The pizza restaurant industry continues to be a healthy one: according to the 2020 Pizza Power Report from PMQ1, the U.S. pizza market generates $46.34 billion in sales—and that figure is rising. But with the number of pizzerias in this country growing to 77,724 this year, the competition for those sales dollars is fierce. Delicious pies alone are not a sufficient draw—pizzerias need to provide an outstanding overall customer experience.
One of the factors most important to modern consumers and their fast-paced lifestyles is speed of service. All stages of the customer experience—from the ordering process to delivery of the food—can be improved to reduce restaurant wait times, with help from your pizza POS system. Here’s how:
1. Take Orders Without Your Employees Inputting the Information
Retailers and restaurants alike are seeing the necessity of creating an omnichannel ordering environment, giving them options for how they prefer to engage with your pizzeria and make purchases. Today’s customers have come to expect the convenience of online ordering, through either your website or a mobile app. One PMQ study revealed that 42% of consumers said that the ability to place an order online would be a deciding factor when choosing a restaurant.
There’s no waiting on hold or in a line at the restaurant when you offer online ordering. This also allows customers to go make their selections without explaining all their special requests to an employee—which can take some time. Plus, when a customer submits an online order, it’s sent directly into the queue for the kitchen in the order it should be made. This not only speeds up the waiting process, but significantly reduces the chance of order errors.
2. Streamline Operations
A quality pizza POS system is a key player in optimizing front- and back-of-house operations in order to reduce restaurant wait times.
Back of the House Operations for Pizzerias
Your pizza POS should integrate seamlessly with all of your ordering channels (in-store, phone, online, and app) to allow you to prioritize orders properly.
Since all tickets from all points of entry hit the same POS in the order they are placed, you’re sure that customers are getting their food in the correct sequence, even if it’s to-go or delivery. This integration also ensures that no orders are lost. With everything prepared in the proper order and nothing missed, customers get their food faster.
Front of the House Operations for Pizzerias
POS software should provide an optimal user experience and automatic prompts for fast and accurate order entry—whether it’s an employee entering an order in the POS or a customer placing an order online. The software on the in-store workstations should allow employees to enter orders with as few keystrokes as possible, keeping the process speedy and efficient.
- POS software for a pizza shop can also help front of the house staff reduce wait times by offering customized screens that help you get an order entered quickly. This would include popular items or special sides and options that can be added to an order with the touch of a button. This can significantly shorten lines—phone and in-store.
- A smart tender feature predicts incoming cash amounts and creates cash tender buttons that an employee can simply tap, instead of typing in the entire amount. This makes cash transactions quick and efficient.
- Easy-to-use software like this makes training and getting up-to-speed a breeze, so employees can serve customers faster.
3. Optimize Your Staff
Pizzerias can also reduce restaurant wait times by taking steps to ensure that your staff is well prepared and that you have the right number of workers for each shift.
To maximize productivity and efficiency, pizza owners should prioritize ongoing employee training. According to one study, more than 52% of food and beverage employees said that they only received training when they first started working at their restaurant, and haven’t had any continuing education since then. Ongoing training helps to ensure that your workers are keeping your policies, procedures, and best practices top of mind—enabling them to improve the customer experience and speed of service.
- Front of House Staff Training
Make sure your staff is well-accustomed to the POS and can quickly and accurately process orders, manage the loyalty program, add customers and redeem rewards. They should also know where all supplies are (such as napkins, plates, sauces, drinks, etc.) and how to refill them when needed.
- Back of House Staff Training
Staff should be familiar with your kitchen display system, if applicable, and other tools. They should also know where all ingredients are and when, where, and how to replenish them. And they should be informed about ways to improve the cooking and cleaning processes.
Strategic Labor Scheduling
The right pizza POS system can help you schedule your employees based on historical data for volume of business at particular times of the day, week, month, or year. With this feature, you’ll only be scheduling the exact number of people you need for a given shift—saving on labor costs while ensuring that you have enough workers to maintain efficient service and reduce wait times.
Leveraging Technology to Stay Ahead
To stay competitive and profitable in a crowded industry, pizzeria owners need to use every available technological advantage to enhance the customer experience and give diners what they want: fast service and great food. Choosing the right pizza POS system is the biggest step you can take in that direction.
HungerRush is a leading provider of restaurant technology, specializing in the technology needs of pizzerias. Learn more about all the ways our POS solutions can grow your business—including reducing your restaurant wait times— today.