From February, 2014

The Proof is in the Numbers: Managing Restaurant Profits with POS Technology

Knowing your numbers gives you new insight to make the changes in your restaurant business that can drive profit and growth.

Do you know what’s happening in every area of your restaurant business? Knowledge is power, and the statistical data in your POS can provide you with new growth potential. Here’s how: Read more

Smart Operators: Return Guests Make the Difference

Getting a guest to walk through your doors can cost more than you think, especially when you consider the price of standard print advertising. If you rely too heavily on new business, it’s tough to turn a profit. By cultivating a regular customer base, you can lower the cost of achieving your sales goals—and drive free word of mouth advertising. Easier said than done, however. But did you know your point of sale system can help? Read more

Going to Pizza Expo?

One down, and one to go! Did we miss you at the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC) this week? Don’t worry: SpeedLine will be back in Vegas next week for the International Pizza Expo, booth # 1027.

The largest tradeshow for the pizza industry is happening next week, March 25-27, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In its 30th year, the International Pizza Expo includes a packed exhibition floor, three days of seminars and demos, a Beer & Bull Idea Exchange, and more.

We invite you to come visit SpeedLine at Booth # 1027, where you can:

  • See how new Visual Dispatch could boost your delivery efficiency and profit.
  • Learn from current users how to save time and money at the point of sale.
  • Choose the right web and mobile ordering solution to drive sales with less staff

And if you are considering a new POS system, you’ll find the best prices all year from SpeedLine at Pizza Expo:

Free POS Terminals

With Microsoft ending support for Windows XP in April, the pressure is on for many business owners to upgrade. Are you using an outdated POS, or looking for new equipment for a new venture?

Get free POS terminals and low lease rates with a SpeedLine point of sale system at Pizza Expo. It’s the year’s best deal on the POS system more pizza chains choose.

Bonus: Visual Dispatch HDTV

As an added show bonus: Purchase a new SpeedLine POS system with LiveMaps™ at the show, and get a free 40-inch HDTV so staff can see current deliveries and zones update live on the big screen for efficient dispatching.

See it at Pizza Expo: Booth 1027.

 

Pizza Expo Round Up

pizza expo imageI started off the last morning of the International Pizza Expo by taking in a seminar by Jeff Mease of One World Enterprises, a multi-unit, multi-concept restaurant operator.

His topic today was the preparation involved in opening a second location successfully. Mease’s keys to being prepared for a second location included systems, partnership, and leadership. He shared examples from the growth of his own enterprise to illustrate the points, including: Read more

Pizza Expo Day 2

Pizza Expo is all about pizza. And today, the pizza industry includes more than sauce and cheese. This show connects restaurant owners with food suppliers, oven manufacturers, and with an ever-growing selection of pizza and delivery technology solutions and providers.

SpeedLine’s new product & technology manager, Jay Daunheimer, devoted the full day today to exploring new innovation and potential partners at the show with technology solutions that could add more value to a restaurant company’s point of sale system.

We’ll share more, in more detail, in future posts, but today, here is a brief walk through the restaurant technology seen around the show:

Loyalty solutions were prevalent. Jay met eight loyalty providers today, with an array of fresh takes on customer loyalty. Some card-based, more mobile, each had a different view on how best to encourage and reward customer retention.

Delivery, driver, and mileage tracking was a hot topic, with restaurant operators looking to make drivers more accountable. In addition to SpeedLine’s own LiveMaps visual dispatch system, Jay saw apps from other POS companies with some of these capabilities, and a selection of third-party mapping and tracking solutions.

A number of interesting web and mobile ordering vendors exhibited this year, including one of our long-time partners, Brygid Technologies. New possibilities seem to be opening up to make mobile ordering, in particular, more accessible to independent operators.

Notably fewer mobile marketing providers were showing solutions at this year’s Pizza Expo. With the repeated refrain from seminar speakers at the show that “Groupon is the crack cocaine that will kill your business,” the general feeling among attendees seemed to be a high level of wariness of Groupon-style solutions, and a lack of understanding of how to implement other forms of mobile and social marketing effectively for their restaurants.

Do you have plans to roll out any new technology solutions this year? What’s top on your list?

 

Pizza Expo Day 1: What We Learned from You Today

One of the best parts of the International Pizza Expo is the luxury of talking with our customers in person. Often, we learn new things not only about their businesses, but about our point of sale software and services as well.

Sometimes customers offer insight directly, in the form of suggestions and feature requests. But just as often we learn new things indirectly — through the questions they ask.

What I recognized today was how many restaurant operators miss out on the full value of their point of sale systems. We’ve always recognized that many restaurant owners don’t use all the capabilities of the system. But what stood out to me today in some of the questions I heard from long-time customers is how long some of them put up with a default setting or menu design that doesn’t quite fit their needs, working around it or ignoring the minor delays or inconveniences rather than calling Support for help.

These questions tend to start with, “It would be really great if we could….” It would save time. Eliminate a tiny but frequent point of frustration. Avoid confusion.

In person, in conversation at the show, these types of things often come up in passing. “Oh, by the way…it would be great if…” And often, the answer is as simple as tweaking a setting or activating an existing feature. The customer walks away happy. But how much time and irritation could they have saved themselves and their staff by asking the question sooner?

