Hospitality Technology at the NRA Show 2022

Every year the National Restaurant Association Show brings leaders from every facet of the hospitality industry together in one place to share ideas and learn from each other. We are happy to be back in Chicago this year, to meet face to face and talk candidly about the current struggles operators are facing and the strategies to drive growth.

The Focus team of hospitality technology specialists will be at booth 7629 in the North Expo Hall during the show. Check out what we are really excited to chat about at the show.

Point of Sale

  • Rock-solid stability for reliable transaction ringing.
  • Customizable workflows are adaptable to every environment.
  • Easy to use with reduced training time.
  • Management from the store level and the web.

Handhelds

  • Order from anywhere with full cellular functionality.
  • Full ordering functionality with coursing and positioning.
  • Pay transactions from the floor.

Online + QR Code Ordering

  • Use links or QR codes for guest-driven ordering.
  • Menus are synced from the POS for accuracy.
  • Orders go directly to the POS and the kitchen.
  • Pay by QR code from receipts.

Loyalty + Gift Cards

  • Drive guest retention with customized loyalty programs.
  • Direct integrations with handhelds, online ordering, and point of sale.
  • See and analyze guest metrics and spending habits.

Kitchen Video

  • Replace traditional paper tickets in the kitchen.
  • Prioritize and recall orders for Expo management.
  • Print paper tickets on bump for running.
  • Text guests on bump for order ready notifications.

 

The National Restaurant Association Show takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from May 21st to May 24th, 2022.

Learn more about The Show at https://www.nationalrestaurantshow.com/.

5 Key Reasons You Need Remote Management

It has never been more important or easier to give your operations team more flexible options for remotely managing restaurants and bars. Focus Office, which is part of the FocusCloud suite of tools, allows you complete control over your store-level POS from the web. Here are 5 key things that will make your management team more efficient.

1 – Add & Edit Employees

Onboarding is super easy and allows you to create and add employees to multiple locations. Set things like access code, jobs, and pay rates.

2 – Edit Time Cards

Same-day or previous day, give your team immediate control for auditing and changing time card punches.

3 – Update Prices

Price increases? No problem, roll through all menu items without affecting the prices in the POS until you are ready for them to go live.

4 – Create New Menus

Work on new menus sets or items over time and control their roll out to one or multiple locations.

5 – Scheduled Changes

Changes can go live when you want them. Choose from sending down to the store ASAP or schedule for specific dates and times. Scheduling changes are a lifesaver for wage increases, pricing updates, or new menu roll-outs. Not only that, if you have more than one location you can choose who actually receives these updates.

 

Want to learn more about Focus Office? Contact us today!

Digital Gift Card Promos for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us which means pushing to book parties and sell gift cards in an effort to boost yearly numbers. The crunch can be daunting from a marketing perspective, especially with gift cards sales when everyone is offering some sort of promo. Digital gift cards make it easy to set up and offer promos to your guests, online.

The traditional way of offering promos usually entails a guest coming into the business to buy a physical card and walking away with a tangible item carrying a stored value. The promo could be adding extra value to the card, a separate promo card or coupon with an expiration date, or a discount on a current bill when the card is added on. There are many ways to give a bonus to those guests buying gifts, but what is the best way to handle this online with digital gift cards?

With Focus e-Gift you have two promotional options that can be set up to offer discounted digital gift cards. 

Predetermined Values with Denominations

Example: Get a $100 gift card for $75.

focus egift promo denominations

What dollar amounts should you offer the bonus at? Think about your guests and their check average. How much are they willing to spend and what will feel like a good value to them. You want to make sure that you give enough of a bonus to entice a purchase but don’t want to give everything away. 

If your check average is $40 per person, then a $50 gift card may only cover one person’s bill. If I entice them to pay $75 or $80 for a $100 gift card then they are able to either splurge on dinner or cover the cost of 2 people with that gift card making it a perfect gift or just value savings for the purchaser at a business that they are already a patron of.

With predetermined values, any guests going to purchase a digital gift card will have access to the promo. 

Promo Codes for Flat Discounts

Buy $100 or more and get $25 off.

focus egift promo codes

If you are looking for a solution that only allows certain guests like say maybe those that visit in person and see the offer on your guest receipt or maybe a person on your marketing email list, then promo codes are the way you want to go.

A promo code lets you insert a code that has to be known by the purchaser at checkout to receive a discount on their gift card. So I could say that the code ‘HAPPYHOLIDAY’ takes $25 off the purchase price of any gift card that is $100 or more. This gives the customer flexibility in their purchasing options but only allows for a flat discount amount so you can control some of the expense. 

The great part about digital gift cards is they can easily be delivered electronically at any time, they allow revenue to be generated without labor, and the recipient can easily use their card online or in-store.

Want to set up Focus e-Gift? Contact us today!

 

Gift Card and Loyalty Programs For Marketing

Gift Cards and Loyalty or Rewards Programs have been go-to marketing tools to build restaurant brand recognition for a long time, but operators still seem to struggle with harnessing their power. There are many different platforms and ways to build and promote both platforms that it can often become challenging to figure out the best technology stack that effectively allows you to create and promote programs that keep your guests returning.

