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If you've ever waited tables, you're surely acquainted with typical restaurant point-of-sale (POS) systems. Equipped with touch-screen technology, these systems enable you to input customer orders quickly and accurately with the touch of a few buttons. Even if you're new to the restaurant industry and haven't used such a system before, learning how to use Aloha, a software some restaurants use to power theirs, is simple, straightforward and requires only a bit of practice to master.
Learn your restaurant's menu thoroughly as you begin learning Aloha. One of Aloha's many advantages is that it allows you to modify an item any way you want electronically, without having to speak directly to the kitchen staff. Unless you make an effort to learn your restaurant's menu, this may serve you only minimally. If you try, for example, to ring in a chicken sandwich without mayonnaise, even though your restaurant doesn't usually prepare its chicken sandwiches with mayonnaise, you may confuse the kitchen and cause a problem.
Swipe your card -- or, if you don't have a POS card, enter your employee ID number -- to log into Aloha. To prevent children from playing on the computers or unauthorized employees from ringing in food, Aloha includes username and password protection.
Ring in your order, keeping in mind the pace at which you want your guests' meals to go. Aloha allows you to save orders in "pending" status -- in other words, you can ring in appetizers and drinks, send them, then ring in your main dishes and hold them until you're ready. Ring in your starters and beverages, hit "Send," then tap in the rest of your items. Rather than tapping "Send" right away, however, hit "Exit" and log out of the system. To send the items, swipe your card, tap the table number to highlight it, then tap "Send" to send the remainder of the order.
Print your tables' checks in Aloha by swiping your card, tapping the table number and tapping the "Print" button, keeping in mind that only orders you've sent will print on the check. Always print your checks once you've finished ringing a table's drinks, starters and entrees, and keep a copy of the check with you in case they need to go suddenly.
Swipe your card, tap the table number and then the "Take Payment" button to process payments in Aloha. To take a credit card payment, tap the name of the credit card you wish to use, then swipe the card to use one card for full payment. To split payment, use the keypad to enter the amount you wish to use on each card before you tap the name of the card. To accept cash payment, enter the total amount the guest gives you, then tap cash and wait for Aloha to tell you the amount of change.
Use Aloha in training mode until you're certified as a server or takeout attendant at your restaurant. Your trainer can swipe her POS card to log you into a training "safe mode," which will prevent anything you ring in Aloha from being sent back to the kitchen. This way, if you make mistakes -- as you certainly will while learning -- they won't cost anybody else time or trouble.
- Use Aloha in training mode until you're certified as a server or takeout attendant at your restaurant. Your trainer can swipe her POS card to log you into a training "safe mode," which will prevent anything you ring in Aloha from being sent back to the kitchen. This way, if you make mistakes -- as you certainly will while learning -- they won't cost anybody else time or trouble.
Robert Schrader is a writer, photographer, world traveler and creator of the award-winning blog Leave Your Daily Hell. When he's not out globetrotting, you can find him in beautiful Austin, TX, where he lives with his partner.