The point of sale is arguably the most important piece of technology in any restaurateur's arsenal of IT solutions. Hungry for the latest in software offerings? Hospitality Technology sorted through the POS marketplace to bring you a round-up of the latest software innovations (and a few that have yet to hit the market) that are sure to make an impact industry-wide.
Aldelo Systems, Inc.: Online ordering
As more customers turn to the Internet to place their orders online, Aldelo (www.aldelo.com
) is answering their call with the POS software integration of Delphis Software's (www.delphissoftware.com) AROS technology. The new integration allows customers to order food online for takeout and delivery directly from a restaurant's website.
Agilysys: Prix Fixe menus
The latest software offering to come from Agilysys (www.agilysys.com
) is the recent development of a new configuration solution designed to support combination packages and Prix Fixe meals through its InfoGenesis POS solution. At the POS terminal, the touch of one button adds a complete package to any order. Additionally, when one component of a package includes several selections (i.e. cooking temperature), servers are promoted to make that selection and are thus held accountable for order placement. Placeholders can also by used for a component of the package that has not yet been selected.
Another notable function of this solution is its reporting capabilities. Each item that is sold in a Prix Fixe menu also has the potential of being sold a la carte outside of Prix Fixe menus. When sold as part of a Prix Fixe menu, items are priced differently. This function provides operators with insight into the total revenue realized for each item that can be sold a la cart.
Cutting Edge Solutions: future pos 5.0 release
The release of Cutting Edge Solutions' Future POS 5.0 (www.futurepos.com
) marks a number of new software upgrades for the POS solution, notably the move to Microsoft SQL. By upgrading to this industry standard, it is now easier for integration with third-party applications to occur.
Other upgrades include the addition of new dashboards and customizable "favorites" pages that allow users to quickly access key information depending upon their individual needs. For example, a member of the wait staff can access information on closing procedures, payroll or daily specials through his or her 'favorites' page, while managers and restaurant owners can use their favorites and dashboards to view top selling items and more.
Digital Dining: Labor and table management partnerships
Following numerous requests from its larger restaurant chains, Digital Dining (www.digitaldining.com
) finally answered their users' calls to integrate its POS offering with HotSchedules' (www.hotschedules.com
) online restaurant labor management solutions in March 2009. Available through Digital Dining v. 7.3.5, the Digital Dining/HotSchedules interface offers operators an easy-to-use labor management scheduling tool that features reporting and advanced forecasting functions.
Digital dining is further boosting its third-party relationships with the integration of its POS solution (versions 7.3.04 and higher) to OpenTable (www.opentable.com
) (versions 6.0 and higher). The integration is designed to improve the operational flow of the restaurant by updating table statuses on the OpenTable system whenever certain events occur on the Digital Dining POS system. The up-to-date party status information can help restaurant staff anticipate and identify available tables and accurately quote wait times to guests.
Dinerware: Version 2.8.2 release
As with previous Dinerware POS (www.dinerware.com
) releases, version 2.8.2 provides operators with a new generation of security features, localization and third-party application hooks. Version 2.8.2 features new audit reports; payment processing integrations with First Data, Moneris, and Payment Processing, Inc.; a Virtual Client XML-based Application Programming Interface; and a complete Spanish language package that includes software, printer capabilities and manuals.
In addition to the new release, Dinerware also announced the addition of enhanced online ordering functions with the third-party certification of DishCloud Online Ordering (www.dishcloud.com
). The integration between the two vendors allows for the centralization of information at the POS, simplifying ownership and maintenance.
Firefly Technologies: Email confirmations
) Phoenix POS system now gives operators the option to send order confirmation information directly to their guests' email address following the completion of a phone order. For delivery orders, restaurateurs can also notify customers of when their delivery is on its way. Additionally, the marketing analysis features allows operators to select customers based on order history, specific items ordered or specific offers redeemed in the past. The data can then be used to create customized email marketing campaigns.
MICROS: Customer relationship module updates
) is making it easier for operators to improve the return on marketing investments with the integration of customer relationship management software with the POS. Its iCare Customer Relationship module includes a number of new updates such as integrated email and SMS communications, automatic messaging campaigns, and eCoupons that can be issued at the POS, by email, SMS or printed.
