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Moving To Takeout And Delivery Only? Experts At POS Giant Harbortouch Weigh In

COVID-19 Changing Your Business Model? Check Out These Tips From Harbortouch

As your business moves from serving customers in-person to takeout and delivery services to accommodate COVID-19 regulations, Harbortouch has some tips to help you make an easy transition. Harbortouch POS systems are the perfect solution to all your takeout and delivery needs. 

Experts at Harbortouch recommend offering contactless delivery to your customers. It’s a good idea to have a contactless delivery option on both your website and your mobile app. This allows customers to pay in advance, minimizing the risk of contact between your delivery driver and your customer. 

Harbortouch also recommends contactless pickup. Paying in advance via the Harbortouch POS system limits the need for direct physical contact between customers and employees. Customers can walk in and pick up their order, without having to physically interact with the staff. Having a designated pick up area makes it easy for customers to retrieve their order without confusion. 

Harbortouch also recommends reassuring customers about your food safety routines. Letting customers know that you sick employees home immediately and are limiting store hours to allow for deep sanitization of surfaces can go a long way in helping them feel comfortable as they continue to patronize your restaurant. If possible for your location,  it’s a good idea to let customers know your business’ work-from-home policy and how it applies to employees as they coordinate delivery orders.

According to Harbortouch experts, this is a great time to try out new specials on your customers. Many customers are looking to support local restaurants, but aren’t sure where to turn. Offering specials that you wouldn’t normally try is a great way to bring customers into your business. Offering gift card deals for a future in-person restaurant visit (after the crisis has cleared) can be a great way to keep business moving for months to come. 

Overall, Harbortouch recommends simply keeping in regular communication with your customers. These times are difficult for all of us, and customers want to know how they can support your business. Increasing the number of times that you reach out (through email or text) can be a great way to ensure that you pop up in your customer’s mind when they’re trying to decide what to order for dinner tonight. 

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Harbortouch: Marketing Methods Helps Companies Stay Solvent During the Pandemic

As the coronavirus spreads and businesses suffer significant losses during statewide shutdowns, it may feel hard for some companies to justify their marketing. However, Harbortouch believes that now is the time to focus the heaviest on marketing. Their techniques could help a company stay afloat during this crisis and walk them back from the brink of potential bankruptcy.

Marketing Methods Suggested by Harbortouch

Harbortouch is a POS system firm with years of experience providing a myriad of different marketing options to their customers. Harbortouch’s marketing professionals recently outlined a multitude of techniques and tips that companies can use to market to their customers during this trying period. The first suggestion is to use social media to connect directly with customers affected by the pandemic.

For example, sharing inspiring messages on Facebook, doing giveaways via Twitter, or sharing positive memes on Instagram all help to make a company appear caring and hopeful. Harbortouch believes that these positive messages are what people affected by this crisis need the most. By creating a positive atmosphere, a company is said to be more likely to stay in the mind of its customers long after the crisis is over.

Harbortouch also suggests pulling back from physical advertising, such as billboards and radio marketing. Instead, focus heavily on creating digital content. The internet is being stretched to its limits with more people using it daily while stuck at home. As a result, Harbortouch suggests amping up digital marketing during this period, including enhancing your SEO processes and your content creation.

In particular, they believe that connecting your company to the current crisis is a powerful way of standing out and making connections. For example, Harbortouch suggests creating a “What We’re Doing to Help” page that highlights every step a business is taking to handle the pandemic. They also recommend posting tips and techniques for getting through this together.

Generic messages, such as washing hands and staying distant, are okay to share. However, Harbortouch suggests creating more specific suggestions, such as creating a system for tracking your goods and providing customers with an up-to-date measure of how many items you have available. Such steps help to reassure your customers and make it easier for them to get what they need from you.