We’ve talked previously about the value of physical and digital gift card offerings. Offering both kinds of stored value cards allows you to capture different demographics and reach more people. It is important the gift card platform you use can handle both in one integrated system that works with your POS, online ordering, and any other platforms your guest will use to order/pay.

FocusGift gives you a gift card platform that allows you to sell physical gift cards at your location as well as digital cards online through your website. The sales of both flow through to the POS for sales tracking, giving you proper accounting. They both also can be redeemed the same way through standard POS stations, handheld devices, and the FocusOnline online ordering system.

What does offering gift cards get you?

– Returning or new customers.
– Cash flow without high overhead.
– Brand loyalty, especially if you tie in rewards for those guests.

FocusLoyalty is a robust loyalty program that works in conjunction with all your ordering and payment platforms. You can build out simple or complex rewards options for your customers and text or email them offers. Don’t have a need for complicated points or tired rewards? You can always just create promos or marketing blasts that go directly to your best patrons. Emails or text messages can be sent to those with the most spend or triggered off of their last visit date.

Why does your business need a loyalty program?

– Thanking returning guests becomes automatic.
– Incentivize guests to return on a more regular basis.
– Stay top of mind to your customers.
– Generates more regular communication with your top spenders.

The beauty of the gift and loyalty program options with Focus is they all work together as part of one ecosystem. This reduces complexity and creates less stress for operators and their staff. The most important part is it’s easy for guests to use, giving you a guaranteed way to make them happy.

 

Contact us now to set up gift cards and loyalty before the busy holiday season!

 

Can Kitchen Video Replace Printers?

Speed and prioritization in a kitchen are essential when orders are flying in on a busy night. When using paper tickets this is typically done with tape, ticket hangers, and sharpies. Printed chits or tickets are organized by time or priority. Marked to identify the timing, coursing, or which items have already gone out.

Paper has a downfall though. It can get wet, lost, torn, thrown, or a multitude of other random things in the course of going from the printer to the tape or hanger. For all of their simplicity and ease of use, paper tickets are not as versatile as kitchen video.

In its simplest form, kitchen video can be a printer replacement. Orders come in and are prioritized by time automatically. 

Headers on each order show you the same info you get on a printed ticket with the benefit of automatically changing colors based on the length of time that ticket has been displayed along with the ticket time. Is the grill taking too long? They will immediately know by the red header glaring at them and the ever-increasing ticket time.

Screens typically in a kitchen are stationary and meant for one or two people to be working off of them. That station may only see orders they need to work on, not everything allowing cooks to focus on what tasks they need to complete. Think of the screen as their digital task list that is always updating.

FocusKitchen also offers flexibility that printers don’t often have for being mobile. Maybe I want someone to be able to walk around with a tablet in their hand or maybe I’m doing a catering event, food truck, festival, or other events that take business outside the walls of your building. Since FocusKitchen is cloud-based, you can put it anywhere with any internet connection.

Tag items, bump orders, recall tickets, see their prep time and reduce paper waste. Yeah, we get seeing that fat stack of chits sitting on a ticket stabber is satisfying. But your kitchen will be way more organized and perform better with screens, guaranteed.

 

Want to learn more about how Focus can optimize your kitchen? Get in touch today!

Pay with a QR Code using MobilePay

In a sea of contactless payment options, there is one simple solution that any Focus user can turn on. MobilePay allows guests to pay any check or tab right from their own phone by scanning a QR code. 

MobilePay does not require any additional devices than your regular Focus POS system, nor do you need to retrain staff on different POS procedures.

Focus MobilePay QR Code ReceiptPrint the guest’s receipt and a QR code with custom footer text will appear at the bottom. They can scan the code with their phone using the camera if they want to pay from their device. When they do, they will be taken to a web page showing their check. Once they hit ‘Pay My Check’ they will be presented with tip options. You can define the preset percentages or allow a custom dollar amount. When they complete their payment process the check in Focus is closed to the FocusPay tender and the tip is automatically adjusted for the server.

MobilePay processes the transaction through an e-commerce account using Shift4 or another approved processor and may require account setup if you do not have one already.

Want to collect feedback from your guests? Survey options can be activated allowing guests to tell you more about their experience at the end of the check-out process. These are only shared with you and your team through the Command Center portal.

Want to set up MobilePay or learn more? Our team is here to help!

What is Cash Discounting?

You may have started hearing more and more people talking about cash discounting or credit card surcharging these days. In the past this was done by many gas stations or retailers that wanted to incentivize people to use cash, allowing them to not incur credit card fees and therefore making more profit. 

Restaurants and bars are now increasingly turning to cash discounting as a way to combat increasing costs especially those related to processing credit card payments. By implementing a cash discount, many businesses can gain 2.5% – 3.5% more revenue from the same transactions they are already doing.

In Focus, you can specify the percentage surcharge increase for credit card transactions so you do not need to adjust pricing on each individual item. By default, the total displayed to a guest will be the higher price and you can have the cash amount both on the POS screen as well as the guest receipt for presentation. Verbiage can also be added to the guest receipt explaining and encouraging guests to use cash.

