Getty Images

Does Your Pizzeria’s POS System Really Deliver?

Experts share how operators can use their POS systems to better manage and improve pizza delivery service for drivers and customers alike.

  • Your POS system can create a smoother experience for delivery drivers, customers and, ultimately, yourself if you tap into its full capabilities.
  • Experts from various segments of the restaurant industry weigh in with helpful tips for developing smarter delivery strategies with your POS.

Related: Using your POS system to control food costs

By Tracy Morin

In PMQ’s June-July issue, we covered how to use your POS system for better inventory tracking and improved profit margins. This month, we’ll look at ways it can assist the delivery process, creating a smoother experience for delivery drivers, customers and, ultimately, operators themselves. Whether you’re looking to tap into the capabilities of your current system or in the market for a new POS to help with crucial business functions like delivery, read on for helpful tips—provided by experts from various segments of the restaurant industry, in their own words—on how to deliver smarter with your POS.

Data Diving
The Expert: David Chatkin, president, Sarpino’s USA, Chicago, IL
The Intel: Sarpino’s has been a delivery concept from inception. Our POS delivery system offers various API integrations with third-party vendors, accounting P&L software, and business intelligence tools to combine Google Analytics data with POS and warehouse data to draw more conclusions and insights. DoorDash Drive is also integrated, which adds even more capacity to the Sarpino’s self-delivery fleet. The system is very flexible and adaptive and allows customization and constant additions and improvements to support delivery.

The latest feature we’re piloting is Presto’s AI voice answering system, which allows us to process transactions without a human cashier. It’s a great labor solution to allow staff to focus on production. Additionally, the AI system fields calls that otherwise would not have been answered, thus adding revenue as well. Push notifications, order tracking, SMS confirmation, contactless delivery and flexible payment options are all tools available to make the perfect delivery and to communicate with the customer.

Sarpino’s USA

Real-Time Routing
The Expert: Meaghan Brophy, POS system expert, Fit Small Business, New York, NY
The Intel: Essentially, a good POS system offers restaurant managers and drivers greater visibility into operations, which allows for better planning and streamlined delivery flow. Look for POS providers that offer these benefits:

  • Map views of online orders for efficient delivery routing: Real-time map views allow you to group deliveries based on location, verify addresses ahead of time, and assign multiple orders to one driver, which can save drivers time and frustration and allow for more timely deliveries. Some POS systems also offer real-time traffic views, so you can anticipate delays and factor them into promised delivery times.
  • Remote management: Many POS systems allow restaurants to assign orders to drivers as they’re on the go and even send turn-by-turn directions. Some systems also offer estimated driver return times, which help prevent overbooking or overpromising on delivery times.
  • Real-time status updates: POS systems track order and delivery status in real time so that managers know where their drivers are and can properly gauge future availability and timelines. The best POS systems also keep customers updated with real-time status. This visibility, paired with accurate delivery time estimates, helps provide a great customer experience, which can impact driver tips as well as reorder rates.
  • Built-in reimbursement calculations: POS systems with integrated routing can also be programmed to automatically reimburse drivers based on their designated routes. This saves time and prevents drivers from needing to remember to self-report their odometers.
  • Dedicated driver app: The best POS systems have driver apps with GPS navigation, order details and the ability to contact customers, all directly through the app. Drivers can easily view delivery notes from customers, which helps with finding correct addresses, especially in apartment complexes. These apps also notify drivers when they are assigned orders, which provides them with more visibility into their workday.

Related: Using your POS system to navigate the labor shortage

this photo shows a young man in a red shirt and hat delivering two pizzas to a woman in a blue shirt while being paid

Money Matters
The Expert: Ray Camillo, principal, Blue Orbit Hospitality Consulting, Atlanta, GA
The Intel: A delivery driver’s biggest challenges are delivering on time and processing payment, and their No. 1 concern is tips. As app payment and tip processing have replaced cash, tips are often requested in advance, which means the establishment delivering the food needs a reputation for delivering food fast, hot and in great condition. Drivers are judged—and tipped—based on the performance of the last delivery. Therefore, a solid software solution becomes a vital difference-maker for helping drivers score better tips, which is aligned with the restaurant’s goal of making more money. With payments processed ahead of time, software must help the driver deliver the highest volume of orders in the shortest amount of time.

Years ago, UPS developed proprietary software that would generate the most efficient delivery routes based on where their load of individual packages were going. Ride-sharing services like Uber use a more robust version of this to route the nearest driver to the customer. With higher labor and inventory costs, restaurants can ill afford to squander money on delivery drivers, and smart drivers will go where they can make the most money.

Delivering food efficiently is a complex problem that restaurant operators often think drivers can solve on the road—armed, at best, with only a deep knowledge of local roads. Through analyzing traffic data, road conditions and turn sequences, delivery software algorithms allow a driver to service as many customers in the shortest possible time. Drivers can’t possibly do this as well as machines, so when restaurants let them manage their own routes, they leave money on the table and generate inconsistent delivery histories. The restaurant ends up hiring too many drivers, which costs more money, and they make fewer tips than they could get if a robust routing software was in charge. There are many standalone routing systems available—such as Circuit or OptimoRoute—but some point-of-sale software companies are now integrating this software into their platforms.

Integrated Solutions
The Expert: Graham Campbell, chief operating officer, Givex, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Intel: Pizzeria operators should also look for a system that offers:

  • Future ordering: Phone orders can be taken in advance, queued up and produced just in time for the pickup.
    • A delivery driver module.
  • The ability to handle complex pizza orders, such as easily switching toppings or offering left-side, right-side and double/triple toppings, while supporting inventory.
  • An integrated online ordering module that can be offered along with third-party delivery platforms.
  • Integrations to third-party providers: This allows operators to tap into a broader pool of drivers and keep the process streamlined by letting operators manage and monitor directly from the point of sale.
  • Integrations to ensure that any orders placed through partner apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats will be input automatically into the POS and the proper revenue center, so staff members do not need to manually punch in the order.
  • Blocked hour and minimum pickup/delivery time overrides: These empower a restaurant operator to control the in-house experience and, ultimately, set up delivery drivers for success, because they will receive deliveries only during your preferred windows of time. You can block hours from being available for online ordering by order type (i.e., pickup or delivery) without affecting store operating hours. You can also set up minimum pickup or delivery time interval overrides to customize minimum-order lead time by order type and time of day. These features give operators more tools to help ease the transition to online ordering while keeping those online sales manageable for your kitchens.
  • Efficient business operations: Automate your kitchen with a kitchen display system (KDS) that communicates with your POS system. This is vital for success, as it will help streamline operations, ensure that all meals are cooked to perfection and minimize food waste.Tracy Morin is PMQ’s senior copy editor and editor of PizzaVegan.com.