Lastly, Harbortouch suggests paying attention to your page count numbers and upgrading your content as needed. Getting rid of old and ineffective pages will enhance your SEO presence and make it easier for your customers to find you online. Also, make sure that you keep a consistently positive tone, but be honest with your customers. Harbortouch believes that honesty is critical during this challenging time and that your goal, as a business, should be not only to calm your customers but to give them a stronger sense of stability. 

 

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Harbortouch Showcases The Best POS Systems for Your Restaurant

Finding the right POS system for your restaurant can be a challenge. This is why Harbortouch is here to provide you with some information on finding the best POS system out there. 

With the right POS system for your business, you will experience improved productivity, better restaurant management, and customers will experience superior customer service. Harbortouch recommends that you take note of what your restaurant needs before you begin shopping for a POS solution. Without further ado, here are some of the best POS systems that you can choose from on the marketplace.

One of Harbortouch’s favorite POS systems is TouchBistro. This all in one POS system can help you easily upsell your products inside of your restaurant. One of its best features allows you to scale the POS system depending on the size of your restaurant. Harbortouch knows the importance of having an application that can scale depending on your needs. Fortunately, Harbortouch recommends this POS system to be your go-to whenever you need the most reliable system on the market as it was considered the Best Restaurant POS system for 2018 and 2019. There are even pricing bundles available that can be tailor-fit to your budget.

Harbortouch’s second recommendation would be Shopkeep. This simple and very flexible software is one of the best tools that you can utilize for smaller businesses. Harbortouch knows that not every business needs a large and bloated POS system to function properly. Shopkeep currently has an A+ BBB rating and provides you with a flat monthly fee. Harbortouch recommends that small businesses who are working on a budget use Shopkeep to help fix their POS system.

Finally, Upserve is the last vendor that Harbortouch recommends for your business. While some of these other POS systems were made with generalized retail in mind, Upserve was specifically designed to aid the food industry and it’s completely customizable. Upserve provides cloud-compatibility for all of its features and with an intuitive operating system. Upserve is definitely worth considering if you want a POS system that can help you improve your restaurant‘s productivity.

 

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Harbortouch Explains SMS Marketing: How it Works and Why Restaurants Should Be Texting Their Customers

The next big wave of strategic marketing tools for restaurants is text messaging, according to Harbortouch, a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) solutions. But what exactly is this new type of marketing, how does it work, and how should restaurants be using it?

Short-message service marketing, better known as SMS marketing, is one of the fastest-rising strategies in marketing and customer engagement, according to POS solutions provider Harbortouch. It simply involves sending text messages to get more business. Many restaurants in larger cities are using this marketing strategy, but it’s not something you’ll very much in smaller towns.

The Harbortouch team says marketing is all about getting people in the door, whether that’s a brick-and-mortar store or the home page of an online business. Plus, with the vast majority of people owning cell phones and the rising popularity of loyalty mobile-app programs, restaurants have a direct line of communication to many of their customers. They should be taking advantage of every marketing strategy available to them.

SMS marketing campaigns involve sending text messages in real time to customers about your business. It’s especially helpful when you have news-based messages to send, such as a limited-time sale or a new product or menu item you want to release to the public. It’s also a great way to collect feedback as the software can send a text message to the guest as soon as they leave the establishment thanking them for visiting or asking about their experience. Harbortouch says restaurants can even use SMS marketing to set up reservations with your recurring customer base.

Businesses can also use SMS marketing methods internally to streamline and automate various staffing procedures, according to Harbortouch. For example, if you need to find an employee to cover a last-minute shift, you can create a customized message for that particular situation. Then, when that situation comes up again, you can just send it to a specific group of staff members to get the quickest response. There are countless other practical uses when implementing this technology. Essentially, it can be used for any correspondence you need to disperse on a large scale.

SMS marketing is one of the newer forms of marketing, and Harbortouch has seen first-hand the positive impression it makes on the customer, saying that it makes the customer really feel like you care about them.

