Similar does not mean Same
A Ferrari F150 and a Ford F150 pickup are similar because they are both automobiles and share the F150 in their name. They have similar anatomy, yet are quite different in their features, design, strengths, purpose, and price. Just as these two cars are similar yet different, the same goes for the similarities and differences between a restaurant point of sale system and a pizza point of sale system.
Basic POS features
In our car example the cars are similar because they share similar features like wheels, doors, runs on gasoline, etc. Most POS systems are similar in their basic features as well. The definition of basic feature may be a bit ambiguous. Let’s define basic features as all common features that all types of point of sale systems share.
The (most important) Differences
Toppings and the combinations that can be created from them are numerous. The pricing combinations from meats, cheese, veggies, and sauces and portion pricing of whole, half, quarter, or eighth toppings can get complex. Of course a restaurant point of sale system can display and probably even add up the toppings properly. The difference is a pizza POS is designed specifically to manage this complexity. Accomplishing complex topping combinations and portion sizes are easier, simpler, and faster on a pizza point of sale system. The more advanced pizza POS systems are capable of programming the toppings that are included in every pizza. The pizza point of sale system can break the cost of the pizza down by the individual toppings that are included. All your substitutions and modifications are priced and charged accurately.
Pizza pos systems are superior at handling variable pricing for toppings. For this example we will use mozzarella cheese. A pizza POS can give the mozzarella cheese a price when it is put on a large pizza and a different price when the same mozzarella is put on a sandwich. It can also make sure that the price is adjusted if you only put it on a portion (i.e. half, quarter, eighth) of an item. Managing toppings in general is tough, a good pizza pos system will be designed to make order entry significantly easier and faster. Another possible description for topping management could be topping flexibility. A good pizza point of sale system should be able to handle any situation and combination for toppings easily and quickly.
We know speed of service and delivery is important, but have you ever put a cost on speed for your pizza business?
Let’s just hypothetically see if we can quantify the cost of speed (or slowness).
For this scenario we’ll establish the speed of a point of sale system by the number of button pushes as our unit of measurement. For the sake of simplicity each button push will count as one second.
Speed = # of button pushes
1BP(Button Push) = 1s (Second)
You probably can already guess that a quality pizza POS system is specifically designed to require the least amount of button pushing. A well designed pizza point of sale system can quickly enter, modify, and complete an order. In any quick service businesses faster accurate order taking is always better.
At a minimum, saving one second per order may seem like a trivial thing. Let’s do the math. For this example let’s just say we do 120 tickets a day. So we’re losing/spending 120 seconds.
How much time is that in 1 year?
120 seconds = 2 minutes.
2 minutes a day x 365 days = 730 minutes or 12.167 hrs lost.
So because the point of sale system takes 1 second longer per order, the business will spend for 12.167 hours of unnecessary labor.
If it’s 2 seconds per order difference we’re talking 24+ hours of labor costs wasted per year. Not only that, it’s also the amount of extra time your customers have been waiting on the phone, in line, or at the counter.
On the maximum side, you may find that a high end pizza pos can sometimes bring drastic time savings up to 5-10 seconds per order, especially on complex orders. A savings of 5 seconds per order would equal 60.835 hours of wasted labor and making customers wait.
Most pizza businesses do not look at such detailed metrics, but they’ll agree that time is money. You can argue there may not always be a ton of money savings. However every little bit at every step of the process can amount to something substantial. This is just one of those little bonuses that gets added up to give you better value from your pizza pos system.
The better pizza POS systems have quick, powerful, and flexible delivery management features. Depending on how those features are implemented it can save you significant time and headaches.
There are some notable features you should look for in a delivery management system for your pizza point of sale system.
Delivery management Features
Customer database – Keep accurate details on your customer’s contact information, order history, credits, etc.
Dynamic Mapping – Delivery Mapping that gets real-time mapping information from the internet
Real time traffic – Mapping that has real-time traffic data on road conditions
Display deliveries on a map – Full Screen Map displaying all the orders and the locations in relation to your store.
Delivery Ticket Management – Separate and quickly access delivery information and tickets. Ability to print the delivery slip and credit card slips as the tickets are assigned to the driver.
Delivery Zones – Have zones set by various parameters i.e. distance, time, streets. Each zone can have associated delivery fees and minimum order amounts.This is designed for delivery heavy business. Delivery zones are helpful for managing varying delivery fees for customers that are located further away. You can also set higher minimum orders for orders that are further away. This feature is also very helpful when the zones are integrated with online ordering so customers that order online will fall under the minimum order rules and delivery fees for their appropriate zone.
GPS Tracking – Advanced pizza systems can even track where the delivery driver is in real-time map. Also they can send emails to the customer when the delivery is on the way.
