Most retailers today use UPC bar code merchandise scanning at the point of sale, and for receiving merchandise into inventory. Everyone from the large well known retail chain, to the small independent retailer uses the UPC bar codes as an essential part of their retail business operation.
Although UPC Bar Code usage is widespread, most retailers should be taking greater advantage of this technology as part of their inventory control solution. In POS management, bar code usage can greatly help the retailer increase sales, profitability, and operational efficiencies while improving customer service. Here are a few examples:
Faster customer check out time
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than waiting in line while a cashier fumbles at the register looking up a price or department, or checks with their manager to see if an item is on sale. When scanning bar coded merchandise at the point of sale, merchandise information is controlled through software, making check out time much faster and accurate than manual entry or typing a SKU number. This provides better and faster customer service, while ensuring that merchandise is sold at the correct price.
When used with a good POS Inventory Control system, UPC bar code scanning can facilitate the handling of quantity price breaks automatically, or enable preferred pricing for customers who are part of store loyalty programs.
Protecting your profit margins and selling your merchandise at the appropriate price point is vital for the success of any retail operation. Nothing erodes margins faster than ringing up merchandise at an incorrect price due to cashier error or price tag switching. Price changes and discounts can be implemented immediately, saving valuable time and handling costs.
In a point of sale system when a bar code Scanner used with inventory control software, scanning bar coded merchandise as items are sold, returned and received ensures that on hand inventory levels are accurately adjusted. Scanners are extremely accurate compared to key entry, which helps maintain more accurate inventory levels.
By monitoring and tracking inventory levels, the retailer can make better informed decisions. Knowing which items are selling fast and need to be re-ordered prevents revenue loss due to out-of-stocks, or perhaps losing a valuable customer altogether because the competitor down the street always has their favorite item in stock. Valuable inventory capital can be released for more open-to-buy when the retailer can quickly identify their slower selling items, and reduce them for clearance.
Get more information about Point of sale System and read more about Bar Code Scanner
As we work with our corporate and hospital food service customers, we see menu trends in their Cafés and snack bars mirroring what’s trending in restaurants today. Many of the Cafés have added grills, pizza stations, grab ‘n go areas and in some cases even a sushi bar as part of their remodeling projects to provide a better dining experience for their employees and guests and attract a high guest count. To appeal to an even larger group of patrons and cater to savvy consumers, many Cafés are also offering menus with healthy and organic food, more diversity and local sourcing of raw ingredients.
Healthy and organic has become an important menu trend as Americans now have a higher awareness for healthy eating, and are more educated about their food choices. Consumers want to see menus that offer fresh produce, leaner protein options, and smaller desert portions. With a growing number of Americans diagnosed with type-two diabetes or heart disease, it has become greatly important to offer a menu balanced with food options which help manage these conditions. Flagging menu items as heart healthy or offering a discount on healthy menu items is a great way to promote healthy eating, while informing guests that you offer these options to them. Healthful food choices can range from leaner breakfast proteins like turkey bacon and turkey sausage to smaller desert portions offered at lunch and dinner. Catering to health conscious consumers doesn’t mean a hugely popular chicken fried steak or rich macaroni and cheese entre must be removed from the menu rotation completely. It’s just about offering a range of choices that caters to many needs.
Consumers are also looking for diversity in their dining experience, so a second trend emerging in Cafés is the availability of authentic dishes from various parts of the world. Taking another cue from commercial restaurants and fast serves, the Cafés menu often showcases cultural dishes from countries like Mexico, Argentina or Vietnam. The spices, herbs and raw ingredients for these dishes have become much more widely available than in past years, making it possible for chefs to create their own authentic versions or fusions in their food service operations.
The educated café patron is now aware of what’s in season, and which raw ingredients can be locally sourced. These consumers want to be informed of where their food came from, and may even expect to see nutritional and sourcing data. Not only does sourcing locally satisfy a growing culinary preference, but it’s often less costly and certainly a greener alternative.
Let us know what exciting new items you have added to your menus, and they performed in your Café.
Author: Kathy de la Torre, ARBA Retail Systems More
Payroll deductions. Every company or institution that offers employee payroll deductions in their retail areas such as cafeteria, coffee bar, gift shop, or company store has nothing but good things to say about the impact on sales. It’s the enabler behind a $5.00 latte purchase the day before payday. The key is automating it, so as not to slow down customer traffic. Manual systems can be tough, requiring cashiers and volunteers to check a list to see if an employee is valid, and write up a slip for the employee to sign. Every two weeks the food services and store managers combines and totals the employee’s payroll slips, and then send them to payroll for payroll to enter manually, and then posts payments.
What can be available is automated imports of employee files from payroll (which can spot terminated staff as well) that then supports swiping the employee’s badge, letting the software check the employee’s balance against the credit limit. Automatic printing of the customer AND the signature receipt may be turned on or off, according to preference. Just before payroll runs, employee numbers and deduction amounts are automatically transmitted to payroll. And then, crème de la crème, the actual deductions taken come back automatically from payroll, and the balances are adjusted.
Departmental charges are also automated, allowing for accurate charge backs to the appropriate department, as are physicians’ charges. Statements can be printed, or sent to accounting for their departmental adjustments.