In terms of options, Harbortouch says there are a few variations of SMS marketing platforms. Normally, the software sends messages out to your entire text list at once, as opposed to sending out texts one at a time. Some software programs for restaurants come supplied with pre-written marketing messages, which save an enormous amount of time. Getting set up with SMS marketing is relatively easy, although you may need to know some minor programming. There are several companies that will get you set up for a one-time fee and help manage your marketing campaigns, or you can purchase the software and learn it yourself.

Either way, SMS marketing is not slowing down, and it’s a method that restaurants can use to put themselves one step ahead of their competition and put their brand at the forefront of their customers’ minds.

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Improve Restaurant SEO and Web Presence With These 5 Tips From Harbortouch

Search engine optimization (SEO) and online web presence are vital as restaurant establishments small and large face increasing competition in their local markets, according to leading point-of-sale (POS) solution provider Harbortouch.

Going out to eat at a new place or checking hours at a favorite restaurant no longer starts and ends in the yellow pages. The vast majority of people search the web, social media, and review-driven services like Yelp to find their favorite cuisines. To find new customers in this highly competitive atmosphere, you need to maximize your online presence and utilize effective SEO efforts, per Harbortouch, who provides leading POS solutions to over 1000,000 restaurants and retailers across the U.S.

Harbortouch has provided five areas to focus on as you start to refine your online presence.

1. Social Media

Social media profiles present an excellent opportunity to increase your online visibility. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms rank high in search engine results, so adding your location data helps you surface more prominently with your city, state, and address keywords. This is also a great way to stay in front of your existing customers, increasing repeat business and brand loyalty.

2. Search Engine Directories

Harbortouch also recommends amplifying your Google presence by completely filling out your Google My Business details. This provides more accurate results when customers search for your business by name. It can also amplify the reach of your business in Google Maps when people are searching by certain categories nearby, like “burger joints” or “Italian restaurants.” Complete these same details on Bing Places and Yahoo Local to hit all the major search sites.

3. Business Directories

Restaurant directories and review sites also rank high in search results. Maximize your Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Trip Advisor profiles to include your address, hours of operation, city and state, and menu basics.

4. Dedicated Website

Choose a website template with the ability to display perfectly on both desktop and mobile interfaces. If you design your site from the ground up, Harbortouch recommends beta testing your site for easy mobile display.

Cross-pollinate your social media profiles onto your website by embedding your Facebook feed, Yelp, and Instagram to keep users informed and increase backlinks to those pages.

Harbortouch also recommends including plenty of location data on your website to grab customers looking for a combination of food types and cities, such as “pizza in downtown Charlotte.” Seemingly small details like adding your city on key page headers, putting your full address in a website footer, and including your location in the body copy on the website will go a long way to hone in on your potential customers.

Many restaurants post their entire menu as a PDF on their website, but you also want to include snippets of key products — at a minimum — in plain text for easy search engine crawling. Much like location targeting, this helps grab specific searchers.

5. Blog if You Can

Starting a blog doesn’t need to be a massive undertaking. When you take pictures for social media, capture a full alternate shot for sharing on a blog. Harbortouch recommends highlighting regular or seasonal menu items with keyword-based copy and always emphasizing your location without keyword stuffing.

According to Harbortouch, these five areas will get you started in helping your business stand out among the endless pages of search results. Your goal is for the customer to realize you are the answer to their search query, so the earlier you can appear in front of them and the more details you can provide, the sooner they will walk through your door.

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Harbortouch Discusses Misconceptions About Mobile Payments

Many misconceptions about the mobile payment industry exist according to Harbortouch, an industry leader point-of-sale provider.

Swiping a credit or debit card has never been a more popular way to pay for food, goods, and services advises point-of-sale solutions provider Harbortouch.

Cash is no longer king and few consumers carry a checkbook. In fact, many people no longer possess checks at all. Eventually, anchored payment terminals could go the way of paper with the bulk of consumers opting to make mobile payments using their phones, Harbortouch said.

Harbortouch believes that despite the growth in the mobile payment sector, several misconceptions about accepting mobile payments persist in the hospitality and retail industries.

