General Manager’s Guide To POS: Enhancing Guest Engagement

Part IV of the General Manager’s Guide

General Manager's Guide
General Manager's Guide to POS: Enhancing Guest Experience

Ensuring exceptional guest experiences is an all hands on deck type of duty: It requires efficient staff, smart technology, and thoughtful strategy to guarantee guests enjoy themselves and come back again

Interested in a particular POS tool? Get to these stats ‘n stories fast using the links below:

  • The Rayback rakes in $3-4k in beverage sales per hour with the help of mobile POS devices
  • Cumulative data shows QR code ordering increases tab size by 37% and tip size by 27%
  • 4 Noses Brewing Co. + other taproom friends raised $26,990 with the help of Donation At Checkout

Advanced Service Capabilities Are Core To Increasing Guest Engagement

Yes, a lot of aspects play a part in whether a guest’s time at your business goes well. But they primarily came to eat and drink, and nailing down efficiencies in your service model is Step 1 among many.

Empower Guests To Cater Their Own Experience With Mobile POS Devices

We talked about the dynamic tab capabilities of mobile POS devices that help servers stay efficient, but let’s dive into how portable POS enhances the experience from the guest’s perspective.

Guests can be served anywhere: Mobile devices mobilize your staff, meaning guests can freely move about your business and get an order in. Heck, you guests could input an order with a server on their way to the bathroom! 

Mel Timm, the General Manager of The Rayback, appreciates mobile technology in their 16,000 square foot indoor and outdoor space. “We can serve people really effectively when they’re hundreds of feet from our bar,” she shares. “To be able to carry a handheld device, and send orders, and perform all of the functions of a POS system in the palm of your hand, has made this concept possible.” And their concept is working—this bar does $3-4k in beverage sales per hour!

Guests see you and your products at off-site events: We weren’t kidding when we said mobile devices serve guests anywhere: You can take these POS tablets and smartphones off-premise to farmers markets, music festivals, and other events. This increases brand awareness by getting your products in front of more people and diversifying your revenue streams is good for your bottom line.

Guests wait less: According to Robert Byrne, Director of Consumer and Industry Insights for Technomic, “The biggest pain point for diners is waiting for the server to come around and present the check.” With mobile POS paperless options, they don’t have to! The bill is right there on your mobile device to present to the guest, and a quick click of a button lets staff email or text the receipt to guests. That way, your servers don’t have to run back and forth between a printer, and your guests don’t have to toe tap!

Guests have more options in how they pay: You already know Arryved mobile POS makes splitting tabs easy. In addition, mobile POS accepts a wider range of payment types: cash, credit, debit, and tap and pay options. Guests love having a choice, especially if it means not having to sift through their pockets for your business’s preferred payment type.

Guests have better interactions with staff: Because mobile devices save staff time on tedious admin work like running receipts, they have more time to engage guests in conversations. Servers telling guests your brand’s story or offering thoughtful recommendations improves the guest experience. (Plus, guests are proven to spend 10.3% more when staff offer recommendations!)

Put Ordering Power In Your Guests’ Hands With Contactless Tools 

There are three distinct contactless ordering methods offered by most POS providers, all of which empower guests and maximize revenue

1. QR Code Menus, Ordering, & Payments

We spoke on the impressive revenue boosting QR codes have proven to do—increase tab size by 37% and tip size by 27%—but now we’ll detail their impact on the guest experience.

When used in a flexible service model, the primary guest-enhancer is that you’re giving guests a multitude of options:

  • Guests view the menu at any time: If a guest wants to mix up their Round 2 cocktail choice, they can quickly reference the menu on their phone. 
  • Guests order through staff or by themselves: Take advantage of the flexibility of synced tabs! Guests can order the first round with their server, the next round themselves, and so on. 
  • Guests change locations without starting a new tab: If it gets chilly at their picnic table, a party can simply scan a new QR code inside and their tab automatically follows them. Staff know exactly where to deliver their next round, and guests don’t have to close out more than once.
  • Guests pay through staff or by themselves: Staff devices reflect everything a table ordered, so they can easily check out any party. Or, if a guest would rather close out quickly using the card information their phone already has stored, they can do it all themselves.

