For those of us in the restaurant business, you've probably encountered an exchange like the following this dozens of times:
Customer: "I'd like a cheeseburger – no onions"
Cashier: "Sure." (Hunts and pecks on the terminal so that they can remove the onions). "That will be $..."
The above scenario is common because many POS systems have the notion of a "NO SCREEN". Everyone calls it the "NO SCREEN" because it's used to tell the kitchen to "NOT" include a certain ingredient. However, there are a number of problems with the "NO SCREEN" and that's why a more modern, elegant approach was taken when designing Gusto.
First, a "NO SCREEN" requires that an additional modifier be created for every ingredient that can be omitted from a menu item. That means an over- complicated menu and additional maintenance and configuration costs. POS is supposed to make your job easier – not harder.
Another problem is that no explicit connection exists between the ingredient and the No command. In our example this is "Onion" and "No Onion". This disconnect poses a real problem for POS systems implementing inventory. To ask the simple question, "how much Onion did I sell this week?" requires creating a separate ingredient or recipe model distinct from the Menu Item model. That means lots of extra work and confusing reporting just to answer a simple question.
But, perhaps worst of all, the dreaded "NO SCREEN" causes extra steps for the cashier and increased transaction times that affect line throughput.
When designing Gusto, we designed a Menu model that cleanly integrates Menu Item Ingredients as first-class citizens. With Gusto, "No Onion" simply requires a single touch to turn off the inclusion of the Onion Ingredient.
It's a "No" brainer. Eliminating the "NO SCREEN" reduces maintenance, makes for an easier and faster experience at the POS, and allows for an integrated model for tracking inventory.
Gusto – Restaurant Point of Sale Reimagined. If you wish to discuss further write to me: email@example.com
User experience design has not been taken seriously by the developers of most business software. We all have become accustomed to great user experience brought to us by consumer software and hardware companies. Then we come to work and we give them 1990's technology. Aside from the fact that it's not a pleasurable user experience, why does this matter?
There are many roles in hospitality companies that use parts of the POS, or restaurant management system. The executive staff is interested in data. Chains are interested in data across the enterprise. For store and regional managers they too will be interested in data but often on a more local and granular level. Kitchen staff, operations, marketing and cashiers are all users of parts of the POS. User experience design focuses on the role of each individual using the software to improve their job function.
For the purpose of this discussion, let's talk about conversational ordering. As a restaurateur, one thing you need is fast service. Whether it's keeping the line moving in a counter service operation or being attentive to customers in a table service concept, customer perception is formed in large part by speed of service.
Conversational Ordering is the concept of making the POS ordering interface match how people actually order items.
Let's use an example:
A family of 4 comes in to your restaurant and orders at the counter.
They have already been looking at the menu, deciding what they want before approaching the cashier and each one begins to rattle off what they want, describing modifiers as they come to their mind and probably not in the same order that the POS system prompts for modifiers.
The cashier, trying to keep up, often must ask the customer again to clarify certain modifiers because they are busy focusing on what the POS software is asking.
It gets worse though. Someone else orders extra cheese and someone who has already ordered things that sounds great and asks if they can have their item modified to include extra cheese.
There are two conversations going on: one between the customer and the cashier; the other between the cashier and the POS, and they are different conversations! This slows the line, often forces the cashier to ask for information they have already been given; and too often results in ordering mistakes that can result in returned (i.e. wasted) food and unhappy customers.
There is a better way and it's called Conversational Ordering. The concept is quite simple – better match the POS user interface to the conversation taking place between the customer and the cashier. No one has done this really well though; at least not until Gusto.
By totally rethinking the user interface, we have developed a Conversational Ordering solution that really works. When a menu item is selected that has modifiers, a modifier panel is displayed, offering all modifiers on a single presentation.
Ingredients and modifiers that come by default are already selected and can be excluded by simply toggling them off. Ingredient modifiers such as "extra", "on the side", or others can also be easily selected without being taken to another page.
When someone in the group asks to change an item already ordered, simply re-select that item on the check detail and the modifier panel is re-displayed, making it easy and fast for the cashier to keep up as orders and changes are being thrown at them.
Conversational Ordering from Gusto makes orders go faster, orders more accurate, and customers and cashiers happier.