To stay current and provide the services customers want, Harbortouch advises stores and restaurants to move past misinformation and explore how to incorporate mobile payments as soon as possible. The most misunderstood issues in the phone payment sphere include concerns about data security, inconvenience, and coordination with existing payment systems.

Harbortouch says mobile payments can be made as secure as card swipes at a fixed terminal and getting started is easier than most retail clients realize.

Mobile payments can be extremely easy to set up without investing in expensive equipment. Through the use of smartphone card swipe readers provided through payment-processing providers like Paypal, CapitalOne, or Chase, businesses can easily accept payments at trade shows, at a diner’s table, or on the floor at a craft fair without an upfront investment. Instead, fees are assessed on each transaction.

Per Harbortouch, setup is often minimal and interfaces are intuitive to help customers and employees avoid confusion during the payment process.

Harbortouch suggests these tips as an excellent introduction to mobile payments, but more robust retailers and restaurants may prefer to invest in readers that tie into existing POS solutions. POS providers also often offer mobile units as part of a package deal. These easily integrate with the existing system and can include added services, such as card payment via Bluetooth.

Payment security is a key concern for both small and large businesses, Harbortouch advises. Equipment and apps provided by payment processors feature built-in security. By using best practices, such as not connecting to public Wi-Fi and using VPN services, businesses can enhance security on their end.

Mobile payment options integrated with a physical POS system also include built-in security as data is not stored in the devices. Instead, it is transmitted digitally through the payment gateway. This prevents the loss of customer data if a visitor walks away with a mobile terminal or it is stolen in an organized theft.

By choosing a reliable payment gateway and a merchant account provider following Payment Card Industry standards, businesses can further enhance customer security from the table/counter to the end of the transaction.  

 

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Harbortouch Offers 4 Tips for Effective Menu Design

You can dish out the greatest eats in town, but your customers won’t know all you have to offer without an engaging and easy-to-read menu. The professionals at Harbortouch, the United States’ leading point-of-sale (POS) system provider, say every great menu contains a few key elements, from dynamic design to succinct, informative dish descriptions. In addition to enticing customers, a well-designed menu can improve efficiency and accuracy, a boon for diners and staff alike. Here are their tips for an effective menu design.

4 Menu Design Tips

1. Be Creative

Many restaurants are successful because they offer something unique. Stand out from the competition by being creative with your menu names. Many diners order based on the item names, rather than reading descriptions. Get inspiration from local sports teams or landmarks, and include succinct but clever descriptions, says Harbortouch.

2. Make It Readable

While creativity is a boon when it comes to names and descriptions, don’t get too carried away with fonts. It’s important your menu is legible, so avoid overly-slanted or cursive fonts and small sizes. Also, consider color. Shades of red, yellow, and orange tend to evoke hunger and positivity, says Harbortouch. Pick a few complementary colors and use these throughout the menu for a cohesive and appealing look.

3. Consider Length and Layout

Just as you can have too many cooks in a kitchen, you can have too many choices on a menu. Experts recommend a two-panel layout as it provides plenty of options for customers but not so many they may feel overwhelmed and have a hard time deciding what to order, explains Harbortouch.

Ensure it is organized as well. Don’t try to highlight every item. Instead, select a few house specials to highlight, one or two in each section. Incorporate bold section headers for groups such as beverages, entrees, appetizers, desserts, and kids’ items, advises Harbortouch. Be sure to identify what modifications can be made as well, such as dairy substitutes, gluten-free, or vegan and vegetarian.

4. Use High-Quality Photos

Quality is better than quantity when it comes to photos, explains Harbortouch. Depending on the type of establishment you operate, you might want to use a few high-quality photos of certain popular and attractive dishes. There’s no need to have a photo of every dish, as this can look cluttered. Instead, use the ‘rule of threes’ – things arranged in odd numbers are more appealing, memorable, and effective than even-numbered groupings. Three is often the magic number in everything from photography and graphic design to menu design. Hire a professional photographer, take high-quality photos, and remember the rule of thirds when it comes to design and layout.

