Each year, Hospitality Technology puts a spotlight on point-of-sale technology to find out what’s trending in POS for the year ahead. Through reader surveys with restaurant executives, HT uncovers insight into their 2015 purchasing plans, and the business pressures that are impacting their next POS buy. We also get specific, asking about the features they’ll seek in their next upgrades. In addition, HT connects with the POS software supplier community to find out what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months, and to get a sneak peek into new rollouts and development efforts for 2015.
Here’s what’s top of mind for most hospitality operators: a POS that can enable restaurants to accept new mobile payment options, and that’ll take the EMV migration in stride. In fact, both operators and suppliers agree that the ability to accept mobile wallet is having a significant impact on POS software purchasing decisions, closely followed by EMV-readiness and overall payment security. Specifically, more than half of restaurants (56%) say that enabling new payment options such as e-wallet is the top business goal influencing POS upgrades. Adding mobile POS and prepping for EMV is pushing 47% of restaurants to look at POS upgrades (Fig. 1). Better integration is a core concern for about a quarter of restaurants, looking to build bridges to both e-commerce and other operational systems.
Overall, the majority of POS purchasing activity will be for upgrades to existing POS software, with just over two-thirds of the restaurants that HT surveyed stating their intent to add new functionality, features or modules to their current solution (Fig. 2). There’s also substantial activity planned for the development and roll-out of POS software on mobile devices (38%). Currently, there’s a good deal of stability in supplier relationships, with just 19% of restaurants planning to install POS software from a new company. But change may be on the horizon: 35% of restaurants are testing and researching new POS software for possible installation after 2015.
With substantial upgrades planned to existing systems, here’s what specific features restaurants are clamoring for in 2015 (Fig. 3): the majority (59%) will look to add mobile wallet (payment via customers’ mobile devices), followed by tablet-based POS software and loyalty tools, both at 57%. Cloud-based POS is on the shopping list for 35% of restaurants in the HT survey, and nearly as many (33%) are seeking integration with social media activity. About 18% are looking to enter into a Software-as-a-Service relationship with their POS software supplier.
Overall, these patterns reinforce that restaurants want flexibility in the way they take orders and process payments. Next up, we take a look at how the POS software supplier community is responding to that call…
By Abigail A. Lorden, Group Editor-in-Chief
2014 POS SOFTWARE INNOVATIONS & 2015 PLANS
Agilysys (www.agilysys.com) introduced rGuest Pay, one of the first gateways in the world to receive official PCI-P2PE validation. Along with the InfoGenesis POS solution, it provides a secure system that features platform reliability, third party POS integration, comprehensive processor support and flat, per-terminal pricing. Most innovative feature: Payment security through tokenization and P2PE; future-proofed hardware capable of supporting EMV and NFC transactions; integration with any application through an API; consolidated transaction reporting; and comprehensive processor support. In 2015, Agilysys will focus on mobile POS solutions. The InfoGenesis Flex solution combines rGuest Pay gateway with InfoGenesis POS software delivered on tablets to meet customers’ mobile needs.
Aireus (www.aireus.com) expanded third party interfaces, added 200 new features in its core POS offerings and integrated online ordering. Most innovative feature: Aireus combines both Apple iOS technology and cloud architecture. Aierus offers a single system that includes tying in data for a customer from multiple sources such as POS, gift card, online ordering and customer CRM. In 2015, rollouts will include mobile manager, advanced kitchen display, host mode, and beacon technology.
Aldelo (www.aldelo.com) brought full-service POS to the iPad via Aldelo Touch. Aldelo back-office cloud integrates with the Aldelo POS and XERA POS software, bringing complete cloud access to the POS for customers that want to have real-time control and access to information from anywhere. Aldelo also released additional features to its reporting cloud, bringing additional above-store features to enterprise-level customers. In 2015, Aldelo will continue to make innovative features for point of sale, payment processing, kitchen display systems, above-store reporting, mobility and terminal-based systems.
Apriva (www.apriva.com) launched its POS Universal Application, streamlining terminal updates for merchants across several terminal families by serving as a single, unified application across POS hardware. Most innovative feature: Updates are handled automatically, and merchants can standardize documentation and help desk support, simplifying management and support of multiple terminal families. It is also EMV-ready. The expansion of the AprivaPay Plus suite, mPOS software, provides a simple user experience and accepts card payment transactions while offering front- and back-office features. Brands using AprivaPay Plus access detailed anonymized analytics on users including demographics, geo-location, engagement statistics, device information and marketing data to identify the precise user base, tailor the application accordingly and drive future business via key performance indicators. In 2015, Apriva plans to build out support for different payment methods, including digital currencies, and to build upon its partnership with GoCoin. Apriva will expand integration services, allowing POS software vendors to connect through native software development kits for iOS, Android and Embedded systems.