All of these guest benefits are in addition to reducing your staff’s workloads and increasing revenue potential. Baseball fans would call that a homerun!

2. Online Store

Did you know that 60% of Americans order takeout or delivery at least once a week? The pandemic primed the off-premise dining pumps, and the trend is only accelerating in popularity as guests seek more convenience. 

Not only do online stores help you meet guest demand, it’s a substantial driver of profitability for small businesses. Cabarrus Brewing Company began utilizing their online store as a staple sales channel for all specialty and newly released items when one of their first releases sold out in a matter of 18 minutes. Optimizing convenience for your guests is clearly worthwhile!

Online stores boost more than just edible sales, too. Salty Turtle Beer Co. in North Carolina was astonished to be filling t-shirt orders for guests across the country in Alaska! Their storefront has been a continued source of spreading brand awareness through merchandise sales

Arryved POS makes online stores easy to set up and completely customizable. Plus, all sales sync to the same inventory system, so depletions are tracked and managed in one place. 

3. Guest-Facing POS App

An app downloadable in both the Apple and Google Stores is a great way to expedite payment collection, especially for your most regular guests. If your POS hosts a mobile app, guests can open tabs on their phone, order with your staff, and close out whenever they need to leave. This saves time for everyone: No need to swap credit cards or devices between staff and guests. 

Arryved provides a branded look for your individual business in-app and allows guests to order for to-go, pickup, or delivery. This is yet another ordering stream you can utilize in order to maximize revenue!

Make It Easy For Guests To Order More With Card On File

We touched on card on file being the superior way to keep tabs open. This tool from Arryved lets staff swipe a card and hand it right back to the guest while still keeping the tab open. 

Guests prefer digital card on file for several reasons: 

  • There’s no worry that they’ll forget their card behind the bar.
  • It’s simple to put another round in—guests just have to give their name!
  • If a guest forgets to close out, all open tabs automatically close at the end of the night with a standard gratuity.

Upselling Supports Better Guest Experiences, Too

Upsells mean more to your business than just larger tab sizes. When done strategically and thoughtfully, upsells further delight guests and showcase more of your business’s amazing offerings:

  • Help the indecisive: With a menu as good as yours, some guests may have trouble nailing down exactly what they’d like to order. Offering genuine suggestions is simply good service, and your servers just get bonus points if it’s a high-priced menu item!
  • Better staff interactions: Instead of taking orders and leaving, upsells encourage staff to engage with guests about what they’re out celebrating and what they’re looking for. This makes guests feel welcome and also helps servers make better recommendations.
  • Keep the good time going: Sometimes convincing a guest to get another round is as simple as asking them! Secret Hopper found that brewery guests who are offered another drink spend $6.50 more per visit than guests not offered. 

Larger tab sizes are just an added benefit to enhancing guest engagement through upsells, but both should be the driving force behind training your staff to do it well.

Move More Products With Various Upsell Types

Upsells are more than just another beer. There are three primary types of upsells:

1. Additional Menu Items

The primary upsell strategy is to encourage guests to order additional food or drinks that they may not have originally planned on getting. This can be additional courses (appetizer), add-ons to any meal (guacamole on a burrito), or, yes, that next round of drinks. 

Servers can’t exactly argue with a guest saying I’m full, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still upsell! To-go menu items make great souvenirs for satisfied guests. Once they enjoy that dessert or 6-pack at home, guests remember how much fun they had at your business and plan their next visit!

Your bottom line benefits too, of course. Secret Hopper’s extensive brewery data found that guests spend 32% more when they purchase to-go. And, statistically, all your staff has to do is ask

2. Merchandise

Wearable merchandise and gift cards count as substantial upsells and guest engagers, too. 