For your staff, there is no change in the transaction process. They ring the items as they normally would and select the applicable payment option. If the tender is cash, then the discount will automatically apply.

Before implementing cash discounting or a credit card surcharge, be aware of any local laws that may prevent you from collecting the extra dollar amount or make it taxable. In most areas communicating the price difference to customers is required and in extreme circumstances, you must also list the cash vs. credit prices by each menu item. You also cannot charge more than what your actual processing fees are. Doing so could violate your processing agreement and also be met with legal action.

If you move forward with offering guests a cash discount make sure to notify your accounting person as well as your credit card company so they are aware of this policy change. Visa also has a great information page with example signage, FAQ, and information about notifying the card brands.

Need help setting up cash discounting in Focus? Check out the knowledge base article on setting up cash discounts or contact our Helpdesk.

 

 

The Value of Physical and Digital Gift Cards

Gift cards are nothing new to many businesses. As a branding tool, they allow you to keep your name top of mind with raving fans but also bring familiarity to new guests who receive them as gifts. In times of inconsistent revenue, they can even be a much-needed cash boost. Gift cards are an all-around benefit allowing your restaurant or bar to pull in new customers or entice people to return.

Traditionally the preferred method of selling gift cards has been using physical plastic cards that are encoded with specific gift card data. The card would be sold through the POS and activated at the time of payment. That card would then be used either by a returning guest or a lucky gift recipient. The stored value on the card could be completely used in one transaction or have only a portion redeemed at that time to save the remaining balance for use on another day. More money can be added at any time so the customer can continue using the same card over and over again.

Physical cards are great as gifts, especially if you are including them in a basket or with other items. They are also useful for giveaways or promotions, again allowing you to push your brand name in the community. Plastic cards typically are required for doing bulk activations so cards can be preactivated and sold or given away through a third party or at alternative locations.

Physical cards do also have an additional cost to them since you have to purchase the plastic cards in bulk as well as any graphic design that may be required to have them printed. Printing times may also vary throughout the year with long wait times always around major holidays.

E-gift cards are a fantastic way to offer digital gift cards that don’t have the upfront cost of buying physical cards to distribute. They also allow you to sell and activate cards online so guests can purchase or send them even when they are not at your location. They are convenient for your customers to use and can still be used in conjunction with physical gift cards. Many businesses even choose to use only digital gift cards which allows them to maximize the profit of each dollar activated.

When someone purchases a digital gift card online an email is sent to them instead of receiving a physical card. This email includes the business’s branding and location information. If the card is purchased as a gift for someone else, the purchaser can also send a customized message to the recipient.

Digital gift cards purchased through Focus E-gift can be redeemed through the POS at your location or through select online ordering platforms, including Focus Online. The digital card can also be stored in a phone’s digital wallet for easy access and balance updates.

Selling gift cards at your location or online has never been easier with Focus Gift. The simple platform allows you to sell and manage cards online and at the POS. Onboarding and setup are fast and are included with any FocusCloud subscription.

Focus Gift also provides multi-unit groups options for gift card reconciliation across multiple locations or to centralized holding accounts.

Sign up or learn more by reaching out today!

Enhance Contactless QR Ordering and Payments with @table

I’m sure you’ve used a QR code at this point. Everyone (literally everyone) is using them for digital menus now, but why stop there? Why not use it to start a tab, or even better tie that tab to a table number so runners know where to bring food or drinks.

FocusOnline @table allows restaurants and bars to do just that. Using FocusOnline you can build out custom menus to offer guests who are dining in specific areas and allow them to start an order, not just view the menu.

Management and service staff can still access the table or tab normally if needed directly from the point of sale. Ring more items from the POS on the tab, void or comp things, even transfer items. The order itself still lives in the point of sale system while maintaining contactless ordering and payment solutions.

You can also set a time limit for the tab so it can be automatically closed out. Credit card information is provided when starting the order along with the guest’s contact information ensuring that the order is paid for.

Already using FocusOnline? Learn how to setup @table.

Get in touch today!

 

How Contactless Dining Shifts Focus to Customer Experience & Yields Profitability

Most restaurants must function at 75% capacity in order to be profitable. With many restaurants now operating at 50% capacity or less, it’s essential to identify how they can make up the remaining 25 percent. Implementing contactless dining grants servers the opportunity to focus on the customer experience and work towards profitability.

Before the pandemic restaurant touch points included servers handing out menus, taking food orders, and delivering receipts. Focus CA contactless solutions transforms these touch points into non-engagement tasks and allows servers to focus solely on service quality, i.e. delivering the food and checking in on guest satisfaction.

Additionally, with more options for digital payment and checkout, you may be able to remove unnecessary equipment to make room for more socially distanced tables. The added tables can yield better profits in the long run and keep you in business.

FocusOnline – Allow guests to access your digital menu, place pickup orders, and pay for their check all from the comfort of their own device

FocusOn – Portable handheld POS that lets you take orders and payment from anywhere in your restaurant

Focus GoPay – Smartphone readable QR codes that prompts guest checks when scanned and allows for contactless payments

 

Get in touch with us today and learn how you can optimize your restaurant technology for contactless dining!