Curse of the Disparate POS Systems…
Or, why I’d rather have a root canal than put a report together for our stores’ profit/loss performance.
We see it all the time, both from our perspective as software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, and in the context of our role as QSR owners. It’s a frustrating and challenging reality of quick service, fast casual and full service brands alike: across the country and around the world; franchise or corporately-owned and managed operations. As brands grow and scale, open stores at varying pace, and in different geographic locations: they invest in, and specify (or settle for) different POS hardware solutions and now, have to figure out how to extract useful information from transaction-based data, collected from each. At best it’s a daunting and complicated process. Worst-case scenario – it’s an impossible task.
Many of the POS systems we’ve worked with in the past had no reporting or data analysis capabilities, and information had to be manually collated, input from the Z –tape or X-reading, into a spreadsheet and then someone had to interpret it. Some POS vendors then began to offer a bolt-on analytics option, proprietary to their system only, but, if you’re rocking six POS systems, you have to pull data from each and then and figure out how to export and integrate into some useable form and format. Of course, by the time you accomplish this Herculean effort, any option for responsive decision-making has passed, and profits evaporated like a puddle on a hot summer day. As the old cliché goes, you can’t drive a car by looking in the rearview mirror.
One solution considered by many brands, is to spec and adopt a standardized POS platform across all units. It’s an expensive solution, but a solution nonetheless.
An alternative, clever, next-gen solution, like LiveAnalytics, allows operations to extend the life of their POS platforms, and leverage what they’ve already got – at least for a few more years. Furthermore, a reporting manager at the franchise, franchisor, or corporate level, can now grab transactional data from all of their disparate systems, regardless of what make, and drill down into performance metrics that affect profit – at the individual store level, or all of the restaurant units in aggregate. Want to impress your boss? Drop a report in her e-mail basket that defines sales, food cost, labor cost, mix and ratio, year over year, by region, as of yesterday at 11 pm. Export to Excel, to save as an appendix, throw in a few dashboards for graphic effect and appeal, and the next thing you know, you’re sporting a corner office.
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