Interview: SpotOn’s Mike Collins talks restaurant business and the future of POS systems

We invited Mike Collins, SVP of Strategic Partnerships with SpotOn, to discuss short-term and long-term benefits of utilizing SpotOn Restaurants. From the importance of the Cloud to increased payment efficiencies, Collins covers what today’s restaurant owners and operations managers should consider.

SpotOn boasts decades of industry experience. Looking at the evolution of restaurant point of sale systems, what are some of the biggest improvements you’ve witnessed over the years? What has helped businesses and what has improved customer experiences?  

Everything moving to the Cloud is, without a doubt, one of the biggest improvements we have seen in POS over the past few years. Cloud computing makes everything accessible from any device anywhere!  It allows operators to truly manage their business.  For example, operators are closely monitoring Labor Cost and Food Cost at a moment’s notice without actually being in the restaurant. This is their bottom line; this is how they make money and the shift to the cloud has made this a much easier process.

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For many business owners, the “more ways to pay” trend can feel overwhelming. From Apple Pay to EMV Chips, Tap-To-Pay to good ole’ cash … how does SpotOn keep up with the evolution of payment processing expectations?  

Education is the key! Many years ago, it may have felt overwhelmed with the birth of Credit Cards, but that fundamental shift helped grow commerce and this new fundamental shift will be no different. Technology continues to grow exponentially and we strive to ensure our clients are in the know. Education for these operators is absolutely essential! 

…Soon enough we will see another shift into Crypto and then into Peer-to-Peer Payments. SpotOn takes pride in being at the forefront of these technology shifts and, along with that, making sure our clients can accept payments from any customer in any form of payment.

When thinking specifically about POS Software, can you think of the top-three upgrades restaurants should consider? What solutions are really making an impact? 

I’d prioritize Online Ordering, Handheld Order/Payment Devices, and QR Code Pay:

  • Online Ordering is at the top of this list. It’s not just the Millennials and Gen Zers that are purchasing from their phones anymore, almost everyone is doing it! Covid catapulted this category to the top, but even as our economy continues to open up more and more, we will continue to see a large number of transactions come from Online Ordering. As a Restaurant if you do not allow your customers to order food at their convenience—right from their phones—you are not just shorting yourself on business you are pushing away clients.

  • Handhelds are another “new school piece of tech” to hit the market in the last few years.  They can create an incredible amount of efficiency for the Service Staff, not having to run back to a station every time they take an order can save a ton of time! This all comes back down to the bottom line, labor cost. However, this is not just an efficiency, this is also a customer experience component. Handhelds can cut down on human errors and can make the checkout process quick and efficient. As a consumer when you are ready to checkout, the back-and-forth process of the server running to the POS and back to the table can be time-consuming, but with a handheld, it can be quick and efficient. Then, throw in the option to have the receipt emailed or text to the client, now that is a great user experience!

  • QR Code Pay is the newest of the three. The adoption is not as great as the first two I mentioned; however, it can add to a great user experience and create efficiencies for the Restaurant. This piece of tech was born because of Covid. In the beginning, it was just a nice way for a customer to access a menu, but then it grew into a full order and payment experience. You’ll even see QR Codes printed at the bottom of a guests' checks to create a quick checkout process for the guest.

What would you say to a restaurant that’s nervous about venturing into Online Ordering? How does SpotOn streamline processes in real-time?  

There’s nothing to be nervous about—at all! The software does all the work for the Restaurant, everything is managed in the Back Of The House on the POS. A Restaurant can literally have the exact same menu online as they do for dine-In. 

When a customer makes an order online it comes directly into the POS just as it would if a server input the order at an in-person station. Online ordering within the SpotOn ecosystem is an all-in-one piece of software, so there’s no need for third-party integrations or trying to get this Software to speak to that Software. It’s all a part of the same ecosystems so everything flows smoothly.

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Mike Collins_SpotOnAbout the interview
Mike Collins
SpotOn, SVP of Strategic Partnerships
May 2021