Restaurants often use POS systems to streamline all aspects of their operation. Not only do they help with managing sales and cash flow, but these systems also help owners with creating and implementing customer outreach initiatives. In this article, we shall take a closer look at POS systems and things you should consider when searching for a POS system for your restaurant.
What is a POS system?
A restaurant point-of-sale (POS) software is a system that processes transactions occurring at a restaurant. Initially, a billing software that accepted orders and produced receipts, POS software has now transformed into a complete restaurant management system. Here are some of the most common functions performed by a POS system:
Manages stock and inventory
Helps to manage multiple outlets
Provides real-time sales reports
Runs customer loyalty programs
Assists with payment gateway, analytics, table reservations, and order management
Protects you against thefts
There are two kinds of POS software that you can choose from depending on your deployment options: on-premise POS software and cloud-based POS software. Cloud-based POS systems work both online and offline. There is an increasing trend of favor toward cloud-based POS systems due to the limitation of on-premises POS systems as below,
No real-time visibility of sales
Mostly proprietary and lacking POS software update
No integration with other business apps
Costly proprietary hardware and maintenance
Poor data security
Features of a POS system
POS systems come with various features and functionalities. The right POS system for your business is one that fulfills all the mandatory hardware requirements, including card readers, tablets, and cash drawers. It will also facilitate smooth order entry by ensuring that all orders are easily and correctly received by the kitchen while allowing split checks.
Your ideal POS system will help assess the monetary value of each serving of an item to determine the exact profitability and cost of each dish. It will also help monitor inventory use while tracking food costs. By producing management reports, your POS system will help set baselines for minimum product counts and assign any automatic re-ordering.
In addition, your POS system will make payment more smooth by allowing for mobile and contactless ordering and payment. It will also track customer purchase history and provide follow-up emails and messages with offers and deals to attract loyal customers. Overall, POS will enhance the user experience by reducing the amount of time that it takes to place an order and pay for a meal at your restaurant.
Type of buyer
There is a specific type of POS system for every kind of restaurant owner:
If you own a small business, you will benefit most from a basic POS system that has limited hardware and some advanced features. This is best if you own a single location, a food truck, or a rotational pop-up restaurant.
If you own a mid-sized business with four or five locations, a restaurant POS system with several advanced features is what you will need. Features like analytics, reporting, inventory control, and online ordering are beneficial to have in your case.
For business owners with over five restaurant locations, a premium POS software with advanced analytics, dashboards, and multiple location management systems is ideal.
Some factors to consider when choosing a POS
Technical support is an important consideration when choosing a restaurant POS. The number of receipts for F&b business as compared to retail outlets is significantly higher and you need the vendor's help when something goes wrong.
You can evaluate a vendor’s capability with the following criteria,
Focus on their technical know-how rather than a sales pitch. When trouble comes, you need someone who can solve the problem and it does make a difference to engage a vendor who is well versed in technology.
Consider their existing client-based and look for a POS vendor who has experience in larger restaurants instead of having plenty of small business clients. Large restaurant groups can provide a higher level of services not just because of hiring more staff but because they have a heavy dependence on the robustness of the POS system to automate the process. F&b businesses will usually grow from single to multi-outlets within a year or change their dining concepts. You will likely get stuck when this happens and must consider changing your POS again due to the limitation of a simple POS system.
Go for commodities hardware such as tablets as it is easier and faster for you to recover from the hardware failure and ensure business continuity. Apple iPad works better than Android for its reliability and superior security.