ASI (www.rmpos.com) enhanced the Restaurant Manager POS Software with significant cloud computing capabilities and mobility solutions. Most innovative feature: From fraud alerts to integrated online ordering, the Restaurant Manager POS cloud computing services improve customer experience and ensure managers have real-time data. In 2015, Restaurant Manager will enhance the RM Tablet and RM Kiosk apps, adding features to integrate online ordering. Restaurant Manager will be interfaced to ApplePay by January 2015 and will also be able to process EMV chip & pin credit cards at the same time.
Custom Business Solutions (www.cbsnorthstar.com) added more functionality to POS, web, and guest ordering, plus developed and is rolling out WorldView, which allows customers and support centers to remotely monitor and diagnose NorthStar Order Entry locations. Most innovative feature: Features have been added to NorthStar Order Entry, including: mobile payments, online ordering, and kiosk ordering plus features within each ordering mode. In 2015, CBS/Northstar is working with Microsoft to continue to expand its platform agnostic capabilities.
Future POS (www.futurepos.com) created a point-of-sale app that can run on Android and iOS, plus Kindle and Windows phone. Most innovative feature: The cross platform app leverages 16+ years of Windows development by reusing much of the C/C++ code in which Future POS business logic is written. In 2015, Future POS is rewriting its Back Office in HTML5 to allow for web-based maintenance of the POS system. Operators will be able to run reports and change item prices remotely. It will also allow for cloud-based servers to reduce the up-front cost of a new system.
Granbury Solutions (www.granburyrs.com) introduced Thr!ve POS for traditional POS or Android and iPad tablets. Enterprise reporting and loyalty solutions provide a complete view of customer interactions with the ability to track individuals, offer incentives to change behavior and spot trends. Most innovative feature: Thr!ve POS can run as a mobile app for servers or in a customer-facing mobile online or self-serve tablet app. Thr!ve has an order-taking interface, plus a backend that includes management features, alerts, inventory tracking, reporting, and labor management tools. In 2015, Granbury Solutions POS system will be easily configurable to be used behind the counter, doing line busting, at a table, kiosk, or a customer device in the restaurant or remotely. The software adapts while maintaining a consistent user experience and data set.
Harbortouch (www.harbortouch.com) unveiled Perkwave, a mobile app that uses Apple Pay technology to enable customers to pay at the table quickly and securely. Harbortouch Online Ordering (HOLO) accepts orders online through a customized and branded menu. Tableside enables servers to input orders directly from the table via a custom iPad app. The latest version of Lighthouse cloud-based reporting and POS management platform offers mobile device access, expanded reporting capabilities, and enhanced POS management capabilities. The back-end infrastructure has been completely rebuilt to deliver a more secure, reliable and scalable platform. Most innovative feature: Perkwave includes built-in loyalty and rewards. Any transaction processed through the Perkwave app automatically syncs to the POS system. With HOLO, when a customer orders through the merchant’s website, a ticket will automatically be generated within the POS. The reservations platform is custom-built to accept and track online reservations directly through the POS system or via iPad. In 2015, Harbortouch will continue to improve existing offerings while introducing new features and functionality.
Digital Dining (www.digitaldining.com); a trademark of Menusoft) developed multiple mobile payment and loyalty options and continues to integrate gesturing and graphical UI to create a unique, intuitive user experience. Several omni-channel and payment options were created for customers to leverage current and imminent technology to drive adoption to brand loyalty. Digital Dining moved forward with mutual brand protection using encrypted, tokenized and EMV solutions. Most innovative feature: The user interface is agnostic to operating system, form or device. In 2015, the DD Analytics native app will be released. It pushes real-time alerts based on data that is analyzed in the cloud 24/7. BYOD and store-issued tablet kiosk options will be released as they continue to drive adoption in guest interaction.