So that's Conversational Food Ordering in a nutshell. If you wish to discuss further write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may be hearing about the upcoming credit card requirement to support EMV. There is a lot of confusion around what exactly EMV is and why you need to care. Let's get a lot of that cleared up.
FreeImages.com/ jenny w.
Since the early days of credit card use, cards have come with a magnetic strip that encodes data on it in much the same way as the old cassette tapes held music. Card data is copied to the magnetic stripe by the credit card company before it is sent to the cardholder and when used the card is swiped through a simple piece of hardware, often at the point of sale, that reads the data off the strip for processing, such as for payment in a restaurant.
This has served customers and the industry well for many years. However, criminals eventually found that they could easily create devices that could "clone" credit cards, in essence doing the same thing that the credit card companies do when they manufacture cards. If the credit card companies can write data to the magnetic strip, so can the criminals. This created an underground market for cloned cards and the data from real, existing cards to be used in the cloning of fake cards. This form of fraud became widespread, particularly in Europe.
In order to stem the rise of fraud, a group of card companies in Europe created a new technology standard called EMV. EMV stands for Europay Mastercard Visa and it replaces the older technology using a magnetic strip for recording card data with a tiny electronic circuit chip that contains the card data along with a few additional security measures making these cards much more immune to the cloning techniques used for copying magnetic stripe data.
The EMV standard spread throughout Europe and other geographies making a significant impact on fraud where used. So what did the criminals do? They turned their attention to the U.S. market where magnetic strips are still used on credit cards! So the credit card companies, eager to slow their losses from fraud, are bringing the EMV chip-based cards to the U.S.
The credit card companies have mandated that merchants must have solutions in place to accept chip-based cards by October of 2015 (yes, that is this year!) or liability for fraud will shift to merchants. That is probably you.
So with the October deadline looming on the horizon, what do you need to know?
Chip and signature requires the card with the chip embedded in it to be inserted into a special card reader that is capable of reading the data off the chip on the card. Then, depending on the merchant's signature requirements, a signature may be required. By example, some merchants do not require a signature for amounts below $25.00.
Chip-and-pin scenarios require the cardholder's card to be inserted into a special card reader then the cardholder must key in a pin to authorize the transaction. Chip-and-pin is not likely to be used frequently in restaurants in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. Most cards with chips being issued in the U.S. have been set up to continue allow for signature verification as opposed to requiring a pin. For ATM use and possibly other automated kiosk applications, pin entry will often be required.
FreeImages.com/ Steve Zazeski
For a counter-service restaurant in the U.S. we can expect the customer experience to be the same as it is today in most ways. There will be differences however. We expect most all counter service restaurants that support EMV to add a new piece of equipment to their POS system. These devices will be similar to what we are already used to seeing at the check-out counter in grocery stores and some retail stores. The customer will be asked to insert their chip-enabled card into a reader on this device and leave the card inserted until instructed to remove it. Chip-enabled cards must remain inserted until the transaction is complete. This very well may confuse customers until they get used to the process and it may actually slow down payment in the line.
For table-service restaurants in the U.S. we can expect payment details to change significantly compared to what customers and staff are used to today. Today, staff members usually will take the card from the customer, go to the nearest POS or payment terminal, swipe the card through a reader and return the card along with credit card slip to the table. Customers may then leave an optional tip, sign the slip and leave.
For restaurants supporting EMV, when a customer is ready to pay, the staff can no longer take the card from the customer and bring it back later. This almost certainly means that table service restaurants choosing to support EMV will need to invest in mobile payment devices that can be brought to the table for the customer to insert their own card and finalize the transaction at the table.
Some time ago there was a lot of talk about chip-and-pin being required in the U.S. In fact, many articles written on the topic somewhat incorrectly refer to all these scenarios as chip-and-pin, potentially confusing the topic. Quite simply, for the large majority of credit card transactions in the U.S., chip and signature is going to win for the foreseeable future. Maybe one day, if hackers learn to make cloned chipped cards, credit card companies may phase in more use of a pin for credentials but that would only be speculation today.
