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Technology that can help your business thrive

For any business, choosing the right POS application is an important decision. While this depends largely on individual business requirements, the solution has to offer the flexibility and reliability to ensure a business runs smoothly now and in the future.  The current pandemic has simply brought these issues to the fore and has forced many hospitality businesses to review not only how they operate, but also how to pivot in such a way that the business can thrive in a challenging and at times unpredictable environment. 

The wealth of options available in terms of POS technology is extensive.  All too often the role of the printer is seen to simply print a receipt but, when used with intuitive software, it can provide a business with a variety of powerful tools.  The right hardware can effectively reduce costs with future-proof solutions that enable a business to plan ahead, avoiding unnecessary expense by reducing the need for additional hardware investment as the business develops, not to mention having the technology readily available when required. Furthermore, the right hardware can add value to a business with unique feature-rich solutions included free of charge with the printer.

An area which has undoubtedly highlighted the role of the printer during the current pandemic is online ordering.  While it has certainly enabled many establishments to continue operating during lockdown, online ordering apps / web software can also provide the path to an additional future revenue stream thanks to an enhanced customer database.  This offers the potential to attract repeat business via coupons and promotions alongside in-house dining.  

One of the most important considerations that any hospitality business has to ensure is accurate customer orders, especially given stricter requirements for food labelling, allergies and customer order exceptions.  With the added increase in orders from multiple channels including restaurant, kiosk / self-service, drive through as well as online collection and delivery, an efficient and accurate ordering process becomes essential.

Printed orders vastly improve order accuracy.  With a growing number of custom orders and order modifications, a printed order that can be sent directly from the POS system or online app to the kitchen, allows all staff members to see the customer’s requirements and effectively cuts down on errors.

Star Technologies

Technology such as Star’s CloudPRNT™, available on a range of Star printers, facilitates online ordering by eliminating the need for an additional tablet to send a received online order to the printer.  Instead, the ordering service can communicate directly with the printer for online takeaway or collection orders from the restaurant web site.  Aware that a large number of hospitality web sites are based on the WordPress platform, Star has developed a free of charge WooCommerce plug-in for simple integration.  

Alternatively, if a tablet app is used for online ordering then a Bluetooth, WiFi or LAN printer can be connected to print the order in the kitchen as well as the receipt for pick up. Web and cloud enabled kitchen printers, capable of reliably accepting and queuing orders from multiple devices, become essential in this environment.  As venues open again, social distancing will no doubt remain key with order and pay at table apps or web sites taking on greater importance.  These can also communicate directly with the printer for table orders, including those placed via a kiosk or self-ordering terminal.

 As well as paper orders, the same connectivity is available for food orders printed on repositionable labels, which can then be removed and easily re-applied during the food preparation process before being attached to the final packaging as a receipt for the customer. The Star TSP654IISK using MAXStick® linerless media can accept orders from traditional POS systems, tablets, phones and also directly from local or remote online ordering platforms. This streamlines the entire process and reduces paper waste, saving valuable time and cost.  For takeaway and food vans where a mobile printer is perhaps more suitable, the Star SM-L200 offers the same solution but provides on-the-go receipt printing with Bluetooth Low Energy for simple connectivity to tablets, mobile phones and payment devices.

Technology for Hospitality Applications

With hospitality businesses increasingly receiving orders from multiple channels and the consequent higher number of tablets and printers required for different online ordering systems, the need to create a cable free minimalist clutter free environment is essential.  The ideal scenario would be a tablet on a countertop providing a clean, sleek vision but all too often this is not practical given the POS setup has to not only look good but also be usable.  

Star’s mC-Print™ receipt printer lends itself perfectly to a secure tablet solution where the device and peripherals can be reliably connected to the network while offering the clutter free appearance of a cable-free all-in-one POS system or self-service terminal.  With its compact design, front opening, simple paper loading and outstanding functionality, the mC-Print3 features multiple interfaces as well as Cloud connectivity to provide a future-proof, seamless transition from traditional to tablet POS.

In any hospitality business ensuring reliable network connectivity can be challenging, especially in a kitchen environment.  Benefitting from Star’s unique SteadyLAN™ technology, the mC-Print3 delivers data, tablet charging and network tethering for iPads as well as USB-C models of Windows and Android devices via a direct Lightning or USB-C cable between the tablet and printer without the need for WiFi.  The mC-Print also includes hub functionality with the ability to connect a USB customer display, scanner, RFID device, keypad or other supported HID enabled peripherals directly to the printer for a single integrated system.

In terms of payments, the pandemic has made the transition from cash to card payment even more pronounced.  As contactless payments increasingly become the norm, other options such as online payment or even QR code payment are useful additions with customers scanning a digital QR code or a printed QR code on the bottom of the bill and paying directly via their phone.

With fewer customers now paying in cash, a compact solution that offers a smaller cash drawer is a viable alternative.  A combined Bluetooth printer and cash drawer solution such as mPOP™ is particularly easy to set up and affordable for small businesses.  For larger businesses looking to potentially set up a temporary pop up venue to enable social distancing, it is the ideal solution.

These are just some of the solutions available to reduce costs, remain flexible and offer contactless experiences so that businesses can thrive in what is certainly an unpredictable and challenging operating environment for many.