“In the past, EPoS terminals were big machines with small screens and were used to manage sales, inventory and stocks,” explains Kapil Gupta, product manager at Zonal Retail Data Systems.
“The machine’s chip would have to be returned to us for reprogramming every time a restaurant changed its menu. Hand held terminals just didn¹t exist. Now, the capabilities of the system have improved dramatically and most companies we work with use EPoS as a core element of their entire business.”
Those capabilities now include employee management with biometric fingerprint controlled clocking on and off, staff scheduling, automated order handling from front of house to kitchen, back office management reporting and the ability to connect to third party payroll and accounting systems.
How can EPoS help improve business?
At its simplest level an EPoS system could take the form of a bar or counter top mounted single terminal with touch screen, cash drawer and receipt printer. Hand held terminals (Mobile EPoS) for table side order input; a kitchen management system that displays orders back of house; a back office management and reporting system and a purchasing system that allows orders to be automatically placed with third party companies based on stock level monitoring, can all be added as required.
Andrew Evans of Keystep, said installing a decent EPoS system, which may feature any number of the above hardware and software options, could bring ‘considerable benefits’ to hospitality businesses, including better stock management, detailed and bespoke back office reports, reduced staff errors, more focused marketing and faster transaction times.
“In the long term a good POS system can save you money, increase productivity and save you time that can be spent driving your business forward,” he said. “No matter how small a business is, an EPoS system is rarely unnecessary as it will bring in business benefits.”
Evans adds that while operators can use EPoS to draw detailed reports on how well the business is functioning, most systems can be used to collate customer details into a database, which can then be used for marketing, issuing loyalty cards, upselling and advertising promotions. Used properly, he says, a good EPoS system can help restaurants, pubs and hotels make a faster return on their investment.
“EPoS systems will probably pay for themselves within 18 months if you have a high turnover business. The return on investment will be longer for businesses with medium revenues, however it will still deliver considerable business benefits and provide many of the essential tools and information to make informed business decisions and grow your business.”
If you're looking to update your system, want more information on all the latest software around or simply want to see how other businesses are performing with the latest technology, then either pick up your latest copy of Restaurant magazine (out 24 February), or check in all this week (22-26 February) on BigHospitality for your definitive guide to EPoS.
Tomorrow we'll be looking at how other businesses are using EPoS systems to their advantage.
You can find all our articles on EPoS here