FreeImages.com/ Nimalan Tharmalingam
So what do you need in order to support EMV? Should you even support EMV? First, check with your POS provider to get their plans for support. Expect most solutions to come in the form of a new device that you connect to your POS via USB, Ethernet or wirelessly. These devices will look like a pin-pad with a card reader on them. Once connected to a POS that supports EMV, chipped cards can be accepted as payment using the new reader device. Chipped cards do still come with a magnetic stripe on them and a traditional magnetic stripe reader can still be used with a chipped card.
But if the merchant does not have EMV support in place and continues to support chipped cards using a non-EMV reader (stripe reader), the merchant will be liable for fraudulent use. There is a lot of debate today about whether most restaurants should even support EMV. The arguments for supporting EMV are pretty simple: use of a fraudulent card shifts liability for charges to the merchant not supporting EMV!
One thing we will likely recommend is that when selecting an EMV payment device, seriously consider choosing one that also supports NFC, a feature that makes it possible to accept tap-to-pay solutions such as NFC-enabled cards, Apple Pay and other forms of mobile payment that use NFC.
There are those who argue that the risk is not actually very high. Most cloned cards are presumably used to purchase goods that have resale value and items from a restaurant generally do not. Gift cards would be one example of an exception of course. Also, criminals using fraudulent cards generally want items of high value to make it worth the risk. Again, food from a restaurant would unlikely fit this either.
Ultimately each restaurant must make their own choice. It may also be the case that the rollout of EMV simply shifts the focus of criminals from one purchasing pattern to something else. We will post more on the subject as EMV continues to unfold in the U.S.
So that's EMV for restaurants in the U.S. If you wish to discuss further write to me: email@example.com
It all started with a simple question: If we were to begin with a clean sheet of paper, what would the ideal restaurant management and POS system look like? What would a system ideally suited for the next 15 years of restaurant needs, not the last 15, look like? This is different. There are plenty of me-too POS systems to choose from, let's design one that hits the bulls-eye dead center, especially for growing fast casual chain restaurants.
After working for MICROS for almost 10 years, developing restaurant management systems for many of largest restaurant concepts in the world, as well as thousands of small operations, I have recently focused on this question and this is what I believe is missing and what is needed. We have built an amazing team of passionate people at Gusto, many come with impressive backgrounds in our industry and others bring fresh perspective. This team, along with our great customers, work together to create this vision.
Most POS systems, even by the leading brands, were designed 10 or more years ago. The world has really changed in 10 years! Let's explore the list of key elements that would define the ideal restaurant management system designed for today's demands and those of the next 10+ years, as it relates to the needs specifically of the growth-oriented fast casual chain but this list will apply to many restaurant concepts.
A modern POS system must design for the following:
As obvious as this one should be, it all too often can get lost in the often-misplaced drive to innovate. Innovation must always be practical, solving real problems and reliability must always form the foundation of any innovation. Orders must get to the kitchen. There should be no back office server to crash. Network glitches should not disrupt operations more than necessary. This one is #1 on my list, and it goes for hardware as well as software.
Software becomes cumbersome to use due to either a general lack of concern over usability or from years of features being added by different developers/designers with little effort to keep things simple or even with little to no over-arching vision for product direction. Simple is hard! Constant effort is required to keep complex systems as simple as possible. Simplicity at the system architecture level can aid reliability. Usability is improved when simplicity in UI design is employed. And initial system cost can be reduced as well as ongoing maintenance when components such as on-premise servers and databases can be eliminated.
The Cloud is ready for prime time. It has too many advantages over client-server designs to go back to that old world. Many cloud designs suffer from system downtime when the internet is down or slow but this should not be inherenet in cloud-based systems. A modern cloud design for restaurants must be designed to support operational resiliency in the face of network problems. Internet connectivity is becoming faster and more reliable and LTE (4G) cellular is now fast enough to use as backup or even primary internet access. Still, outages do happen and offline capability is still a must-have in any design.
Modern systems should no longer require us to drive to the restaurant to make changes to menu prices or to run reports! Even dial-in VPN access to the store-based system is no longer acceptable and presents unnecessary network security concerns. Being able to control the system, whether it's menu price changes, time clock edits or configuring daily specials, remote access to a central system should be expected of any modern system. And it's not just control but also reporting and analytics. These should be accessible from anywhere I have internet access. And, access should be easily available whether I am at home on my laptop, in the store or away from my desk using my mobile phone. "Mobile" is no longer just a feature but must be considered as each component of the system is designed and developed.
