How to increase restaurant sales using your POS

Are you looking for ways to boost your restaurant’s revenues? Before spending a small fortune on marketing campaigns, consider your point-of-sale (POS) — because it may hold the ideas you need.

If you’re looking for fresh ideas on how to pull in the crowds, then it’s likely that everyone in your team has a different suggestion. Perhaps it could be about sharpening up your signage and handing out flyers, using pay-per-click advertising, or maybe investing in a complete rebrand and refurbishment?

Some suggestions may be helpful. But these kinds of ideas tend to be one-off moves — giving sales a short-term tonic at best.

What restaurants really need is a sure-fire method of increasing sales in a sustainable fashion. And some of the best ways for doing this could be via your POS. If it’s a good system, you’ll have the right tools available to transform your fortunes.

Here are five ideas to consider:

#1: Think profit, not just sales

Anyone can pack out a restaurant by offering steak & chips with a pint for a fiver. But although we’re thinking about increasing sales, the overriding mission is really all about the bottom line … profitability.

Sales only become meaningful when they translate into profit. For example, when you sell 75 dishes in an evening, you’ll want to know you’re bringing in a healthy margin. Perhaps one customer earned you £6.50, another made you £12.25, but a third may have even cost you money. It’s possible to find out.

With the right POS, this level of detail is available. You’ll know which dishes are your biggest earners, which staff perform the best, and when you have your busiest times. You can then tune your menu and pricing to make your business more competitive and profitable — and encourage your table staff to steer diners towards the dishes and extras with the greatest margin.

#2: Upsell and incentivise

When it comes to taking orders at the table, the right POS can help staff with upselling extras, deals and specials … with a prompt on the screen at just the right moment. It could be about extra toppings, side dishes, 2-4-1s on drinks, or maybe desserts at a discount. These extras might boost revenue by 5% or more.

A good POS will also make it easy for managers to create and add deals, so they appear automatically on-screen when waiting staff are taking orders. You can test promotions on certain days/times to test the water — or perhaps focus on boosting business during quieter spells, using social media.

With the right POS you can also show each employee’s performance in terms of how many upsells they made. Staff can see who’s top of the leader-board — and you can offer incentives and rewards for the winner.

#3: Treat guests like stars

Restaurant staff at small establishments sometimes have the time to get to know regular customers, their names and their preferences. This often results in more repeat business, guests spending more and bringing their friends on special occasions.

But it’s much harder to provide the personal touch if you’ve got a bigger establishment and lots of staff. 

However, the right POS can enable you to track and remember every touch-point across the guest experience — from taking their name to book the table, and tracking order status, through to letting them split the bill in as many ways as they want. It’s also possible for serving staff to greet customers by name and see their order histories, making suggestions based on that — so people feel like ‘regulars’.

What’s more, leading POS systems will have ready-to-go loyalty programmes that you can flavour for your restaurant and give customers that extra incentive to come back again. For example, one of iiko’s customers rolled out a loyalty programme across its 25 restaurants and linked to customers’ mobile phone numbers. A prompt to sign up was printed on every receipt. The scheme increased revenue by 3.1%.

#4: Predict and perfect your timing

As the old farming adage goes, you need to ‘make hay while the sun shines’. Within the restaurant trade, this means making the most of your busiest times — by being 100% prepared for them, so you can capitalise on extra sales.

A smart POS will help with this by predicting your busiest days and evenings, weeks ahead of time, helping you to understand exactly the staffing levels, food supplies and prep you’ll need.

Forecasts will be based on past operating data within the POS that can include sales, guest numbers, staffing and seasonal patterns. But you can also add in factors such as the weather, bank holidays and special dates such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, or sporting events — such as international football matches or Wimbledon.

#5: Get the edge with deliveries

Speed is everything if you want to make more sales and win repeat business in this competitive market.

POS systems can bring in sales automatically through third-party apps — to save your staff from having to rekey orders and risk getting them wrong. You can combine your own orders with those you’ve received off the web within a single system.

But imagine if you could provide fastest-route guidance for drivers, send delivery updates to customers by text and use GPS to see exactly the location of all your drivers? With a leading POS, it’s all possible.

Best of all – watch it all happen

With a leading POS from a company like iiko, it’s possible to put these ideas into action. What’s more, you’ve also up-to-date reporting so you can see the results in extra sales as they happen. That way, it’s easy to fine-tune you initiatives and take restaurant revenue to the next level.