Nestled in New Jersey in the midst of counties with numerous state and local colleges is a small but growing fast food operation with a unique twist that has high appeal to college age students. They recently swapped out an old POS system in one of their stores for a new one.
The enterprise is called CARS: Sandwiches and Shakes – an operation created by entrepreneur Rich DiBenedetto while he was in college some years ago, and now run with his brother AJ. Rich grew up in a family owned bagel/deli/catering business. Their father operated it for three decades. Richard started the operation by making subs/heroes late at night in the kitchen of his father’s business and delivering them to hungry college students. Not your average sub, mind you, these are different – stuff that college kids find irresistible. The Fat Tony sandwich for example, is a combination of chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, french fries and marinara sauce on a sub roll.
I visited the operation a few weeks ago and was intrigued. While waiting for our sandwiches, all of which are made to order – I chatted with the owners and staff. It turns it out that local kids like the food so much that they’ll drive 45 minutes from neighboring towns to get a sub. CARS features delivery service though – and it’s a critical part of their business. That turned out to be a deciding factor in choosing a new POS system from HungerRush.
Rich shared some of his reasons for choosing HungerRush: “They have great delivery management capability and tools to track the drivers, as well as track the orders. When orders come in , those get pushed to different drivers cellphones. A driver might have two or three orders, and the automatic feature saves time by not having to manually enter them, plus it gives the driver the ability to easily call the customer if needed, with just one tap on the screen.”
This was no surprise to Laura J. Gaudin, Director of Product Management at HungerRush; “HungerRush has been focusing on the needs of the delivery niche since its first release, in 2005. Delivery is not just for pizza – it’s utilized by sandwich shops, donut shops, full service restaurants, even speciality cookie shops, and national restaurant chains are adopting delivery service as well.”
In their first store , they’d installed a conventional POS system with kitchen printers, receipt printers, etc. According to Rich, they’d spent about $15,000 on it. Over the years some flaws became evident – making even a small change to the menu required talking to the software company who would do it and then download it. The system hadn’t held up well. And the technical support was poor – calls often going over 24 hours without a response. That’s just not acceptable in a fast paced environment.
For the second store they looked around for over a year at alternative POS systems, including a few of the newer cloud-based POS systems, but found they lacked features that optimized the delivery process. Then they looked at HungerRush. HungerRush is a thirteen year old software company based in Texas that specializes in hospitality POS and delivery. They serve clients from single stores to chains with over 500 stores. CARS used their system at their second store for a year and a half and were much happier with that product and then recently replaced the software in their first store with the HungerRush restaurant management system. After a POS trade-in credit, they ended up investing about $13,000 for three stations, and multiple cash drawers, thermal printers and impact printers.
Rich explained other benefits of the powerful delivery system: “A driver may have three deliveries at one time, but it is simple – they just touch order number 1 and it gives them a map. If needed, they can call the customer, and when they deliver the order, the customer just signs the phone so the signature is captured and a receipt is emailed to them.” (see iPhone image right side, and dispatcher screen below).
Laura J. Gaudin added; “Not only can the customer sign on an iPhone, but they can quickly add a tip as well.” She went on to elaborate; “Delivery is almost like CRM (customer relationship management) and driver management. It’s probably 50% of what we do.”
It’s a point well made – those few seconds of the driver interfacing with the customer is a make-or-break moment for the overall success of any business.
And letting a hungry customer quickly sign a mobile phone to get their order and start eating? It really doesn’t get any better than that.