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How to Master the Art of Checkout Lines

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How to Master the Art of Checkout Lines

If your restaurant has a checkout line, than it can be a big factor in how your customer experience is perceived. There are not many people who like to wait, and if potential customers roll up to your restaurant and see a long line they may choose to go somewhere else. People are hungry, and having people wait too long at the beginning or end to checkout can be a problem for your restaurant. When you have a fast moving line, you have a revolving door of customers. Most people don’t mind waiting their turn, but when a line feels like it’s never going to move, people get impatient. Eating at your restaurant was not the only thing they had planned for the day. Don’t get overwhelmed if you have a long checkout line. Use our seven tips on how to speed up your restaurant’s checkout line.

1. Get a Point of Sale System
Getting an advanced point of sale system is key to speeding up your service. Today’s POS systems come with many easy-to-use features that allow you to automate a lot of your restaurant’s business practices. Big restaurant chains are constantly implementing the most up-to-date POS systems on the market that best fit their business goals. An iPad based POS system is great for restaurants that have long checkout lines. They are great for taking orders for people mid in line, and they future proof your business with their unlimited potential. IPad POS systems are also known to be extremely employee friendly. Remember, the easier it is for your employees to complete transactions on a POS system, the faster your checkout times will be.

2. Accept All Legal Forms of Payments
Customers like convenience, and so should you. Paying by cash can be much slower than paying with credit or debit cards. People are fumbling with their wallets, and if you hand them coins you might as well be done for. Coins have a great potential to get dropped, and usually people don’t have room in their wallets for a bunch of change. How many people do you know that carry around a sack of change wherever they go? Not many. By accepting all payment methods, you not only speed up your checkout line, but also your customer satisfaction.

3. Train Staff
Nothing looks worse than when you have chaotic employees roaming the checkout counter at the time you make a purchase. Long checkout lines are usually the result of not enough people helping. We have all been there, where there is only one cash register, and the line is out the door. You should first analyze your customer data, and see if you are understaffed. Your POS system can help with that. If you are, it might be beneficial to add people to your team and invest in more cash registers. Additionally, you should elect certain employees to only work checkouts. When you streamline the process, everyone is where they need to be and your restaurant has a successful flow. You can even practice with these employees by giving them practice orders, and seeing how fast they can ring you up.

4. Go Digital
Remember every little second counts in the checkout line. Even printing receipts can take too long, and the last thing you want is for a customer to be waiting for a receipt to print. Think if you’ve ever had a printing bug. They can happen more often than you think. Plus they are a waste of paper, and most people hate them. The reason is, they can pile up quickly and no one likes a mess. If you get digital receipts, you can have them sent to a person’s email or mobile device.

5. Have a Separate Area for Checkouts
It’s never a good idea to house all of your customers in one area. You should think about splitting them up by where they are in their food consumption. You should have a separate station for ordering, getting drinks, sauces, carryout, and in house checkouts. Then you elect your employees to their role that corresponds to a specific station. If you put everything in one location, it can be very easy for things to get bottle necked.

6. Consider Self-Checkout
There are many people out there who prefer a self-checkout line. Customers like to be self-sufficient, and more often than not they don’t want to talk to employees unless absolutely necessary. For example, at Panera Bread, you can walk up to one of their self-service kiosks, and easily place your order and checkout in a matter of minutes. You just press a few buttons, and submit your payment. Some people would think that by adding kiosks, would take away some of a restaurants labor costs. However, it’s not the case at Panera. They have people who constantly clean the kiosks, and facilitate orders in the backend faster.

7. Ensure Your Pricing and Menu is Clear
If you have your checkout process at the time of order, you will want to make sure your menu and pricing are clear. You shouldn’t over complicate things. One of the biggest things customers do that take a while is if they have questions about menu items or how much something costs. For example, “Do the eggs come scrambled?” “If I add a side, how much will that costs?” or “I can’t read what comes in the burrito!” Having paper menus available before a customer gets inline is an essential. You can still go with billboard menus, but having handheld ones available, helps customers see the big picture.

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