Restaurants require a great deal of care and attention. Whether you’re training new hires, dealing with customers’ unique demands, or fighting the ongoing war against your third-party delivery tablets, there’s a lot to cover. Luckily, that’s exactly the forte of POS middleware software like Cuboh. While this is a rather long topic to cover in an intro, don’t you worry your little head - we’re getting there in no time.
Let’s start with the basics. Before we can discuss the benefits of middleware, we need to establish what, exactly, it is. While it’s not a super new concept, it is relatively new to the restaurant scene. Let’s just get right into things, yeah?
If your restaurant has joined the increasingly popular trend of bringing third-party delivery services like DoorDash or GrubHub to your joint, you likely know where this is going. If you haven’t, though - let’s talk about the pros and cons of third-party delivery services.
You see, services like DoorDash are great when things go well. You get access to delivery services that you don’t need to bring into payroll, expand your delivery radius (if you had one, to begin with), and gain more attention from new customers. But when things go wrong, they go very wrong - orders start rolling in and then they just don’t stop.
As the orders build and get backed up, placing your kitchen firmly in the weeds, you’re forced to dedicate a front-of-house member (FoH) to exclusively answering phones and re-ringing orders from third-party tablets to the in-house POS. While that’s certainly a manageable situation, it’s far from ideal. Rather than dealing with customers inside your establishment, your FoH is forced to deal with external orders.
And as the night progresses, your delivery times will expand, in-house customers will get frustrated, and third-party customers are more likely to be upset with longer-than-average delivery times. This is what middleware is designed to escape - we call this situation tablet hell, for what I feel are pretty self-apparent reasons.
A POS integration software helps manage all of the various third-party services and brings them into one, easy to manage location, rather than having it spread across multiple tablets and systems. Think of it like your payment processing service - you certainly have one, assuming your business takes cards. It would be a massive pain to process hundreds of card payments every day. So instead, you pay a service dedicated to that one task to make your life easier.
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That’s a great question! Okay, now that I’m past my own little back-pat given, we can move on to the actual answer - I promise, no more hangups.
Middleware, as we discussed before, takes the place of a dedicated FoH member when ringing in and managing orders. The process, from start to finish, looks like this:
While this is a pretty simplified list, it’s really that easy. Middleware is literally designed from the ground up to make your life easier - so its setup needs to be simple and fast. Okay - beyond ease of use, though, does middleware really offer anything of value? Or is it, as mentioned above, identical to a third-party payment processing middleman?
So the first benefit is quite clear - middleware cuts out the possibility of tablet hell. While that’s definitely a great option on its own, there’s more good that it does for restaurants. Let’s talk upsides, shall we?
Let’s assume that your business isn’t using third-party delivery at the moment. Even if it is, this is just a little thought experiment, so play along - for me?
Think for a second - how often do you have new customers walk in your door and look at the menu? While it’s certainly better than never, I’d bet my last dollar that you’d like more, right? After all, that’s… kinda the whole point of opening a restaurant - to feed people.
Well, there are a few ways to fix this:
This allows potential customers to naturally stumble across your restaurant in the wild. And if properly optimized, a well-made website can put your business’s name in front of a number of new customers naturally; they’ll discover you “in the wild,” so to speak.
This goes in the same vein as what we’re about to talk about - using middleware to build brand awareness. A properly designed website, in tandem with a broad presence across third-party delivery apps, can catch a surprising amount of free attention and marketing.
This is a more traditional way of going about things, but that’s because it’s proven to work. The downside to this is that professional marketing agencies are often quite spendy, and it’s likely that you’d rather spend that money improving internally.
Think about it like this - you can either invest money in paying someone else to help build your brand, or you can invest the money internally and do the same - the choice seems pretty cut-and-dry when put like that, doesn’t it?
And this is where middleware comes into play. Perhaps the best unintended feature of third-party delivery apps is that they show so many local restaurants to every customer that logs on. Think for a second - how many times have you discovered a new taco joint or food truck through delivery apps? It’s a lot, right? That’s because delivery apps display every restaurant using their service, allowing customers to discover new places without needing to be within line of sight.
Beyond just getting more eyes on your business (and menu), middleware offers the opportunity for what is, essentially, free marketing. By getting your business on multiple third-party delivery services, you’re even more likely to be discovered by new customers. Think about it - if a customer only has GrubHub, and you’re only on DoorDash, you’re missing out on an entire demographic! By establishing yourself across multiple platforms, you open up the doors to a much larger customer base.
Remember our tablet hell example? In it, we had some poor FoH server, host, or delivery driver stuck taking orders across multiple tablets while running the house counter and phone(s). By using restaurant POS integrations, they were freed from this hell and set loose to do their actual job - keeping in-house customers happy.
The same goes for cooks, in a way. Unless you’re operating on some newfangled payment system, the cooks in your business get paid an hourly rate. This means that they’re paid for the time they’re in the business, rather than the amount of food they make. By freeing up the FoH to take in-house orders, you’re actively increasing your revenue stream and giving a (potentially) slow day a sudden boost in business.
This is a bit of a sticky subject. Most restaurant owners like to believe that they know it all, but the reality is that nobody knows everything. It’s entirely possible that, with wholly good intentions, your delivery service can be designed in a less than ideal manner.
By taking the time to watch how established, highly successful delivery services operate, you can learn how to run your own, in-house delivery service more effectively. And perhaps more importantly, you can find the mistakes that these services make, further improving the potential of your own service.
At the end of the day, restaurant delivery is extremely complicated. The more third-party services you bring on board (without the proper tools), the more likely you are to learn first-hand what tablet hell truly is. By using a POS middleware system (like Cuboh), you streamline your restaurant’s ordering process. This makes both your own staff and your customers happier and increases revenue when the right steps are taken.
It also allows you what is, for all intents and purposes, free marketing. The more apps your restaurant is on, the more eyes will be on your menu daily - and that means more orders. And when you add in the free example of proper delivery, you stand to open your business to a new means of operation. Ultimately, POS middleware helps your restaurant by creating a streamlined funnel for orders, freeing up both you and your employees to do more internally.