There truly are no questions too small. What do you wish your system could do? Have you asked Support lately?

To all of you who stopped by the booth at the show today, thank you. We loved talking with you. If you missed us today, by all means, stop by Wednesday or Thursday. We look forward to it.

 

Top Customer Loyalty Drivers for Pizza Takeout and Delivery Restaurant Concepts

In February, Pizza Marketplace published the results of a survey of consumers in the US to determine the top loyalty drivers for pizza takeout restaurant concepts. While value, location, and discounts topped the responses, what surprised me was having “great-tasting food” ranked as only the sixth most important factor.

The article, based on a study conducted by Restaurant DemandTracker, cited different attributes used to rate five of the largest pizza chains. From perception of value and “low prices,” to fast service and discounts, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Papa John’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, CiCi’s Pizza and Domino’s all scored relatively well in each category. Read more

At the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference

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Visit us at MURTEC, the technology conference.

Trade show season is in full swing in our industry this month, with the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC) coming up next week, and the 30th anniversary of the International Pizza Expo March 25-27.

We look forward to these events every year for the opportunity to meet up with customers, make new contacts, and get inspired. The seminar programming provides incredible value, and at MURTEC, the newest innovations in restaurant technology take center stage in the exhibition hall.

  • Come see SpeedLine at MURTEC booth 24 for the latest innovations in pizza and delivery technology—including our new LiveMaps™ Visual Dispatch solution.
  • Catch SpeedLine user Curtis Stalnaker, director of IT at Godfather’s Pizza, in Thursday’s POS Super Session.
  • Come discuss your technology plans.

Visit the SpeedLine booth at the MURTEC technology conference for your personal face-to-face demo, or watch a preview video and request a demo now:

SpeedLine 7 Preview: Get a demo at the technology conference

7 New Operator Mistakes & how to Avoid Them

In Part 2 of a series for new independent and franchise operators, we’re taking a look at some common mistakes that are easily made, and what you can do to avoid them in your new restaurant.

1. Bad Customer Service. The majority of first-time guests will give you exactly one chance, so what are you doing with that chance? Taking your customers for granted is no way to grow a new business.

For tips on using the POS to systemize good service in the restaurant, read Smart Operators: Great Customer Service Starts with your Restaurant POS.

2. No recognizable brand. Every time a guest calls your restaurant, visits your website, or walks through your front door, you have a new opportunity to strengthen a customer relationship and build your brand. The only way to control your guests’ impressions of your business is to design the experience yourself.

3. No customer data collection. If you deliver, the customer database is the heart of your point of sale system. With the proliferation of loyalty programs, even take-out and table service restaurants are profiting from building and marketing to a database of customers. If you aren’t collecting this data, you’re missing out on a serious growth driver.

The customer database is integral to the design of a pizza point of sale system. Want to learn more? Request a SpeedLine demo.

4. Not planning and maintaining a profitable menu. In Common Restaurant Mistakes Part II: Is your Menu a Money Maker?, we touched on 5 common menu mistakes restaurant operators make. Give it a read and get started on the right foot with your own menu.

5. Keeping quiet. If you aren’t talking, how can you expect anyone to listen? Social media can be your best friend, especially if you’re a new business looking for clientele. If you are not actively incorporating social media into your marketing strategy, chances are you are missing a low-cost opportunity to grow your business. Used effectively, social media can be invaluable.

Read the Social Media Ebook now

6. Not watching cash flow. Make sure you have enough cash to cover big expenses, like food orders and payroll, every week, along with all the other bills that come with a restaurant. If your checking account starts running into the red, it is time to look for ways to save money at your restaurant.

7. Marketing mishaps. Marketing your restaurant is not unlike a science experiment: Based on your understanding of your market, your product, and what’s worked for you in the past, you build a hypothesis—and then you put it to the test, trying different campaigns and offers, different methods, and measuring the response. New operators often under-invest in marketing, or make the mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket. A couple of the more common mistakes:

  • Not Rewarding Loyal Customers. A loyalty program drives order frequency with your best customers, and encourages new customers to try you again. By not offering some kind of loyalty or reward program, you may be missing out on a lot of business.

SpeedLine user? Learn how to set up SpeedLine Loyalty for your independent restaurant, or find out about Paytronix Loyalty for your multi-unit operation.

  • Not Keeping in Touch. Everyone appreciates the personal touch. A newsletter or social media conversation can help keep your brand top of mind with your customers.

SpeedLine POS user? Dive into customer preferences and order history—the essential ingredients for a well-informed and targeted e-newsletter marketing campaign.

You’re going to learn as you go, but by using your own business savvy, common sense, and these tips, you can sidestep some common mistakes and get yourself off to a successful start.

5 First year Marketing Tips for New Pizza Operators

For any new restaurant owner, marketing your brand can pose a daunting challenge. With so many different roads to take, how do you get the best value without over-committing?

As a new operator, you already know your time is valuable. There is too much to do, and not enough of you to go around. In part 1 of a new series dedicated to new independent or franchise pizza operators, we take a look at your marketing approach, with five tips to help you start off right. Read more