In 2000, Paul and Kaci Knaysi opened Pablo's Pizza in Grand Junction, Colo., with the hope of making as much of an impression on people's taste buds as the company's namesake, Pablo Picasso, made on the world of art.
Pablo's Pizza quickly became a draw. Early success left the Knaysis nearly drowningin demand. So many people craved their culinary works that they actually had to turn some away. On top of that, other customers were beginning to avoid Pablo's because of the excessive time it took to get their orders.
Being unable to satisfy all their guests and to continue growing their business ate at the couple's conscience. They needed some way—any way—to eke out more time from the already hectic business day, bogged down by a hand-written order and cash register process.
They found the answer in a point-of-sale system that computerized the order-taking process, spurred widespread efficiency and paved the way for expansion.
"It saved us," Paul Knaysi said. "Without it, I don't know if we'd still be in business. It was so stressful trying to manage it. Something would've had to give."
The cash register has become an antiquated tool, consigned to irrelevancy by time and technology. The once-innovative machine has been displaced by the next generation of computer equipment that elevates pizzeria operators beyond mere order-takers and helps them position their businesses strategically to attract new customers, retain existing ones and function with new efficiency.
New technology, however, doesn't mean endless investment. That's why restaurant companies are seeking scalable POS systems—solutions that can easily be expanded to meet their operations' evolving needs. It's that flexibility, experts say, that makes a scalable POS system a smart investment for the long term.
Change and keeping up
The pizza business is changing. In one of the most competitive segments of the food industry, pizzerias are being forced to find new ways of doing business to better cater to customers. A passive approach can leave a complacent company in the dust, no matter how good the product.
Pizzerias today need to connect with a customer base that is constantly on the move. That means venturing into new sales channels such as the Web, mobile services and social media.
When it comes to deciding whether to implement a POS system, the question facing businesses is: "How can I make the best choice for the next five, ten, or more years?"
The pizza industry generates $36 billion in revenue each year. But as restaurants look for ways to expand their take, POS systems are installed in only about half of the nation's pizzerias, industry experts say.
The gap is widening between tech-capable restaurant companies and old guard pen-and-paper shops.
The pizza industry is unique in that it comprises a near-equal mix of franchise companies and independent operators, many of whom are flirting with retirement and see no need to abandon proven methods. In fact, one study found that 40 percent of owners never access the Internet through their mobile phone and 70 percent still do not receive orders via the Web.
That opens up a significant opportunity for owners willing to adapt and embrace technology.
The sort of information a POS system puts at an operator's fingertips might take days or weeks to compute manually by poring through piles of receipts and other records. In a sense, the POS serves as a highly efficient, unpaid staff member. It performs vital work that crews can't handle because they lack the knowledge, the data or simply the time.
Integrating a POS system into a pizzeria gives it an edge over old-fashioned shops. Because the food industry in particular is so competitive, that edge can mean the difference between a business thriving or dying.
POS systems deliver a host of benefits, including ways to manage operations proactively, multiple means for taking orders, security control, customer information functions to drive repeat sales and loyalty and the tools to understand and control costs.
Despite all the advantages, choosing the wrong POS can cost a restaurant operator serious money in the long run. That's why scalability is as important as the system itself. Without the flexibility to adapt to new requirements and support emerging technologies, what initially seemed a worthwhile investment can end up a squandered opportunity.
"Those who see value in change want a platform that can be adapted," said Sy Bor Wong, business development director for Vancouver, B.C.-based Brygid Technologies Corp., a provider of e-business solutions. "You don't want something that will be obsolete in two years."
In this guide, sponsored by SpeedLine Solutions, learn the benefits of scalable POS systems for pizzerias and how to choose the one that best meets a business' needs.