No one wants to be in the next headline over a credit card breach. The cost to some of these companies we've all been hearing about in the news recently has resulted in countless dollars spent and damaged reputations. There is an adage in the security world: the best way to keep a secret is not to have a secret. Modern POS systems must be built with security as a key design criteria. Security can't be "added on", it must be designed into every facet of the system. Keeping credit card numbers out of the POS system makes it "uninteresting" to hackers. They don't waste their effort where there is no value. Going even further, newer technologies make the type of breach used in many major hacks today ineffective. This approach can also put the POS system out of scope with respect to PCI compliance, dramatically reducing PCI compliance responsibilities.
Restaurant systems are notoriously closed: either due to inflexible, aging software design or for business reasons. There is a fast-growing industry of great applications growing up around the restaurant industry offering mobile payment, mobile ordering, gift and loyalty programs, and too many more to list. And the list is growing fast! For restaurants to move quickly and to continue to offer their customers the best customer experience possible, the ability for a system to rapidly integrate with other new products becomes a must-have.
Pleasurable and POS have never before gone together in the same sentence. Enterprise software has earned its reputation as being poorly designed and clunky. A wealth of research is available on what makes a system easy to learn, fast to use and even pleasurable. This may be one of the hardest goals to achieve - it requires an obsessive attention to sweating the details and that process leaves most development teams frustrated and wanting to just move on to the next feature. Restaurant employees all use consumer smart phones and tablets and are exposed to the most advanced, sophisticated approaches to user experience available. Then, they come to work and what do they experience with the tools they use to run the restaurant? User experience matters.
The explosion of the Fast Casual concept is showing no signs of slowing. Whether franchised or corporate-owned, chain concepts are a growing business. Any next-generation POS must be enterprise-class in that it must support the control and reporting of groups of individual stores, efficiently. Managing menu, pricing, discounts, promotions and all the other configured data across the chain should not require an army of IT staff. Data is more important than ever as competition heats up so reporting across individual stores or the entire enterprise is critical. Efficient operations have clear advantages.
High up-front cost, ongoing maintenance and support agreements and high service and support costs per incident should not be the only choice of experiences we have from our POS provider. Just as cloud is here to stay, SaaS-based pricing models make it easier to adope new technologies, can keep software and even hardware up to date and always in warranty with the latest features, and should include everything with no hidden fees or per-incident charges. Simple and affordable.
Performance is not a luxury. Anyone who has used software that isn't responsive or is just plain slow knows how frustrating poor performing software and hardware are. Performance is a key attribute of software that is pleasurable to use. And when there is line out the door and you have an hour to make most of your day's revenue, the last thing you want is your POS slowing down the line. Performance also includes attentionto user interface design that makes the cashiers faster doing their job.
These are the top 10 "must have" ingredients we should expect from any modern, forward-looking POS system.
Write to me with comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Bill Draper, founder of Gusto. Welcome to our kitchen. This is where we will share stories, visions, ideas, opinion, and in general, how we think about technology and our industry. Many of these thoughts are the ingredients that go into the products we build.
Gusto was founded with a clear vision. Still, that vision grows and evolves, and it's always getting stronger. Technology designed to help restaurants better operate and manage their business has been slow to advance. Our goal is to build nothing less than the very best systems for restaurateurs, and their customers, that the market has ever seen!
We believe that the terms POS and pleasurable can be used in the same sentence.
Point-of-sale (POS) has historically dealt with the point where the transaction takes place. Of course we now know POS systems to help manage back-of-house, kitchen automation, labor scheduling, and practically all restaurant information and automation needs. But current systems have evolved from the early cash registers without the opportunity to start over from a clean sheet of paper. Gusto represents that fresh, clean sheet approach.
Much of our team came from the industry. I led the development team at MICROS (acquired by Oracle) that created e7, Simphony 1 and Simphony 2, developing solutions for thousands of hospitality concepts worldwide ranging from neighborhood restaurants to the largest of chains. I was architect, designer and team leader for the system currently used by Starbucks in the U.S as well as by thousands of other concepts around the world. I left MICROS after 10 years to pursue other interests but my mind kept coming back to one question: if there were an opportunity to develop a restaurant system from scratch, from a clean sheet of paper, what is possible? I knew that better solutions, more modern solutions, were needed. So I started Gusto to realize that vision.
