The hospitality industry has faced unprecedented challenges recently. Like many others, it has had to manage the impacts of a pandemic and geopolitical and economic instability.
So much so that, by the end of 2022 UK hospitality closures rose above COVID-19 levels in the wake of global supply chain disruption, rampant inflation and rising costs. So, those operators must quickly find ways to do more with less and increase cost efficiency.
The one system every merchant needs to operate but may overlook as a source of such insight is humble till system. It is more vital than ever to use the data collected, processed and managed by the EPOS system to run hospitality businesses better.
The data is usually split into three areas. These include information about the type and quantity of inventory the hospitality business buys and sells; details about what it sells and when; and, some kind of a view on its customers, whether or not they identify themselves.
Matching supply to demand
Some specialist hospitality EPOS systems include back-office functionality designed to help a business manage stock and keep track of what inventory they have ordered or on hand. This enables it to make sure the items and services it offers are available for sale.
Unavailable items mean lost sales, stressed staff and dissatisfied customers. But, tracking stock-outs and optimising order levels are just two of the ways that hospitality businesses can use inventory information held in the EPOS to better match supply to demand.
Used in combination with sales and order data, it is also possible to use inventory data to calculate wastage. This enables a business to review, identify and optimise its preparation and handling processes, as well as its most and least popular selling items and offers.
Gaining visibility of stock trends mapped onto orders and sales is another powerful way to help better meet customer expectations. If the business has loyal customers who identify themselves, at the till with a loyalty card for example, it can prioritise regular patrons’ needs.
Driving higher sales and frequency
Inventory visibility, however, only provides one part of the optimisation puzzle. By analysing EPOS orders and sales, hospitality businesses can Identify fast or slow-selling items and those that may need replacing and/or discontinuing. It can also identify product affinities.
If certain menu items are often ordered together, for instance, understanding such affinity could help formulate offers and incentives that can increase sales per head or cover. Cross-referencing this with customer loyalty information can support targeted promotions.
The combination of stock, order and sales information also empowers hospitality businesses to prevent or spot thefts and take remedial action. This view can start to pinpoint customer or staff-based sources of theft and areas that require process improvement or tighter security.
Tracking what is sold and when as an indicator of how busy an outlet or venue may get is also essential for rightsizing staffing levels. The biggest capital expenditure in hospitality is people, so it pays to ensure enough of the right, skilled staff are working at the right times.
Giving customers more of what they want
Lastly, despite the often highly seasonal nature of the hospitality industry, the return of consumer appetites for leisure and hospitality or out-of-home drinking and dining, as well as entertainment is a welcome trend. But capitalising on it requires deep insight and agility.
The ability to match a view of those most popular selling items with who buys them and when (including special occasions) is a prerequisite for creating successful offers and promotions that will drive sales without cannibalising competitiveness or loyalty.
Equally, knowing the customers who always buy at discount could help shift slow-moving stock by offering them time-sensitive offers that also avoid the busiest times of the day. The customer data and loyalty capabilities of EPOS systems provide for such differentiation.
To find out more about how a hospitality EPOS system can help hospitality businesses increase sales, loyalty, efficiency and differentiation, contact PowerEPOS