Q: What should I look for in a POS system?

A: Whether you have one store or hundreds, now might be the time to take a closer look at your pizza ordering management solution—which can span from high-speed, contactless in-store or tableside ordering to online ordering, third-party ordering and even kitchen management systems with sticker printers for optimized throughput, not to mention easy-to-use in-house delivery and dispatch. Today’s powerful new technology can take your business from break-even to profitability!

To build trust, increase efficiency and boost sales growth, a contactless customer journey is highly desirable in this pandemic. Since terminals can spread germs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that restaurants eliminate shared-payment terminals and switch to 100% contactless methods. Further guidelines suggest that hardware should not be touched or shared between customer and guest.

Related: How to make the best use of zero-contact payment methods

So consider looking for a POS innovator specializing in contactless and off-premise dining, because the pandemic isn’t going away soon. For accepting payment, try to eliminate the need to ask the customer for his 16-digit credit-card number over the phone. Create contactless curbside pickup and bar service for open tabs. The end goal is to never touch a credit card or a shared payment terminal again. Guests and staff see cutting-edge technology as protecting their health while adding speed and convenience.

Some QSR, table-service and general-purpose POS systems cannot handle the ordering complexity of pizza, but settling for less functionality limits your full potential. I recommend a system that includes options and prices for halves, thirds and quarters. Yes, this can be a math nightmare on the back end, but for the user it should be transparent and effortless. Consider a system that will let you instantly publish your online ordering menu on social media outlets, including images, and allow automatic integration with third-party systems for customers using their cell phones.

Many customers are nervous about using static printed menus these days. Look for a point-and-click web menu setup with the ability to define toppings, quantity of toppings per pizza, and price of toppings by size, along with instructions for the line crew, images for the cashier, and images of toppings for your online store. The menu should be centrally managed from a browser, especially with disruptions in our supply chain affecting the ordering of ingredients. An operator must have the tools to modify pricing and ingredients immediately to ensure a solid profitability mix. Cheese and flour are commodities, and pricing changes daily. A COVID-19 outbreak in a sausage manufacturing facility could mean you can’t buy sausage for a while, so you must be able to offer alternatives. The ability to modify your menu online and on social media is critical. Customers expect these modifications as the new normal.

Related: Should you buy new equipment for your restaurant before the year ends?

Your online store should offer a better experience than third-party delivery apps. When it’s easy to use, with special offers, rewards and an order tracker, you’ll generate more sales. You must also be able to own the customer record with their order-history data. And a delivery-tracking method for the customer—from “ordered” to “making” to “baking” to “ready” to “out for delivery”—elevates the customer experience.

Additionally, make sure your online store is optimized for phones, tablets and desktop computers. (Ask millennials on your staff to help you if necessary.) Strive to ensure that all interaction on your online store is 100% contained so you can track customer “clicks” for analytics and management reporting. This enhances your brand and its street value.

Finally, engaging your back-office staff is as important as engaging your customers. They can provide valuable feedback on the front-of-the-house customer experience. Your number crunchers matter and can summarize the brand value for your pizzeria operation!

Michael Rasmussen has been contributing to PMQ for more than 15 years. You can visit his website, hitechcpa.com, for additional insight into restaurant-specific tax strategies, accounting and technology problems.