One of the most challenging parts of the pizza business is managing delivery drivers and orders.
A business owner can take better control over their delivery business with the help of a pizza pos system.
Any point of sale system that offers delivery management should also have driver management. Those two functionalities should go hand in hand.
Out the Door – Pizza pos systems can tell you the average out the door times for your drivers.
Estimated Return Times – Calculated return times from route that the delivery driver should take.
Driver Banking – Money management for your drivers. Keep track of the cash in their pockets.
Some restaurant pos systems may even have features for drivers, however they will often come short when it comes to handling driver fees and tips, driver banking, Out The Door, and Estimated Return Times.
Online ordering (Convenience is King)
A pizza pos system will clearly outshine in online ordering compared to a restaurant pos. Some of the most notable differences you’ll quickly see is that a pizza pos is better integrated into the website through the Online Ordering system.
The growth of online ordering is amazing.
“In the year ended May 2010, approximately 1.39 billion phone delivery orders were placed in the US, according to market research firm NPD. By May 2015, that number had dropped to about 1.02 billion. In the same period, online orders more than doubled from approximately 403 million to nearly 904 million.”
Online ordering is the future and it’s happening now. It saves everyone time, order from your smartphone and it prints to the kitchen at the restaurant. The customer saves time and the business saves time because they don’t have to take the order over the phone. Online ordering is not only convenient but it is also faster.
Online Integration is a can of worms
Integration is a tricky thing. The reason for this is because everyone has their own “degree” of how much their technologies actually work together (integrate). To simply say the website integrates with the pos can mean many things. As you will see, almost anything and almost nothing.
Integration example A
- Online Ordering system sends order to pos.
- Pos prints to kitchen.
Integration example B
- Online Ordering system automatically syncs and checks menu items and pricing
- Online Ordering system works with same merchant services accounts as your pos system
- Same brick and mortar Gift cards are accepted on the Online Ordering system
- Online Ordering system syncs customer information from online with pizza pos system
- Online Ordering system can handle unlimited number of locations – and direct you to the nearest one
- Online Ordering system can send marketing sms text and email blasts to customers
- Online Ordering system has branded android and iPhone application
- Among other things, it prints to the kitchen
- Online Ordering system matches delivery zone rules and charges a delivery fee according to distance and/or minimum order size
- Online Ordering system accepts coupons that the pos system does and can have Web exclusive coupons too
- Online Ordering system automatically sync’s Delivery and Pick up times from the Pizza pos
- Online Ordering system automatically sync’s out of stock information from the pizza pos
I’m sure you get the point with how integration can vary drastically from each solution. I always recommend that you dig deeper with each feature to make sure it does what you’re actually expecting to be able to accomplish.
Generally, you’re going to want to look for a complete Online Ordering system as described in integration example B.
Coupon management (Show me the money)
We know coupons can help businesses grow. Managing them properly will ensure that your marketing dollars are being used wisely. Coupon management is the hidden gem in a POS system. Coupon management is where a POS can build a lot of its value. This feature isn’t just specific to pizza POS, but of course the best ones will have this functionality. Some restaurant POS systems may have something similar, but I wanted to mention coupon management because the better pos systems in general will have this built in and it’s really important to have if you use any sort of coupons, specials, discounts and marketing.
A good coupon management system should be able to help you answer the following:
Which coupon makes you the most money?
Which one makes you the least?
Which is your most profitable distribution source for marketing your coupons?
Which is your least distribution source for marketing your coupons?
Who are your best coupon customers?
Which coupons can we possibly improve or get rid of?
Which distribution sources can we possibly improve or get rid of?
You will have a clear view of the performance of your coupons and sources. You will be be able to make much more accurate decisions on your coupons and marketing. A business that manages their coupons accurately and properly will most likely reap the many benefits coupons can provide.
Right tool for the right job (The difference is clear)
As different as our Ferrari F150 and the Ford F150 are, so are pizza pos systems and restaurant point of sale systems. Both are designed for different purposes.
If you were in a race which car would you choose? Business is competition just like a race. Make sure you pick the tools that will allow you to compete to be the best you can be.
When you have a tool that is specially designed for a specific purpose, that tool tends to be much better than a one-size-fits all kind of tool. This is kind of like the difference between a socket wrench (specific) and a adjustable wrench (one-size-fits-all).
If you own a pizza business I recommend that you make sure you’re getting the right tool (POS) for the right job (business). Any business system that is not able to save the business time and money may not be the best fit for your business. The purpose for computers in any business is to make conducting business much easier, faster, simpler, convenient, and more profitable. A good pizza POS should be able to accomplish just that for your pizza business. A good pizza point of sale system can be a foundation to building a thriving pizza business.