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Pizza and delivery operators are often surprised to learn that their business model can pose some serious complications when setting up a point of sale system. The operational requirements of a pizza and delivery concept add a level of complexity most restaurant POS software is not built to handle. Today, we take a look at the hidden challenges in a typical pizza menu.
In this series, we look at specialization. Want to understand the difference between a generic restaurant POS system and a pizza POS? In this first post, we take a look at three pizza-specific “complexities” that can cause problems for generic restaurant POS systems.
Many pizza operators discover the limitations of their point of sale software the first time they attempt to build or edit their menu. Create-your-own pizzas and build-your-own pasta dishes present serious complications to a POS system that has been designed to handle steak and potatoes—complications that some table service POS systems are unable to overcome.
A pizza point of sale system is designed from its core to build custom pizzas on the fly. So if a customer wants pepperoni on one half, olives on the other, and fresh tomato on thin crust with basil-red sauce and feta, the POS dynamically builds and correctly prices the pizza order based on those selections.
An advanced pizza POS system provides additional food cost controls, printing the appropriate weights and portions on the ticket for the kitchen based on the selected pizza size, crust type, and number of toppings.
A point of sale application not designed this way has no way of handling the pricing and inventory tracking of dynamically-built menu items. How big is the problem? If a restaurant offers 20 different toppings, in 3 different sizes, with 2 different crusts, there are literally millions of possible combinations (6,291,450, in fact). Add special requests such as “light” or “double” toppings, different sauce types, half-and-half pizzas, or other variations, and the number of possible combinations increases exponentially.
Portioning for Profit
Offering half-and-half pizzas, thirds or even quarters is standard fare in many pizza shops. Most restaurant POS systems are less than elegant in how they attempt to handle these custom combinations. Some will force you to create additional items with “half-sizes.” While possible, this complicates the menu setup even further, and the resulting make tickets can cause confusion in the restaurant kitchen, resulting in unacceptable delays or errors that would be easily avoided with the right POS software.
Multi-Pricing as a Business Model
Multiple pricing promotions (2 for 1, 3 for 1, “4forAll”) and related “buy 1 get X” purchase specials require flexible pricing structures far beyond the capabilities of typical restaurant POS systems. Even some pizza POS systems fail to accommodate all the complexities of multi-pricing. If multiple pricing is a part of your business model, your POS software must be able to support it.
In addition to the pricing complexities, pizza restaurants in many areas deal with varying rules on tax exemptions and tender types. In some states and provinces, delivery and takeout orders are tax-exempt, and take-and-bake stores face additional variations in tax exemptions and food stamps. In other states, delivery orders are subject to taxation based on the delivery location: different tax rates may apply to customers who live across county lines.
No point of sale solution is right for every restaurant concept. If your business is pizza, understanding your specific information needs and choosing the right point of sale system will save time, avoid headaches, and set the stage for a more streamlined operation.
Kitchen display systems (KDS) have become increasingly common fixtures in fast casual, quick-service, and fine dining restaurants. A KDS eliminates steps, improves speed of service, and drives increased guest satisfaction. Read more