LAYAWAYS What if your company or hospital doesn’t permit Payroll Deductions? How can you make an expensive item obtainable to an employee or customer who isn’t able to spend a large amount of money all at once? Layaways are experiencing a revival in many retail areas – Target and Wal-Mart are now advertising the availability of Layaways.
Your POS product may be able to provide this tool for you. It can allow you to attach a layaway to a customer number (your employee’s badge), and track the items, and the payments as they are made against the items on layaway. So stockroom space is tight? If you can print an open layaway inventory list at any time, so you can see what items are due for pick up, and bring them over from the warehouse!
GIFT CARDS Gift cards have been well received and are a great way to keep money in the retail areas. These aren’t just presents for one employee to give to another; they have a couple of other great uses! A gift card can be given to a customer to offset a return – the retail manager doesn’t have to give back cash, or write out a credit slip when a pricey item is returned. She’s keeping the money in the store. One other elegant use for gift cards has been the sale of those cards to administration, for a handling fee, plus the card value, for service recovery and employee rewards. More
Café dining patrons have a growing expectation to find healthful food and beverage choices on the menu. Whether managing diabetes or a heart condition through diet, or just being more conscientious of healthy eating practices, guests are now better informed about nutritional value and take into account how each meal or snack choice will fit into their overall nutritional goals.
As a result of this consumer awareness and growing demand, virtually every Café has a selection of healthy menu items in each service of their menu rotation. These healthy choices don’t necessarily replace popular menu favorites like Chicken Fried Steak, Pizza, or Macaroni and Cheese, but instead provide a range of healthy alternatives to café guests. Whether the guest selects a grilled chicken salad labeled as heart healthy, or decides to indulge in a grilled cheese sandwich with fries, the choice is left up to the guest.
So how do you measure the performance of healthy menu items, and determine which ones should remain in rotation, and which ones should be replaced with more appealing choices? Although the long line out the door whenever the Sushi Chef prepares fresh California Rolls at lunchtime is the only clue you will need to measure the popularity of the Sushi Bar, other items will require a review of historical sales data to evaluate their performance.
To track healthy meal sales, all menu items within the inventory file of the Café’s POS System should be added to an appropriate department, and then sorted further into a sub department or sub category. Label one of your sub departments “Healthy” to track healthy sales. For example, an egg white omelet could be added to the breakfast department, then further sorted into the sub department of Healthy. A turkey and vegetable wrap may be added to the lunch department, then added to the sub department Healthy. As a result of this categorization, both the egg white omelet and the turkey wrap will appear in the “Healthy” sub department, which will make tracking and comparing their historical sales information an easy process. Depending upon your POS system’s reporting abilities, an alternative approach is to create a Healthy Department, then create sub departments of breakfast, lunch, etc. and then create reports using the Healthy Department as a sorting method. With either approach, sales history reporting is available to track the Café’s Healthy item sales.
Menu Items identified in historical sales reports as not selling well may either be replaced with other items , or could be discounted to increase interest and incent better sales performance. The sale history data will show if the marketing is working on not working.
Tell us about the success of your Healthy menu selections, and what has helped promote their sales. More
As consumers, most of us have had some exposure to a mobile POS system while either shopping at a retail store or dining at a restaurant or quick serve establishment. Many restaurant servers now come to the table equipped with a mobile or hand held device for order taking instead of the traditional order pad and pencil, with the completed table order automatically going to the kitchen, and the server quickly moving onto the next table. In may retail stores, clerks now walk the sales floor with a mobile POS device for line busting to quickly check out customers standing in long lines and get them on their way faster. This not only speeds check out time and increases customer satisfaction, but also reduces the potential for a lost sale.
Healthcare retail presents many opportunities where a Mobile POS solution can provide added convenience to employees and guests, expand the functionality already present in a traditional POS system, and greatly improve operational efficiency with cost saving results.
The Cafeteria and Coffee Cart
Take for example the hospital cafeteria with traditional POS terminals situated in the check-out lanes, and additional outdoor seating that opens when the weather permits. Rather than routing patrons through the check-out lanes to pay for food and beverages before seating themselves outside, mobility allows the transaction to be performed at table side giving the employee or guest more time to enjoy their meal and dining experience or possibly prevent a lost sale from occurring. With a traditional POS system in place, the cafeteria menu may be broadcasted to the mobile device with detailed sales data rolling into a central data base for reporting and informed decision making. Mobile solutions are also ideally suited for mobile coffee carts, or mobile food carts where a POS system is needed, but space and portability rules out a large cash register with all its peripheral devices.
Patient Guest Services
A lot of hospitals now offer patient guests the convenience of ordering food and beverages from the cafeteria menu presented on an iPad or Android device, and paying by either by cash or credit card on the same device. Just imaging visiting a friend or family member in their hospital room as patient dining is either taking or delivering their meal. It’s a great comfort and convenience to be able to order and enjoy your meals together.
The Gift Shop and Fundraisers
Usually run by the hospital gift shop, fundraisers are a vital revenue generator for the hospital retail area. Generally held in the hospital lobby, the fundraising event may sell anything from uniforms to jewelry and are usually geared to the hospital employees. The use of a mobile pos system is ideal for this temporary event, especially when the capability to accept credit card or employee payroll deductions as payment types is enabled.
Tell us about how you’re using Mobil POS solutions in your hospital, or where your operation has a need for it. More