Example of restaurant POS
Scn-3 Restaurant computers do everything but cook It takes a bit more than a checkered checkered tablecloth and the recipe, for granny's rabbit stew to open a restaurant restaurant today. For one thing, it doesn't hurt if you've got a working familiarity with computer software. The Wisconsin Restaurant Association recently noted that, "Many larger operations have turned to computers computers in an effort to cope more effectively effectively with rising costs. Such mechanical mechanical wizards tell the operator s which items require too much time and labor and those items are sub-.squently sub-.squently sub-.squently dropped from the menu." Captain's Steak Joynt, 1930 W. Mason St., is one of the area restaurants restaurants that has turned to computer computer technology in an effort to increase increase its efficiency. According to Captain's manager Dean Sinclair, his restaurant has been using the NCR 250 computer cash register for about two years. With the NCR 250 each of the over 40 separate menu items has its own key on the register and so there is no need for the waitress or hostess to punch in the price for each separate item. If the restaurant restaurant is planning to run a special on a particular item, it's a simple matter matter for the manager to reprograra the computer with the new price. As hostess Jane Blizzard notes, "This eliminates a lot of guest check error." The machine also keeps a running running tally of the sales of each waitress waitress so that management has a precise precise measure of the productivity of its employees. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the machine is that it keeps a running tabulation on the sales of each individual item. If a manager suspects his brandy has been evaporating at an unnatural rate the NCR 250 makes it easy to check. Since Captain's conducts inventory inventory 13 times a year, the machine's 28-day 28-day 28-day memory bank of sales is an another important asset. The computer computer can even be tied into the security security system, if a special bill is pulled from the money tray, it triggers triggers a silent alarm which will alert the poliqe to an emergency. The NCR 250, of course,' is not perfect. For instance, Sinclair notes, "The machine doesn't know how to handle double dribbles." ' This is not a criticism of the computer's computer's lack of basketball skill. . Double dribbles" refers to Captain's Captain's happy hour policy of giving customers a second drink free for each one purchased during the designated designated hours. For double dribbles a fictitious waitress is punched into the machine, and the free drinks are recorded under her tally. Randy Aschenbrenner of the Ponderosa Steak House, 1112 S. Military Ave., says his restaurant also uses the NCR 250 in its operation. operation. At Ponderosa, however, the computer is linked to the chain's corporate headquarters in Dayton, Ohio. Through the linkup, Ponderosa Ponderosa gets a daily report on the sales in each of its individual stores. "That way they can analyze every single store as far as market trends," Aschenbrenner says. This data also permits the chain to prepare prepare regular profit and loss statements statements for each store. By recording the individual totals for separate menu items the chain can also decide decide if a restaurant is being over-generous over-generous over-generous with the its servings. As at Captain's, each individual key on the register is assigned a particular menu item which increases increases accuracy and speed of service. service. The importance of both those attributes is emphasized by the fact that Aschenbrenner says his restaurant serves between 600 and 1,000 customers a day and almost .always finishes within $2 of the expected expected totals. The individual customer customer also receives a receipt which details the prices of each item in his purchase. Ponderosa has prepared a 30-minute 30-minute 30-minute film on the operation of the NCR 250 and Aschenbrenner says it takes only about two hours of practice to feel comfortable with the machine. At Ponderosa, inventory is con ducted each week and because of the detailed sales data available from the computer, Aschenbrenner says, "We can pretty much reduce the amount of money tied up in inventory." inventory." Fred White is a supervisor and co-owner co-owner co-owner of 16 Hardees restaurants in Sturgeon Bay, Waupaca, Eau Claire and Green Bay. White and his partners have been installing Positran computer registers in all their new stores. White estimates that the initial cost of the Positran system is between between two and three times the amount of a conventional register setup. But by saving money through better controls on money and food stock, White expects the computers will save costs each month and eventually more than justify their additional expense. "You're always trying to save on food cost and this is one of the ways to do it," White says. Like the NCR 250, the Positran has a key for each menu item and keeps a running tally of it. The increased speed of operation is a critical factor factor in a high volume restaurant such as Hardee's. White and his partners were also attracted by the computer's ability to figure restaurant labor costs on a percentage basis. According to Tim Eaton, who is an account manager with the Green Bay office of NCR, the cost of restaurant computer systems can range from a few thousand dollars dollars to in excess of $50,000 for highly sophisticated setups. ' More expensive models even have the capability to tell the restaurant restaurant manager how long each table in the house has been occupied. occupied. With that data the restaurant restaurant hostess is better able to estimate estimate waiting times for tables. With options like that some restaurant restaurant owners have been able to cut the number of hostesses they require in half, while making more efficient use of their available seating seating space. The next step would appear to be teaching the computer to cook.