More on Harbortouch

Harbortouch has served more than 400,000 small to mid-size businesses, providing first-class POS software and hardware and earning numerous stellar Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers. From secure payment processing to cloud-based reporting and management tools, Harbortouch’s model makes its products affordable for any budget. Harbortouch’s ground-breaking free POS program is regularly featured on the hit TV show Bar Rescue.

Harbortouch Suggests 4 Small Town Business Ideas

While some people move from their small hometowns to a big city in pursuit of their dreams, others find their dreams a little closer to home. Opening a small business in your hometown gives you the advantage of understanding the environment and needs of your community better than an outsider.

Also, small towns are becoming increasingly popular, meaning the time to invest is now. Harbortouch, one of the United States’ leading providers of point of sale (POS) systems, has helped hundreds of small businesses over the past 20 years. Their team is here to offer four small-town business ideas.

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4 Small-Town Business Ideas to Consider

Restaurant or Cafe

Restaurants and cafes are great choices because people always need to eat and drink. Also, these establishments offer a place for visitors and residents to meet friends for a drink or meal.

Whether you open a fine dining establishment or a cozy coffee shop, make sure your business meets a demand that isn’t being met in your small town. Check out the competition, if there is any, and see what you can offer that they don’t. Also, consider the demographics of your town. Younger people, for example, may want a space to hang out, drink coffee, and work or read during the day, while older adults may prefer a more traditional restaurant setting.

Food Truck

Food trucks can either be a counterpart to a brick-and-mortar eatery or a standalone venture. Food trucks are beloved by customers for their convenience and fast, delicious eats. Mobile fast food is particularly great for small towns since you can move your truck to meet people wherever they are. Whether it’s outside an office complex or local college, or at events, such as festivals and parades, your mobile business can take you there.

However, before you start making moves, be sure to check your city’s rules regarding food trucks to see where they’re allowed to park before setting up shop.

Bakery

What’s more comforting than the smell of freshly baked bread or pastries? Everyone loves a bakery with quality homemade baked goods and lovely cakes for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions. For many people, bread is a staple of daily life. Providing all the essentials, like rolls and loaves, croissants, and muffins could have you on your way to a profitable small business.

Salon

If you enjoy working with people and have a knack for beauty, a salon may be the small business venture for you. Everyone needs a haircut or beard trim once in a while, which means you’ll always have potential customers. You can also offer additional services, including manicures and pedicures, or even salon services like facials and waxing. Keep in mind you may need special education and certification or licensure to perform these jobs.

More on Harbortouch

Harbortouch has served more than 400,000 small to mid-size businesses, providing first-class POS software and hardware and earning numerous stellar Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers. From secure payment processing to cloud-based reporting and management tools, Harbortouch’s model makes its products affordable for any budget. Harbortouch’s ground-breaking free POS program is regularly featured on the hit TV show Bar Rescue.

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Harbortouch Offers 3 Cost-Effective Marketing Tips for Busy Business Owners

Whether you run a taco truck or a nightclub, small boutique or multi-location food chain, you’ll need to market your business to attract new customers – and keep them coming back for more. Marketing is not only essential for boosting profits, but it can also help you network and forge partnerships with colleagues and your community. The professionals at Harbortouch, one of the nation’s leading providers of point of sale (POS) systems, understand that for busy business owners, marketing isn’t always a top priority. However, they say it should be. With over 20 years of business under their belts and countless repeat customers, they know what it takes to succeed. Here are three budget-friendly marketing tips any business can use.