Having unique, branded merchandise on hand is good for business, and encouraging staff to wear it around as they work is sure to pique guests’ interest. Plus, merchandise acts as free advertising when guests proudly wear your business name around town!

Gift cards guarantee future business and make for great upsells to any satisfied guest. Something as simple as a free $5 gift card for every $100 tab is a perfect incentivization method—they’ll likely come back and spend much more than the gift card balance. 

3. Community

Upselling guests on your business’s unique community isn’t tangible, but it’s just as important as boosting actual tab size. And, eventually, once you have a guest sold on your community, you have bountiful opportunities for future sales.

Because your mobile POS and contactless ordering tools free up staff to further engage guests, they have the time to pitch guests on:

  • Event invites: Your weekly Bingo Night or upcoming Halloween party make great conversation topics between guests and staff. Getting a personal invite from the server makes guests feel special and increases your event traffic. Worst case scenario is they can’t come, but now they know to keep an eye out for other upcoming events!
  • Loyalty programs: Servers can tell when a table had a great time, and that presents the perfect opportunity to invite them to join a rewards program. That way, they’re encouraged to come back again and get rewarded for the money they spend. 

More on the value of loyalty programs and tools you need to execute one well below—stay tuned!

Your POS Helps Your Team Upsell Well

As with all business operations, your POS is there to help your team succeed in upselling. Here are some Arryved tools that assist in those efforts. 

POS Reports Quantify Upsell Success

A friendly competition goes a long way in rallying excitement and focus on your tab boosting initiatives. In addition to training staff on how to upsell, you can incentivize them by offering rewards and recognition for the team members that do it best. Reports like the following encourage everyone to try and help you quickly identify the team members leading the pack:

  • Daily Sales Report: This shows all closed tabs from any date or range of days. The tab information includes day, time, employee name, a breakdown of the tab total, and more. Check here to see which employees sold which specific menu items!
  • Item Type Sales Report: This shows sales totals of unique items. This is a great place to see if and when menu specials you’re pushing are selling.
  • Added Modifiers Report: Searchable by a specific day or range of days, this shows all modifiers added to orders. It includes the total count and total cost of modifiers that have an upcharge, meaning you know exactly how many people added a fried egg to a sandwich or protein to a salad. 

You know that modifiers help personalize a dish, but that’s not all…

Modifiers On POS Interfaces Remind Staff To Upsell

Your staff are expert multi-taskers and have a million things on their mind. Modifiers prompt staff to encourage add-ons for guests ordering! 

When a server enters a menu item with optional modifiers, Arryved POS devices nudge them to ask guests what they’d like to add. This can be toppings on a burger, additional sides, etc. The tool serves as a great reminder to staff to offer upcharges when they can, and gives guests an opportunity to customize dishes to their liking. 

Digital Menus Inspire Guests To Indulge

Because digital menus supported by POS systems are easy to edit and automatically update across staff and guest devices, the following strategies can be fruitful when luring guests in to high-profit menu items:

  • Positioning: Guests read menus exactly how we all read books: The top left corner is where the eye goes first! That means if you want to immediately catch a guest’s eye, you’ll place those menu items there. 
  • Detailed descriptions: One of the beautiful things about digital menus is that you’re less restricted with word count than you are with physical menus. Get your Hemingway on and write up some descriptions of menu items and add-ons that your guests can’t refuse!
  • Icons/Images: Icons and other imagery are good ways to catch a guests’ attention. Call out the Chef’s Favorite with an icon next to the menu item, or include a mouthwatering photo of it.
  • Customization: When dishes call for customization (and therefore possible upcharges) make sure your menu makes it obvious what all of the options are. People are far more likely to pay those extra $2 for sweet potato fries when the choice is right in front of them!

