization is done every fifteen minutes. We can now see what our best sellers are, at any time of day. We can order food much more efficiently, and we can easily see what items aren't selling too. We can also update menus on the fly.”
Volante also allowed UBC to monetize its student ID cards, which has significantly added to the bottom line. "ID cards are dining membership cards, they now have unlimited buying potential.” Lee explains. “Anyone can add money to his or her ID cards at any POS terminal. This is really efficient."
Andrea Bronstein, from Toronto’s Baycrest Health Sciences Center, also chose Volante when she set out to replace the cafeteria’s aging cash register system. For Bronstein, the results were immediate.
Baycrest provides care and service to approximately 2,000 people a day through the Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System. In addition to patients and residents, Baycrest’s busy cafeteria also welcomed outside business. Staff were using antiquated, 20 year old cash registers, which were not only slow and inefficient, but had also become impossible to repair. Making the simplest changes to a menu item had become a complex task requiring hours of work.
"We were looking for something where changes could be made without having to be on the floor.” Says Bronstein. “With the old system we had in place, it would take hours at each register to make any changes at all. Now, we can update the whole system quickly from the back office."
Baycrest started seeing payback on their investment right away. "We're keeping better track of actual sales, inventory control, etc. Everything is streamlined.”
Hospitality operators greatly benefit by being proactive and addressing areas where their business may be leaving money on the table. By doing so, they put themselves in the enviable position of serving up profits. And in uncertain times, that’s a good place to be.