Running a restaurant business to ensure food costs are kept low, customer relationships are maintained, and the right business decisions are made is challenging and time-consuming. Beyond that, a restaurant owner needs to ensure that the inventory is always fully stocked, there is little to no food waste, monthly sales reports are on time, and that guests are satisfied with their food and service quality. It is understandable that one person, and perhaps even a team of people, cannot handle all of that at once, at least not without software solutions and hardware systems.
An efficient POS system will go a long way in helping you achieve your business goals. Advanced POS systems for restaurants enable businesses to increase their revenue and customer loyalty and satisfaction through cutting-edge technology. Here are just some of the key features that POS systems have to offer:
- Personalized dining experiences for each customer
- Mobile order placement
- Process payments
- Mobile payment processing
- Seamless data integration
- Connected kitchen display system
- Inventory management
- Integrated loyalty programs
- EMV compliance, and more
If you’re thinking about upgrading your restaurant POS software or even POS hardware, now is the time to do it. It will prove to be a massive benefit to your staff’s workflow and your restaurant business overall.
What To Look For
Comparing restaurant POS systems starts with recognizing your unique requirements, allowing you to choose the right restaurant POS hardware and software. So before you even compare POS prices, understand that your main POS concerns depend on what type of restaurant you are running. Do you own a restaurant bar or focus mostly on restaurant delivery? Whether you own a fine dining establishment or a food truck, there is a point-of-sale system for you. If it is a full-service restaurant, you may focus on staff management and guest service. If it is a quick-service restaurant, your main goal could be increasing the number of guests you can serve during the busiest times of the day.
Nevertheless, there are a few buying considerations to take into account when you’re shopping for your next restaurant POS.
- Operational efficiency
In what way will the new POS system increase the operational efficiency of your restaurant? Will the regular restaurant processes become more streamlined? Will it help prevent inventory waste? Will it cut down the time spent on more demanding tasks?
A great example of a feature that increases operational efficiency is POS mobility. Portable POS systems allow servers to take orders, make corrections, and check each order’s status on-the-go. Relaying the food order to the kitchen is as easy as a tap on a tablet. If a customer has additional questions about a dish or its ingredients, servers have all the information ready in the pocket of their uniform.
Mobile payment processors can also make a massive difference in how a fast-food restaurant operates, drastically increasing its efficiency.
- In-depth data reporting and analytics
How can you know whether or not your business is running smoothly? How do you know whether you’re meeting your business goals? The answer is simple – by collecting data about business performance.
The new POS system for your restaurant has to analyze data related to employee management, inventory tracking, table management, customer management, suppliers, menu management, financial and operational segments, and many other business aspects. We are talking about gathering gigabytes and gigabytes of information.
Moreover, your POS software should be able to extract what’s important from this wealth of information and present it in the form of reports. The reports should be relevant and easy to interpret and distribute to everyone who needs to read them. These reports will give you valuable insight into how your business is operating and whether you need to make any adjustments.
Even though many POS providers offer a one-size-fits-all solution, this may not be what your restaurant needs. Not every restaurant is the same; therefore, not every POS system should be the same. If possible, the system for your restaurant should be customized to fit your business needs.
When you’re browsing through POS system options, don’t hesitate to check whether the companies offer modifications. Altering some screens or POS features to allow you to make the most out of your POS solution would be a huge bonus.
Chances are that you are not a POS expert. You are likely familiar with the basics and know what your business needs. But if any POS issues occur, you’d like to have the option to call someone to help as soon as possible.
Some POS providers offer bonus services, such as adjusting the system according to your restaurant’s floorplan, testing network speeds before setting up, implementing backup processes, and more. Choose a reliable company that offers support 24/7 (if you need it) and that is able to troubleshoot potential POS problems as soon as they arise.
The Best POS Systems for Restaurants
Here is a list of three main types of restaurant POS systems that could help transform your business:
- iPad POS Systems
IPad POS software and Android POS software require little to no initial investment because they work with tablets you already own. You can even get a “free” option for your iPad with credit card processing. Other iPad POS software charges a monthly fee but lets you choose your own card processing devices.
This type of POS system offers excellent mobility for your employees and doesn’t cost a lot upfront. It is a perfect option for quick-service restaurants, coffee shops, sandwich shops, ice cream parlors, and similar places with a high customer turnover rate.
- Portable POS Systems
An alternative to an iPad system is a portable POS system that still allows your staff to be on the go. Portable POS could come in the form of software and hardware or only software compatible with portable devices. It is incredibly flexible and great for tableside ordering and payment.
Portable POS systems are a bit higher in cost than our first pick because they often require additional hardware, such as card readers and receipt printers.
- Terminal POS Systems
The best choice for full-service restaurants is a terminal POS system. This is a classic POS solution that you see pretty much wherever you make a payment transaction – a sturdy piece of immovable hardware akin to cash registers, usually coupled with cash drawers.
There is no mobility here, but there are added benefits, such as the possibility of an offline mode, integration with online payment, a kitchen printer, a detailed restaurant management system, and even tableside portable devices.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to opt for only one POS solution. If your establishment requires it, you can combine several different systems – such as a mobile POS system and a terminal POS system, for example – to cover all aspects of your restaurant and bar business. You can even look into self-serving kiosks; fast-food restaurants have successfully been using them for years.
Some additional features that could be useful to you are the following:
- Ingredient-level tracking
- Order modifications
- Summaries of menu costs
- Touch screens
Tailor the POS System
Multiple factors determine which POS system will suit your restaurant the best: business size, number of employees, the average number of customers, type of restaurant, etc. There is no restaurant management software that is best for all restaurants, just as there is no universal pair of jeans that will fit every person. You need to tailor the POS solution to what you need and what you can afford.
If you have a fast-paced restaurant with a lot of daily customers – go for flexibility and mobility. If you’re running full-service dining, then opt for something sturdier but that still offers your customers the ability to pay from their table or perhaps even online.
Lastly, don’t forget about the management feature. Your staff, inventory, menus, supplies, etc. all need to be kept track of and monitored so there are no blunders down the line.
An excellent place to start looking for your next POS system is Bonita Payments. Our POS solutions are customized to fit every business. We take time out of our schedule to learn about your business goals and discover what your restaurant is all about. Our custom payment solution is guaranteed to help you increase profit wherever possible and keep both you and your customers happy for a long time to come. Contact us for more information about our products, services, and restaurant software.