Micros (www.micros.com) introduced and integrated the Engagement feature with the Simphony POS platform. Most innovative feature: Optimized for tablet use, the Engagement feature enables servers and guests to interact with the technology. The Engagement feature can display and promote daily specials as well as social media feeds, local news or entertainment, provide instant access to reward and loyalty programs, and deliver actionable data, analytics and tools for management staff. It can be configured to provide access to training videos and support to low-cost IP video cameras. In 2015, Micros is introducing the MICROS mTablet E-Series line of tablets that blends cost-effective hardware with enterprise-grade capabilities provided by Oracle’s software.
NCR (www.ncrcorp.com) launched NCR Silver Pro Restaurant Edition, which uses the NCR Silver Small Business Platform with built-in customer engagement tools, simple analytics and online reports, and turns any iPad and iPad Mini running the latest iOS into a POS. Most innovative feature: The integrated wait list and table management system, NCR Guest Pad, is directly integrated to the POS and keeps the host team informed of the status of all tables directly from an iPad. Guests are notified when their table is ready through SMS and are invited to browse and pay their check through a simple browser application. In 2015, NCR will continue expanding and developing its integrated Consumer Engagement Platform which helps meet the needs of guests and appropriately promote brands.
PARTech/Brink POS (www.partech.com) expanded its tablet support to include the PAR 10 and PAR 8 tablets. An advanced alerting system was also released, including text and e-mail notifications that allow managers to quickly react to anything from rising labor percentage to potential fraud. Additional enhancements included expanding the Brink POS API to allow merchants real-time access to data for external processing, data mining purposes, and third party accounting/inventory integrations. Most innovative features: Brink POS delivers fully integrated online/mobile ordering. Brink POS encompasses online ordering and loyalty which makes use of a single database and allows real-time data access. In 2015, Brink POS will be expanding its support for alternate forms of payment and mobile order/payment processing. Brink POS will be expanding its loyalty features to allow an increased level of guest engagement.
pcAmerica (www.pcamerica.com) acquired its RPE Mobile application, an Apple iTouch/iPhone-based restaurant ordering and payment solution, from MobiMagic. This solution makes it easy and affordable for restaurateurs to expand from stationary POS to a complete mobile ordering solution. In 2015, pcAmerica will have a distinct focus on solutions that will bring ease and affordability to a few categories: EMV-readiness, tableside ordering/payment and Internet ordering via web or mobile devices. It is also introducing its Automation POS software, a customizable POS platform that can be used on various devices tableside or outside the restaurant.
Revel (www.revelsystems.com) brought enterprise-level tools to iPad POS and further expanded its reporting capabilities, allowing business owners to set and monitor sales goals for labor forecasting, and track and manage delivery drivers. Revel also increased payment flexibility, adding compatibility with Bitcoin, PayPal, and Apple Pay. Additionally, Revel created an iPad-based drive through POS, and an Accessibility Bundle that enables visually-impaired users full use of the POS. Most innovative feature: The Revel iPad-based point of sale platform is enterprise-ready. The open API and app marketplace gives owners the ability to customize the POS and enables Revel to incorporate up-and-coming technology (such as Apple Pay). In 2015, Revel will be announcing partnerships to expand its enterprise offerings.
Silverware POS (www.silverwarepos.com) released cloud-based “Insight” producing real-time dashboards and alerts through easily configurable widgets on smartphone and tablet. Real-time dashboards can be added for sales, loss prevention, operations, client, and server reporting. Most innovative feature: Using QR Code technology, with In-Store Customer Ordering, customers can browse menus and place orders directly on a smartphone or tablet while in the restaurant. Orders are sent to the appropriate printers and the POS is updated in real-time. In 2015, Silverware is planning for integration to numerous mobile payment platforms.
Softtouch (www.softtouchpos.com) Bitcoin payment processing to allow patrons to remit payment using Bitcoin virtual currency. DineBlast QuickPay allows patrons to self-pay from the table without waiting for a guest check from the server. The customer can pay using a credit card or Bitcoin using their mobile device. EasyDash.net is a real-time data analytics portal that allows operators to run reports, view charts, and custom configure a dashboard from a computer or mobile device. Most innovative feature: SoftTouch has a full suite of solutions, from pay-at-the-table to tabletop ordering systems (iTable). The real-time data analytics portal doesn’t require snapshot data. The operator can monitor all store data from a remote location in real-time using any mobile device. In 2015, SoftTouch plans to refresh DineBlast Mobile. This customer-facing mobile solution features “order anywhere” technology that automatically optimizes the ordering experience for a customer based on proximity to the restaurant. When used as a traditional online ordering experience, customers can place orders from the restaurant for carry-out or delivery. It also provides an in-store solution; patrons can create their own check and place orders. Guests can also share their check allowing friends to place orders on their tab.
