Very recently, The Point of Sale News announced the breaking news of Groupon’s acquisition of Breadcrumb’s POS iPad operating system. On October 10, with the beta test of the system in 100 New York cafes and restaurants complete, the restaurant point of sale (POS) system was offered nationwide. Now, we want to examine this news in greater detail and bring you the latest developments.
As a recap, Groupon acquired Breadcrumb, a point of sale system and iPad app designed for restaurants, in May 2012. The move facilitates Groupon’s expansion into the commercial arena, and brings with it technology and talent to support this outreach. Additionally, it should bring Groupon closer to its post-IPO (November 2011) mission to become the “operating system for local commerce,” as projected by Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason.
Breadcrumb’s POS solution allows patrons, waiters and owners to improve the process of redeeming a Groupon offer, take orders tableside and update their menus using Breadcrumb’s wireless iPad technology. Additionally, Breadcrumb performs tasks traditionally handled manually, including the ability to merge and split checks, a major headache for servers. Employee management features include time clocks, access permission and real-time sales reports. Receipts are printed on-site or emailed to customers for convenience and expedience.
Restaurant owners can purchase a “Breadbox” from Groupon that contains a cash drawer, credit card swipe, printer, router, wireless access point and cables. The iPad is not included, but the Apple tablet can be purchased through Breadcrumb at cost or other merchants.
Prices for Breadcrumb’s app and software service plans start at $99 per month for one iPad; for $399 per month merchants can use Breadcrumb on as many as 10 iPads The price, according to Groupon, includes full-service setup and installation, as well as free software updates.
One feature, the ability to reserve a table at selected restaurants, comes as a result of Groupon’s purchase of Savored, moving the company closer in competition to sector leader OpenTable Inc., which currently serves 25,000 restaurants in 28 states. It is anticipated that this feature will soon be integrated into the Breadcrumb POS.
The merger benefits both companies, as it allows Groupon to expand into the local café, restaurant and bar sectors through Breadcrumb’s hefty subscriber list, while affording Breadcrumb the benefit of Groupon’s daily specials and additional technical expertise.
The move is significant as Groupon attempts to shore up investor confidence. Some believe interest in the basic service of daily deals is beginning to wane. Consumer involvement is another challenge. Mason notes in a recent letter to investors that there are “10 million geo-located subscribers engaging with Groupon every month who have yet to make a purchase.” Additionally, many Groupon customers, according to the company, have taken advantage of specific deals but have not been repeat customers. The foray into the hospitality industry should alleviate that challenge.
Groupon’s move may well be an indication of the direction for many restaurant POS services, integrating different transactional aspects onto a single platform with a unified interface.
It remains to be seen if companies that are already running existing services will transition to a new system, if the iPad app receives the broad support hoped for, and even if the iPad itself becomes the hardware of choice for restaurateurs. We’ll keep you updated on this and other restaurant POS developments.
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