Restaurant POS Systems and Customer Service

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!!

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!!

To Higher Profits!



Is Your Resaurant or QSR as Clean As It Should Be?

Today I  visited a long time burger franchise with my wife. You know the type, been around for years still serving the same product from assets that look a little bit tired from team members that, well lets put it this way, I am really happy that none of them are in my family! I don’t want to mention names but it was real HARD to EES right on by that store

Let’s start with the good part, the product was great. Good fries. Good burger!! Looked just like the menu panel which is something that rarely happens. The young lady behind the counter tried real hard to make things happen as per her training and was courteous and efficient with a big smile. Oh, and the coke was good too.

Hey, there are four or five positives in that last paragraph which is good, but unfortunately that is where it stopped.

Well you knew I had to list the negatives didn’t you?  We can all learn from negatives as well as positives. OK here goes and I will do this as a franchise rep would list it.

  1. Server ran out of paper cups and had to ask another team member to get some and give one to the customer (me). It didn’t happen. I had to ask again for my cup.
  2. Off duty team member sitting at a table 20 feet away, wearing a disgusting uniform talking loudly to other team members behind the counter as server is trying to get orders from customers. Two other team sitting in the restaurant in uniform on break or waiting to start.
  3. Team members wearing hats so dirty that you can’t make out the logo.
  4. Entire team was wearing jeans. Most of them dirty, ripped and either too loose or too tight, if you get what I mean.
  5. Three or four tables were dirty and still dirty twenty minutes later.
  6. Garbage bins overflowing inside the restaurant. When finally emptied no one wiped around the top so it was still covered with sauce and grease. Disgusting!
  7. Windows with more than a full days fingerprints and grease marks.
  8. Floor so covered in grease that we saw customers skating down the walkway. Probably an oil spill back of house and not enough detergent used or the mop cleaned properly. And yes they should have different mops for front and back of house.
  9. Seats ripped.
  10. Furniture and décor package out of date and tired.
  11. Dangerous and badly marked parking lot.
  12. Team members so slow they were holding up the customers trying to leave the restaurant

Anyway that’s enough, you get the idea.

The problem is that just next door is a McDonalds that does everything right. The team are all in clean uniforms that all look the same and fit correctly. The store is clean from top to bottom and the design is up-to-date.

I can just see the declining sales figures, the manager and regional ops team pulling their hair out and trying to stem the flow of customers to their competition.

Wake up guys! Your product is twice as good as your neighbours. While you may not be able to compete with the money McD’s can throw at their sites and the technology  they can afford, you can do the basics right and that is the key to sales.

Start with hiring the right team and ensure your uniforms are clean and reasonably new. Train them well and ensure they stick to standards 100% of the time. If they don’t want to do it or just can’t then maybe they are not suited to the food business.

Quick tip: If you want to be trendy and allow your team to wear jeans make sure they are clean and fit correctly. Torn and faded jeans do not give your customers a sense that all is right with your standards.

It doesn’t matter if your décor is old as long as it and the rest of the store is clean. Dirty front of house means dirty back of house. Every time.

This store needs someone to give it a good shake and see what sort of vermin falls out. If they did this and got back to basics they would see their sales improve. It looks as if they have given up.

Sorry to rant but I hate to see a perfectly good business go to the dogs when all that is needed is a little pride, hard work and training.