PAR Technology: Simplified interfaces and more
Between September 2008 and March 2009, PAR Technology (www.partech.com
) has been busy releasing improvement upon improvement to its iSivia POS offering. Key among them are a modified user interface that simplifies the order taking process and lowers training costs, third-party integrations with QSR Automations (www.qsrautomations.com
) and Verifone (www.verifone.com
), the ability to run half-hourly sales reports from the front of house, and more. Plus operators can expect to see a new release planned for later this year.
Posera: New interfaces, cash management
The latest version of Posera's Maitre'D POS System (www.maitredpos.com
), which debuted at the 2009 National Restaurant Association Show in May, comes with a number of new features designed to help operators keep tabs on inventory levels and costs, increase security and control, speed up service, and provide flexible reporting to manage operations effectively. New features include an advanced cash management system, a Microsoft SQL 2008 database, the ability to better facilitate managing special menus, and new interfaces with enhanced navigation tools and shortcuts, among others.
Radiant Systems: Centralized database management
Radiant Systems' (www.radiantsystems.com
) Aloha Confi-guration Center is a centralized database management application that manages Aloha Point of Sale configuration settings for multi-restaurant organizations. It offers remote distribution and access capabilities through a .NET client interface, as well as data integrity and recovery, built-in security, automatic upgrades and more.
"With Configuration Center we are able to have multiple databases to have test buttons and test panels for different regions, and then apply it to stores directly," says Lisa Walker, IT governance manager for Chipotle (www.chipotle.com
). "It has benefited us in that we do not have to dial onto different sites, we just push a button."
Additionally Chipotle doesn't have to be concerned with back-ups and restores. "That is all handled offsite," adds Frank Daidone, Chipotle's director of infrastructure and compliance, when asked about the return on investment of using this hosted application. "We don't have to concern ourselves with the physical security."
SpeedLine Solutions: Kiosk integration
SpeedLine Solutions (www.speedlinesolutions.com
) has a number of upgrades coming down the POS software pipeline this year. The vendor just recently completed the integration of its POS software and touch screen kiosk solutions with NEXTEP SYSTEMS (www.nextepsystems.com
). Plus, look for a range of new capabilities within the SpeedLine software itself to come this summer. A few examples include on-the-fly comparative reporting and graphing of sales and transactional numbers; auto-calculation of quoted times for delivery and pick-up orders; and a new loyalty system that works with or without plastic cards, for dine-in and delivery.
Squirrel Systems: Bundled offerings
During Fall 2008, Squirrel Systems (www.squirrelsystems.com
) began planning for the release of its latest POS product launch designed for restaurants, delis, bars, and operator-owned establishments with a smaller footprint. Squirrel in a Box is a bundled offering that includes POS and back office software, integrated credit card & gift card processing, antivirus & firewall security, centralized database building, online training, 1, 2 and 3 terminal hardware configurations, and 30 days solution center support, among others. Operators can also purchase 20 additional add-ons including time and attendance, a table map interface and more.
Wand Corp: NextGen POS update
Operators can expect a number of revolutionary POS functions with the latest release of WAND's (www.wandcorp.com
) NextGen POS. Among the updates are more sophisticated suggested upselling, integrated digital customer engagement, enterprise management functions and conversational ordering enhancements.
"The layout of the screen and the logic behind the various options work together to create a very interactive interface for the cashier," says Rob Ireland, director of IT for the Wendy's franchisee Tar Heel Capital (www.tarheelcapital.com
) about the conversational ordering feature. "Changes in the order can be handled instantly without interruption from the cashier. It really personalizes the ordering process."
Xpient: POS and kiosk integration
Powered by its IRIS software, Xpient's (www.xpient.com
) Embedded Kiosk Solution eliminates the need for operators to maintain separate POS and kiosk systems. The Embedded Kiosk Module leverages all of the benefits of IRIS POS' business logic, including automatic detection of possible combo meals and conversational ordering. Additionally, all kiosk activity can be managed from a counter POS terminal, which transitions between the POS and Xpient's Kiosk Attendant.
The Kiosk Manager Attendant was a key feature during discussions between CKE Restaurants and Xpient. "The importance of having an attendant is that you eliminate the cost of cash handler technology, says Jeff Chasney, the executive vice president of strategic planning and CIO for CKE Restaurants (www.ckr.com
). "And staff can easily jump on any of the systems because you have an attendant in the back watching how the system is being used and initiating that help."