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3 Tips for Basic, Budget-Friendly Marketing

  1. Get Social
    According to Statista, by 2021, there will be approximately 3.1 billion social media users around the world. Social media, which includes platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, is one of the best ways to connect with specific demographics for a low cost. These platforms are free to join and offer flexible options for free and paid promotions. To make the most of social media, research which platforms your target demographic(s) use most. For instance, Boomers are more likely to use Facebook than Instagram. Also, make your posts creative, unique, and authentic. Post marketing content sparingly, while sharing interesting articles, cute or funny pictures, and other engaging content the rest of the time.
  2. Build a Website
    These days. the majority of consumers research products or brands online before making a purchase, even if they are in-store. This means having a website is not optional, even if you don’t have online selling or scheduling capabilities. Domains can be purchased for a relatively low annual price and templates are available to help you get started. Be sure to include all of the basics, including location, hours, and contact information, as well as an About Us page and pages to describe your products and services. If your business involves appointment-setting, reservations, or retail, consider integrating these aspects into your website to make shopping and scheduling easier for customers. Be sure to keep your site updated and include engaging imagery, video, and easy-to-read text.
  3. Get Listed in Business Directories
    In addition to your website, be sure your business is listed in business directories, such as Google My Business and the Better Business Bureau. These sites, like social media sites, are free to register. Your community may also have a business directory with which you can list your contact information and network with other businesses. Again, make sure the fundamentals are listed, including your business contact information and address, a description of what you offer, a description of your company, and links to your social media accounts and website.

More on Harbortouch

Harbortouch has served more than 400,000 small to mid-size businesses, providing first-class POS software and hardware and earning numerous stellar Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers. From secure payment processing to cloud-based reporting and management tools, Harbortouch’s model makes its products affordable for any budget. Harbortouch’s ground-breaking free POS program is regularly featured on the hit TV show Bar Rescue.

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Harbortouch Offers Tips for Fantastic Customer Service

Customer service, or lack thereof, can make or break a business. Harbortouch, one of the nation’s leading point of sale (POS) system providers, knows this well. Based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the company has been in business for over two decades, earning a gold-star reputation for exceptional customer care as well as first-class products. The Harbortouch team offers a few tips on how to keep customers happy and coming back for more.

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4 Tips for Better Customer Care

  1. Hire Wisely
    Hiring an all-star team is the first step to ensuring great customer service. Whether you’re in retail or food service, excellent customer service skills should be a fundamental hiring qualification for front-of-house and customer-facing staff. When deciding between two potential candidates, select the one who’s most personable and positive. While experience is great, it isn’t everything. You can train someone in particular skills, but you can’t necessarily make someone more friendly or authentic.
  2. Promote Positive Speech & Body Language
    Teach your staff to be conscious of their body language and speech. One of the simplest but most important aspects is to maintain good eye contact. Also, ensure your employees guide customers to find items, rather than simply pointing them in the right direction. Encourage employees to answer the phone within two rings and with a standard greeting in a pleasant tone. Remind them that even over the phone, people can hear a smile! Likewise, ensure staff is visible and available to help when customers are around. Few things are more frustrating for a customer than not being able to find help when they need it.
  3. Ensure Everyone Is On the Same Page
    Make sure your staff is on the same page regarding your business’ policies about returns, exchanges, coupons, and layaway procedures. Being consistent provides better customer experience and enhances efficiency. Train employees to inform customers about the return policy during their interaction and consider putting the return policy on the bottom of your sales receipts.
  4. Invest in the Right Technology
    Technology can greatly enhance your business on every level, from marketing to customer care. One potential way to step up customer service is by administering a customer satisfaction survey through a platform such as Survey Monkey. You can also offer your staff customer service and sales training opportunities, such as online courses or webinars. Investing in a solid POS system with software tailored to your business needs is also helpful. For example, your POS system can enable you to administer a customer loyalty program to incentivize repeat patrons.

More on Harbortouch

Harbortouch has served more than 400,000 small to mid-size businesses, providing first-class POS software and hardware and earning numerous stellar Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers. From secure payment processing to cloud-based reporting and management tools, Harbortouch’s model makes its products affordable for any budget. Harbortouch’s ground-breaking free POS program is regularly featured on the hit TV show Bar Rescue.