SpeedLine Solutions (www.speedlinesolutions.com) introduced a new edition of SpeedLine LiveMaps, an interactive visual dispatch system that considers live traffic conditions when finding the fastest route and predicting arrival times. Innovations include digital wall maps and visual analytics of delivery performance and purchase trends. Other advancements include touchscreen ticket selection from a map, and automatic customer delivery confirmation emails with an accurate order ETA. Most innovative feature: A topping matrix in SpeedLine Inventory tracks ideal usage for create-your-own pizzas and other menu items built on the fly. An operations planning toolset feeds historical sales data into a detailed forecast, by order type and day part, that drives labor targets and recommended prep plans. OrderLink Gateway allows mobile ordering sites and apps to share information on orders, delivery zones, store hours, customers, and more with the restaurant POS. In 2015, new capabilities will simplify remote POS administration and upgrades, and automate day-to-day reporting and management functions. Planned enhancements also introduce innovation in delivery management and open support for loyalty solutions.
Squirrel Systems (www.squirrelsystems.com) has increased security and encryption and enhanced software to make it easier and more efficient for restaurants to take pre-orders, with items automatically sent to the kitchen with enough prep time before they are due to be picked up or delivered. Most innovative feature: Because the software is built on an open Microsoft SQL database, users have the ability to easily access and use POS data. Squirrel POS software not only operates on Squirrel hardware, but also terminals from other manufacturers as well as a variety of mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows. In 2015, Squirrel will roll out more mobility solutions.
TouchBistro (www.touchbistro.com) added mobile payment options, such as PayPal Pay-at-Table and Apple Pay and other digital loyalty systems. Most innovative feature: Orders can be taken at the table and are instantly transmitted to the kitchen, enabling restaurants to turn tables faster. In 2015, TouchBistro will be moving toward two-way, real-time integration with the digital wallet.
2TouchPOS (www.2touchpos.com) developed and deployed DataKey API. DataKey increases accuracy and effectiveness of a customer’s digital nervous system and eliminates the administrative burden of manually keying the data into the other applications. Most innovative feature: Revenue-generating features such as speed-of-service discount, dynamic pricing and the Data Key API. In 2015, 2TouchPOS will continue to focus on APIs.
Vivonet (www.vivonet.com) expanded its API platform, making it easier to integrate the full suite of products with strategic partnerships. Vivonet also added POS integrated digital menu boards and inventory management. Most innovative feature: Vivonet Kiosk cellular compatibility lets consumers order from a kiosk anywhere outside restaurants. Vivonet Mobile now includes scan-and-pay features, which helps speed the in-store payment experience and enables owners to understand consumer behaviors. Managers can send targeted offers directly to consumers. In 2015, Vivonet will focus on expanding its mobile POS, kiosk and mobile ordering solutions to add ways to engage with the consumer and reduce labor costs. Key innovations will be delivered in loyalty, reporting, APIs and payments.
WAND Corp. (www.wandcorp.com) emphasized real-time reporting and brand-to-brand customization, tailoring the software to each brand’s needs. Many customizations benefited WAND’s customers, like the integration of LevelUp. In 2015, WAND will implement device agnostic POS software. The mobility across devices will let employees fully utilize conversational ordering as they remove a POS tablet from the counter and take it into the restaurant. Another focus will be integrating POS into WAND’s Total Restaurant Management platform, which will provide users information about back-office, digital menus, and POS for any restaurant or group.
XPIENT (www.xpient.com) added support for loosely-integrated
payment solutions to allow customers to completely remove the POS from PCI scope and pave the way for EMV payments. Apple Pay transactions were processed with key customers. XPIENT Commerce Engine launched with the Taco Bell mobile ordering app, an example of enterprise restaurant commerce solutions in the cloud. Most innovative feature: Omni-channel commerce with the XPIENT Commerce Engine, and master data management of configuration data for all ordering platforms, including third party platforms, with XPIENT’s Enterprise Data Manager. XPIENT also offers seamless end-of-day, allowing business days to increment without user interruption or user awareness. In 2015, the XPIENT Commerce Engine will become the POS-in-the-cloud, providing frictionless software, configuration management, and omni-channel commerce.