Technology has moved very fast and continues to accelerate, particularly since the latter half of the 2000s. We never really settled on a name for that decade, did we? The internet came into its own and matured, became ubiquitous for much of the world. We have embraced mobile in our lives, tablets, social media, online reviews and many, many important transitions have taken place since. And it's only continuing to move faster!
POS systems today were never built with any of these new realities in mind. They were designed for a prior era, confined within the 4 walls of the restaurant. Our vision is for the world we live in now and will be living in for the next decade to come. Restaurateurs face new challenges and need new solutions; not solutions that are bolted on to old architectures making them resemble a Rube Goldberg machine more so than well-designed, forward-thinking software.
The time is right for a fresh approach. An approach that understands you still have to run an efficient operation and can't afford to invest in fads, but you may be doing it from the store, from home or on the road. Your employees all have smartphones. Your customers all have smartphones. They communicate in ways that allow millions of people to see their conversations.
Maybe you own one restaurant, maybe 10,000. Employees want to see their schedule from home. Managers need more information than ever and they need it sooner and more up-to-date. Customers often want to engage with the restaurant. Customers' expectations are rising and you want to meet those expectations.
The time is right for a fresh approach!
Our vision embraces anywhere-access to your system. It fully appreciates the extremely high-degree of reliability you must get from your technology in order to run your operation as smoothly as possible. Restaurants can choose to have the technology invisible in the background or they can bring it directly to the customer, often in the hands of the customer. Our vision embraces a wide-open future where new devices will emerge that most have yet dreamed of. Advances in hardware and software are happening at the speed of light.
We believe that the terms POS and pleasurable can be used in the same sentence. Why shouldn't they? This is software used every day, all day by some. It should be easy to learn, easy and fast to use and actually pleasurable. It should help move your customers through faster. It should make your managers' job easier. It should bring a better experience to your customers.
It's time to bring the usability we are now accustomed to with our consumer devices into the store. It's time for an alternative to the very few choices that a serious restaurateur has had for systems to manage their restaurant, a system designed from the very beginning with a wide-open view to the future.
Come back as we continue to write more of our thoughts on how we believe a POS system should be built, the team behind this vision, and how a company should treat its customers.
You get all the benefits of the cloud with offline reliability of an on premise system. With no back office server to maintain, Gusto's system design is built from the beginning for simplicity and reliability. Daily operational functions are separated from cloud activity so your restaurant keeps on running whether your internet is up or down
Pleasurable to use and POS have never gone together in the same sentence. Our unique approach to conversational ordering makes your line move faster, improves order accuracy, and enhances the customer experience. Training can be done in minutes instead of days.
Take More Orders
The Gusto integrated approach for web ordering, kiosks, and catering gives you one central point for maintaining your menu, pricing, discounts and loyalty.
Built for Growth
Whether you have one unit or operate in all fifty states, Gusto gives you the control you need to run your business. Manage menus, pricing, taxes, discounts and more across stores or groups of stores.
Don't be the next headline news story due to a credit card security breach. You won't find a more secure POS system. Gusto offers point to point and EMV payment solutions to best fit your needs.
Free to Choose
Going Gusto means freedom to choose. Choose your merchant processor. Choose valued partners. Choose to control your business.
A long-time software engineer. Has an unwavering drive to create the absolute best solutions for the rapidly-changing restaurant market. Has been leading product design, architecture and development for products used by the smallest single-unit restaurants, for Starbucks North America and everything in between. In his "spare" time, plays competitive table tennis. Yes, it is really a sport!
Co-founder, technologist, and experienced restaurant investor.
Decade of experience across private equity, corporate strategy, and investment banking.
A lifetime passion for the Restaurant Industry and Technology, with all jobs from dishwasher to General Manager, a Hospitality education and culminating in a 23-year career with MICROS Systems. Inc, and Oracle Hospitality in several executive leadership positions. Helping restaurant companies get the most from technology has been a calling.
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