SpotOn Adds Event Capabilities as POS Providers Compete to Do It All

POS Providers Offer Services, Features to Compete

SpotOn is looking to set its restaurant point-of-sale (POS) offerings apart with increasingly comprehensive solutions, most recently announcing Tuesday (Oct. 18) the launch of Experiences by SpotOn Reserve, powering reservation and waitlist features for special events.

The feature enables event-specific menus, private dining room bookings, POS integrations and other capabilities. It aims to drive revenue, to simplify the operational tasks required to run a special event, to provide deposit-taking tools so as to reduce cancellations and to improve the customer experience.

The news comes as POS providers are racing to offer more services and features to stand out in a highly competitive space. Many of the offerings that were once an advantage — integrating across ordering channels, kitchen display system (KDS) compatibility, digital wallet acceptance and so on — have become table stakes, such that providers are now looking to offer increasingly specific solutions.

For example, restaurant technology company GoTab announced in August the launch of GoTab for Multi-Operator Locations, powering cross-venue payments across merchants at locations such as food halls or sporting events’ concession areas.

Read more: GoTab Says Resistance to Automation Keeps Stadium Payments Stuck in the Past

GoTab CEO and Founder Tim McLaughlin told PYMNTS in an interview that operators have had trouble even believing that the system can be digitized in this way.

“Nobody else does it,” McLaughlin said. “One thing that we’ve learned as we’ve sold our first couple of customers on it, is that we had a hard time conveying to them that, ‘No, the system does it all automatically. You don’t have to hire an accountant.’ The hard part is just getting people to realize it can be automatic.”

Similarly, popular POS provider Toast has been expanding its offerings into new venues and use cases. In May, the company announced the launch of Toast for Hotel Restaurants, a tool that integrates with hotel property management systems to help eateries function more smoothly.

See more: Toast Unveils Tool for Hotel Restaurants

Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of Toast Invoicing, a product designed to integrate restaurants’ catering businesses in with their other ordering channels.

Read more: Toast Adds Catering, Wholesale Order Tools to Platform for Restaurants

Lightspeed, meanwhile, has most recently been looking to expand its restaurant offerings both in terms of venues and in terms of what restaurants can get out of their existing sales. In July, the company launched an expanded version of its payments processing solution to meet the needs of the golf industry, including integrating golf course’s restaurant vendors.

See more: Lightspeed Streamlines Payments Processing for Golf Industry

More recently, the tech provider announced earlier this month the addition of Lightspeed Advanced Insights to its restaurant offerings. This move offers restaurant owners data insights and analysis, highlighting trends drawn from their sales such as identifying which items are most likely to keep customers coming back.

“Restaurants are doubling down on technology and automation, and we are continuing to deliver,” Peter Dougherty, general manager of hospitality at Lightspeed, said in a statement. “…Lightspeed Advanced Insights gives restaurant owners confidence to make quick decisions they trust to improve their business by providing analytics that go way deeper than traditional reporting.”

These moves come as restaurants increasingly look for tech solutions to help with their labor difficulties. According to data from the 2022 edition of PYMNTS’ “Restaurant Readiness Index,” which drew from a survey of more than 500 managers of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and full-service restaurants (FSRs) across the country, nearly half of all restaurants have been facing hiring and retention challenges, and 28% of restaurants have implemented new technology to cope with these difficulties.

Read more: More Than Half of Restaurants Depend on Digital Sales, Despite Uptick in on-Premises Orders