It’s getting close to the Pizza Expo, and many owners and managers will come equipped with questions about how they can have a better year than last year. To get a jump on things, we decided to pose some questions of our own…

Will restaurants reduce employee fraud this year? The National Restaurant Association estimates employee theft accounts for around 75% of restaurant losses. However, with all the technology that is available to us this really shouldn’t be the case. We can now manage and prevent losses in ways our predecessors couldn’t as there are many solutions available for detecting and managing possible fraud.

When it comes to fraud in 2020 you should look no further than your POS. There are many functions that will help your business reduce the risk of employee fraud, for example;

  • Lock down your POS: Culpability for items rung in decreases the likelihood of fraud or abuse. Don’t allow employees to transfer checks, or to apply comps, promos, or voids without manager assistance. Enhance Manager login with biometrics – a thumb print reader that not easily duped.

  • Update your security at the till: By pairing your surveillance video of the cash register with the record of your POS transactions you can reduce and eliminate the instances of undercharging – when an employee charges for a more expensive item and rings it into the POS as a cheaper item, voided transactions – server charges a customer for their full order, but later voids certain items and pockets the money for said items, false discounting – when an employee deliberately enters erroneous offers such as police discount to a non-police officer / student etc.

Will we stop asking for signatures this year? Almost every credit card issued in the U.S. is equipped with EMV technology and last year, all major credit card companies – American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa – stopped requiring EMV-compliant merchants to collect signatures for credit and debit card purchases. According to the Times, it actually goes back further than last year, stating that in 2010 most credit card networks stopped requiring signatures on purchases under $25 or $50. We all constantly shop online and make purchases over the phone where signatures are not required… YET this has not changed the reality that a lot of us are still signing, and asking our customers to sign a lot of receipts. Small receipts, even!

The question is why do we still do this when even the card companies don’t even require it? Europe and Asia have long since transitioned away from strips to chips, specifically “chip and PIN” technology, which pairs the chip with a debit card-esque personal identification number (PIN) and are the norm for most merchants. But it seems we just love signing things here; after football, it is our national pastime.

They are couple of reasons as to why we still get our pens out; initially, the US transitioned to a chip-and-signature system, followed by credit card networks noting that the move to signature-free transactions was optional when PINs were introduced which causing confusion over the rules and discouraged many merchants, especially smaller ones, from scrapping signatures altogether – an issue that has not gone away! Some say that their POS need updating to accept this new form of payment but in reality, the vast majority of merchants and POS are up-to-date to handle such payment options. While others believe that if tips are left, you need to sign as you are changing the bill total.

Funny thing is signatures don’t actually prevent fraud – and according to Mastercard, they never really did! The PIN verification mode is more secure than the signature verification mode, of course. Anyone could forge a signature, and most cashiers never even check to see if your signature matches the one on your card. A PIN can’t be so easily duplicated. Also, nowadays customers can add the tip directly to their bill!

Will we continue to keep asking our customers to sign in 2020, whatever that means: a name, a line, a picture of a dog? Only time will tell.

Mobile vs App vs Desktop will we establish which is more important? Ever since 2009, mobile phone usage started growing. For the first time in 2016 it overtook desktop internet usage and has been advancing ever since – and it’s not hard to see why. 96% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind and 63% of all US online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. When it comes to e-commerce, by 2021 it is predicted that mobile will be responsible for around 67.2% of total e-commerce sales, and according to Business Insider Intelligence projects orders placed via smartphone will make up more than 10% of all quick-service restaurant sales this year making it a $38 billion industry.

Ordering food or having a delivery platform was considered a state-of-the-art innovation in the early 2000s but as we have our smartphones constantly by our sides, mobile ordering is taking over the fast-food industry. The power of mobile convenience means that along with the millennials, online ordering and delivery is fast becoming a favorite among the users in the age group of 35-44. Mobile traffic is now more valuable than desktop traffic and mobile conversion rates are rising as consumers not only spending more time online but spend more dollars via mobile.

But who’s winning the mobile app vs mobile website battle? Looking at the current rate and the number of apps being downloaded every day, analytics predict that this number will skyrocket by 120% by 2023, amounting to a total revenue of $156 billion with Google Play predicting that $60 billion will be spent on mobile apps in 2023.

On-demand food delivery apps can bring customers everything from a Big Mac to authentic Japanese food in just a few taps on the screen and whether its Starbucks or Pizza Hut, apps allow brands to be constant in the lives of customers, even when they aren’t sipping on a coffee or eating pizza. Apps are a powerful tool for making ordering more convenient, boosting customer loyalty, and increasing how much money people are willing to spend.

Mobile use is poised to continue growing and further eclipsing desktop use, and it seems the jury is leaning towards Apps as the winner, however, this does not mean quitting and abandoning desktop sites altogether. Yes, businesses should strive to make their brands more mobile-friendlier but desktops aren’t a thing of the past just yet… or are they?

While the year has barely started, we’re already thinking ahead to when we’ll revisit our questions at the end of 2020 to see if we are any the wiser or better off!