Restaurant POS Systems, Online Ordering and Customer Service

It was amazing that Domino’s announced recently that they had hit $1 billion in digital orders! Looks like they have reached a milestone that will not go away.  Today online ordering is how things happen and most large pizza franchises make it difficult to even get the phone number for your local store.

The last time I tried to order a pizza online it took me almost 25 minutes before I gave up. When I used the “find your nearest store” button and dutifully typed in my suburb and zip code it gave me a store that was ten minutes further away than the one I drive by every day.

I decided to drive to the nearest store and place a carryout order, this proved to be cheaper and less stressful and the manager gave me the store number so that I can place my order directly with them and also follow up on a late delivery pizza if that happens. He told me that most of his regular customers call him direct. Now what is wrong with that scenario!! (It was not Domino’s who seem to have streamlined their process! – this chain has something to learn from the Domino’s model!)

Let’s talk about cash registers, oops sorry, point of sale (POS) terminals. It even takes longer to say it.

The current crop of POS terminals is a boon to the operators. You know exactly how much you sell of each item in stock, what the sales trends are by the hour and they will even do your rosters and ordering for you as well as a list of other functions too numerous to mention.

I recently did some work with a large coffee chain and was impressed with their POS system, it did all you could ask and more but with the large list of coffee and beverage choices, both hot and cold, as well as cakes and sandwiches with an even longer list of condiments, this became a nightmare when ordering.

There were more than a dozen screens to navigate with 20 -30 options on each screen. No wonder they calculated their service times from when the order was bumped through to the baristas and not from when the customer arrived at the POS to place their order!

I was in one of their stores when the POS system was down (an occurrence that is not unusual) and the team were taking orders on pieces of paper and handing them to the barista. It did not surprise me to hear a customer mention that the service was exceptionally quick today.

Add to that the cost of these systems (In this case almost $20,000 for two terminals, two order screens and the BOH computer) and I begin to wonder if it is all worth it.

Have the large chains put the customers second in favor of technology and better controls. Have we forgotten that our time is not as important as our customers and that they are the ones paying us. Has anyone recently tried to call the head office of any large food chain. If you have I can assure you that unless you know the extension number of the person you want to speak to, you will not be able to talk to a human being.

Now that’s what I call service!!

R.Stevens

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