Loyalty Programs Build A Loyal Fanbase Of Engaged Guests

One of the best ways to encourage guests to visit you time and time again is to reward them for doing so! In fact, according to data, rewards programs are the key differentiator for top-performing restaurants. Loyalty programs build your brand name, drive traffic to your business, and create a community of lifelong fans of your products. 

Let’s look into the types of loyalty programs popular among food and beverage businesses and tools that help you execute as a General Manager. 

Types Of POS-Supported Loyalty Programs

These 3 types of rewards programs see the most success as customer relationship strategies:

  • Point-based: Dollars spent equate to points earned. Then, points can be redeemed for products!
  • Item-based: Similarly, these programs set item purchase goals and reward them with something free. Think of it as a digital punch card: Buy 9, get the 10th free!
  • Promotion-based: Whether it’s access to exclusive discounts, events, or products, promotion-based programs reward guests for simply being a member.

All of these loyalty program types encourage return visits and brand loyalty, which is of course good for business. Plus, implementation is simple with the right tools! 

POS Tools That Help Execute Successful Programs

You’re plenty busy as a General Manager, and starting a loyalty program may sound like one more thing to add to an already-overflowing plate. But, POS tools make running loyalty programs a set-it-and-forget-it way to maximize guest engagement!

For starters, loyalty programs like Arryved’s are fully integrated with your POS system. That makes communication, customization, and tracking rewards easy, and it’s done from the same dashboard as everything else. 

Here are a few more tools that’ll come in handy:

Collect Guest Emails At Checkout On POS Devices

Know when people are most willing to give you their email address? Right when they finish a delicious meal!

When servers check guests out on mobile POS devices, you can set up an email collection window for your loyalty program. Guests sign the check, and then they’re prompted to opt in for emails. 

With Arryved, the text that shows is completely customizable so you can detail exactly what your program is all about. If to start, it’s just an email list to stay informed about upcoming events and releases, you can say that! Now you have an accessible list of eager attendees for any upcoming bash. 

Create Product Exclusivity To Generate Buzz & Add Value To Your Program

Loyalty programs are all about making guests feel special. Exclusivity in product offerings generates excitement, encourages guests to remain members, and even lures new people to join!

Plus, exclusivity delights guests without having to offer discounts. With rising costs across the industry, your business can drive sales without missing out on precious profit margins

Exclusive offers are typical of promotion-based loyalty programs, and can look like any of the following:

  • Mug Clubs: A big ol’ member-only mug is a great way to get insiders smiling and non-members to get a little green with envy. 
  • Member-only events: Drive traffic on a slow weeknight by hosting a member-only event on your patio! Perhaps members get front row to the live band and a few dedicated servers to make them feel special. That way, you don’t close down the building for members and you can still run things in all other venues as normal. 
  • Member-only merch: You’d be surprised by how hyped guests can get over a bucket hat. Invest in some exclusive merchandise that your members can wear around town. This spreads brand awareness, too!
  • Member-only products: If you run a craft beverage business, you’re likely experimenting all the time. When you make a small batch for testing purposes, consider canning or bottling some to give to loyalty members. This is a surefire way to create excitement and you can get valuable feedback from guests you trust.
Donation At Checkout Builds Community

POS systems that offer Donation At Checkout aren’t used specifically with loyalty programs, but it’s a guest engagement tool nonetheless. Guests have the option to round up their tabs to a whole dollar amount or simply donate $1-5 at checkout. Small change adds up fast, and this is a great tool to spread joy and build community within your business. You can even involve loyalty members by polling the group on which nonprofit to benefit each month. 

4 Noses Brewing Co. along with other Colorado taproom friends collectively raised $26,990 for the Marshall Fire Relief Fund last year with help from Arryved’s Donation At Checkout tool. What a difference a community can make!

We’re nearing the end, General Managing folks! The next piece of the puzzle is one you don’t want to miss:

    Ready for a better POS?