Top Strategies that Promise to Reduce Employee POS Training

By Scott Morgan, Director of Information Technology, Mama Fu's Franchise Group, LLC. | January 21, 2010

Restaurant operators are constantly hiring new employees and staff members. It is critical to make sure that these employees are not only properly trained and prepared to begin work during their initial training period, but also throughout the duration of their employment. Therefore, it is important that your restaurant's point of sale system (POS) is as easy to use as possible. A POS system can also become an ongoing extension of your menu knowledge training materials that are always available to your service staff whenever they are working, not just during the studying for their menu knowledge test.

Selecting a POS
For Mama Fu's, ensuring that the selected POS technology was simple and easy to use for employees was a top priority. The user-friendly interfaces and simplicity of the Aloha Enterprise suite of applications by Radiant Systems influenced Mama Fu's selection of the Aloha technology. Employees are able to quickly learn how to operate the applications, which helps them to begin work faster and serve customers quickly and with little error. Mama Fu's maximizes the training features of the Aloha software, by displaying menu item recipes and photos. In addition, the company utilizes the special training mode, which allows employees to practice placing orders on terminals during live operations without actually sending tickets to the kitchen or affecting sales.
 
Initial POS database setup
As part of the Mama Fu's training strategy for using the POS system, management takes the extra effort to ensure that every item in the POS database has item specific modifiers or distinct option screens. These modifier pages are attached to their parent menu items when configured on the POS system and become a guide to employees as to what ingredients can be removed or put on the side for each item. Consider this scenario for example, a guest in your restaurant asks whether an item can have the green onions removed from it. If the server sees that the green onions in the item are one of its specific modifiers, they know that the kitchen can remove them. Conversely, if an item has carrots in the mix and cannot be withheld by the kitchen during preparation, the carrots modifier would not appear on this item's modifier screen. Not only does this process help employees learn how to use the POS when entering and changing orders, but it also helps staff learn the menu faster. Taking the added time to implement this level of detail into your POS database will turn your POS system into a training resource for your staff that is always available.
 
Make employee POS training consistent across locations
Multi-unit operators face the challenge of creating a guest experience that is the same in each location as they open additional sites. The key to making training programs for your employees consistent across locations is to apply the same features, functionality and menu programming across all of your sites' POS systems. Modern POS systems have hundreds of features and functions, so ensuring that they are setup exactly the same in all locations is challenging. The strategy that Mama Fu's took when making the decision on how to ensure consistent implementation of Aloha was to add the Aloha Configuration Center management application into its technology solution. Aloha Configuration Center allows Mama Fu's to remotely manage its restaurant settings across all sites from anywhere that has Internet access. Central management of the menu database and training features of the POS system has allowed consistent implementation of training materials and programs across all of its restaurant locations from the corporate offices.
 
Learn your POS system capabilities
One of the biggest factors in deciding how to properly train employees in using a POS system is to utilize all of the training features included in the system. Not only will these features make it easy for restaurant staff to learn how use the POS, but it will save restaurant management time by creating their own training program. There are a variety of features included in POS systems, as mentioned above, that many operators do not know exist. By learning about and utilizing the system's functionalities, it is possible to train employees in POS operations quickly and easily.

Scott Morgan has held the position of director of information systems for Mama Fu's Franchise Group, LLC. and its parent company, Murphy Adams Restaurant Group, LP in Austin, Texas from January 2009 to present. From April 2007 to December 2008, he was the manager of information systems for Levy Restaurants, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. He was owner/consultant of Superior Restaurant Management Services in Austin, Texas from 1996 to 2007 where he consulted in the field of POS implementation, training, inventory control systems and network design.

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